Today in Labor History: July 29
A preliminary delegation from Mother Jones’ March of the Mill Children from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, publicizing the harsh conditions of child labor, arrives today. They are not allowed through the gates – 1903
(The Autobiography of Mother Jones: Mary Harris Jones—“Mother Jones”—was the most dynamic woman ever to grace the American labor movement. Employers and politicians around the turn of the century called her “the most dangerous woman in America” and rebellious working men and women loved her as they never loved anyone else. She was an absolutely fearless and tireless advocate for working people, especially coal miners. A founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies—she feared neither soldiers’ guns nor the ruling class’s jails. Here, in her own words, is her story of organizing in steel, railroading, textiles and mining; her crusade against child labor; her fight to organize women; even her involvement in the Mexican revolution.)
—Click here for the complete posting.
Member Tip: The Steps of a Grievance
Before just about any workplace complaint is put into writing, as a formal grievance, an attempt should be made to work through the problem at the lowest level. Even if your contract’s grievance procedure doesn’t specifically call for an informal oral step to start out with, you and/or your union steward should talk to a supervisor in an attempt to clear up any misunderstandings, or to resolve any disagreement. This is almost always a good idea, in part because once a complaint is committed to writing, parties’ positions tend to harden. And even if an informal attempt to address a problem does not in fact resolve it, it generally has the beneficial effect of clarifying what the problem is and how the parties may see it differently. But if informal attempts don’t work, the next step consists of formally putting the grievance in writing. Generally the idea is simply to lay out, at least in general terms, that an identified action taken by the employer is being challenged, and that certain relief is sought. Your contract booklet itself may contain a sample form to be used to initiate a grievance. One or more face-to-face meetings take place following the filing of a formal written grievance. At these meetings, the union and the employer representatives try to hash out whether they agree on what the facts are, whether the contract has in fact been violated, and if so, what it will take to resolve the grievance.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer