Today in Labor History: November 13
A total of 259 miners died in the underground Cherry Mine fire. As a result of the disaster, Illinois established stricter safety regulations and in 1911, the basis for the state’s Workers Compensation Act was passed – 1909
(Fire in the Hole! Fourteen-year-old Mick doesn’t want to end up like his father, a rough-hewn miner working for low wages in the Coeur d’Alene silver-mining district of Idaho. He doesn’t like the militant, often confrontational approach of his father’s union as the men struggle against an uncaring mine owner and would rather do his fighting with words like his mentor, Mr. Delaney, who runs the town newspaper. But when a handful of radicals blow up the mining company’s ore-concentrating mill, Mick’s dreams blow up with it.)
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Member Tip: Surveying the Members on Bargaining
Unions begin preparations for bargaining by educating their members about how and when bargaining will take place, and what the issues may be. To find out what’s on your mind, your union may hold meetings to ask you and your co-workers directly what problems you’d like your negotiators to tackle in bargaining. Very often some sort of written survey is distributed to determine what the top priorities should be, and how important each one is in the members’ eyes. (This communication is a two-way street: savvy union negotiators use questionnaires or newsletters early on not only to gather information but also to educate members on the issues that probably will be major areas of labor-management conflict in bargaining. Used this way, a bargaining survey is a tool to begin to build unity.) Whether it’s a written questionnaire or a workplace meeting, this first stage is your opportunity to weigh in on the things in your working life that you’d like to see changed through bargaining.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer