News

January 30, 2018

This week in Labor History - February 4

 
Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a White man launched the 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and the birth of the civil rights movement, is born in Tuskeege, Ala. - 1913

January 30, 2018

This week in Labor History - February 3

The U.S. Supreme Court rules the United Hatters Union violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by organizing a nationwide boycott of Danbury Hatters of Connecticut - 1908
 
U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Wages and Hours (later Fair Labor Standards) Act banning child labor and establishing the 40-hour work week - 1941

January 30, 2018

This week in Labor History - February 2

Three hundred newsboys organize to protest a cut in pay by the Minneapolis Tribune - 1917
 
Legal secretary Iris Rivera fired for refusing to make coffee; secretaries across Chicago protest - 1977
 
The 170-day lockout (although management called it a strike) of 22,000 steelworkers by USX Corp. ends with a pay cut but greater job security.  It was the longest work stoppage in the history of the U.S. steel industry - 1987

January 30, 2018

This week in Labor History - February 1

Led by 23-year-old Kate Mullaney, the Collar Laundry Union forms in Troy, N.Y., and raises earnings for female laundry workers from $2 to $14 a week - 1864
 
Bricklayers begin working 8-hour days - 1867

January 30, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 30

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born in Hyde Park, N.Y. He was elected president of the United States four times starting in 1932.

January 30, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 29

Dolly Parton hits number one on the record charts with "9 to 5," her anthem to the daily grind - 1981

January 24, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 28

American Miners’ Association formed - 1861
 
First U.S. unemployment compensation law enacted, in Wisconsin - 1932

January 24, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 27

New York City maids organize to improve working conditions - 1734
 
Mine explosion in Mount Pleasant, Pa., leaves more than 100 dead - 1891
 
First meeting of the Int’l Labor Organization (ILO) - 1920
 
Kansas miners strike against compulsory arbitration - 1920
 

January 24, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 26

In what could be considered the first workers’ compensation agreement in America, pirate Henry Morgan pledges his underlings 600 pieces of eight or six slaves to compensate for a lost arm or leg. Also part of the pirate’s code, reports Roger Newell: shares of the booty were equal regardless of race or sex, and shipboard decisions were made collectively - 1695
 
Samuel Gompers, first AFL president, born in London, England. He emigrated to the U.S. as a youth - 1850
 
The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America is chartered by the American Federation of Labor to organize "every wage earner from the man who takes the bullock at the house until it goes into the hands of the consumer." - 1897
 
 

January 24, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 25

Sojourner Truth addresses first Black Women’s Rights convention - 1851
 
The Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Association (SMWIA) is founded in Toledo, Ohio, as the Tin, Sheet Iron and Cornice Workers’ Int’l Association - 1888

January 24, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 24

Krueger’s Cream Ale, the first canned beer, goes on sale in Richmond, Va.  Pabst was the second brewer in the same year to sell beer in cans, which came with opening instructions and the suggestion: "cool before serving" - 1935
 

January 24, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 23

Some 10,000 clothing workers strike in Rochester, N.Y., for the 8-hour day, a 10-percent wage increase, union recognition, and extra pay for overtime and holidays. Daily parades were held throughout the clothing district and there was at least one instance of mounted police charging the crowd of strikers and arresting 25 picketers. Six people were wounded over the course of the strike and one worker, 18-year-old Ida Breiman, was shot to death by a sweatshop contractor. The strike was called off in April after manufacturers agreed not to discriminate against workers for joining a union – 1913

January 24, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 22

Indian field hands at San Juan Capistrano mission refused to work, engaging in what was probably the first farm worker strike in California - 1826

Birth of Terence V. Powderly, leader of the Knights of Labor - 1849
 
The United Mine Workers of America is founded in Columbus, Ohio, with the merger of the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union - 1890
 
Five hundred New York City tenants battle police to prevent evictions - 1932

January 17, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 21


Some 750,000 steel workers walk out in 30 states, largest strike in U.S. history to that time - 1946
 
Postal workers begin four-day strike at the Jersey City, N.J., bulk and foreign mail center, protesting an involuntary shift change.  The wildcat was led by a group of young workers who identified themselves as “The Outlaws”- 1974
 
Six hundred police attack picketing longshoremen in Charleston, S.C. - 2000
 

January 17, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 20

Chicago Crib Disaster—A fire breaks out during construction of a water tunnel for the city of Chicago, burning the wooden dormitory housing the tunnel workers.  While 46 survive the fire by jumping into the frigid lake and climbing onto ice floes, approximately 60 men die, 29 burned beyond recognition and the others drowned - 1909

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) founded – 1920

January 17, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 19

Twenty strikers at the American Agricultural Chemical Co. in Roosevelt, N.J., were shot, two fatally, by factory guards. They and other strikers had stopped an incoming train in search of scabs when the guards opened fire - 1915
 
Some 3,000 members of the Filipino Federation of Labor strike the plantations of Oahu, Hawaii. Their ranks swell to 8,300 as they are joined by members of the Japanese Federation of Labor - 1920
 
Yuba City, Calif., labor contractor Juan V. Corona found guilty of murdering 25 itinerant farm workers he employed during 1970 and 1971 - 1973
 
Bruce Springsteen makes an unannounced appearance at a benefit for laid-off 3M workers, Asbury Park, N.J. - 1986

January 17, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 18

U.S. Supreme Court rules in Moyer v. Peabody that a governor and officers of a state National Guard may imprison anyone—in the case at hand, striking miners in Colorado—without probable cause “in a time of insurrection” and deny the person the right of appeal - 1909
 

"Take This Job and Shove It," by Johnny Paycheck, is listed by Billboard magazine as the most popular song in the U.S. - 1978
(Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class is a remarkable account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s.)
 

January 17, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 17


Radical labor organizer and anarchist Lucy Parsons leads hunger march in Chicago; IWW songwriter Ralph Chaplin wrote "Solidarity Forever" for the march - 1915
 
President John F. Kennedy signs Executive Order 10988, guaranteeing federal workers the right to join unions and bargain collectively - 1962

January 17, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 16

The United States Civil Service Commission was established as the Pendleton Act went into effect - 1883

 
Thousands of Palmer Raids detainees win right to meet with lawyers and attorney representation at deportation hearings. "Palmer" was Alexander Mitchell Palmer, U.S. attorney general under Woodrow Wilson. Palmer believed Communism was "eating its way into the homes of the American workman," and Socialists were causing most of the country's social problems - 1920
 
Former UAW President Leonard Woodcock dies in Ann Arbor, Mich., at age 89. He had succeeded Walter Reuther and led the union from 1970 to 1977 - 2001

January 17, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 15

Wobbly Ralph Chaplin, in Chicago for a demonstration against hunger, completes the writing of the labor anthem “Solidarity Forever” on this date in 1915. He’d begun writing it in 1914 during a miners’ strike in Huntington, W. Va. The first verse:
When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong! – 1915

Seventeen workers in the area die when a large molasses storage tank in Boston’s North End neighborhood bursts, sending a 40-foot wave of molasses surging through the streets at an estimated 35 miles per hour.  In all, 21 people died and 150 were injured.  The incident is variously known as the Boston Molasses Disaster, the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy.  Some residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses - 1919
 

January 14, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 14

Clinton-era OSHA issues confined spaces standard to prevent more than 50 deaths and 5,000 serious injuries annually for workers who enter confined spaces - 1993
 
Pennsylvania Superior Court rules bosses can fire workers for being gay - 1995
 

Some 14,000 General Electric employees strike for two days to protest the company's mid-contract decision to shift an average of $400 in additional health care co-payments onto each worker – 2003

A 15-month lockout by the Minnesota Orchestra against members of the Twin Cities Musicians' Union, Local 30-73 ends when the musicians agree to a 15 percent pay cut (management wanted up to 40 percent) and increased health care cost sharing. They did win a revenue-sharing deal based on performance of the Orchestra's endowments. It was the nation's longest-running contract dispute for a concert orchestra - 2014
 

January 12, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 12

Novelist Jack London is born. His classic definition of a scab—someone who would cross a picket line and take a striker's job: "After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles" - 1876

January 11, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 11


The IWW-organized “Bread & Roses” textile strike of 32,000 women and children begins in Lawrence, Mass. It lasted 10 weeks and ended in victory. The first millworkers to walk out were Polish women, who, upon collecting their pay, exclaimed that they had been cheated and promptly abandoned their looms - 1912

(Notice in the Minneapolis Labor Review) “Minneapolis Ice Wagon Drivers’ Union will hold an exceptionally interesting meeting Sunday, at 16 South 5th St.  A Jazz Band, dancing, boxing and good speaking are among the attractions.” - 1918