Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
The Air Line Pilots Association is founded at a meeting in Chicago attended by 24 activists from across the country – 1931
Hundreds of Transport Workers Union members descend on a New York City courthouse, offering their own money to bail out their president, Mike Quill, and four other union leaders arrested while making their way through Grand Central Station to union headquarters after picketing the IRT offices in lower Manhattan – 1935
President Roosevelt signs amendments to the 1935 Social Security Act, broadening the program to include dependents and survivors’ benefits – 1939
Construction on the St. Lawrence Seaway begins. Ultimately 22,000 workers spent five years building the 2,342 mile route from the Atlantic to the northernmost part of the Great Lakes – 1954
I.W. Abel, president of the United Steel Workers of America from 1965 to 1977, dies at age 79 – 1987
Pres. Barack Obama signs a $26 billion bill designed to protect 300,000 teachers, police and others from layoffs spurred by budgetary crises in states hard-hit by the Great Recession – 2010
Federal troops drive some 1,200 jobless workers from Washington D.C. Led by unemployed activist Charles “Hobo” Kelley the group’s “soldiers” include young journalist Jack London and William Haywood, a young miner-cowboy called “Big Bill” – 1884
One hundred “platform men” employed by the privately owned United Railroads streetcar service in San Francisco abandon their streetcars, tying up many of the main lines in and out of the city center – 1917
International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union receives CIO charter – 1937
The national Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners is founded in Chicago in a gathering of 36 carpenters from 11 cities – 1881
Coal company guards kill 7, wound 40 striking miners who are trying to stop scabs, Virden, Ill. – 1898
With the news that their boss, Florenz Ziegfeld, was joining the Producing Managers’ Assn., the chorus girls in his Ziegfield Follies create their own union, the Chorus Equity Assn. They were helped by a big donation from superstar and former chorus girl Lillian Russell. In 1955 the union merged with the Actor’s Equity Assn. – 1919
Teamsters official William Grami is kidnapped, bound and beaten near Sebastopol, Calif. He was leading a drive to organize apple plant workers in the area – 1955
The North American Free Trade Agreement—NAFTA— was concluded between the United States, Canada and Mexico, despite protests from labor, environmental and human rights groups. It went into effect in January, 1994 – 1992
[NAFTA From Below: In testimonies from scores of Mexicans across that country, this book details the terrible impact NAFTA has had south of the border. These first-hand accounts of workers organizing for their rights, of farmers and indigenous peoples fighting to preserve their land, and of efforts north and south to build alternatives, document the courage of ordinary people who dare to join together and fight for decent working conditions, just salaries, a clean environment and lives with dignity. Co-editor Martha A. Ojeda worked in the maquiladoras for 20 years and was the leader of a wildcat strike of Sony workers in Nuevo Laredo in 1994. In the UCS bookstore now.]
What was to become a 232-day strike by major league baseball players over owners’ demands for team salary caps began on this day; 938 games were cancelled – 1994
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Cool Labor Site: New Deal Legacy
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the New Deal within weeks of his election in 1933 as a way to help Americans make it through The Great Depression, in large part by creating millions of public jobs, many of them in the arts and land conservation. http://www.newdeallegacy.org/
Labor Video: Safety First!
Funny yet painful to watch video shows some less-than-skilled construction workers experiencing awfully bad moments. Click here to watch the video.