Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition

January 27
New York City maids organize to improve working conditions – 1734

Mine explosion in Mount Pleasant, Pa., leaves more than 100 dead – 1891

First meeting of the Int’l Labor Organization (ILO) – 1920

Kansas miners strike against compulsory arbitration – 1920

A 3¢ postage stamp is issued, honoring AFL founder Samuel Gompers – 1950
(There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America is the sympathetic, thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s to organized labor’s decline in the 1980s and struggle for survival and growth today.)

A group of Detroit African-American auto workers known as the Eldon Avenue Axle Plant Revolutionary Union Movement leads a wildcat strike against racism and bad working conditions.  They are critical of both automakers and the UAW, condemning the seniority system and grievance procedures as racist – 1969

Pete Seeger dies in New York at age 94. A musician and activist, he was a revered figure on the American left, persecuted during the McCarthy era for his support of  progressive, labor and civil rights causes. A prolific songwriter, he is generally credited with popularizing the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” He actively participated in demonstrations until shortly before his death – 2014

Members of the Northwestern University football team announce they are seeking union recognition. A majority signed cards, later delivered to the National Labor Relations Board office in Chicago, asking for representation by the College Athletes Players Association – 2014

January 28
American Miners’ Association formed – 1861

First U.S. unemployment compensation law enacted, in Wisconsin – 1932

January 29
Responding to unrest among Irish laborers building the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, President Andrew Jackson orders first use of American troops to suppress a labor dispute – 1834

Six thousand railway workers strike for a union and the end of 18-hour day – 1889

Sit-down strike helps establish United Rubber Workers as a national union, Akron, Ohio – 1936

American Train Dispatchers Department granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1957

Dolly Parton hits number one on the record charts with “9 to 5,” her anthem to the daily grind – 1981

Newly-elected President Barack Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it easier for women and minorities to win pay discrimination suits – 2009

Click here for the complete posting.