Today in Labor History: July 1; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: July 12015.06.29-history-homestead.strike
Homestead, Pa., steel strike.  Seven strikers and three Pinkertons killed as Andrew Carnegie hires armed thugs to protect strikebreakers – 1892
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Member Tip: Who Can File a Grievance?
Individual members of the bargaining unit—that is, you and your co-workers—can initiate grievances under the contract if you believe that the terms of the collective bargaining agreement have been violated. In fact, the law covering your type of workplace may even provide that you have the right to initiate a grievance with your employer without a union representative even being present. But keep a few things in mind if you consider this course of action. First, the law provides that the union must be given the opportunity to be present at any “adjustment” (that is, a settlement) of a grievance—it may affect other people, or set a precedent that could affect other people. Second, past a certain level it is almost always your union, not you as an individual, that has the right to pursue the grievance. And perhaps most important, for your own protection and for the good of your co-workers, it’s almost always a good idea to involve your union representative right from the very beginning of pursuing a grievance.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: June 30

Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to mine coal, a practice that had been in place since 1848. In 1898, 73 percent of the state’s total revenue came from this source. 25 percent of all black leased convicts died – 1928

The Walsh-Healey Act took effect today. It requires companies that supply goods to the government to pay wages according to a schedule set by the Secretary of Labor – 1936

The storied Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, a union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America – 1967
Up to 40,000 New York construction workers demonstrated in midtown Manhattan, protesting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s awarding of a $33 million contract to a nonunion company. Eighteen police and three demonstrators were injured. “There were some scattered incidents and some minor violence,” Police Commissioner Howard Safir told the New York Post. “Generally, it was a pretty well-behaved crowd.” – 1998

Nineteen firefighters die when they are overtaken by a wildfire they are battling in a forest northwest of Phoenix, Ariz.  It was the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. in at least 30 years – 2013
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Today in Labor History: June 29; Cool Labor Site

Today in Labor History: June 292015.06.29-history-iww
IWW strikes Weyerhauser and other Idaho lumber camps – 1936
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Cool Labor Site: IRLE
The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) is an “Organized Research Unit” of the University of California at Berkeley that brings together faculty from several academic departments and supports multidisciplinary research about labor and employment relations. IRLE sponsors many faculty-run research centers; links to all of the centers may be found on the Program’s page.

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition; Labor Video

Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
June 26—Members of the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, refuse to 2015.06.22-history-emma.goldmanhandle Pullman cars, in solidarity with Pullman strikers. Two dozen strikers were killed over the course of the strike – 1894
June 27—Emma Goldman, women’s rights activist and radical, born in Lithuania. She came to the U.S. at age 17 – 1869
June 28—Birthday of machinist Matthew Maguire, who many believe first suggested Labor Day. Others believe it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter – 1850
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2015.06.22-video-sickLabor Video: Boss Calls in Sick!
Funny FedEx ad about what happens when the boss calls in sick. Maybe the employees wouldn’t be as anxious to cut out if FedEx were unionized…? Click here to watch a trailer of the movie.

Today in Labor History: June 25; Labor Humor

Today in Labor History: June 252015.06.22-history-foreworks.plant
A total of 21 workers are killed when a fireworks factory near Hallett, Okla., explodes – 1985
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Labor Humor: The Lighter Side
It’s mid-summer, the office air conditioning is broken, and one worker has had enough. He turns to his co-worker in the next cubicle and tells him: “Watch this. I’m going to get the rest of the day off.” When he sees the boss approaching he proceeds to hang himself upside down from an overhead pipe.
+++The startled boss sees the worker hanging there and asks him what he’s doing.
+++“I’m a light bulb,” the worker explains. The boss, figuring the man has suffered some sort of breakdown, orders him to go home. The worker climbs down and prepares to leave.
+++His co-worker, meanwhile, starts packing up to go home as well. The boss says, “Where do you think YOU’RE going?”
+++The co-worker responds: “Well, you certainly can’t expect me to work in the dark!”
—From Workplace Jokes: Only SOME of Them Will Get You Fired!

Today in Labor History: June 24; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: June 242015.06.22-history-agnes.nestor
Birth of Agnes Nestor, president of the Int’l Glove Workers Union and longtime leader of the Chicago Women’s Trade Union League. She began work in a glove factory at age 14 – 1880
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Member Tip: Your Role in the Grievance Process
What is your role in processing a grievance through the steps?  First, of course, it is your job initially to approach you union representative and report the problem as you see it. 2015.06.22-membertip-grievancesYou will need to set forth the facts as accurately as you can and to make sure that your representative understands not only what has happened, but why it is a matter of concern to you and, perhaps, your co-workers as well. As the grievance case goes on, your steward or union grievance committee may well need additional information to evaluate or to process the grievance. Since you have a stake in the outcome, you should be prepared to assist them in obtaining any needed information. Building a winning grievance case usually is a team effort.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer

Today in Labor History: June 23

Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, goes to Butte, Mont. in an attempt to mediate a conflict between factions of the miner’s local there. It didn’t go well. Gunfight in the union hall killed one man; Moyer and other union officers left the building, which was then leveled in a dynamite blast – 19142015.06.22-history-elected-new
(I Just Got Elected—Now What? A New Union Officer’s Handbook: If only Moyer had had this guide to building a strong and effective local union.  Don’t buy this book if your goal is simply to do things the way they’ve always been done, skating by as things just bump along.  That, the author says, is what has weakened unions.  Rather than one or maybe a handful of officers running your local from the top, Barry says, you’ve got to educate and involve your members at every level, using the organizing model of unionism—and he shows you how to do it.)

Congress overrides President Harry Truman’s veto of the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act. The law weakened unions and let states exempt themselves from union requirements. Twenty states immediately enacted open shop laws and more followed – 1947
OSHA issues standard on cotton dust to protect 600,000 workers from byssinosis, also known as “brown lung” – 1978

A majority of the 5,000 textile workers at six Fieldcrest Cannon textile plants in Kannapolis, N.C., vote for union representation after an historic 25-year fight – 1999
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