Today in Labor History: October 29; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: October 29
Japanese immigrant and labor advocate Katsu Goto is strangled to death, his body then 2014.10.27—history-katsu.gotostrung from an electric pole, on the Big Island of Hawaii by thugs hired by plantation owners.  They were outraged over Goto’s work on behalf of agricultural workers and because he opened a general store that competed with the owners’ own company store – 1889
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Member Tip: Union Stewards—First to be Asked
Your steward is your first point of contact when you have a question about whether your 2014.10.27—membertip-shop.stewardworkplace rights have been violated or when you have an idea about some union action that might improve conditions in your workplace.  It is a steward’s responsibility to do what it takes to find out, if necessary, what action may be appropriate to challenge an employer initiative and to safeguard employees’ rights.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: October 28; Union-Made in America Halloween Candy Shopping List

Today in Labor History: October 282014.10.27—history-luisa.capetillo
Union organizer and anarchist Luisa Capetillo is born in Ariecibo, Puerto Rico.  She organized tobacco and other agricultural workers in Puerto Rico and later in New York and Florida. In 1916 she led a successful sugar cane strike of more than 40,000 workers on the island.  She demanded that her union endorse voting rights for women.  In 1919, three years before her death, she was arrested for wearing pants in public, the first woman in Puerto Rico to do so.  The charges were dropped – 1879
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2014.10.27—news-candy.cornUnion-Made in America Halloween Candy Shopping List
Don’t forget to buy tasty, union-made candy for the trick-or-treaters making the rounds this week!  Before heading to the store, print out this list of union-made delights.

Today in Labor History: October 27; Cool Labor Site

Today in Labor History: October 272014.10.27—history-survival.bookcover
The New York City subway, the first rapid-transit system in America, opens. More than 100 workers died during the construction of the first 13 miles of tunnels and track – 1904
(Survival of the Fittest: Thanks to unions, construction jobs don’t cost lives the way they used to.  If you’d like to know more about construction unions, especially if you’re considering a career in the trades, read this book.  In clear, easy-to-read language it explains how to be successful in the trades and, directly linked to that success, how to make union construction thrive and prosper.)
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2014.10.27—website-holt.libraryCool Labor Site: The Holt Labor Library
The Holt Labor Library was established in 1992 to provide a working library for labor and progressive studies accessible to the general public.  Their collections and services are geared to labor and community activists as well as to students, researchers and anyone else interested in their materials.

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition2014.10.20—history-flsa
October 24The 40-hour work week goes into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by President Roosevelt two years earlier – 1940
October 25In what becomes known as the Great Hawaiian Dock Strike, a 6-month struggle to win wage parity with mainland dock workers, ends in victory – 1949
October 26After eight years and at least 1,000 worker deaths—mostly Irish immigrants—the 350-mile Erie Canal opens, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Father John Raho wrote to his bishop that “so many die that there is hardly any time to give Extreme Unction to everybody. We run night and day to assist the sick.” – 1825
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2014.10.20—video-wrkr.rghtsLabor Video: Can You Hear Us?
Fast food workers employed by McDonald’s raise their voices for a living wage.  Click here to watch the video.

Today in Labor History: October 23; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: October 232014.10.20—history-phillips.petroleum
Explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Texas, kills 23 and injures 314 – 1989
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Labor Humor: How to Get a Day Off
Two factory workers are talking.  The woman says, “I can make the boss give me the day off.”

The man replies, “And how would you do that?”

The woman says, “Just wait and see.”  She then hangs upside down from the ceiling.

The boss comes in and says, “What are you doing?”

The woman replies, “I’m a light bulb.”

The boss then says, “You’ve been working so much that you’ve lost your mind.  I think you need to take the day off.”

The man starts to follow her and the boss says, “Where are you going?”

The man says, “I’m going home, too.  I can’t work in the dark.”
—From Workplace Jokes: Only SOME of Them Will Get You Fired!

Today in Labor History: October 22; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: October 222013.10.21—history-pretty-boy-floyd
Bank robber Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd is killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio. He was a hero to the people of Oklahoma who saw him as a “Sagebrush Robin Hood,” stealing from banks and sharing some of the proceeds with the poor – 1934
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Member Tip: Not a Spectator Sport
Unions are far more than a kind of employment insurance policy for working people.  2014.10.20—membertip-spectator.sportPlenty of union members and union officials have learned the hard way that when workers come to think of their union as a business that provides service rather than a group of people banding together to fight for common interests, the union quickly loses the clout and credibility needed to defend and advance the members’ interests.  When an employer looks and sees only a small handful of paid union staff or elected union leaders, and no one standing behind them, pretty soon the employer starts thinking that “the union” isn’t really much to contend with.  And the truth is, that’s right.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: October 21; In the News

Today in Labor History: October 212014.10.20—
Wisconsin dairy farmers begin their third strike of the year in an attempt to raise the price of milk paid to producers during the Great Depression.  Several creameries were bombed before the strike ended a month later. The economy eventually improved, allowing the farmers to make more money – 1933
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2014.10.20—news-ebolaIn the News: Healthcare Unions Counsel Members on Ebola
Hundreds of thousands of Registered Nurses across North America work in our hospitals and hundreds of thousands more workers provide other hospital care and support services.  Unions representing these workers are advising their members as the Ebola outbreak made its way to Texas and infected two nurses who were caring for a terminal victim of the disease.
National Nurses United:
The Service Employees International Union:
AFT Nurses and Health Professionals: