Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition2014.09.15—history-joe.glazer
September 19—Musician and labor educator Joe Glazer, often referred to as “Labor’s Troubadour,” died today at age 88.  Some of his more acclaimed songs include “The Mill Was Made of Marble,” “Too Old to Work” and “Automaton.” In 1979 he and labor folklorist Archie Green convened a meeting of 14 other labor musicians to begin what was to become the annual Great Labor Arts Exchange and, soon thereafter, the Labor Heritage Foundation – 2006
September 20—According to folklorist John Garst, steel-drivin’ man John Henry, born a slave, outperformed a steam hammer on this date at the Coosa Mountain Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway (now part of the Norfolk Southern) near Leeds, Ala. Other researchers place the contest near Talcott, W. Va. – 1887
September 21—Mother Jones leads a march of miners’ children through the streets of Charleston, W. Va. – 1912
2014.09.15—history-maspeaks.bookcover(Mother Jones Speaks: Speeches and Writings: You can read here the actual speech Jones made on this day in 1912 to striking coal miners in Charleston, WV:  “…this crime, starvation and murder of the innocents, so they can fill the operators’ pockets, and build dog kennels for the workers.  Is it right?” Admirers of Mother Jones will want this comprehensive collection of her speeches, letters, articles, interviews and testimony before Congressional committees. In her own words, this brave and determined heroine, active from the end of the Civil War until shortly before her death in 1930, explains her life, her mission, her passion on behalf of working people.)
Click here for the complete posting.

Labor Video: Almost (or Absolutely) Evil2014.09.15—video-koch.sisters
Meet Joyce and Karen Koch—two ordinary everyday Americans who share the last name.  They are not related to right wing moneymen David and Charles Koch… or to each other, but they are sisters where it counts—in spirit, in union solidarity, and in their shared values.  Click here to watch the video.

Today in Labor History: September 18; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: September 182014.09.15—history-usps-morris-curseen
One week after the September 11, 2001, attacks, anthrax spores are mailed by an unknown party to several news media offices and two U.S. senators. Five people exposed to the spores died, including two workers at Washington, D.C.’s USPS Brentwood facility: Thomas Morris Jr. and Joseph Curseen, who were to die of their exposure within the month – 2001
Click here for the complete posting.

Labor Humor: With Apologies
The union rep and the department supervisor were having a heated exchange about an order the supervisor had given a worker.

2014.09.15—humor-argument“Honestly,” the union rep shouted, “You are so stupid,” and he marched off.

The supervisor went to the plant manager to complain that the rep had called him stupid.  “I expect a full apology!” insisted the supervisor.

So the plant manager called the union rep into a meeting with the supervisor and told the rep that he needed to apologize.  The rep said to the supervisor, “I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings when I said you were stupid. I honestly thought you already knew.”
—Got a labor joke you’d like to share?  Click here to email us and if we use your joke we’ll send you a prize!

Today in Labor History: September 17; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: September 172014.09.15—history-pa.coal.miners
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
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Member Tip: What is a Union Steward?
The heart and soul of any union is its members, and they are pulled together by a network of first-line union representatives, often called stewards.  Your union may use a different title for this position, such as department rep or representative spokesperson, but the functions will be the same.  Stewards are the “eyes and ears” of the union, keeping track for the union of what’s happening on a day-to-day basis.  An effective steward functions as a two-way pipeline:  passing information along to higher-ups in the union, so that they can formulate plans to respond to employer actions, and making sure that the union members in their areas are kept informed about what’s going on within the union.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: September 16

Today in Labor History: 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 2014.09.15—history-posters.bookcoverboycott.  The agreement marked the first time an American labor union represented guest workers – 2004
(Posters about farmworker boycotts and organizing campaigns are intermingled with other great images in Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters Lincoln Cushing and Timothy W. Drescher share their vast knowledge about the rich graphic tradition of labor posters. Here you will find lavish full-color reproductions of more than 250 of the best posters that have emerged from the American labor movement on topics ranging from core issues such as wages and working conditions to discrimination to international solidarity.)

2014.09.15—history-trumkaRichard 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
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Today in Labor History: September 15; Cool Labor Site

Today in Labor History: September 152014.09.15—history-auto.workers.strike
More than 350,000 members of the United Auto Workers begin what is to become a 69-day strike against General Motors – 1970
Click here for the complete posting.

Cool Labor Site: Our Kind of Movies!
Looking for a great movie that will both entertain and inspire?  Check out this list of films that makes it easy to find a winner!

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition2014.09.08—history-attica
September 12National Guardsmen fire on “sullen and rebellious” strikers at the Woonsocket (Rhode Island) Rayon plant, killing one and injuring three others.  A correspondent said the crowd of about 2,000 “went completely wild with rage.”  Word spread, 6,000 more workers arrived at the scene and the city was put under military rule.  The governor declared that “there is a Communist uprising and not a textile strike” in the state – 1934
2014.09.08—history-ella-mae-wigginsSeptember 13Eleven AFSCME-represented prison employees, 33 inmates die in four days of rioting at New York State’s Attica Prison and the retaking of the prison. The riot caused the nation to take a closer look at prison conditions, for inmates and their guards alike – 1971
September 14Gastonia, 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
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Labor Video: Documentary About Strikebreaking2014.09.08—video-strikebreak
Fascinating Depression-era “March of Time” documentary about strikebreaking.  This video, made during the Great Depression, is framed as an exposé of strikebreaking firms.  Oddly, the hero of the story shown is Gov. Eugene Talmadge of Georgia, who ejects strikebreakers from the state.  Talmadge was, in reality, opposed to the New Deal and a strong defender of racial segregation.  Click here to watch the video.

Today in Labor History: September 11; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: September 112014.09.08—history-FDNY-911
More than 3,000 people died when suicide highjackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.  Among the dead in New York were 634 union members, the majority of them New York City firefighters and police on the scene when the towers fell – 2001
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Labor Humor: Technological Improvements
While up in the attic helping with some cleaning, Diane’s grandkids uncovered an old manual typewriter and asked, “What’s this?”
   “Oh, that’s a typewriter,” she answered, thinking that would satisfy their curiosity.
 2014.09.08—humor-typewriter   “Well, what does it do?” they asked.
    “I’ll show you,” Diane said. She found a piece of paper, rolled it into the typewriter and began striking the keys, leaving black letters on the page.
    “WOW!” the boys exclaimed, “That’s really cool—but how does it work? Where do you plug it in?”
    “There is no plug,” she answered. “It doesn’t need a plug.”
    “Then where do you put the batteries?” they persisted.
    “It doesn’t need batteries either,” she replied.
    “Wow! This is so cool!” the youngsters exclaimed. “Someone should have invented this a long time ago!”
—Got a labor joke you’d like to share?  Click here to email us and if we use your joke we’ll send you a prize

Today in Labor History: September 10; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: September 102014.09.08—history-lattimer.massacre
In Pennsylvania, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovak miners are gunned down by the Latimer Mine’s sheriff deputies—19 dead, more than 50 wounded—during a peaceful march from Hazelton to Latimer.   Some 3,000 were marching for collective bargaining and civil liberty.  The shooters were tried for murder but the jury failed to convict – 1897
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2014.09.08—membertip-bargainingMember Tip: What Your Union Contract Covers
What’s covered and what’s not covered in a collective bargaining agreement varies quite a bit, depending on a lot of factors.  What legally may be included in the contract and what the contract terms will be on particular subjects are determined by such factors as what bargaining law governs your workplace, the sort of work you do, and what the standard practices are in your industry or geographic area.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: September 9

Today in Labor History: September 9
In convention at Topeka, Kan., delegates create the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America. The men who repaired the nation’s rail cars were paid 10 or 15¢ an hour, working 12 hours a day, often seven days a week – 1890
More than a thousand Boston police officers strike after 19 union leaders are fired for organizing activities. Massachusetts 2014.09.08—history-boston-police-strikeGov. Calvin Coolidge announced that none of the strikers would be rehired, mobilized the state police, and recruited an entirely new police force from among unemployed veterans of the Great War (World War I) – 1919
Sixteen striking Filipino sugar workers on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are killed by police; four police died as well. Many of the surviving strikers were jailed, then deported – 1924

United Auto Workers President Leonard Woodcock is named in Pres. Richard Nixon’s “Enemy’s List,” a White House compilation of Americans Nixon regarded as major political opponents.  Another dozen union presidents were added later.  The existence of the list was revealed during Senate Watergate Committee hearings – 1973
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Today in Labor History: September 8; Cool Labor Site

Today in Labor History: September 82014.09.08—history-mckees
Employers give in to the demands of striking miners in McKees Rocks, Pa., agree to improved working conditions, 15-percent hike in wages and elimination of a “pool system” that gave foremen control over each worker’s pay – 1909
Click here for the complete posting.

Cool Labor Site: Eugene V. Debs
 Official website for Eugene V. Debs, five-time Socialist candidate for president—the only candidate to run for U.S. president from prison—advocate of industrial unionism, and a tireless champion of the working class.


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