IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


Today in labor history for the week of November 22, 2010 

November 22
20,000 female garment workers are on strike in New York; Judge tells arrested pickets: “You are on strike against God” - 1909

The district president of the American Federation of Labor and two other white men are shot and killed in Bogalusa, Ala. as they attempt to assist an African-American organizer working to unionize African-American workers at the Great Southern Lumber Co. - 1919

November 23
History’s first recorded strike, by Egyptians working on public works projects for King Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings. They were protesting having gone 20 days without pay – portions of grain – and put their tools down. Exact date estimated, described as within “the sixth month of the 29th year” of Ramses’ reign in “The Spirit of Ancient Egypt,” by Ana Ruiz - 1170BC

Troops were dispatched to Cripple Creek, Colo. to control rioting by striking coal miners - 1903

Mine Workers President John L. Lewis walks away from the American Federation of Labor to lead the newly-formed Committee for Industrial Organization. The CIO and the unions created under its banner organized six million industrial workers over the following decade - 1935

November 24
Led by Samuel Gompers, who would later found the American Federation of Labor, Cigarmakers
International Union Local 144 is chartered in New York City - 1875

November 25
Some 10,000 New Orleans workers, black and white, participate in a solidarity parade of unions comprising the Central Trades and Labor Assembly. The parade was so successful it was repeated the following two years - 1883

Teachers strike in St. Paul, Minn., the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers—and principals—led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated - 1946

1,550 typesetters begin what is to become a victorious 22-month strike against Chicago newspapers - 1947

George Meany becomes president of the American Federation of Labor following the death four days earlier of William Green - 1952

November 26
Six young women burn to death and 19 more die when they leap from the fourth-story windows of a blazing factory in Newark, N.J. The floors and stairs were wooden; the only door from which the women could flee was locked - 1910

November 27
1,200 workers sit down at Midland Steel, forcing recognition of the United Auto Workers, Detroit - 1936

The pro-labor musical revue, “Pins & Needles,” opens on Broadway with a cast of International Ladies Garment Workers Union members. The show ran on Friday and Saturday nights only, because of the casts’ regular jobs. It ran for 1,108 performances before closing - 1937

November 28
William Sylvus, founder of the National Labor Union, born - 1828

National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, precursor to IBEW, founded - 1891

154 men die in a coal mine explosion at Marianna, Pa.  Engineer and General Superintendent A.C. Beeson tells the local newspaper he had been in the mine a few minutes before the blast and had found it to be in perfect condition - 1908

Some 400 New York City photoengravers working for the city’s newspapers, supported by 20,000 other newspaper unionists, begin what is to become an 11-day strike, shutting down the papers - 1953


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).


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