IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


Today in labor history for the week of November 15, 2010


November 15
Founding convention of the Federation of Trades and Labor Unions is held in Pittsburgh. It urges enactment of employer liability, compulsory education, uniform apprenticeship and child and convict labor laws. Five years later it changes its name to the American Federation of Labor - 1881

November 16
A county judge in Punxutawney, Pa. grants an injunction requested by the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co. forbidding strikers from speaking to strikebreakers, posting signs declaring a strike is in progress, or even singing hymns. Union leaders termed the injunction “drastic.” - 1927

The National Football League Players Assn. ends a 57-day strike that shortened the season to nine games. The players wanted, but failed to win until many years later, a higher share of gross team revenues - 1982

November 17
The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York is founded "to provide cultural, educational and social services to families of skilled craftsmen." The Society remains in existence to this day - 1785
 
International Brotherhood of Longshoremen change name to Longshoremen’s Association - 1959

November 18
Seattle printers refuse to print anti-labor ad in newspaper - 1919

31 men died on Lake Michigan with the sinking of the Carl D. Bradley during one of the worst storms in the lake’s history. The 623-foot ship, carrying limestone, broke in two. Four crewmen survived - 1958

November 19
Joe Hill, labor leader and song writer, executed in Utah on what many believe was a framed charge of murder. Before he died he declared: “Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize.” - 1915

The nation’s first automatic toll collection machine is used at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey's Garden State Parkway - 1954

The National Writers Union is founded, representing freelance and contract writers and others in the trade. In 1992 it was to merge into and become a local of the United Auto Workers - 1981 

November 20
First use of term “scab,” by Albany Typographical Society - 1816

Norman Thomas born, American socialist leader - 1884

The time clock is invented by Willard Bundy, a jeweler in Auburn, N.Y. Bundy’s brother Harlow starts mass producing them a year later - 1888

Mine fire in Telluride, Colo., kills 28 miners, prompts union call for safer work conditions - 1901

78 miners are killed in an explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, W. Va. - 1968

November 21
Six miners striking for better working conditions under the IWW banner were killed and many wounded in the Columbine Massacre at Lafayette, Colo. Out of this struggle Colorado coal miners gained lasting union contracts - 1927

The United Auto Workers Union strikes 92 General Motors plants in 50 cities to back up worker demands for a 30 percent raise. 200,000 workers are out - 1945

Staten Island and Brooklyn are linked by the new Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time and still the longest in the U.S. Joseph Farrell, an apprentice Ironworker on the project, told radio station WNYC: "The way the wind blows over this water it would blow you right off the iron. That was to me and still is the most treacherous part of this business. When the wind grabs you on the open iron, it can be very dangerous." Three workers died over the course of the five year project - 1964

A fire at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas kills 85 hotel employees and guests and sends 650 injured persons, including 14 firefighters, to the hospital. Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by smoke inhalation - 1980

Flight attendants celebrate the signing into law a smoking ban on all U.S. domestic flights - 1989 

Congress approves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to take effect Jan. 1 of the following year - 1993

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act takes effect in the nation’s workplaces. It prohibits employers from requesting genetic testing or considering someone’s genetic background in hiring, firing or promotions - 2009


Sources:
Toil and Trouble, by Thomas R. Brooks; American Labor Struggles, by Samuel Yellen; IWW calendar, Solidarity Forever; Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor, edited by Robert E. Weir and James P. Hanlan; Southwest Labor History Archives/George Meany Center; Geov Parrish’s Radical History; workday Minnesota; Andy Richards and Adam Wright, AFL-CIO Washington DC Metro Council (graphics research).

Provided by : Union Communication Services, Inc.