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Today in labor history for the week of September 29, 2014

2014.09.29history-mother.jones

September 29
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

Seventy-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
(Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Her rallying cry was famous: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” A century ago, Mother Jones was a celebrated organizer and agitator, the very soul of the modern American labor movement. At coal strikes, steel strikes, railroad, textile, and brewery strikes, Mother Jones was always there, stirring the workers to action and enraging the powerful. In this first biography of “the most dangerous woman in America,” Elliott J. Gorn proves why, in the words of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones “has won her way into the hearts of the nation’s toilers, and… will be lovingly remembered by their children and their children’s children forever.”)

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 Delores Huerta, co-founds the National Farm Workers Association, which later was to become the United Farm Workers of America – 1962

2014.09.29history-l.a.times.bldgOctober 01
An ink storage room in the L.A. Times building 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

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

The National Hockey League team owners began a lockout of the players that lasted 103 days – 19942014.09.29history-nhl-logo

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

2014.09.29history-starbucks.workers.unionStarbucks 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, including threats against union activists – 2007

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

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

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 – Source Link

September 26, 2001

TUGSA-AFTatTemple

Graduate student employees at Temple University in Philadelphia win union recognition. The Temple University Graduate Students Association ratified its first contract in May 2002, significantly improving graduate employment in terms of healthcare and wages, and marking the first time that graduate students in the state bargained a contract with their employer.

Source Link

Rep. Kuster Promotes Made In NH Manufacturing In Milford

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Discusses Efforts to Boost Manufacturing during “Congress at Your Company” Visit to Cirtronics in Milford

Kuster highlighted her work to protect manufacturing jobs and to support ESOP companies during a tour of the Milford electronics manufacturer

Kuster92014

Congresswoman Kuster hears from Cirtronics employees

 MILFORD, NH – This afternoon, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) toured and met with workers at Cirtronics, a woman-owned electronics manufacturing business in Milford. During the tour, Kuster reaffirmed her support for Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) companies like Cirtronics, discussed legislation she supports that would eliminate barriers that currently limit the formation of certain types of ESOPs, and answered questions from employees.

“Companies like Cirtronics contribute so much to the Granite State economy by expanding the manufacturing base and creating high-skilled jobs for New Hampshire workers,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I have made it my number one priority in Congress to help support the creation of jobs and opportunity for New Hampshire families.  I was so pleased to tour the facility and hear from employees directly about how Congress can continue to support their success.”

Kuster recently cosponsored the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act, which would streamline the process of establishing a new S corporation ESOP or expanding the employee-ownership stake in an S corporation.

Kuster’s visit to Cirtronics was part of her ongoing “Congress at Your Company” series.  Since taking office, Kuster has visited New Hampshire businesses all over the state to hear how Congress can best support their success. As a member of the House Small Business Committee, Kuster has focused on efforts to foster job creation and support New Hampshire’s manufacturing industry. She has supported a series of “Make It In America” proposals focused on reshoring jobs and reviving the U.S. manufacturing economy, and she has also fought to establish a Manufacturing Innovation Institute in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Troopers’ Association Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan for Re-Election

Concord—Citing her strong record of standing up for the safety of our communities, the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association announced its endorsement of Governor Maggie Hassan for re-election.

“Governor Hassan continues to earn the trust and support of law enforcement because of her strong record of bringing together leaders of both parties to solve problems and improve our public safety,” said Seth Cooper, President of the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association. “Governor Hassan has been a tireless advocate for policies that help protect our communities, and the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association is proud to endorse the Governor for re-election.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to have earned the support of the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association as we work to maintain New Hampshire’s status as one of the safest, healthiest and most livable states in the nation,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Public safety truly is the most important task of any government, and since entering office I’ve worked to put more troopers on the road and strengthen priorities that help keep our communities safe.”

“My opponent’s so-called ‘plan’ would create a $90 million hole in the state budget and take New Hampshire back to the Bill O’Brien era of devastating cuts to public safety, higher education, and economic development. He’s even said he would slash funding for the Department of Safety, taking 80% of the troopers off the road and making our highways less safe. But Granite Staters won’t let my opponent take us backwards, and together, we will continue working to keep our communities safe and solve problems the New Hampshire Way,” added Governor Hassan.

