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September 18, 2000

Rusty padlock and chain on gates of closed automobile plant

A two-year strike by and subsequent lockout of 2,900 workers represented by the United Steelworkers at five Kaiser Aluminum plants in three states ends following binding arbitration. At issue were wages and benefits, contracting out work, and job cuts, among others. It was the longest and largest lockout in the history of the union.

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September 17, 1989

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Five months into a Pittston Company mine strike, nearly 100 workers stage a sit-down strike in the Moss 3 central coal processing plant and successfully cease production for four days, supported by thousands of people outside the plant. A strike settlement was announced on January 1, 1990, which included a new contract that reinstated the health and retirement benefits that the company had stripped away.

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Today in labor history for the week of September 14, 2015

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 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
(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

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

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

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

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
(In Reviving the Strike, labor lawyer Joe Burns draws on economics, history and current analysis in arguing that the labor movement must redevelop an effective strike based on the now outlawed traditional labor tactics of stopping production and workplace-based solidarity. The book challenges the prevailing view that tactics such as organizing workers or amending labor law can save trade unionism in this country. Instead, Reviving the Strike offers a fundamentally different solution to the current labor crisis, showing how collective bargaining backed by a strike capable of inflicting economic harm upon an employer is the only way for workers to break free of the repressive system of labor control that has been imposed upon them by corporations and the government for the past seventy-five years.)

The Occupy Wall Street movement is launched with an anti-Wall Street march and demonstration that ended 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 Source Link

September 13, 1971

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A four-day revolt at the Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York, over prisoners’ demands for political rights and better living conditions ends when hundreds of state police officers storm the complex, killing 29 prisoners and 10 AFSCME-represented prison employees, and wounding 89. “We are men. We are not beasts, and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such.” –L.D. Barkley, a 21 year-old prisoner serving time for breaching parole by driving without a license; he died in the assault, shot 15 times at point-blank range.

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September 12, 2012

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A fire at a textile factory complex in Karachi, Pakistan, kills nearly 300 workers trapped behind locked doors and barred windows. It happened just hours after another fire at a shoe factory in Lahore killed at least 25 workers. Labor leaders blamed government abandonment of enforcing laws and regulations established to ensure workplace health and safety.

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September 9, 1924

hanapepep

Filipino sugar cane workers – on strike for higher wages and better working conditions – and police clash at a strike camp in Hanapepe, Hawaii. Outarmed by police, strikers fought with cane knives, sticks, and a few guns. Sixteen workers and four policemen died. Striking workers and their leaders were arrested, tried, and imprisoned; many were later deported to the Philippines.

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September 8, 1965

blood-on-grapes

Filipino American grape workers walk out on strike against Delano, California, table and wine grape growers, protesting years of poor pay and working conditions. Latino farm workers soon joined them, and the strike and subsequent boycott lasted more than five years. In 1970, growers signed their first union contracts with the United Farm Workers union, which included better pay, benefits, and protections.

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September 7, 2015

Labor-Day-Posters-4

Today is Labor Day. In 1894, after sending in the Army and U.S. Marshals to break the Pullman strike, President Grover Cleveland’s popularity was in the toilet. In the immediate wake of the strike, legislation designating a federal Labor Day holiday was rushed unanimously through Congress and arrived on Cleveland’s desk for his signature.

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