Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
May 8—About 200 construction workers in New York City attack a crowd of Vietnam war protesters four days after the Kent State killings. More than 70 people were injured, including four police officers. Peter Brennan, head of the New York building trades, was honored at the Nixon White House two weeks later, eventually named Secretary of Labor – 1970
May 9—Hollywood studio mogul Louis B. Mayer recognizes the Screen Actors Guild. SAG leaders reportedly were bluffing when they told Mayer that 99 percent of all actors would walk out the next morning unless he dealt with the union. Some 5,000 actors attended a victory gathering the following day at Hollywood Legion Stadium; a day later, SAG membership increased 400 percent – 1937
(Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films About Labor: This wonderful book is an encyclopedic guide to 350 labor films from around the world, ranging from those you’ve heard of—Salt of the Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, Roger & Me—to those you’ve never heard of but will fall in love with once you see them. Zaniello describes all the films in detail, tells you whether they’re available for rental or purchase, and, if so, where. Fiction and nonfiction, the films are about unions, labor history, working-class life, political movements, and the struggle between labor and capital. Each entry includes critical commentary, production data, cast list, suggested related films, and annotated references to books and Web sites for further reading.)
May 10—Thanks to an army of thousands of Chinese and Irish immigrants, who laid 2,000 miles of track, the nation’s first transcontinental railway line was finished by the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines at Promontory Point, Utah – 1869
—Click here for the complete posting.
Labor Video: IBEW in Hollywood
There’s no business like show business: IBEW Hollywood studio technicians talk about, and show, their movie-making work. Click here to watch the video.