Through the bipartisan budget, Governor Hassan fought to protect critical investments in public safety, higher education, and economic development – without a sales or income tax. The Governor has also worked to maintain New Hampshire’s status as one of the safest states in the nation by putting more troopers on the road, increasing funding for community-based mental health care, passing a bipartisan health care expansion plan that is providing thousands of people with alcohol and substance treatment, and launching Media Power Youth, a public-private initiative to increase media literacy and reduce and prevent youth violence.

Walt Havenstein’s Koch Brothers “plan” would create a $90 million hole in the state’s budget and take New Hampshire back to the devastating Bill O’Brien era, while raising college tuition costs, abandoning the state’s infrastructure and shifting more health care costs onto business.

Havenstein also signed his name to the Koch Brothers pledge committing that he’d work to repeal the bipartisan transportation plan, saying he would cut funds from the Department of Safety, taking 80% of the troopers off the road.

Today in labor history for the week of September 22, 2014

2014.09.22history-reviving.the.strike.bookcover

September 22
Emancipation Proclamation signed – 1862

Eighteen-year-old Hannah (Annie) Shapiro leads a spontaneous walkout of 17 women at a Hart Schaffner & Marx garment factory in Chicago. It grows into a months-long mass strike involving 40,000 garment workers across the city, protesting 10-hour days, bullying bosses and cuts in already-low wages – 1910
(Reviving the Strike: How Working People can Regain Power and Transform America: If the American labor movement is to rise again, the author says, it will not be as a result of electing Democrats, the passage of legislation, or improved methods of union organizing. Rather, workers will need to rediscover the power of the strike. Not the ineffectual strike of today, where employees meekly sit on picket lines waiting for scabs to take their jobs, but the type of strike capable of grinding industries to a halt—the kind employed up until the 1960s.)

Great Steel Strike begins; 350,000 workers demand union recognition. The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee calls off the strike, their goal unmet, 108 days later – 1919

Martial law rescinded in Mingo County, W. Va., after police, U.S. troops and hired goons finally quell coal miners’ strike – 1922

U.S. Steel announces it will cut the wages of 220,000 workers by 10 percent – 1931

United Textile Workers strike committee orders strikers back to work after 22 days out, ending what was at that point the greatest single industrial conflict in the history of American organized labor. The strike involved some 400,000 workers in New England, the mid-Atlantic states and the South – 1934

Some 400,000 coal miners strike for higher wages in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois and Ohio – 1935

The AFL expels the Int’l Longshoremen’s Association for racketeering; the union was readmitted to the then-AFL-CIO six years later – 19532014.09.22history-pizza.delivery.drivers

OSHA reaches its largest ever settlement agreement, $21 million, with BP Products North America following an explosion at BP’s Texas City, Texas, plant earlier in the year that killed 15 and injured 170 – 2005

Eleven Domino’s employees in Pensacola, Fla., form the nation’s first union of pizza delivery drivers – 2006

San Francisco hotel workers end a 2-year contract fight, ratify a new 5-year pact with their employers – 2006

September 23
The Workingman’s Advocate of Chicago publishes the first installment of The Other Side, by Martin A. Foran, president of the Coopers’ Int’l Union. Believed to be the first novel by a trade union leader and some say the first working-class novel ever published in the U.S. – 1868

2014.09.22history-8.hoursA coalition of Knights of Labor and trade unionists in Chicago launch the United Labor party, calling for an 8-hour day, government ownership of telegraph and telephone companies, and monetary and land reform. The party elects seven state assembly men and one senator – 1886

A 42-month strike by Steelworkers at Bayou Steel in Louisiana ends in a new contract and the ousting of scabs – 1996

California Gov. Gray Davis (D) signs legislation making the state the first to offer workers paid family leave – 2002

September 24
Canada declares the Wobblies illegal – 1918

September 25
American photographer Lewis Hine born in Oshkosh, Wisc. – 1874
(Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of2014.09.22history-kidswork.bookcover children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine – who himself died in poverty in 1940 – did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)

Two African-American sharecroppers are killed during an ultimately unsuccessful cotton-pickers’ strike in Lee County, Ark. By the time the strike had been suppressed, 15 African-Americans had died and another six had been imprisoned. A white plantation manager was killed as well – 1891

2014.09.22history-old97September 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 and begins a boycott that 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

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
(Triangle: The Fire that Changed America: On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York City. 2014.09.22history-triangle.bookcoverWithin minutes it engulfed three upper floors, burning to death — or causing to jump to their deaths — 146 workers, 123 of them women, some as young as 15.)

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. Source Link

Statement By Richard Trumka On American Airlines And US Airways Unionization Vote

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

“Today, thousands of workers embraced a union future. The hardworking men and women of American Airlines and US Airways voted for union representation and a legally binding contract. Their collective skill has built successful airlines, and their collective voice will build successful workplaces.

“It should not be lost on the pundits that most of the nearly 14,500 new union members work in southern states. The right to a voice at work doesn’t have a geographic predisposition, and this victory will energize ongoing organizing efforts in the South.

“I want to thank all parties involved, including elected officials, for enabling workers to have a free and fair election. And I especially want to congratulate CWA and the Teamsters on helping give these workers a voice.

“Clearly, one of the largest labor organizing victories in the South in decades is a historic day. But it also shows that the future of the U.S. labor movement is alive, as these workers can be found at airports, call centers, even working from home. The right to collectively bargain will always be what our working family fights for.”

Today in labor history for the week of September 15, 2014

2014.09.15history-auto.workers.strike

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

More 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
2014.09.15history-posters.bookcover(Posters about farmworker boycotts and organizing campaigns are intermingled with other great images in Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters Lincoln Cushing and Timothy W. Drescher share their vast knowledge about the rich graphic tradition of labor posters. Here you will find lavish full-color reproductions of more than 250 of the best posters that have emerged from the American labor movement on topics ranging from core issues such as wages and working conditions to discrimination to international solidarity.)

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

At 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
2014.09.15history-pa.coal.miners
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; clerk, $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
2014.09.15history-lyddie.bookcover(Lyddie: In this book written for young readers, Lyddie Worthen is a 13-year-old farm girl who takes a job in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, when hard times hit her family. Six days a week from dawn to dusk she and the other girls run weaving looms in the murky dust-and lint-filled factory. Lyddie learns to read—and to handle the menacing overseer.)

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 ended up as a 2-month 2014.09.15history-anti.wall.street.marchencampment 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

2014.09.15history-usps-morris-curseenOne 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

September 19
Chinese coal miners forced out of Black Diamond, Wash. – 1885

Between 400,000 and 500,000 unionists converge on Washington D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally protesting Republican policies – 1981

Musician and labor educator Joe Glazer, often referred to as “Labor’s Troubadour,” died today at age 88. Some of his more acclaimed Source Link

New Web Video Highlights Sen. Shaheen’s Support For NH Workers And Opposing Outsourcing

Manchester — Today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign is releasing a new web video titled “Backbone,” that highlights the clear difference between Senator Shaheen’s record and commitment to helping create jobs in New Hampshire, and Scott Brown’s support for companies and policies that ship U.S. jobs to China and Mexico.

As Massachusetts’ Senator, Scott Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Since leaving the Senate, Brown joined the board of a Massachusetts company that sent American jobs to China to increase its bottom line. Brown collected more than a quarter of a million dollars serving on the company’s board and even signed legal documents just two days before he entered the race for the U.S. Senate that endorsed the company’s outsourcing practices.

“New Hampshire workers have been hard hit by the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries,” Shaheen says in the video. “In November, there will be a very clear choice about who supports sending jobs overseas. Scott Brown wants a tax code that rewards companies for sending jobs overseas. Scott Brown wants to help pay for companies to build plants overseas. We need leaders who understand that working families are the backbone of this country.”

Jeanne Shaheen has worked tirelessly to strengthen New Hampshire’s middle class and help create jobs throughout the state. She voted to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas, and fought to invest in our state’s roads and bridges by securing funding to expand I-93 and rebuild the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge, both of which created hundreds of new jobs. She took on her own party and opposed a new round of base closures to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the people who work there.

Senator Shaheen also wrote provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act that established programs like the STEP grant, which provides key support to businesses across the state trying to sell their products overseas. She was the first New Hampshire Governor to lead a trade mission outside of North America, and has been a strong advocate for Trade Adjustment Assistance grants, which help train workers for new jobs when their previous jobs have been outsourced.

“I want to sell New Hampshire products overseas; I want to invest in rebuilding our roads and bridges, and create good jobs here in New Hampshire; I want a tax code that encourages companies to bring jobs back to the United States,” Shaheen says in the video.

Today in labor history for the week of September 8, 2014

2014.09.08history-mckees.rocks

September 08
Employers give in to the demands of striking miners in McKees Rocks, Pa., agree to improved working conditions, 15-percent hike in wages and elimination of a “pool system” that gave foremen control over each worker’s pay – 1909

Workers give up their Labor Day weekend holidays to keep the munitions factories working to aid in the war effort. Most Labor Day parades are canceled in respect for members of the Armed Services – 1942

United Farm Workers union begins historic national grape boycott and strike, Delano, Calif. – 1965

Some 2,600 Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers begin what is to be a successful 6-day strike for higher pay and against a two-tier wage system – 1997
(In this second edition, (2009), of Why Unions Matter, Michael D. 2014.09.08history-why.unions.matter.bookcoverYates shows why unions still matter. Unions mean better pay, benefits, and working conditions for their members; they force employers to treat employees with dignity and respect; and at their best, they provide a way for workers to make society both more democratic and more egalitarian. Yates uses simple language, clear data, and engaging examples to show why workers need unions, how unions are formed, how they operate, how collective bargaining works, the role of unions in politics, and what unions have done to bring workers together across the divides of race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.)

September 09
In convention at Topeka, Kan., delegates create the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America. The men who repaired the nation’s rail cars were paid 10 or 15¢ an hour, working 12 hours a day, often seven days a week – 1890

More than a thousand Boston police officers strike after 19 union leaders are fired for organizing activities. Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge announced that none of the strikers would be rehired, mobilized the state police, and recruited an entirely new police force from among unemployed veterans of the Great War (World War I) – 1919

Sixteen striking Filipino sugar workers on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are killed by police; four police died as well. Many of the surviving strikers were jailed, then deported – 1924

United Auto Workers President Leonard Woodcock is named in Pres. Richard Nixon’s “Enemy’s List,” a White House compilation of Americans Nixon regarded as major political opponents. Another dozen union presidents were added later. The existence of the list was revealed during Senate Watergate Committee hearings – 1973

2014.09.08history-lattimer.massacreSeptember 10
In Pennsylvania, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovak miners are gunned down by the Latimer Mine’s sheriff deputies—19 dead, more than 50 wounded—during a peaceful march from Hazelton to Latimer. Some 3,000 were marching for collective bargaining and civil liberty. The shooters were tried for murder but the jury failed to convict – 1897

September 11
Some 75,000 coal miners in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia end a 10-week strike after winning an 8-hour day, semi-monthly pay, and the abolition of overpriced company-owned stores, where they had been forced to shop. (Remember the song, “Sixteen Tons,” by coal miner’s son Merle Travis, in which there’s this line: “I owe my soul to the company store.”) – 1897

More than 3,000 people died when suicide highjackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a2014.09.08history-FDNY-911 Pennsylvania field. Among the dead in New York were 634 union members, the majority of them New York City firefighters and police on the scene when the towers fell – 2001

Crystal Lee Sutton, the real-life Norma Rae of the movies, dies at age 68. She worked at a J.P. Stevens textile plant in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., when low pay and poor working conditions led her to become a union activist – 2009

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

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

2014.09.08history-landmarks.bookcoverUnited 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
(Inventory of American Labor Landmarks: Planning a fall vacation? This attractive booklet offers a nice selection from the Labor Heritage Foundation’s comprehensive, ongoing inventory of labor landmarks across the country.)

September 13
The Post Office Department orders 25,000 railway mail clerks to shoot to kill any bandits attempting to rob the mail – 19262014.09.08history-attica

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

Gastonia, 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 Source Link

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