Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016

October 17
A huge vat ruptures at a London brewery, setting off a domino effect of similar ruptures, and what was to become known as The London Beer Flood.  Nearly 1.5 million liters of beer gushed into the streets drowning or otherwise causing the deaths of eight people, mostly poor people living in nearby basements – 1814

Labor activist Warren Billings is released from California’s Folsom Prison. Along with Thomas J. Mooney, Billings had been pardoned for a 1916 conviction stemming from a bomb explosion during a San Francisco Preparedness Day parade. He had always maintained his innocence – 1939

“Salt of the Earth” strike begins by the mostly Mexican-American members of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union Local 890 in Bayard, N.M. Strikers’ wives walked picket lines for seven months when their husbands were enjoined during the 14-month strike against the New Jersey Zinc Co. A great movie, see it! – 1950

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
(Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films About Labor: This wonderful book is an encyclopedic guide to 350 labor films from around the world, ranging from those you’ve heard of—Salt of the Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, Roger & Me—to those you’ve never heard of but will fall in love with once you see them.)

Twelve New York City firefighters die fighting a blaze in midtown Manhattan – 1966

Int’l Printing Pressmen’s & Assistants’ Union of North America merges with Int’l Stereotypers’, Electrotypers’ & Platemakers’ Union to become Printing & Graphic Communications Union – 1973

Industrial Union of Marine & Shipbuilding Workers of America merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1988

October 18
The “Shoemakers of Boston”—the first labor organization in what would later become the United States—was authorized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony – 1648

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016New York City agrees to pay women school teachers a rate equal to that of men – 1911

IWW Colorado Mine strike; first time all coal fields are out – 1927

Some 58,000 Chrysler Corp. workers strike for wage increases – 1939

The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) was formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO’s Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979 to form the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) – 1943

GM agrees to hire more women and minorities for five years as part of a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – 1983

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism: 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.)

October 19
The National Association of Letter Carriers achieves equalization of wages for all letter carriers, meaning Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016city delivery carriers began receiving the same wages regardless of the size of the community in which they worked – 1949

The J.P. Stevens textile company is forced to sign its first union contract after a 17-year struggle in North Carolina and other southern states – 1980

October 20
Eugene V. Debs, U.S. labor leader and socialist, dies in Elmhurst, Ill. Among his radical ideas: an 8-hour workday, pensions, workman’s compensation, sick leave and social security. He ran for president from a jail cell in 1920 and got a million votes – 1926

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest.  A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies.  A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)

Hollywood came under scrutiny as the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) opened hearings into alleged Communist influence within the motion picture industry. Dozens of union members were among those blacklisted as a result of HUAC’s activities – 1947

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan writes to PATCO President Robert Poli with this promise: if the union endorses Reagan, “I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.” He got the endorsement. Nine months after the election, he fires the air traffic controllers for engaging in an illegal walkout over staffing levels and working conditions – 1980
Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
Death of Merle Travis, songwriter and performer who wrote “Sixteen Tons” and “Dark as a Dungeon” – 1983

Two track workers are killed in a (San Francisco) Bay Area Rapid Transit train accident.  Federal investigators said the train was run by a BART employee who was being trained as an operator as members of the Amalgamated Transit Union were participating in what was to be a four-day strike – 2013

October 21
Wisconsin dairy farmers begin their third strike of the year in an attempt to raise the price of milk paid to producers during the Great Depression.  Several creameries were bombed before the strike ended a month later. The economy eventually improved, allowing the farmers to make more money – 1933

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016October 22
Bank robber Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd is killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio. He was a hero to the people of Oklahoma who saw him as a “Sagebrush Robin Hood,” stealing from banks and sharing some of the proceeds with the poor – 1934

October 23
President Theodore Roosevelt establishes a fact-finding commission that suspends a nine-months-long strike by Western Pennsylvania coal miners fighting for better pay, shorter workdays and union recognition.  The strikers ended up winning more pay for fewer hours, but failed to get union recognition.   It was the first time that the federal government had intervened as a neutral arbitrator in a labor dispute – 1902
Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
Explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Texas, kills 23 and injures 314 – 1989

Postal workers Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris die nearly a month after having inhaled anthrax at the Brentwood mail sorting center in Washington, D.C.  Other postal workers had been made ill but survived. Letters containing the deadly spores had been addressed to U.S. Senate offices and media outlets – 2001

Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016

This Week in Labor History October 10 Six days into a cotton field strike by 18,000 Mexican and Mexican-American workers in Pixley, Calif., four strikers are killed and six wounded; eight growers were indicted and charged with murder - 1933 October 11 The Miners’ National Association is formed in Youngstown, Ohio, with the goal of uniting all miners, regardless of skill or ethnic background - 1873 Nearly 1,500 plantation workers strike Olaa Sugar, on Hawaii’s Big Island - 1948 October 12 Company guards kill at least eight miners who are attempting to stop scabs, Virden, Ill. Six guards are Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016also killed, and 30 persons wounded - 1898 Fourteen miners killed, 22 wounded at Pana, Ill. - 1902 Some 2,000 workers demanding union recognition close down dress manufacturing, Los Angeles - 1933 More than one million Canadian workers demonstrate against wage controls - 1976 October 13 American Federation of Labor votes to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016antagonism to organized labor within Germany - 1934 More than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases - 1985 National Basketball Association cancels regular season games for the first time in its 51-year history, during a player lockout.  Player salaries and pay caps are the primary issue.  The lockout lasts 204 days - 1998 Hundreds of San Jose Mercury News newspaper carriers end 4-day walkout with victory - 2000 October 14 Int’l Working People's Association founded in Pittsburgh, Pa. - 1883 Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016The Seafarers Int’l Union (SIU) is founded as an AFL alternative to what was then the CIO’s National Maritime Union.  SIU is an umbrella organization of 12 autonomous unions of mariners, fishermen and boatmen working on U.S.-flagged vessels - 1938 Formal construction began today on what is expected to be a five-year, $3.9 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.  It's estimated the project would be employing 8,000 building trades workers over the span of the job - 2013 October 15Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016 President Woodrow Wilson signs the Clayton Antitrust Act—often referred to as "Labor’s Magna Carta"—establishing that unions are not "conspiracies" under the law. It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law - 1914 Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016October 16 Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, is beheaded during the French Revolution.   When alerted that the peasants were suffering due to widespread bread shortages, lore has it that she replied, “Let them eat cake.”  In fact she never said that, but workers were, justifiably, ready to believe anything bad about their cold-hearted royalty - 1793 Abolitionist John Brown leads 18 men, including five free blacks, in an attack on the Harper's Ferry ammunition depot, the beginning of guerilla warfare against slavery - 1859
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

NH Building and Construction Trades Endorse Senator Watters

Image from 2014 of Senator David Watters (D-Dover)

Image from 2014 of Senator David Watters (D-Dover)

Today New Hampshire Building and Construction Trades President Steve Burk announced the labor federation’s endorsement of Senator David Watters. Senator Watters is currently the only card-carrying member of a union in the New Hampshire State Senate, and stands to be the senior member of the important Senate Transportation Committee, if reelected.

“The New Hampshire Building and Construction Trades Council is proud to endorse David Watters in his race for State Senate,” said President Burk. “David is a tireless advocate for working men and women, and New Hampshire’s working families are better off with David in the Senate. David supports raising wages for New Hampshire workers, ensuring all workers have access to health insurance and pensions, and making sure New Hampshire taxpayer dollars stay in the local economy and in the pockets of local workers. David has demonstrated his dedication to working men and women countless times in the Senate, and Granite State workers have no greater ally in the legislature. We look forward to working with David to pass a Prevailing Wage law – a bill David has sponsored in previous sessions – to protect New Hampshire construction workers and taxpayers, and to working together to grow our economy and create more good local jobs.”

The New Hampshire Building Trades is an organization of 16 New Hampshire labor unions, representing more than 2,000 New Hampshire workers in the construction industry.

“I am delighted for the support of my sisters and brothers in the Building and Construction Trades,” said Senator Watters. “Every worker deserves a safe worksite, a stable paycheck, and a secure retirement. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle next session to build bridges. Keeping our skilled workers busy will continue to be one of my top priorities next session.”

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016

October 03
The state militia is called in after 164 high school students in Kincaid, Ill., go on strike when the school board buys coal from the scab Peabody Coal Co. – 1932

The Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America is founded in Camden, N.J. It eventually merged with the Int’l Association of Machinists, in 1988 – 1933

Pacific Greyhound Lines bus drivers in seven western states begin what is to become a 3-week strike, eventually settling for a 10.5-percent raise – 1945

The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) is formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO’s Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which in turn merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979, forming the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) – 1943
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
The United Auto Workers calls for a company-wide strike against Ford Motor Co., the first since Ford’s initial contract with the union 20 years earlier – 1961

Folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie (“This Land is Your Land”, “Union Maid” and hundreds of others) dies of Huntington’s disease in New York at the age of 55 – 1967

Baseball umpires strike for recognition of their newly-formed Major League Umpires Association, win after one day – 1970

October 04
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016Work begins on the carving of Mt. Rushmore, a task 400 craftsmen would eventually complete in 1941.  Despite the dangerous nature of the project, not one worker died – 1927

President Truman orders the U.S. Navy to seize oil refineries, breaking a 20-state post-war strike – 1945

The United Mine Workers of America votes to re-affiliate with the AFL-CIO after years of on-and-off conflict with the federation. In 2009 the union’s leader, Richard Trumka, becomes AFL-CIO President – 1961

Distillery, Wine & Allied Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union – 1995 

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016October 05
A strike by set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Calif., when scabs try to cross the picket line. The incident is still identified as “Hollywood Black Friday” and “The Battle of Burbank” – 1945

The UAW ends a 3-week strike against Ford Motor Co. when the company agrees to a contract that includes more vacation days and better retirement and unemployment benefits – 1976

Polish Solidarity union founder Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize – 1983

Some 2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, win a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years – 2004
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism: 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.)

October 06
First National Conference of Trade Union Women – 1918

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016The first “talkie” movie, The Jazz Singer, premiers in New York City.  Within three years, according to the American Federation of Musicians, theater jobs for some 22,000 musicians who accompanied silent movies were lost, while only a few hundred jobs for musicians performing on soundtracks were created by the new technology – 1927

Some 1,700 female flight attendants win 18-year, $37 million suit against United Airlines. They had been fired for getting married – 1986

Thirty-two thousand machinists begin what is to be a successful 69-day strike against the Boeing Co. The eventual settlement brought improvements that averaged an estimated $19,200 in wages and benefits over four years and safeguards against job cutbacks – 1995

October 07
Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, born in Gavle, Sweden – 1879

The Structural Building Trades Alliance (SBTA) is founded, becomes the AFL’s Building Trades Dept. five years later. SBTA’s mission: to provide a form to work out jurisdictional conflicts – 1903
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
(Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits follows the history of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO from the emergence of building trades councils in the age of the skyscraper. It takes the reader through treacherous fights over jurisdiction as new building materials and methods of work evolved; and describes numerous Department campaigns to improve safety standards, work with contractors to promote unionized construction, and forge a sense of industrial unity among its autonomous and highly diverse affiliates.)

Hollywood’s “Battle of the Mirrors.” Picketing members of the Conference of Studio Unions disrupted an outdoor shoot by holding up large reflectors that filled camera lenses with blinding sunlight. Members of the competing IATSE union retaliated by using the reflectors to shoot sunlight back across the street. The battle went on all day, writes Tom Sito in Drawing the Line – 1946

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016October 08
Thirty of the city’s 185 firefighters are injured battling the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for three days – 1871

Structural Building Trades Alliance organizes in Indianapolis with goal of eliminating jurisdictional strikes that were seriously disrupting the industry and shoring up the power of international unions over local building trades councils. Conflicts between large and small unions doomed the group and it disbanded six years later – 1902

In Poland, the union Solidarity and all other labor organizations are banned by the government – 1982

Upholsterers’ Int’l Union of North America merges with United Steelworkers of America – 1985

October 09Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
United Hebrew Trades is organized in New York by shirt maker Morris Hillquit and others. Hillquit would later would become leader of the Socialist Party – 1888

Retail stock brokerage Smith Barney reaches a tentative sexual harassment settlement with a group of female employees. The suit charged, among other things, that branch managers asked female workers to remove their tops in exchange for money and one office featured a “boom boom room” where women workers were encouraged to “entertain clients.” The settlement was never finalized: a U.S. District Court judge refused to approve the deal because it failed to adequately redress the plaintiff’s grievances – 1997

