Today in Labor History: August 26
The Women’s Strike for Equality is staged in cities across the U.S., marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, under which women won the right to vote. A key focus of the strike—in fact, more accurately a series of marches and demonstrations—was equality in the workplace. An estimated 20,000 women participated, some carrying signs with the iconic slogan, “Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot.” Another sign: “Hardhats for Soft Broads” – 1970
Member Tip: Unwritten “Past Practice” Laws
Depending on what your collective bargaining agreement says, it may be that the way things are in your workplace—established “past practices”—are actually enforceable under the contract or in another legal forum. Arbitrators resolving contract disputes will sometimes rule that employees have the right to do something the way it’s always been done, even if there’s no explicit language saying so in the contract. For example, at night you may park in a close-by customer lot because that’s where everyone always parks, even though the contract doesn’t say anything about parking. Suppose one day your employer puts up a sign prohibiting parking there. The union may well have a grievance it can win that the “past practice” of parking in that lot can’t be changed unilaterally.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer