Today in Labor History: July 22

Today in Labor History: July 22
Newly unionized brewery workers in San Francisco, mostly German socialists, declare victory after the city’s breweries give in to their demands for free beer, the closed shop, freedom to live anywhere (they had typically been required to live in the breweries), a 10-hour day, 6-day week, and a board of arbitration – 18862014.07.21—history-first-contact
(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.)

A bomb was is set off during a “Preparedness Day” parade in San Francisco, killing 10 and injuring 40 more. Tom Mooney, a labor organizer, and Warren Billings, a shoe worker, were convicted of the crime, but both were pardoned 23 years later – 1916
—Click here for the complete posting.

Today in Labor History: July 21; Cool Labor Site

Today in Labor History: July 212014.07.21—history-wcfl
Radio station WCFL, owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor, takes to the airwaves with two hours of music. The first and only labor-owned radio station in the country, WCFL was sold in 1979 – 1926
—Click here for the complete posting.

2014.07.21—website-labor-history-linksCool Labor Site: Labor History Links
This site is the most comprehensive bibliography of information, documents and links of U.S. labor history websites on the internet.  It was developed by labor historian Rosemary Feurer for the Labor and Working Class History Association.

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

2014.07.14—history-sc-hospital-strikeToday in Labor History: Weekend Edition
July 18—Hospital workers win 113-day union recognition strike in Charleston, S.C. – 1969
July 19—Women’s Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, N.Y.  Delegates adopt a Declaration of Women’s Rights and call for women’s suffrage – 1848
July 20—Two killed, 67 wounded in Minneapolis truckers’ strike—”Bloody Friday” – 1934
—Click here for the complete posting.

Labor Video: McDonald’s “Help” Line2014.07.14—video-nancy
Meet Nancy.  She has two children and has worked full-time at McDonald’s for 10 years.  She earns $8.25 an hour and has never had a raise.  She can’t support her family on McDonald’s low pay, so Nancy called the help line… click here to watch the video.

Today in Labor History: July 17; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: July 172014.07.14—history-port-chicago
Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny – 1944
—Click here for the complete posting.

Labor Humor: Slaphappy
One of the Koch brothers is duck hunting in Michigan.  He shoots a bird, which falls on the property of a union organizer.  As Koch approaches to claim the bird, the organizer happens to walk by and recognize him.  “You anti-union, right-wing jerk, get off my property,” says the organizer.

“I just want the duck,” replies Koch.

2014.07.14—humor-slapThe organizer thinks for a minute and says, “Here in  Michigan we settle things with the Three Slap Rule.  I get to slap you three times, and then you can slap me three times, and so on, until one of us gives in.  If you win, you get the duck.  If I win, I get the duck and you get the hell off my land.”

Koch’s giant ego won’t permit him to refuse, so he says OK.

The organizer walks up to Koch and slaps him hard, knocking off his glasses and leaving a huge welt on the billionaire’s face.  Then he slaps him on the other side of his face, with such force that Koch careens into a tree.  The third slap sends him flying face-first into a handy nearby pool of mud.

With great effort, Koch gets to his feet, steaming mad and ready to kill.  “Okay, you SOB,” he snarls.  “Now it’s my turn!”

The organizer grins and says, “Naw, I give up.  You can have the duck.”

—Got a labor joke you’d like to share?  Email Linda Donahue, and if we use your joke we’ll send you a prize!

Today in Labor History: July 16; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: July 162014.07.14—history-sf-longshore-strike
San Francisco Longshoreman’s strike spreads, becomes 4-day general strike – 1934
—Click here for the complete posting.

Member Tip: The Law and Union Membership
Because of actions taken by state legislatures, twenty-four states–in the South, Midwest and Southwest–are “right to work” states.  This commonly used term is actually quite misleading since the “right” given by these laws is not in any sense the right to be employed.  Rather, those working in a “right to work” state have the “right” to enjoy some of the benefits of union protection without paying a cent for them.  For private sector employees in such states, as well as for a number of public sector workers across the country, as a matter of law individuals may not be required to contribute financially to the cost of that representation.  Workplaces covered by this type of arrangement are referred to as “open shops.”  Dues-paying members often refer to workers who refuse to pay their fair share for the union’s work as “freeloaders” or “leeches.”
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: July 15

Today in Labor History: July 152014.07.14—history-steel-strike-1959
Some 50,000 lumberjacks strike for 8-hour day – 1917

Ralph Gray, an African-American sharecropper and leader of the Share Croppers Union, is murdered in Camp Hill, Ala. – 1931

A half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees – 1959
—Click here for the complete posting.

Today in Labor History: July 14; Cool Labor Site

Today in Labor History: July 142014.07.14—history-sacco-vanzetti
Italian immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murder and payroll robbery—unfairly, most historians agree—after a 2-month trial, and are eventually executed. Fifty years after their deaths the state’s governor issued a proclamation saying they had been treated unfairly and that “any disgrace should be forever removed from their names.” – 1921
—Click here for the complete posting.

2014.07.14—website-natl-wrkrs-dom-allCool Labor Site: National Domestic Workers Alliance
Daniela worked 17 hours a day for 3 dollars an hour.  She had no breaks, no overtime, and no sick days.

Luz, 40, has been physically and emotionally harassed in previous jobs, and has endured pay cuts and threats of arrest by former employers.

These women’s stories illustrate why the National Domestic Workers Alliance was formed—visit the website to learn more about their struggle for dignity and fair treatment!

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition2014.07.07—history-karloff
July 11—Striking coal miners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, dynamite barracks housing Pinkerton management thugs – 1892
July 12—The Screen Actors Guild holds its first meeting. Among those attending: future horror movie star (Frankenstein’s Monster) and union activist Boris Karloff – 1933
July 13—Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder. The strike was to become a lockout, which lasted four years more – 1995
—Click here for the complete posting.

Labor Video: CBTU Inspires!
At their recent convention, The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists brought together speakers whose words should resonate with all unionists:  Be Proud, Be Strong, Be United!  Click here to watch the video.

Today in Labor History: July 10; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: July 10
Some 14,000 federal and state troops finally succeed in putting down the strike against the Pullman Palace Car Co., which had been peaceful until July 5, 2014.07.07—history-peoples-historywhen federal troops intervened in Chicago, against the repeated protests of the governor and Chicago’s mayor. A total of 34 American Railway Union members were killed by troops over the course of the strike – 1894
(A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present: If your last serious read of American history was in high school—or even in a standard college course—you’ll want to read this amazing account of America as seen through the eyes of its working people, women and minorities.)
—Click here for the complete posting.

2014.07.07—humor-vacationVacation Woes
You know you’re going to have a bad day at work when you return from your week’s vacation, look at the calendar, and see that your vacation is scheduled for this week.
—From Workplace Jokes: Only SOME of Them Will Get You Fired!

Today in Labor History: July 9; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: July 92014.07.07—history-dutchmans-curve
The worst rail accident in U.S. history occurs when two trains pulled by 80-ton locomotives collided head-on at Dutchman’s curve in west Nashville, Tenn. 101 people died, another 171 were injured – 1918
—Click here for the complete posting.

Member Tip: Practical Aspects of Membership
The relationship between a union and those it represents is the same as between a nation and its citizens.  Unions exist because employees see that dealing with an employer only as individuals ultimately puts each of us in a weaker position.  So we make the decision to work together as a group, and to have our elected union representatives implement decisions on behalf of the group.  Will you agree with every single decision made by your union?  Not a chance.  But just the same, you and every other represented employee in your workplace benefits overall from the group decisions and actions.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,344 other followers