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016

September 26 The Old 97, a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail, derails near Danville, Va., killing engineer Joseph “Steve” Broady and ten other railroad and postal workers.  Many believe Broady had been ordered to speed to make up for lost time.  The Wreck of the Old 97 inspired balladeers; a 1924 recording is sometimes cited as the first million-selling country music record - 1903 The first production Ford Model T leaves the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Mich. It was the first car ever manufactured on an assembly line, with interchangeable parts. The auto industry was to become a major U.S. employer, accounting for as many as one of every eight to 10 jobs in the country - 1908 September 27 Striking textile workers in Fall River, Mass., demand bread for their starving children - 1875 The Int’l Typographical Union renews a strike against the Los Angeles Times; a boycott runs intermittently from 1896 to 1908. A local anti-Times committee in 1903 persuades William Randolph Hearst to start a rival paper, the Los Angeles Examiner. Although the ITU kept up the fight into the 1920s, the Times remained totally nonunion until 2009, when the GCIU—now the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters—organized the pressroom – 1893 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 Int’l Ladies' Garment Workers Union begins strike against Triangle Shirtwaist Co. This would become the "Uprising of the 20,000," resulting in 339 of 352 struck firms—but not Triangle—signing agreements with the union. The Triangle fire that killed 246 would occur less than two years later - 1909 Twenty-nine west coast ports lock out 10,500 workers in response to what management says is a worker slowdown in the midst of negotiations on a new contract. The ports are closed for 10 days, reopen when President George W. Bush invokes the Taft-Hartley Act - 2002 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016September 28 The International Workingmen’s Association is founded in London.  It was an international organization trying to unite a variety of different left-wing, socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and unions. It functioned for about 12 years, growing to a membership declared to be eight million, before being disbanded at its Philadelphia conference in 1876, victim of infighting brought on by the wide variety of members’ philosophies - 1864 September 29Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 A report by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the average weekly take-home pay of a factory worker with three dependents is now $94.87 - 1962 September 30 A total of 29 strike leaders are charged with treason—plotting "to incite insurrection, rebellion & war against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"—for daring to strike the Carnegie Steel Co. in Homestead, Pa. Jurors refuse to convict them - 1892 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016Seventy-year-old Mother Jones organizes the wives of striking miners in Arnot, Pa., to descend on the mine with brooms, mops and clanging pots and pans.  They frighten away the mules and their scab drivers.  The miners eventually won their strike - 1899 Railroad shopmen in 28 cities strike the Illinois Central Railroad and the Harriman lines for an 8-hour day, improved conditions and union recognition, but railroad officials obtain sweeping injunctions against them and rely on police and armed guards to protect strikebreakers - 1915 Black farmers meet in Elaine, Ark., to establish the Progressive Farmers and Householders Union to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices.  They are shot at by a group of Whites, and return the fire.  News of the confrontation spread and a riot ensued, leaving at least 100, perhaps several hundred, Blacks dead and 67 indicted for inciting violence - 1919 Cesar Chavez, with Dolores Huerta, co-founds the National Farm Workers Association, which later was to become the United Farm Workers of America - 1962Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 (Farmworker’s Friend: The story of Cesar Chavez: A thoughtful and moving book about the inspiring life of American hero Cesar Chavez, co-founder, along with Dolores Huerta, and long-time leader of the United Farm Workers of America. This sympathetic portrayal of Chavez and his life’s work begins with his childhood, starting from the time his family’s store in Arizona failed during the Great Depression and his entire family was forced into the fields to harvest vegetables for a few cents an hour.) Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016October 01 An ink storage room in the L.A. Timesbuilding is dynamited during a citywide fight over labor rights and organizing.  The explosion was relatively minor, but it set off a fire in the unsafe, difficult-to-evacuate building, ultimately killing 21.  A union member eventually confessed to the bombing, which he said was supposed to have occurred early in the morning when the building would have been largely unoccupied – 1910 The George Washington Bridge officially opens, spanning the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. Thirteen workers died during the four-year construction project for what at the time was the longest main span in the world - 1931 Thousands of dairy farmers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa strike in demand of higher prices for their milk - 1935 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened as the first toll superhighway in the United States.  It was built in most part by workers hired through the state’s Re-Employment offices - 1940 United Transport Service Employees of America merges with Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees – 1972 Some 200 Pressmen begin what is to become a two-year strike at the Washington Post. Nine of the paper’s ten other unions engaged in sympathy strikes for more than four months but ultimately returned to their jobs as the paper continued publishing. The press operators picketed for 19 months but eventually decertified the union - 1975 Insurance Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union - 1983 Railroad Yardmasters of America merge with United Transportation Union - 1985 Pattern Makers League of North America merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers - 1991 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016The National Hockey League team owners began a lockout of the players that lasted 103 days - 1994 Stove, Furnace & Allied Appliance Workers Int’l Union of North America merges with Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, & Helpers - 1994 Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union merges with United Food and Commercial Workers Int’l Union - 1998 Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers merges with Communications Workers of America - 2000 October 02 American Federation of Labor officially endorses campaign for a 6-hour day, 5-day workweek - 1934 Joining with 400,000 coal miners already on strike, 500,000 CIO steel workers close down the nation’s foundries, steel and iron mills, demanding pensions and better wages and working conditions - 1949 Starbucks Workers Union baristas at an outlet in East Grand Rapids, Mich., organized by the Wobblies, win their grievances after the National Labor Relations Board cites the company for labor law violations, Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016including threats against union activists - 2007 (Grievance Guide, 13th edition: This easy-to-use handbook documents patterns in a wide range of commonly grieved areas including discharge and discipline, leaves of absence, promotions, strikes and lockouts, and more. The editors give a complete picture of the precedents and guidelines that arbitrators are using to address grievance cases today.) Union members, progressives and others rally in Washington D.C., under the Banner of One Nation Working Together, demand “good jobs, equal justice, and quality education for all.” Crowd estimates range from tens of thousands to 200,000 - 2010

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

Worker Wins Update: Groundbreaking Contract Victories in Multiple Industries

(Washington, DC, September, 2016) When working people come together and win the contracts, it proves that our raising wages agenda drives economic stability. Working people across the country are creating better lives for themselves and turning those workplace victories into political power. These latest worker wins show what the power of collective voice can achieve.

