Today in Labor History: October 28
Union organizer and anarchist Luisa Capetillo is born in Ariecibo, Puerto Rico. She organized tobacco and other agricultural workers in Puerto Rico and later in New York and Florida. In 1916 she led a successful sugar cane strike of more than 40,000 workers on the island. She demanded that her union endorse voting rights for women. In 1919, three years before her death, she was arrested for wearing pants in public, the first woman in Puerto Rico to do so. The charges were dropped – 1879
The Gateway Arch, a 630-foot high inverted centenary arch of stainless steel marking the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Mo., is completed after two and one-half years. Although it was predicted 13 lives would be lost in construction, not a single worker died – 1965
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Member Tip: Support the Union—It’s the Fair Thing
Think about the relationship between a government and its citizens. Each of us approves of many of the decisions made on our behalf by our elected representatives, but disapproves of others. Imagine the foolishness of trying to have a society where each person decided things based only on what was best for him or her individually. The fact is, we all benefit from understanding that the only practical way to live together is to have a group of people with common interests making group decisions. So each of us pays taxes, with the understanding that our pooled funds generally are used for the common good. In most cases, it’s simply not practical to allow individuals to “opt out” of society’s decisions. You, for example, may not have school-age children, but it would hardly be realistic for you to pay a slightly lower percentage of taxes because you don’t directly benefit from (or even approve of) spending on public education. Or you may have a neighbor who doesn’t think that the stop sign on the corner is really necessary, but you sure want her to obey it if your kid is trying to cross the street.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer