Today in Labor History: December 10
First sit-down strike in U.S. called by IWW at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. – 1906
International Human Rights Day, commemorating the signing at the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, in part: “Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests” – 1948
American Federation of Teachers Local 89 in Atlanta, Georgia, disaffiliates from the national union because of an AFT directive that all its locals integrate. A year later, the AFT expelled all locals that refused to do so – 1956
(All Labor has Dignity: People forget that Dr. Martin Luther King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform. As we struggle with massive unemployment, a staggering racial wealth gap, and the near collapse of a financial system that puts profits before people, this collection of King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice underscore his relevance for today. They help us imagine King anew: as a human rights leader whose commitment to unions and an end to poverty was a crucial part of his civil rights agenda.)
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Labor Quiz: Brooklyn Bridge
This Week’s Quiz: How many workers died during the 14-year construction of the Brooklyn Bridge? Was it 16, 27 or 43? Click here and you could be next week’s winner of a labor music CD!
Last Week’s Quiz: Between 1972 and 2010, the earnings of the typical male worker, adjusted to 2010 dollars, have risen by a total of $165. Congrats to Bill Henning of CWA Local 1180, New York, NY, this week’s quiz (and CD) winner!
Labor Quote: Living in McPoverty
“In this job having a union would really be a dream come true. We don’t get paid for what we do. It really is living in poverty.”
— Raymond Lopez, 21, an aspiring actor who has worked at a Manhattan McDonald’s for more than two years, earning $8.75 an hour, talking to a New York Times reporter as he picketed his restaurant.
GOT QUOTE? Click here to send us your favorite labor quote and we’ll consider it for future posts!