Today in Labor History: August 23
The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations is formed by Congress, during a period of great labor and social unrest. After three years, and hearing witnesses ranging from Wobblies to capitalists, it issued an 11-volume report frequently critical of capitalism. The New York Herald characterized the Commission’s president, Frank P. Walsh, as “a Mother Jones in trousers” – 1912
Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, accused of murder and tried unfairly, were executed on this day. The case became an international cause and sparked demonstrations and strikes throughout the world – 1927
Seven merchant seamen crewing the SS Baton Rouge Victory lost their lives when the ship was sunk by Viet Cong action en route to Saigon – 1966
Farm Workers Organizing Committee (to later become United Farm Workers of America) granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1966
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Labor Book: Stupid White Men
Michael Moore hit the New York Times bestseller list with Downsize This!, in which he took on greedy employers, NAFTA, corporate crooks and other bad guys. With Stupid White Men, which became the best-selling non-fiction book of 2002, Moore really hit home with his take on why we are where we are today, pulling it off with more of his special brand of observation that’s equal parts biting humor and penetrating insight. In the UCS bookstore now.
Labor Humor: Corporate Buzzwords Explained
Here’s a handy guide to the meanings of some corporate buzzwords you may encounter on the job: “Uninstalled” is a euphemism for being fired. A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, and then leaves is a Seagull Manager. Assmosis is the process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard. An outside expert brought in to “reduce the employee headcount,” leaving the top brass with clean hands is known as a Chainsaw Consultant, named after “Chainsaw” Al Dunlop, the CEO notorious for firing thousands of workers at Sunbeam and other companies.