Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition

March 17
The leadership of the American Federation of Labor selects the Carpenters union to lead the 8-hour movement. Carpenters throughout the country strike in April; by May 1, some 46,000 carpenters in 137 cities and towns have achieved shorter hours – 1890

A U.S.-China treaty prevents Chinese laborers from entering the U.S. – 1894

Staffers at San Francisco progressive rock station KMPX-FM strike, citing corporate control over what music is played and harassment over hair and clothing styles, among other things. The Rolling Stones, Joan Baez, the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and other musicians request that the station not play their music as long as the station is run by strikebreakers – 1968

Boeing Co. and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) come to terms on a new contract, settling the largest white-collar walkout in U.S. history.  SPEEA represented some 22,000 workers, of whom 19,000 honored picket lines for 40 days – 2000

March 18
Six laborers in Dorset, England—the “Tolpuddle Martyrs”—are banished to the Australian penal colony for seven years for forming a union, the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers.  Some 800,000 residents of the United Kingdom signed petitions calling for their release – 1834

Police evict retail clerks occupying New York Woolworth’s in fight for 40-hour week – 1937

The Post Office’s first mass work stoppage in 195 years begins in Brooklyn and Manhattan and spreads to 210,000 of the nation’s 750,000 postal employees. Mail service is virtually paralyzed in several cities, and President Nixon declares a state of emergency. A settlement comes after two weeks – 1970

The Los Angeles City Council passes the first living wage ordinance in California. The ordinance required almost all city contractors to pay a minimum wage of $8.50 an hour, or $7.25 if the employer was contributing at least $1.25 toward health benefits, with annual adjustments for inflation – 1997

Walmart agrees to pay a record $11 million to settle a civil immigration case for using undocumented immigrants to do overnight cleaning at stores in 21 states – 2005

As the Great Recession continues, President Obama signs a $17.6 billion job-creation measure a day after it is passed by Congress – 2010

March 19
U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Adamson Act, a federal law that established an eight-hour workday, with overtime pay, for interstate railway workers. Congress passed the law a year earlier to avert a nationwide rail strike – 1917

In an effort to block massive layoffs and end a strike, New York City moves to condemn and seize Fifth Avenue Coach, the largest privately owned bus company in the world – 1962

Three workers are killed, five injured during a test of the Space Shuttle Columbia – 1981

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