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October 4, 1936

October 4

An estimated crowd of more than 100,000 trade unionists, anti-fascist activists, and local residents barricade streets leading into London’s East End to stop a march by British fascists. The 6,000 police officers who attempted to clear a route for the fascists were met with fierce resistance in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street and the march was re-routed.

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Union for Co-op Workers AND Co-op Food Stores Settle Unfair Labor Practice Case

Settlement agreement resolves charges that The Co-op Food Stores violated worker rights

UFCW_logo.svgLEBANON, N.H.– After a contentious union election at its Lebanon location, The Co-op Food Stores has signed a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). The settlement contains multiple actions ensuring that workers at The Co-op Food Stores know their rights and do not have those rights violated by their employer.

As part of the agreement, The Co-op Food Stores reinstated a terminated employee with back pay, will remove discipline from another vocal union supporter’s file and will change eight sections of its handbook to ensure that its policies do not restrict workers’ rights to organize. They will also post a notice at all four of its locations informing all their employees of their rights to organize and pledging not to violate federal law. These postings include a pledge not to surveil, threaten, discipline or fire workers for discussing their working conditions or forming a union.

“We believe that this election was not free from intimidation and interference by management, and this settlement agreement begins to right some of the wrongs” said UFCW Local 1459 President Dan Clifford. “As at The Co-op Food Stores, Local 1459 stands by every retail worker who wants a voice at work and feels intimidated and harassed for standing up.”

UFCW Local 1459 represents hundreds of co-op workers across five co-op stores in Western New England. The local will continue to support workers at the Co-op Food Store locations who want to join other workers across the country and work together for improved wages, hours, and working conditions.

“Although the election was unsuccessful, we have made real change at the co-op and will continue to stand up for what’s right,” said Kristin Henault, Cheese Clerk at The Co-op Food Stores Lebanon location. “Workers and member-owners have been coming together to improve this co-op for several years and much more will be done to ensure Co-op Food Stores lives up to its cooperative principles.”

October 1, 1940


The Pennsylvania Turnpike – the nation’s first long-distance controlled-access highway – opens nearly two years after construction began along the original path of an abandoned South Pennsylvania Railroad project of the 1880s. The project was financed by a loan from the New Deal’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation and grants from the Works Progress Administration, employing more than 15,000 workers from 18 states.

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On Capitol Hill, Envoy Airline Agents Ask Congress for Help in Setting Union Election


Washington, D.C. — Some 35 agents who work at Envoy Air are in the nation’s capital today, asking their members of Congress for help in their bid for a union representation election.

They came to Capitol Hill representing 5,300 colleagues who work at 110 airports nationwide, staffing ticket counters, gate and ramps. Envoy worker leaders have meetings today with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and several other representatives and staff.

More than four months ago, agents working with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) submitted authorization cards from more than 50 percent of the workforce requesting that the National Mediation Board (NMB) hold a representation election.

The NMB, however, issued a ruling stating that just half of the workforce was eligible to participate in a union representation election. Agents and CWA say all agents should be allowed to vote and are calling on the NMB to act now to “let us vote.”

Their jobs are stressful, demanding and sometimes dangerous. Recently in Houston, a ramp worker was nearly killed, suffering multiple injuries when he was crushed between an airplane and a bag belt loader. The Houston workers, with CWA’s help, established a safety committee to stop unsafe working conditions.

The agents have very little job security and their work is often outsourced to an even lower bidder. Workers either lose their jobs or sign on with a new company, losing any seniority or other benefits they might have accumulated with the previous employers. Wages range from about $9 to $15 an hour, but it’s not unexpected that wages are undercut by contractors making $8.50 an hour or less.

John Zupancic, an agent in Pittsburgh who had worked for American Airlines/TWA for 36 years, was forced to take a pay cut when Envoy took over operations.  Alphonzo Dandridge worked the ramp in Memphis until July when Envoy announced it was shifting work to another ground handling company that paid $8.50 an hour with no benefits.

“These workers know that nothing will change at Envoy until they have their union, and that’s why agents are fighting back and calling on the NMB to schedule their election now,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “They have the support of every CWA member in this fight.”

Envoy Air is owned by American Airlines Group and operates regional flights and baggage services for American and other airlines.

Agents from these stations attended the day of action: Memphis, Tenn.; Houston, Corpus Christie, Wichita Falls, and Beaumont, Tex.; Lawton, Okla.; Los Angeles; Miami, Jacksonville, and Fort Meyers, Fla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Pittsburgh; New Orleans; Louisville; Chicago; Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Madison, Wis.; Joplin, Mo., and Rochester, N.Y.

Community Activists and Union Members Urge Nashua Board To Reconsider Privatization Vote

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Last night over 150 people came out in support of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union who are urging the Nashua Board of Education to reverse their decision to end the contract with the current custodians to opt for a private contractor.

Prior to the meeting, members of the Nashua Labor Coalition and other community partners were in front of the school auditorium holding signs saying “Union Yes,” and “Stop Privatization.”

Inside, at least a dozen people stood up and spoke out against this union busting privatization scheme including Jim Durkin, Director of Legislation, Political Action and Communication for AFSCME of Council 93, which represents the Nashua School Custodians.

“These contract vendors are basically a cleaning crew,” Durkin said. “They pay very low wages, no benefits, and as result there’s extremely high turnover. You contrast that with men and women who have been doing these jobs for 10, 20, even 30 years. They’re part of the fiber of the school community.”

“Privatization is another step in the race to the bottom,” said Deb Howes, Chairwoman of the Nashua Labor Coalition, and teacher at Amherst Street School for over 14 years. “It focuses only on the cost of the service, not the quality of the job done. It also takes good paying jobs and trades them for low-wage ones, which leads to more turnover in the workforce – the last thing you want in a school.”

Nearly all of the people who spoke, talked about how other school districts that privatized their custodial services have faced significant safety and security problems along with a degradation of cleanliness.

Adam Marcoux, Vice President of the Nashua Teachers Union highlighted the fact that these workers take real pride in their schools and continually go, above and beyond to ensure that our schools are clean. “The floors at my school are so clean I can see my reflection,” Marcoux stated.

Durkin talked of how the City of Chelmsford had at least four different contracted workers arrested for theft. One stole money and credit cards from students lockers, one was arrest on outstanding drug warrants, and one was arrested for stealing children’s prescriptions from the locked nurses’ cabinet.

The Nashua Teachers Union President, Robert Sherman, shined a light on the fact that the Board was trying to slip this under the radar. “Why were taxpayers not aware of this vote until after the vote was taken?” Sherman asked.

Marcoux also highlight the fact that the Board is trying to pull something over on everyone. “I teach my kids not to do anything they would not do in front of me. If you (the Board) would not make this vote in front of everybody here then maybe you should rethink that decision.”

After his statement, Marcoux, delivered a petition with over 1,100 signatures calling for the Board to reverse their decision.

The Board previously told the Nashua Telegraph that they are ending the contract due to budgetary concerns. “This is not an easy decision for us. But we have a responsibility to the district and the students also,” said School Board President George Farrington.

“While privatizing seems to be a way to save money, there is little control over the costs the private company chooses to charge,” said Howes. “Part of our current budget problems are due to huge increase in the transportation budget – $1,000,000 last year – a 20% increase over the prior year – and about $225,000 this year. The bus service has been privatized for more than a dozen years, and I understand the cost has gone up steadily each year by about 3% prior to those two larger increases.”

The real issue is the Nashua spending cap. The people of Nashua love their school custodians, many who have been working in the same schools for decades, but the Board says they cannot afford it anymore.

Nashua resident Ben Clemens said, “Standing up to the alderman and demanding they override the spending cap takes courage. Blindsiding the union and outsourcing their jobs is cowardice.”

The Board is not looking at the whole picture. They say they are doing what is best for the schools but they are only looking at their bottom line, when they should be putting what is best for our children above all else.

They should immediately reverse this decision before it is too late.


September 29, 2010


Tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets of Europe, striking against government austerity measures. Workers in more than a dozen countries participated, including Spain, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Slovenia, and Lithuania, protesting job losses, retirement deferments, pension reductions, and cuts to schools, hospitals, and welfare services.

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Today in labor history for the week of September 28, 2015

September 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 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

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 – 1962
(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.)

October 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

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 – 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, including 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

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 Source Link

September 27, 1903


The Old 97 – a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail – derails near Danville, Virginia, killing eleven people, including the train’s engineer, Joseph “Steve” Broady, who many believe had been ordered to speed to make up for lost time. A number of ballads were written about the wreck, the most popular of which became an early country hit and the first million-selling record in the U.S.

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