Here are some highlights:

Staff and Students Win After Lockout Ends: Teachers and students are back in class after the Long Island University Faculty Federation won an agreement that ended a 12-day faculty lockout. The American Federation of Teachers and its state affiliate, New York State United Teachers, fully supported the faculty efforts helping to secure a contract that runs through May 31, 2017.

Detroit Teachers Win Wage Increases in New Contract: The Detroit Federation of Teachers ratified a new contract with the Detroit Public Schools Community District. The agreement includes wage increases and the formation of a committee to address health safety needs of teachers. The agreement now goes before the Detroit Financial Review Commission for final approval.

Two Florida Newspapers Vote to Join NewsGuild CWA: Newsroom staff of the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Ledger of Lakeland have voted to unionize. More than 70 employees will benefit from the new contracts that are being negotiated with GateHouse Media, which owns both papers.

Masters, Mates & Pilots Members Unanimously Approve First Contract With New York Water Taxi: In a unanimous vote, captains and deckhands won a hard-fought campaign in support of collective bargaining and the principles of discussion and agreement in solving conflict. This new contract is viewed as an important step in making New York Harbor a 100 percent unionized waterfront once again.

Magna Seating Workers in Tennessee Overwhelmingly Vote for Union: By a nearly unanimous vote workers at Magna Seating International, a new facility in Spring Hill, Tenn. voted to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) International Union. The 230 workers build seats for the new Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia in a state of the art 122,500 square foot facility near the Spring Hill General Motors Manufacturing plant.

Workers at Nation’s Only Lipton Tea Factory Vote to Join UFCW: Nearly 200 workers at the Lipton plant in southeast Virginia voted to unionize with United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 400.Workers expressed optimism that this will improve conditions at the plant that has operated for more than 60 years and produces most of the tea sold in North America. 

Workers at Boulder Station Vote to Unionize Through NLRB Secret-Ballot Election: Workers at Boulder Station Casino & Hotel voted by a landslide of 67% to be represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165 through an NLRB secret-ballot election. More than 570 Boulder Station workers will be represented by the unions, which are affiliates of UNITE-HERE. It is the first of Station Casinos’ properties in Nevada to unionize.

More NBC Universal Workers Vote to Unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East: Writer-producers at Peacock Productions, the “reality”/nonfiction television production subsidiary of Comcast/NBCUniversal, voted decisively in favor of unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). The vote comes after a nearly four-year battle that began in October of 2012 when writer-producers at Peacock Productions filed for a union election with the NLRB.

Leo W Gerard: Dishonest Don

Donald Trump likes to brag on the campaign trail that he’s the best at bribing politicians. He said, for example, “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”  But then, when he got caught giving and getting exactly what the hell he wanted, he claimed that’s not what happened.

Not only that, Trump promises as president he would surround himself with the best advisers. The best! Just like he says he did as a businessman. And he claims he’s a great businessman. The greatest! Well, maybe he forgot about his four bankruptcies that left hundreds of small businessmen and craftsmen unpaid. And maybe he forgot about the fiasco surrounding his namesake foundation illegally giving a “donation” to an attorney general who then decided to drop a fraud investigation against him. The advisers in that case? Not exactly the best.

Much has been made lately about the Clinton Foundation. But Donny’s got one too. Unlike the Clinton Foundation, to which the Clintons gave $1 million last year, the Trump Foundation hasn’t seen a cent from Donny’s pocket since 2009.


Image by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Both foundations get lots of money from wealthy donors; the big difference is in how it’s spent. Among the Clinton Foundation focuses are providing access to HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB drugs in developing nations. Among the Trump Foundation programs are those providing gifts to Florida attorneys general considering whether to investigate allegations of fraud against Trump University.

Though the Trump Foundation gave this illegal “grant” back in 2013, the IRS was alerted to it only recently.

Like attorneys general in many states at that time, Florida’s Pam Bondi, a Republican, received numerous complaints that Trump University was a scam. Angry students who felt they got short shrift for their tens of thousands in “tuition” wanted Bondi to charge Trump and other university officials with fraud or at least help them get their money back.

Bondi’s spokesperson admitted to the Associated Press that Bondi personally asked Trump for a donation at the same time her office was deciding whether to join a lawsuit against Trump University proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general.

Bondi got a $25,000 check. And isn’t it funny how quickly after that she decided against joining the lawsuit against Trump?

That left the individual Floridians who felt cheated to pursue reimbursement on their own. By contrast, in New York, the attorney general went ahead with the suit, representing students in his state that he believes were fleeced by Trump University in a bait-and-switch scheme.

When reporters questioned Trump about the $25,000 gift, he denied Bondi talked to him about a contribution. “I never spoke to her about it at all,” he claimed at first. But later, his spokeswoman admitted Bondi asked Trump for the money.

Trump didn’t take the $25,000 out of his own wallet. He took it from the foundation.

And see, here’s the problem. Non-profit foundations are prohibited by the IRS from making political contributions. And lying to the IRS about it is worse.

Here is how Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization and treasurer for the Trump Foundation explained the bungling that led to the foundation paying a $2,500 fine to the IRS earlier this year.

First, Weisselberg claimed, a Trump clerk was asked to write a check for $25,000 to an organization called And Justice for All, which was Bondi’s political action committee.

Weisselberg swears that the clerk found a charity named And Justice for All in Utah, which helps people with disabilities, and wrote the check for And Justice for All intending it to go to a charity in Utah.

And then, he says, the check, somehow, he doesn’t know how, got sent to Bondi.

And that’s not all, folks!

Weisselberg blames the next blunder on Trump’s accounting firm. When the firm listed the foundation’s 2013 donations for the IRS, it didn’t list either And Justice for All from Utah or And Justice for All from Florida. Instead it listed an entirely different group, Justice for All from Kansas.

It was just a typo or something, Weisselberg claims.

So on the 2013 IRS form, first the Trump Foundation told the federal government that it had not spent money for political purposes, when, in fact, it had spent $25,000 for political purposes. Then it told the IRS it made a grant to a group it had not, in fact, given money to.

All this fumbling from what Donnie promises will be the very best advisers in the world. The greatest!

The IRS never would have discovered this on its own. Its staff has been decimated by Republican budget cutting. Republicans don’t want billionaires like Trump to get pinched for tax cheating. So they take care of that problem by eliminating the tax cops.

When they did, Donnie denied any of it was done on purpose. Now, don’t forget, Donnie’s the guy who keeps saying things like this on the campaign trail: “I’ve given to everybody because that is my job. I gotta give to them. Because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”

In Bondi’s case, though, Donnie denied she kissed his anything. He said they were just friends.

 “I’ve just known Pam Bondi for years,” he said. She was a great attorney general, so he sent her $25,000 when she asked for it while she was considering investigating his university and then he concealed the donation through his foundation and she dropped the investigation. Nothing to see here, folks!

Just like his tax returns. He keeps saying there’s nothing there. He claims he’s told Americans everything they need to know about his finances. But after this whole Bondi affair, it’s probably better to go with a new version of the old Reagan admonition when dealing with the Trump tax returns: distrust and verify by seeing the actual forms.

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016

September 12
Eugene V. Debs, labor leader and socialist, sentenced to 10 years for opposing World War I. While in jail Debs received one million votes for president – 1918

(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)

Jobless workers march on grocery stores and seize food in Toledo, Ohio – 1932

National Guardsmen fire on “sullen and rebellious” strikers at the Woonsocket (Rhode Island) Rayon plant, killing one and injuring three others.  A correspondent said the crowd of about 2,000 “went completely wild with rage.”  Word spread, 6,000 more workers arrived at the scene and the city was put under military rule.  The governor declared that “there is a Communist uprising and not a textile strike” in the state – 1934

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016United Rubber Workers formed in Akron, Ohio – 1935

A total of 49 people are killed, 200 injured, in explosion at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, N.J. – 1940

New York City’s Union Square, the site of the first Labor Day in 1882, is officially named a national historic landmark. The square has long been a focal point for working class protest and political expression – 1998

September 13Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
The Post Office Department orders 25,000 railway mail clerks to shoot to kill any bandits attempting to rob the mail – 1926

Eleven AFSCME-represented prison employees, 33 inmates die in four days of rioting at New York State’s Attica Prison and the retaking of the prison. The riot caused the nation to take a closer look at prison conditions, for inmates and their guards alike – 1971

September 14
The Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers union calls off an unsuccessful 3-month strike against U. S. Steel Corporation subsidiaries – 1901

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016Gastonia, N.C., textile mill striker and songwriter Ella May Wiggins, 29, a mother of five, is killed when local vigilantes and thugs force the pickup truck in which she is riding off the road and begin shooting – 1929

A striker is shot by a bog owner (and town-elected official) during a walkout by some 1,500 cranberry pickers, members of the newly-formed Cape Cod Cranberry Pickers Union Local 1. State police were called, more strikers were shot and 64 were arrested. The strike was lost – 1933

Congress passes the Landrum-Griffin Act. The law expands many of the anti-labor provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, increasing union reporting requirements and restricting secondary boycotting and picketing – 1959

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
(The Essential Guide To Federal Employment Laws, 4th edition: This is a well-indexed book, updated in 2013, offering the full text of 20 federal laws affecting workers’ lives, along with plain-English explanations of each. An entire chapter is devoted to each law, explaining what is allowed and prohibited and what businesses must comply with.)

September 15
Some 5,000 female cotton workers in and around Pittsburgh, Pa., strike for a 10-hour day. The next day, male trade unionists become the first male auxiliary when they gather to protect the women from police attacks. The strike ultimately failed – 1845

President Kennedy signs off on a $900 million public-works bill for projects in economically depressed areas – 1962

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016More than 350,000 members of the United Auto Workers begin what is to become a 69-day strike against General Motors – 1970

Int’l Association of Siderographers merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1992

September 16
More than 43,000 oil workers strike in 20 states, part of the post-war strike wave – 1945

A player lockout by the National Hockey League begins, leading to cancellation of what would have been the league’s 88th season. The lockout, over owner demands that salaries be capped, lasted 310 days – 2004

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee wins a signed contract with the Mount Olive Pickle Co. and growers, ending a 5-year boycott.  The agreement marked the first time an American labor union represented guest workers – 2004
Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
Richard Trumka is elected president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s convention in Pittsburgh.  He had served as the secretary-treasurer under predecessor John Sweeney from 1995 to 2009, and prior to that was president of the United Mine Workers for 13 years – 2009

September 17
Seventy-five workers die in explosion at Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburgh, Pa. – 1862

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016At a New York convention of the National Labor Congress, Susan B. Anthony calls for the formation of a Working Women’s Association. As a delegate to the Congress, she persuaded the committee on female labor to call for votes for women and equal pay for equal work. But male delegates deleted the reference to the vote – 1868

One hundred thousand Pennsylvania anthracite coal miners go on strike. Their average annual wage is $250. They are paid by the ton, defined by Pennsylvania as 2,400 pounds, but which mine operators have increased to as much as 4,000 pounds – 1900

National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) formed at a convention in Washington, D.C. In 1999 it became part of the Int’l Association of Machinists (IAM) – 1917

Some Depression-era weekly paychecks around the New York area: physician, $55.32; engineer, $40.68; Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016clerk, $22.15; salesman, $25.02; laborer, $20; typist, $15.09 – 1933

Southern employers meeting in Greenville, N.C., ready their big counter-offensive to break the textile labor strikes that have hit the Eastern seaboard. Ultimately they deploy 10,000 national guardsmen and 15,000 deputies, but fail to drive hundreds of thousands of strikers back to work – 1934

A Southern Pacific train loaded with sugar beets strikes a makeshift bus filled with 60 migrant workers near Salinas, Calif., killing 32. The driver said the bus was so crowded he couldn’t see the train coming – 1963

A total of 98 United Mine Workers of America members and a minister occupy the Pittston Coal Company’s Moss 3 preparation plant in Carbon, Va., beginning a year-long strike. Among other issues: management demands for drastic limitations in health and pension benefits for retired and disabled miners and their dependents and beneficiaries – 1989

The Occupy Wall Street movement is launched with an anti-Wall Street march and demonstration that Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016ended up as a 2-month encampment in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. The event led to protests and movements around the world, with their focus on economic inequality, corruption, greed and the influence on government of monied interests. Their slogan: “We are the 99%.” – 2011

September 18
The Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is formally founded at an Ohio convention, during a period of serious corruption in the union. Two years earlier at an IBT convention in Las Vegas, a union reform leader who (unsuccessfully) called for direct election of officers and a limit on officers’ salaries had been beaten by thugs – 1978

Nine strikebreakers are killed in an explosion at Giant (gold) Mine near Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Miner Roger Warren confessed that he planted the explosives that caused the deaths. He recanted the confession but later confessed once again – 1992

A 20-month illegal lockout of 2,900 Steelworkers members at Kaiser Aluminum plants in three states ends when an arbitrator orders a new contract. Kaiser was forced to fire scabs and fork over tens of millions of dollars in back pay to union members – 1999
Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
One week after the September 11, 2001, attacks, anthrax spores are mailed by an unknown party to several news media offices and two U.S. senators. Five people exposed to the spores died, including two workers at Washington, D.C.’s USPS Brentwood facility: Thomas Morris, Jr. and Joseph Curseen, who were to die of their exposure within the month – 2001

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

Labor Day Message: Stand Strong Against Anti-Labor Politicians And Greedy Executives

Once again Labor Day is upon us.

Let me start by thanking all of the strong dedicated union members of the past who fought and died for our rights and many of the protections and benefits workers enjoy today. Without their strength and solidarity we would not have weekends, healthcare, OSHA, or vacation time, just to name a few (better list in image below).

Over the past thirty years corporate executives used union members as scapegoats to hide the fact that they are siphoning more of the profits for themselves. CEO’s blame workers as they ship our jobs overseas to boost their own salaries. CEO’s in the United States make on average 300 times that average worker in his or her own company. This is obscene and is more than double the next highest country on the list. Profits and productivity continue to go up, yet wages go down as the executives and their Wall Street buddies reel in the cash.

CEO to Worker Country

Politicians began to attack working people to avoid being forced to increase taxes on their corporate campaign donors. They rig the system so that working people are forced to pay more into a retirement system that pays them less in the end. They “borrow” from our retirement systems to balance their budgets and then refuse to pay back the loan. They pass laws making it harder for workers to organize and form union because they know that unorganized people are easier to steamroll.

Combined, the greed of Corporate America and their political puppets have created the greatest level of income inequality in U.S. history.

The thing that many people do not seem to understand it that stronger unions benefit all workers.

A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute showed that if union density had remained at level as they were in the 1979, nonunion men lacking a college degree would be making $3,000 more annually.

What appears to be an attack on unions is really thinly veiled attack on all working people.

These politicians and corporate overlords are no friends to working people. They only care about one thing, money. CEO’s say, “How much money will moving this factory to China boost my stock options?” Politicians say, “How many campaign donations will I get if I can pass this law to stop workers from organizing?”

As the 2016 elections bear down on us, we need to remember to only support those who put working people first. Those who will fight to protect our rights to collectively bargain, will work to maBottom Upke it easier for workers to organize, will advocate for Project Labor Agreements, fight to protect our retirement systems, and work to ensure that all working people have access to affordable healthcare.

We need to fill our State House and Senate will representatives who pledge to support working people not out of state special interests.

It is the “down ticket” candidates who have the biggest impact on our daily lives. That is why this year I am voting from the bottom up and I encourage you to do the same.

Over the next few weeks take the time to do a little research on the candidates running for State Rep and State Senate. See where they stand on issues like the Minimum Wage (1, 2, 3), Medicaid Expansion (1) and Prevailing Wage (1) legislation. If they oppose these and support so-called Right to Work legislation, they are no friend to working people and should not be elected.

36 Things

As Union Density Declines Nonunion Workers Suffer Low Wages

Decline in union density costs nonunion workers
$133 billion annually in lost wages

In the new report, Union decline lowers wages of nonunion workers: The overlooked reason why wages are stuck and inequality is growing, Washington University sociologist Jake Rosenfeld and co-authors find that the dramatic decline in union density since 1979 has resulted in far lower wages for nonunion workers, an impact larger than the 5 percent effect of globalization on their wages found in recent research. Specifically, nonunion men lacking a college degree would have earned 8 percent, or $3,016 annually, more in 2013 if unions had remained as strong as they were in 1979.

Between 1979 and 2013, the share of private sector workers in a union has fallen from about 34 percent to 11 percent among men, and from 16 percent to 6 percent among women. The authors note that unions keep wages high for nonunion workers for several reasons: union agreements set wage standards and a strong union presence prompts managers to keep wages high in order to prevent workers from organizing or their employees from leaving. Moreover, unions set industry-wide norms, influencing what is seen as a “moral economy,”

“Working class men have felt the decline in unionization the hardest,” said Rosenfeld. “Their paychecks are noticeably smaller than if unions had remained as strong as they were almost 40 years ago. Rebuilding collective bargaining is one of the tools we have to reinvigorate wage growth, for low and middle-wage workers.”

Rosenfeld, along with co-authors Jennifer Laird and Patrick Denice, find that the effects of union decline on the wages of nonunion women are not as substantial because women were not as heavily represented in unionized private sector jobs. The authors note, however, that any substantial growth in collective bargaining would be expected to have as much or more impact on women as men. Specifically, the authors find that women’s wages would be 2 to 3 percent higher if unions had stayed at their 1979 levels. Their study also reveals that private sector nonunion men of all education levels would earn 5 percent ($52) higher weekly wages in 2013 if private-sector union density (the share of workers in similar industries and regions who are union members) remained at its 1979 level, an increase of $2,704 in annual paychecks for full-time employees.

This is the first study providing a broad estimate of the wage decline for nonunion workers as the result of the erosion of unions.

This decline in unions has eroded wages for nonunion workers at every level of education and experience, costing billions in lost wages. For the 32.9 million full-time nonunion private sector women and 40.2 million full-time private sector men, there is a $133 billion loss in annual wages because of weakened unions.

Given dramatically weakened unions, their effect on nonunion wages has declined over time: these effects have fallen to between one-half and two-thirds of their late-1970s levels.

Union decline has exacerbated wage inequality in the United States by dampening the pay of nonunion workers as well as by eroding the share of workers directly benefiting from unionization: union erosion can explain a third of the growth of wage inequality among men and one-fifth of the rise of wage inequality among women. At least for middle-wage men, the impact of the erosion of unions on the wages of both union and nonunion workers is likely the largest single factor underlying wage stagnation and wage inequality.

“Unions have functioned to raise the wages of all workers, union and nonunion,” said Lawrence Mishel, EPI President. “The erosion of collective bargaining has clearly taken a huge toll on nonunion wages in the United States, and is a major factor in the wage stagnation of the last four decades.”

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 188 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement