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January 10, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 10

In what is described as the worst industrial disaster in state history, the Pemberton Mill in Lawrence, Mass., collapses, trapping 900 workers, mostly Irish women. More than 100 die, scores more injured in the collapse and ensuing fire. Too much machinery had been crammed into the building - 1860
 

January 9, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 9

A Mediation Commission appointed by President Woodrow Wilson finds that "industry’s failure to deal with unions" is the prime reason for labor strife in war industries - 1918
 
Eighty thousand Chicago construction workers strike - 1922
 

January 8, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 8

The largest slave revolt in U.S. history begins on Louisiana sugar plantations.  Slaves armed with hand tools marched toward New Orleans, setting plantations and crops on fire, building their numbers to an estimated 300-500 as they went.  The uprising lasted for two days before being brutally suppressed by the military - 1811

January 7, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 7

An explosion at Osage Coal and Mining Company’s Mine Number 11 near Krebs, Okla., kills 100, injures 150 when an untrained worker accidentally sets off a stash of explosives - 1892
 
Wobbly Tom Mooney, accused of a murder by bombing in San Francisco, pardoned and freed after 22 years in San Quentin - 1939
 

January 5, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 6

 

The Toronto Trades and Labour Council endorses the principle of equal pay for equal work between men and women - 1882
 
Eight thousand workers strike at Youngstown Sheet & Tube. The following day the strikers’ wives and other family members join in the protest. Company guards use tear gas bombs and fire into the crowd; three strikers are killed, 25 wounded - 1916

January 5, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 5


The nation’s first labor convention of Black workers was held in Washington, D.C., with 214 delegates forming the Colored National Labor Union - 1869
 
Ford Motor Company raises wages from $2.40 for a 9-hour day to $5 for an 8-hour day in effort to keep the unions out - 1914
 
Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins. Ten of the 11 deaths on the job came when safety netting beneath the site—the first-ever use of such equipment—failed under the stress of a scaffold that had fallen. Nineteen other workers were saved by the net over the course of construction. They became members of the (informal) Halfway to Hell Club - 1933

January 5, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 4

 

Angered by increasing farm foreclosures, members of Iowa's Farmers Holiday Association threaten to lynch banking representatives and law officials who institute foreclosure proceedings for the duration of the Great Depression - 1933
 
What many believe to be the longest strike in modern history, by Danish barbers’ assistants, ends after 33 years - 1961
 
Eight thousand New York City social workers strike, demand better conditions for welfare recipients - 1965
 
United Paperworkers Int’l Union merges with Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Int’l Union to form Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers Int’l Union, itself later to merge with the Steelworkers - 1999

January 5, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 3


The ship Thetis arrives in Hawaii with 175 Chinese field workers bound to serve for five years at $3 per month - 1852
 
Wobbly Tom Mooney tried in San Francisco for Preparedness Day bombing - 1917
 
In a familiar scene during the Great Depression, some 500 farmers, Black and White, their crops ruined by a long drought, march into downtown England, Ark., to demand food for their starving families, warning they would take it by force if necessary. Town fathers frantically contacted the Red Cross; each family went home with two weeks’ rations - 1931 
 
The Supreme Court rules against the closed shop, a labor-management agreement that only union members can be hired and must remain members to continue on the job - 1949
 
AFL-CIO American Institute for Free Labor Development employees Mike Hammer and Mark Pearlman are assassinated in El Salvador along with a Peasant Workers’ Union leader with whom they were working on a land reform program - 1981

January 5, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 2

Conference of 23 industrial unionists in Chicago leads to formation of IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as Wobblies - 1905
 
In what became known as Palmer Raids, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer arrests 4,000 foreign-born labor activists. He 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
 
An underground explosion at Sago Mine in Tallmansville, W. Va., traps 12 miners and cuts power to the mine. Eleven men die, mostly by asphyxiation. The mine had been cited 273 times for safety violations over the prior 23 months - 2006
 

January 5, 2018

This week in Labor History - January 1

Emancipation Proclamation signed - 1863

Women weavers form union, Fall River, Mass. - 1875
 
John L. Lewis is elected president of the United Mine Workers. Fifteen years later he is to be a leader in the formation of what was to become the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) - 1920
 

