Today in Labor History: October 15
President Woodrow Wilson signs the Clayton Antitrust Act—often referred to as “Labor’s Magna Carta”—establishing that unions are not “conspiracies” under the law. It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law – 1914
(Every Employee’s Guide to the Law, 3rd edition: The Clayton Antitrust Act was liberating, but on a day-to-day basis you need to know about current laws. This book goes into solid, useful detail about the federal and state laws that, together with union contracts, are designed to assure fairness and justice in the workplace.)
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Member Tip: Union Movement = Social Justice Movement
Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down in Memphis in 1968, the day after delivering his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. But how many Americans know that what brought Dr. King to Memphis was the melding of a labor union contract fight and the growing force of the civil rights movement? There long has been recognition on the union side, as well, that our fight for improved working conditions is connected to the social justice movement in the larger society.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer