Today in Labor History: May 02
In Germany, Adolph Hitler issues an edict abolishing all labor unions, part of his effort to ban any political opposition – 1933
Also on this date: Chicago’s first Trades Assembly sponsors a general strike by thousands of workers to enforce the state’s new eight hour day law…Birth of Richard Trevellick, a ship carpenter, founder of American National Labor Union and later head of the National Labor Congress…First Workers’ Compensation law in U.S. enacted, in Wisconsin… Pres. Herbert Hoover declares that the stock market crash six months earlier was just a “temporary setback”… click here for complete postings.
Member Tip: Get Involved
The resources of any union are limited, and there is always much more that unions could do to be even more effective in defending the members’ interest. A union’s power is unleashed when individual members take it upon themselves to pitch in and each does a little something to contribute to the larger effort. No matter what kind of person you are, you have something you can contribute to make your union stronger. If you have good writing skills, you might volunteer to work on the local newsletter. If you have some expertise in health care benefits or health and safety matters, you might volunteer to serve on a committee or help out during contract negotiations. At the very least, we’ve all got at least a little time to spare once or twice a month, so why not volunteer to help hand-deliver union literature to your fellow employees?
— Adapted from The Union Members Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer
Labor Song: Where Do You Stand?
The Whiteville Choir are members of UNITE Local 1077 in Whiteville, N.C. They all work at Whiteville Apparel, a factory which manufactures men’s suits bearing the UNITE union label. The Choir’s unique blend of labor and gospel music has been an inspiration to union activists around the world. They have been featured in SingOut Magazine, Australia’s Green Left Weekly, The Independent, and numerous national labor publications. Their raucous and heartfelt music never fails to rock diverse audiences to their feet at music festivals, concerts, and labor conferences. They offer an ongoing presence at picket lines and demonstrations throughout the South. Click here to listen to the song.