Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
January 30—Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born in Hyde Park, N.Y. He was elected president of the United States four times starting in 1933. His New Deal programs helped America survive the Great Depression. His legislative achievements included the creation of the National Labor Relations Act, which allows workers to organize unions, bargain collectively, and strike – 18822015.01.26—history-Emma.Tenayuca
January 31—Some 12,000 pecan shellers in San Antonio, Texas—mostly Latino women—walk off their jobs at 400 factories in what was to become a three-month strike against wage cuts.  Strike leader Emma Tenayuca was eventually hounded out of the state – 1938
February 1—Some 25,000 Paterson, N.J., silk workers strike for 8-hour work day and improved working conditions. Eighteen hundred were arrested over the course of the six-month walkout, led by the Wobblies.  They returned to work on their employers’ terms – 1913
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2015.01.26—video-youth.for.human.rights.intlLabor Video: Workers’ Rights
You have rights! Youth for Human Rights International presents 30 powerful and emotional public service announcements promoting the human rights protected by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is Human Right #23 “Workers’ Rights.” Click here to watch the video.

Today in Labor History: January 29; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: January 292015.01.26—history-dolly.9to5
Dolly Parton hits number one on the record charts with “9 to 5,” her anthem to the daily grind – 1981
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2015.01.26—humor-whistleForget the Machines
An American manufacturer is showing his machine factory to a potential customer from China. At noon, when the lunch whistle blows, two thousand men and women immediately stop work and leave the building. “Your workers! They’re escaping!” cries the Chinese visitor. “You’ve got to stop them.”
+++“Don’t worry. They’ll be back,” says the American. And indeed, at exactly one o’clock, the whistle blows again, and all the workers return to the factory.
+++When the tour is over, the manufacturer turns to his guest and says, “Well, now, which of these machines would you like to order?”
+++“Forget the machines,” says the visitor. “How much do you want for that whistle?”
—From Workplace Jokes: Only SOME of Them Will Get You Fired! 

Today in Labor History: January 28; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: January 282015.01.26—history-miner
American Miners’ Association formed – 1861
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Member Tip: Educate Yourself
If you’re going to participate in the union decisions that affect your workplace life, you should do so intelligently. This means taking the time to learn about the union and the issues it is dealing with on behalf of the members. If you don’t have a copy of the union contract, get one and look through it, at least enough to get a good idea about what topics are covered and what the specifics are. Make a mental note not only of what rights the union is already in a position to protect but also what improvements you’d like to see in the next round of bargaining.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: January 27

New York City maids organize to improve working conditions – 1734

Mine explosion in Mount Pleasant, Pa., leaves more than 100 dead – 1891

First meeting of the Int’l Labor Organization (ILO) – 1920

Kansas miners strike against compulsory arbitration – 1920

2015.01.26— 3¢ postage stamp is issued, honoring AFL founder Samuel Gompers – 1950
(There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America is the sympathetic, thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s to organized labor’s decline in the 1980s and struggle for survival and growth today.)

A group of Detroit African-American auto workers known as the Eldon Avenue Axle Plant Revolutionary Union Movement leads a wildcat strike against racism and bad working conditions. They are critical of both automakers and the UAW, condemning the seniority system and grievance procedures as racist – 19692015.01.26—history-seeger

Pete Seeger dies in New York at age 94. A musician and activist, he was a revered figure on the American left, persecuted during the McCarthy era for his support of progressive, labor and civil rights causes. A prolific songwriter, he is generally credited with popularizing the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” He actively participated in demonstrations until shortly before his death – 2014

Members of the Northwestern University football team announce they are seeking union recognition. A majority signed cards, later delivered to the National Labor Relations Board office in Chicago, asking for representation by the College Athletes Players Association – 2014
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Today in Labor History: January 26; Cool Labor Site

Today in Labor History: January 262015.01.26—history-henry.morgan-workers.comp
In what could be considered the first workers’ compensation agreement in America, pirate Henry Morgan pledges his underlings 600 pieces of eight or six slaves to compensate for a lost arm or leg. Also part of the pirate’s code, reports Roger Newell: shares of the booty were equal regardless of race or sex, and shipboard decisions were made collectively – 1695
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Cool Labor Site: Strategic Corporate Research
Strategic Corporate Research is a website offering a
comprehensive set of resources for conducting corporate research and strategic 2015.01.26—website-strategic.corp.researchcampaigns in the U.S. and Canada. While it includes links to over 300 websites, it is not just a list of resources but provides both a framework and method for unionists and community activists to look inside the corporate world. It also features a number of charts, videos and other resources to assist activists with their work.

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
January 23—Some 10,000 clothing workers strike in Rochester, N.Y., for the 8-hour day,2015.01.19—history-rochester.garment.strike a 10-percent wage increase, union recognition, and extra pay for overtime and holidays. Daily parades were held throughout the clothing district and there was at least one instance of mounted police charging the crowd of strikers and arresting 25 picketers. Six people were wounded over the course of the strike and one worker, 18-year-old Ida Breiman, was shot to death by a sweatshop contractor. The strike was called off in April after manufacturers agreed not to discriminate against workers for joining a union – 1913
January 24—Krueger’s Cream Ale, the first canned beer, goes on sale in Richmond, Va. Pabst was the second brewer in the same year to sell beer in cans, which came with opening instructions and the suggestion: “cool before serving” – 1935
January 25—Two hundred miners are killed in a horrific explosion at the Harwick mine in Cheswick, Pa., Allegheny County. Many of the dead lie entombed in the sealed mine to this day – 1904
2015.01.19—history-sixteen.tons(The novel Sixteen Tons carries the reader down into the dark and dangerous coal mines of the early 1900s, as Italian immigrant Antonio Vacca and his sons encounter cave-ins and fires deep below the earth’s surface. Above ground, miners battle gun thugs and corrupt sheriffs at Virden, Matewan and Ludlow in an epic struggle to form a union and make the mines a safer place to work. Historian Kevin Corley’s depiction of miners’ lives is based on his own interviews with mining families.)
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Labor Video: Be Union. Be Happy. 2015.01.19—video-happy.still
Check out this AFSCME union video, produced after professors at Baylor University and the University of Arkansas found the following: “Union members are more satisfied with their lives than those who are not members and that the substantive effect of union membership on life satisfaction is large and rivals other common predictors of quality of life.” Click here to watch the video.

Today in Labor History: January 22; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: January 22
Indian field hands at San Juan Capistrano mission refused to work, engaging in what was probably the first farm worker strike in California – 1826
(Farmworker’s Friend: The story of Cesar Chavez is a thoughtful and moving book about 2015.01.19—history-farmworker.friendthe inspiring life of American hero Cesar Chavez, founder 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. It traces his growth as a man and as a leader, talking of his pacifism, his courage in the face of great threats and greater odds, his leadership and his view that the union was more than just a union, it was a community—una causa.)
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2015.01.19—humor-cookiesLabor Humor: That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles
A Wall Streeter, a union member, and Tea-Partier are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies. The Wall Streeter grabs 11 cookies and wolfs them down. He then turns to the tea partier and says, “Look out for that union guy. He wants part of your cookie.”
—From Workplace Jokes: Only SOME of Them Will Get You Fired!