IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


Today in labor history for the week of December 20, 2010  

December 20
Delegates to the AFL convention in Salt Lake City endorse a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote - 1899.

The first group of 15 Filipino plantation workers recruited by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association arrive in Hawaii. By 1932 more than 100,000 Filipinos will be working in the fields - 1906

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) takes effect today - 1970

Thousands of workers began what was to be a two-day strike of the New York City transit system over retirement, pension and wage issues. The strike violated the state’s Taylor Law; TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint was jailed for ten days and the union was fined $2.5 million - 2005

December 21
Powered by children 7 to 12 years old working dawn to dusk, Samuel Slater’s thread-spinning factory goes into production in Pawtucket, R.I., launching the Industrial Revolution in America. By 1830, 55 per cent of the mill workers in the state were youngsters, many working for less than $1 per week - 1790

Supreme Court rules that picketing is unconstitutional. Chief Justice (and former president) William Howard Taft declared that picketing was, in part, "an unlawful annoyance and hurtful nuisance..." - 1921

December 22
A group of building trades unions from the Midwest meet in St. Louis to form the National Building Trades Council. The Council disbanded after several years of political and jurisdictional differences - 1897

Amid a widespread strike for union recognition by 395,000 steelworkers, approximately 250 alleged “anarchists,” “communists,” and “labor agitators” were deported to Russia, marking the beginning of the so-called “Red Scare” - 1919

December 23
AFL officers found in contempt of court for urging a labor boycott - 1908

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest employer, with 1.4 million "associates," agrees to settle 63 wage and hour suits across the U.S., for a grand total of between $352 million and $640 million. It was accused of failure to pay overtime, requiring off-the-clock work, and failure to provide required meal and rest breaks - 2008

December 24
72 copper miners’ children die in panic caused by a company stooge at Calumet, Mich., who shouted “fire” up the stairs into a crowded hall where the children had gathered.  They were crushed against closed doors when they tried to flee - 1913

December 25
A dynamite bomb destroyed a portion of the Llewellyn Ironworks in Los Angeles, where a bitter strike was in progress - 1910

December 26 
Knights of Labor founded. Constitution bars from membership “parasites,” including stockbrokers and lawyers - 1869

Workingmen’s Party is reorganized as the Socialist Labor Party - 1877

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.