December 24, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 24

Seventy-two copper miners’ children die in panic caused by a company stooge at Calumet, Mich., who shouted “fire” up the stairs into a crowded hall where the children had gathered.  They were crushed against closed doors when they tried to flee - 1913

December 23, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 23

AFL officers are found in contempt of court for urging a labor boycott of Buck's Stove and Range Co. in St Louis, where the Metal Polishers were striking for a 9-hour day - 1908
 
Construction workers top out the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 1,368 feet, making it the tallest building in the world - 1970

December 22, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 22

A group of building trades unions from the Midwest meet in St. Louis to form the National Building Trades Council. The Council disbanded after several years of political and jurisdictional differences - 1897
 

December 21, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 21

Powered by children seven to 12 years old working dawn to dusk, Samuel Slater’s thread-spinning factory goes into production in Pawtucket, R.I., launching the Industrial Revolution in America. By 1830, 55 percent of the mill workers in the state were youngsters, many working for less than $1 per week - 1790
 
Supreme Court rules that picketing is unconstitutional. Chief Justice (and former president) William Howard Taft declared that picketing was, in part, "an unlawful annoyance and hurtful nuisance..." - 1921

December 20, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 20

Delegates to the AFL convention in Salt Lake City endorse a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote - 1899
 
The first group of 15 Filipino plantation workers recruited by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association arrive in Hawaii. By 1932 more than 100,000 Filipinos will be working in the fields - 1906
 
Thousands of workers began what was to be a 2-day strike of the New York City transit system over retirement, pension and wage issues. The strike violated the state’s Taylor Law; TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint was jailed for ten days and the union was fined $2.5 million - 2005
 

December 19, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 19

An explosion in the Darr Mine in Westmoreland Co., Pa., kills 239 coal miners. Seventy-one of the dead share a common grave in Olive Branch Cemetery. December 1907 was the worst month in U.S. coal mining history, with more than 3,000 dead - 1907

December 18, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 18

General Motors announces it is closing 21 North American plants over the following four years and slashing tens of thousands of jobs - 1991

December 17, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 17

Int’l Union of Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers merges with United Steelworkers of America - 1996

December 16, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 16

The National Civic Federation is formed by business and labor leaders, most prominently AFL president Sam Gompers, as a vehicle to resolve conflicts between management and labor. Not all unionists agreed with the alliance. The group turned increasingly conservative and labor withdrew after Gompers’ 1924 death - 1900
 

December 15, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 15

AFL convention passes a 1¢ per capita assessment to aid the organization of women workers (Exact date uncertain) - 1913
 

The Kansas National Guard is called out to subdue from 2,000 to 6,000 protesting women who were going from mine to mine attacking non-striking miners in the Pittsburg coal fields. The women made headlines across the state and the nation: they were christened the "Amazon Army" by the New York Times - 1921
 
Eight days after the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, the AFL pledges that there will be no strikes in defense-related plants for the duration of World War II - 1941
 
Meeting in its biennial convention, the AFL-CIO declares “unstinting support” for “measures the Administration might deem necessary to halt Communist aggression and secure a just and lasting peace” in Vietnam - 1967

December 14, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 14

Some 33,000 striking members of the Machinists end a 69-day walkout at Boeing after winning pay and benefit increases and protections against subcontracting some of their work overseas - 1995

December 13, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 13

Death in San Antonio, Texas, of Samuel Gompers, president and founder of the American Federation of Labor - 1924

December 12, 2017

This Week in Labor History - Dec. 12


A U.S. immigration sweep of six Swift meat plants results in arrests of nearly 1,300 undocumented workers - 2006

December 11, 2017

This week in Labor History - Dec. 11

A small group of Black farmers organize the Colored Farmers’ National Alliance and Cooperative Union in Houston County, Texas. They had been barred from membership in the all-White Southern Farmers’ Alliance. Through intensive organizing, along with merging with another Black farmers group, the renamed Colored Alliance by 1891 claimed a membership of 1.2 million - 1886
 
Ten days after an Illinois State mine inspector approved coal dust removal techniques at New Orient mine in West Frankfort, the mine exploded, largely because of coal dust accumulations, killing 119 workers - 1951