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December 10, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 10

First sit-down strike in U.S. called by IWW at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. - 1906
(No Contract, No Peace: A Legal Guide to Contract Campaigns, Strikes, and Lockouts is a must-have for any union or activist considering aggressive action to combat management’s growing economic war against workers. No Contract, No Peace! updates information contained in the first edition, entitled Strikes, Picketing and Inside Campaigns, to include reference to recent union activities and NLRB decisions that have affected the labor relations environment. Schwartz’s familiarity with labor and employment law combines with his activist spirit to provide innovative yet practical tips for mounting and maintaining meaningful campaigns designed to build union and workers’ power.)
 

December 9, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 9

December 09
Ratification of a new labor agreement at Titan Tire of Natchez, Miss., ends the longest strike in the history of the U.S. tire industry, which began May 1, 1998, at the company's Des Moines, Iowa, plant - 2001

December 8, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 8

Twenty-five unions found the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in Columbus, Ohio; Cigarmaker’s union leader Samuel Gompers is elected president. The AFL’s founding document’s preamble reads: “A struggle is going on in all of the civilized world between oppressors and oppressed of all countries, between capitalist and laborer...” - 1886

December 7, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 7

Heywood Broun born in New York City. Journalist, columnist and co-founder, in 1933, of The Newspaper Guild - 1888
 
Steam boiler operators from 11 cities across the country meet in Chicago to form the National Union of Steam Engineers of America, the forerunner to the Int’l Union of Operating Engineers. Each of the men represented a local union of 40 members or fewer - 1896
 

December 6, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 6

African-American delegates meet in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union as a branch of the all-White National Labor Union created three years earlier. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU's founding president; Frederick Douglass became president in 1872 - 1869
 

December 5, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 5

Unionists John T. and James B. McNamara are sentenced to 15 years and life, respectively, after confessing to dynamiting the Los Angeles Times building during a drive to unionize the metal trades in the city.  They placed the bomb in an alley next to the building, set to detonate when they thought the building would be empty; it went off early, and an unanticipated gas explosion and fire did the real damage, killing twenty people. The newspaper was strongly conservative and anti-union - 1911
 
Ending a 20-year split, the two largest labor federations in the U.S. merge to form the AFL-CIO, with a membership estimated at 15 million - 1955

December 4, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 4

President Roosevelt announces the end of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), concluding the four-year run of one of the American government's most ambitious public works programs. It helped create jobs for roughly 8.5 million people during the Great Depression and left a legacy of highways and public buildings, among other public gains - 1943

December 3, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 3

Textile strikers win 10-hour day, Fall River, Mass. - 1866
 
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes an ordinance setting an 8-hour workday for all city employees - 1867
 
IWW union Brotherhood of Timber Workers organized - 1910

December 2, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 2

A Chicago "slugger," paid $50 by labor unions for every scab he "discouraged," described his job in an interview: "Oh, there ain't nothing to it. I gets my fifty, then I goes out and finds the guy they wanna have slugged, then I gives it to ‘im" - 1911

December 1, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - December 1

The Ford Motor Co. introduces the continuous moving assembly line which can produce a complete car every two-and-a-half minutes - 1913
 
Kellogg cereal adopts 6-hour day - 1930
 

December 1, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 29

Clerks, teamsters and building service workers at Boston Stores in Milwaukee strike at the beginning of the Christmas rush. The strike won widespread support—at one point 10,000 pickets jammed the sidewalks around the main store—but ultimately was lost. Workers returned to the job in mid-January with a small pay raise and no union recognition - 1934

December 1, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 28

William Sylvis, founder of the National Labor Union, born - 1828
 
National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, precursor to IBEW, founded - 1891

December 1, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 27

Some 1,200 workers sit down at Midland Steel, forcing recognition of the United Auto Workers, Detroit - 1936
 
The pro-labor musical revue, “Pins & Needles,” opens on Broadway with a cast of Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union members. The show ran on Friday and Saturday nights only, because of the cast’s regular jobs. It ran for 1,108 performances before closing - 1937

November 26, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 26

 


Six young women burn to death and 19 more die when they leap from the fourth-story windows of a blazing factory in Newark, N.J. The floors and stairs were wooden; the only door through which the women could flee was locked - 1910
 

November 25, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 25

Some 10,000 New Orleans workers, Black and White, participate in a solidarity parade of unions comprising the Central Trades and Labor Assembly. The parade was so successful it was repeated the following two years - 1883
 
Teachers strike in St. Paul, Minn., the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers—and principals—led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated - 1946

November 24, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 24

Led by Samuel Gompers, who would later found the American Federation of Labor, Cigarmakers’ Int’l Union Local 144 is chartered in New York City - 1875

November 23, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 23

History’s first recorded (on papyrus) strike, by Egyptians working on public works projects for King Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings. They were protesting having gone 20 days without pay—portions of grain—and put down their tools. Exact date estimated, described as within “the sixth month of the 29th year” of Ramses’ reign—1170BC—in The Spirit of Ancient Egypt, by Ana Ruiz. Scholar John Romer adds inAncient Lives: The Story of the Pharaoh’s Tombmakers that the strike so terrified the authorities they gave in and raised wages. Romer believes it happened a few years later, on Nov. 14, 1152 B.C.

November 22, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 22


“The Uprising of the 20,000.” Some 20,000 female garment workers are on strike in New York; Judge tells arrested pickets: “You are on strike against God.” The walkout, believed to be the first major successful strike by female workers in American history, ended the following February with union contracts bringing better pay and working conditions – 1909

November 22, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 21

A fire at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas kills 85 hotel employees and guests and sends 650 injured persons, including 14 firefighters, to the hospital. Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by smoke inhalation - 1980
 
Flight attendants celebrate the signing into law a smoking ban on all U.S. domestic flights - 1989
 
Congress approves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to take effect Jan. 1 of the following year - 1993

November 22, 2017

THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY - November 20

First use of term “scab,” by Albany Typographical Society - 1816

November 12, 2017

This Week in Labor History - November 12

Ellis Island in New York closes after serving as the gateway for 12 million immigrants from 1892 to 1924. From 1924 to 1954 it was mostly used as a detention and deportation center for undocumented immigrants - 1954
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Are immigrant workers themselves responsible for low wages and shoddy working conditions? Should unions expend valuable time and energy organizing undocumented workers? Unions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken various approaches to confront the challenges of this significant segment of the workforce. As U.S. immigration policy is debated, readers will gain insight into how all workers benefit when wages and working conditions for immigrant workers are improved.)
 
“Chainsaw Al” Dunlap announces he is restructuring the Sunbeam Corp. and lays off 6,000 workers—half the workforce. Sunbeam later nearly collapsed after a series of scandals under Dunlap’s leadership that cost investors billions of dollars - 1996

November 11, 2017

This Week in Labor History - November 11

Haymarket martyrs hanged, convicted in the bombing deaths of eight police during a Chicago labor rally - 1887
 
A confrontation between American Legionnaires and Wobblies during an Armistice Day Parade in Centralia, Wash., results in six deaths. One Wobbly reportedly was beaten, his teeth bashed in with a rifle butt, castrated and hanged: local officials listed his death as a suicide - 1919
 
A total of 57 crewmen on three freighters die over a 3-day period when their ships sink during a huge storm over Lake Michigan - 1940

November 10, 2017

This Week in Labor History - November 10

Sit-down strike begins at Austin, Minn., Hormel plant with the help of a Wobbly organizer, leading to the creation of the Independent Union of All Workers. Labor historians believe this may have been the first sit-down strike of the 1930s. Workers held the plant for three days, demanding a wage increase. Some 400 men crashed through the plant entrance and chased out nonunion workers. One group rushed through the doors of a conference room where Jay Hormel and five company executives were meeting and declared: “We’re taking possession. So move out.” Within four days the company agreed to binding arbitration - 1933

November 9, 2017

This Week in Labor History - November 9

Twenty people, including at least nine firefighters, are killed in Boston’s worst fire. It consumed 65 downtown acres and 776 buildings over 12 hours – 1872

Creation of Committee for Industrial Organization announced by eight unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (in 1938 they formally break with the AFL and become the Congress of Industrial Organizations). The eight want more focus on organizing mass production industry workers - 1935