Today in Labor History: March 22


Mark Twain, a lifelong member of the Int’l Typographical Union (now part of CWA), speaks in Hartford, Conn., extolling the Knights of Labor’s commitment to fair treatment of all workers, regardless of race or gender – 1886

The Grand Coulee Dam on Washington state’s Columbia River begins operation after a decade of construction.  Eight thousand workers labored on the project; 77 died – 1941

Eight hundred striking workers at Brown & Sharpe in Kingstown, R.I. are tear-gassed by state and local police in what was to become a losing 17-year-long fight by the Machinists union – 1982
(From Blackjacks to Briefcases: This is the first book to document the systematic and extensive use by American corporations of professional union busters, an ugly profession that surfaced after the Civil War and has grown bolder and more sophisticated with the passage of time. Since the 1980s, hundreds of firms—including the Detroit News, Caterpillar and Pittston Coal, to name but three—have paid out millions of dollars to hired thugs. Some have been in uniforms and carried nightsticks and guns, others have worn three-piece suits and carried attaché cases, but all had one simple mission: to break the backs of workers struggling for decency and fair treatment on the job.)

A 32-day lockout of major league baseball players ends with an agreement to raise the minimum league salary from $68,000 to $100,000 and to study revenue-sharing between owners and players – 1990

A bitter six-and-a-half-year UAW strike at Caterpillar Inc. ends. The strike and settlement, which included a two-tier wage system and other concessions, deeply divided the union – 1998
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