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Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017

December 04 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 - 1943UAW President Walter Reuther elected president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations - 1952 Cesar Chavez jailed for 20 days for refusing to end United Farm Workers' grape boycott - 1970 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017December 05 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 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017 AFL-CIO President John Sweeney welcomes the collapse of World Trade Organization talks in Seattle, declaring, "No deal is better than a bad deal." - 1999 The U.S. Department of Labor reports employers slashed 533,000 jobs the month before—the most in 34 years—as the Great Recession surged. The unemployment rolls had risen for seven months before that and were to continue to soar for another 10 months before topping 10 percent and beginning to level off late the following year - 2008 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017December 06 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 The Washington Monument is completed in Washington, D.C. On the interior of the monument are 193 commemorative stones, donated by numerous governments and organizations from all over the world; one of them is from the Int’l Typographical Union, founded in 1852.  In 1986 the ITU merged into the Communications Workers of America - 1884 A total of 361 coal miners die at Monongah, W.Va., in nation's worst mining disaster - 1907 Int’l Glove Workers Union of America merges into Amalgamated Clothing Workers - 1961 United Mine Workers begin what is to become a 110-day national coal strike - 1997 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017 December 07 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 More than 1,600 protesters staged a national hunger march on Washington, D.C., to present demands for unemployment insurance - 1931 United Hatters, Cap & Millinery Workers Int’l Union merges into Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union - 1982 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017 Delegates to the founding convention of the National Nurses United (NNU) in Phoenix, Ariz., unanimously endorse the creation of the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in U.S. history. The 150,000-member union is the product of a merger of three groups - 2009 December 08 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 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017(There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America: This thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s to organized labor’s decline in the 1980s and struggle for survival and growth today. Illustrated with dozens of photos, posters and more.) 114-day newspaper strike begins, New York City - 1962 President Bill Clinton signs The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - 1993 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017Nearly 230 jailed teachers—about one-fourth of the 1,000-member Middletown Township, N.J., staff—are ordered freed after they and their colleagues agree to end a 9-day strike and go into mediation with the local school board - 2001 Faced with a national unemployment rate of 10 percent, President Barack Obama outlines new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals, saying the country must continue to "spend our way out of this recession" until more Americans are back at work. Joblessness had soared 6 percent in the final two years of George W. Bush’s presidency - 2009 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017December 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 10 First sit-down strike in U.S. called by IWW at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. - 1906 Today in labor history for the week of December 4, 2017 (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.) Int’l Human Rights Day, commemorating the signing at the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, in part: “Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” - 1948 American Federation of Teachers Local 89 in Atlanta, Georgia, disaffiliates from the national union because of an AFT directive that all its locals integrate. A year later, the AFT expelled all locals that refused to do so - 1956 —Compiled and edited by David Prosten

About Today In Labor History

The NHLN has joined with multiple other websites to help highlight some of the struggles that workers have faced throughout our history. We want everyone to know what the workers of the past had to endure for the rights we take for granted now. If you do not learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it.
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