Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition

June 10
Unions legalized in Canada – 1872

The mayor of Monroe, Mich. organizes a vigilante mob of 1,400 armed with baseball bats and teargas to break the  organizing picket line of 200 striking workers at Newton Steel.  The line is broken; eight are injured and hospitalized. Sixteen workers’ cars were vandalized, five cars overturned, and eight more were dumped into the River Raisin – 1937

U.S. Supreme Court rules in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. that preliminary work activities, where controlled by the employer and performed entirely for the employer’s benefit, are properly included as working time. The decision is known as the “portal to portal case” – 1946

President Kennedy signs a law mandating equal pay to women who are performing the same jobs as men (Equal Pay Act) – 1963

June 11
Representatives from the AFL, Knights of Labor, populists, railroad brotherhoods and other trade unions hold a unity conference in St. Louis but fail to overcome their differences – 1894
(Welcome to the Union: Don’t let management’s voice be the only one heard by new employees who hire on in your unionized workplace. Welcome them to the job with this easy-to-read, solidarity-building introduction to unionism. It comes in two versions—public sector and private sector.)

Police shoot at maritime workers striking United Fruit Co. in New Orleans; one killed, two wounded – 1913

John L. Lewis dies. A legendary figure, he was president of the United Mine Workers from 1920 to 1960 and a driving force behind the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations – 1969

June 12
Fifty thousand members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen employed in meatpacking plants walk off their jobs; demands include equalization of wages and conditions throughout U.S. plants – 1904
(No Contract, No Peace: A Legal Guide to Contract Campaigns, Strikes and Lockouts: This book is a must-have for any union or activist considering aggressive action to combat management’s growing economic war against workers. No Contract, No Peace! updates information contained in the first edition, entitled Strikes, Picketing and Inside Campaigns, to include reference to recent union activities and NLRB decisions that have affected the labor relations environment. Schwartz’s familiarity with labor and employment law combines with his activist spirit to provide innovative yet practical tips for mounting and maintaining meaningful campaigns designed to build union and workers’ power.)

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidates two sections of a Florida law: one required state licensing of paid union business agents, the other required registration with the state of all unions and their officers – 1945

Major League Baseball strike begins, forces cancellation of 713 games. Most observers blamed team owners for the strike: they were trying to recover from a court decision favoring the players on free agency – 1981
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