Radio station WEVD, named for Eugene V. Debs, goes on the air in New York City, operated by The Forward Association as a memorial to the labor and socialist leader – 1927
(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. Many union activists and labor scholars see Debs as the definitive labor leader.)
Founding of the American Federation of Government Employees, following a decision by the National Federation of Federal Employees (later to become part of the Int’l Association of Machinists) to leave the AFL – 1932
First edition of IWW Little Red Song Book published – 1909
Some 2,000 United Railroads streetcar service workers and supporters parade down San Francisco’s Market Street in support of pay demands and against the company’s anti-union policies. The strike failed in late November in the face of more than 1,000 strikebreakers, some of them imported from Chicago – 1917
Founding of the Maritime Trades Dept. of the AFL-CIO, to give “workers employed in the maritime industry and its allied trades a voice in shaping national policy” – 1946
Phelps-Dodge copper miners in Morenci and Clifton, Ariz., are confronted by tanks, helicopters, 426 state troopers and 325 National Guardsmen brought in to walk strikebreakers through picket lines in what was to become a failed 3-year fight by the Steelworkers and other unions – 1983
Some 4,400 mechanics, cleaners and custodians, members of AMFA at Northwest Airlines, strike the carrier over job security, pay cuts and work rule changes. The 14-month strike was to fail, with most union jobs lost to replacements and outside contractors – 2005
The Great Fire of 1910, a wildfire that consumed about 3 million acres in Washington, Idaho and Montana—an area about the size of Connecticut—claimed the lives of 78 firefighters over two days. It is believed to be the largest, although not deadliest, fire in U.S. history – 1910
Deranged relief postal service carrier Patrick “Crazy Pat” Henry Sherrill shoots and kills 14 coworkers, and wounds another six, before killing himself at an Edmond, Okla., postal facility. Supervisors had ignored warning signs of Sherrill’s instability, investigators later found; the shootings came a day after he had been reprimanded for poor work. The incident inspired the objectionable term “going postal” – 1986
Slave revolt led by Nat Turner begins in Southampton County, Va. – 1831
Five flight attendants form the Air Line Stewardesses Association, the first labor union representing flight attendants. They were reacting to an industry in which women were forced to retire at the age of 32, remain single, and adhere to strict weight, height and appearance requirements. The association later became the Association of Flight Attendants, now a division of the Communications Workers of America – 1945
(From First Contact to First Contract: A Union Organizer’s Handbook is a no-nonsense tool from veteran labor organizer and educator Bill Barry. He looks to his own vast experience to document and help organizers through all the stages of a unionization campaign, from how to get it off the ground to how to bring it home with a signed contract and a strong bargaining unit.)
Int’l Broom & Whisk Makers Union disbands – 1963
Joyce Miller, a vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers, becomes first female member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council – 1980
The Kerr-McGee Corp. agrees to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood $1.38 million, settling a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit. She was a union activist who died in 1974 under suspicious circumstances on her way to talk to a reporter about safety concerns at her plutonium fuel plant in Oklahoma – 1986
Int’l Longshore & Warehouse Union granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1988
The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations is formed by Congress, during a period of great labor and social unrest. After three years, and hearing witnesses ranging from Wobblies to capitalists, it issued an 11-volume report frequently critical of capitalism. The New York Herald characterized the Commission’s president, Frank P. Walsh, as “a Mother Jones in trousers” – 1912
Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, accused of murder and tried unfairly, were executed on this day. The case became an international cause and sparked demonstrations and strikes throughout the world – 1927
Seven merchant seamen crewing the SS Baton Rouge Victory lost their lives when the ship was sunk by Viet Cong action en route to Saigon – 1966
Farm Workers Organizing Committee (to later become United Farm Workers of America) granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1966
(The Fight in the Fields: No man in this century has had more of an impact on the lives of Hispanic Americans, and especially farmworkers, than the legendary Cesar Chavez. Born to migrant workers in 1927, he attended 65 elementary schools before finishing 7th grade, the end of his formal education. Through hard work, charisma and uncommon bravery he moved on to become founder and leader of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and to win a degree of justice for tens of thousands of workers… and to set a moral example for the nation.)
The Gatling Gun Co.—manufacturers of an early machine gun—writes to B&O Railroad Co. President John W. Garrett during a strike, urging their product be purchased to deal with the “recent riotous disturbances around the country.” Says the company: “Four or five men only are required to operate (a gun), and
Congress passes the National Apprenticeship Act, establishing the National Registered Apprenticeship system. The Act established a national advisory committee to research and draft regulations to establish minimum standards for apprenticeship program. The Act was later amended to allow the Department of Labor to issue regulations protecting the health, safety, and general welfare of apprentices, and to encourage the use of contracts in hiring and employing them.
The 48-mile Panama Canal officially opens. According to hospital records, 5,609 workers died of diseases and accidents during the U.S. construction period between 1904 and 1914. Of these, 4,500 were West Indian workers. It is estimated that 22,000 workers died during the earlier French construction period.
BEDFORD – Today, members of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire gathered to make the recommendation of Dan Innis in the first Congressional District Republican primary. The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire believe that Mr. Innis is the best choice in the first Congressional District Republican primary, and recommend that Republican members vote for him in the State Primary on September 9th. No endorsement has been made in this district’s General Election race in November.
“Dan Innis has made it clear that he values working families in New Hampshire. The professional fire fighters in Bedford, and throughout this district, are hopeful to have this candidate be the nominee in September, because we believe he cares strongly for public safety,” said Jeff Humphrey, President of the Bedford IAFF Local #3639.
“The PFFNH believes that Mr. Innis is the candidate in this primary who understands that fire fighters need support and resources to do our jobs of insuring we keep the public safe. He is the candidate who values public safety. We are proud to endorse Dan Innis in the first Congressional District Republican Primary,” stated David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.
“Fire fighters risk their lives with every call and we need to make sure that we keep our promises to them” said Dan Innis. “I am proud to have earned the support of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. In Congress I will work closely with them to make sure that fire fighters have the resources and the support that they need to continue to protect our communities.”
The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, headquartered in Concord, NH represents more than 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics from 43 locals across the state. More information is available at www.pffnh.org. Follow us on twitter @pffnh
35 journalists at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer walk off the job to protest the firing of two colleagues for joining the American Newspaper Guild. The P-I was forced to suspend publication and the striking employees began publishing their own newspaper, The Guild Daily, which reached a circulation of 60,000 copies a day. The strike was one of the first significant and successful strikes by white collar workers in the U.S. ended in a victory in late November when the newspaper settled with the Guild.
After several railroad companies refuse to obey a recently-enacted New York state law mandating a 10-hour workday and increases in the minimum wage, switchmen in Buffalo go out on strike. When the local police refused to intervene, sheriff’s deputies, thousands of soldiers, and scabs were all brought in quickly to crush the Switchmen’s Mutual Association strike. The strike ended later that month.
The membership of the Pacific Coast district of the International Longshoremen’s Association – with the exception of three locals in the Northwest – votes to disaffiliate and forms the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union. The ILWU today represents over 59,000 workers primarily on the West Coast of the United States, Hawaii, and Alaska.