IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


Today in labor history for the week of December 6, 2010  

December 06
African American delegates meet in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union as a branch of the all-white National Labor Union created three years earlier. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU's founding president; Frederick Douglas became president in 1872 - 1869

361 coal miners die at Monongah, W.V., in nation's worst mining disaster - 1907

International Glove Workers Union of America merges into Amalgamated Clothing Workers - 1961

December 07
Heywood Broun born in New York City. Journalist, columnist and co-founder, in 1933, of The Newspaper Guild - 1888

Steam boiler operators from 11 cities across the country meet in Chicago to form the National Union of Steam Engineers of America, the forerunner to the International Union of Operating Engineers. Each of the men represented a local union of 40 members or fewer - 1896

More than 1,600 protesters staged a national hunger march on Washington, D.C. to present demands for unemployment insurance - 1931

United Hatters, Cap & Millinery Workers International Union merges into Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union - 1982

Delegates to the founding convention of the National Nurses United (NNU) in Phoenix, Ariz. unanimously endorse the creation of the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in U.S. history. The 150,000-member union is the product of merger of three groups - 2009

December 08
25 unions found the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in Columbus, Ohio; Cigarmaker’s union leader Samuel Gompers is elected president. The AFL’s founding document’s preamble reads: “A struggle is going on in all of the civilized world between oppressors and oppressed of all countries, between capitalist and laborer...” - 1886

114-day newspaper strike begins, New York City - 1962

President Bill Clinton signs The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - 1993

Nearly 230 jailed teachers -- about one-fourth of the 1,000-member Middletown Township, N.J. staff -- are ordered freed after they and their colleagues agree to end a nine-day strike and go into mediation with the local school board - 2001

Faced with a national unemployment rate of 10 percent, President Barack Obama outlines new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals, saying the country must continue to "spend our way out of this recession" until more Americans are back at work. Joblessness had soared 6 percent in the final two years of George W. Bush’s presidency - 2009 

December 09
Ratification of a new labor agreement at Titan Tire of Natchez, Miss. ends the longest strike in the history of the U.S. tire industry, which began May 1, 1998 at the company's Des Moines, Iowa, plant - 2001

December 10
First sit-down strike in U.S. called by IWW at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. - 1906

International Human Rights Day, commemorating the signing at the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, in part: “Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests” - 1948

American Federation of Teachers Local 89 in Atlanta, Georgia disaffiliates from the national union because of an AFT directive that all its locals integrate. A year later, the AFT expelled all locals that refused to do so - 1956 

December 11
A small group of black farmers organize the Colored Farmers’ National Alliance and Cooperative Union in Houston County, Texas. They had been barred from membership in the all-white Southern Farmers’ Alliance. Through intensive organizing, along with merging with another black farmers group, the renamed Colored Alliance by 1891 claimed a membership of 1.2 million - 1886

Ten days after an Illinois State mine inspector approved coal dust removal techniques at New Orient mine in West Frankfort, the mine exploded, largely because of coal dust accumulations, killing 119 workers - 1951

The U.S Department of Labor announces that the nation's unemployment rate had dropped to 3.3 percent, the lowest mark in 15 years - 1968 

Forty thousand workers go on general strike in London, Ontario—a city with a population of 300,000—protesting cuts in social services - 1995

December 12
A U.S. immigration sweep of six Swift meat plants results in arrests of nearly 1,300 undocumented workers - 2006

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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