Today in Labor History: July 17
Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny – 1944
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Member Tip: Educate Yourself
If you’re going to participate in the union decisions that affect your workplace life, you should do so intelligently. This means taking the time to learn about the union and the issues it is dealing with on behalf of the members. If you don’t have a copy of the union contract, get one and look through it, at least enough to get a good idea about what topics are covered and what the specifics are. Make a mental note not only of what rights the union is already in a position to protect but also what improvements you’d like to see in the next round of bargaining.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer