IBEW Local 131 Information Center

This Week In Labor History

Today in labor history for the week of March 14, 2011  

March 14
The Movie "Salt of the Earth" opens. The classic film centers on a long and difficult strike led by Mexican-American and Anglo zinc miners in New Mexico. Real miners perform in the film, in which the miners’ wives – as they did in real life – take to the picket lines after the strikers are enjoined - 1954

March 15
Official formation of the Painters International Union - 1887

Supreme Court approves 8-Hour Act under threat of a national railway strike - 1917

Bituminous coal miners begin nationwide strike, demanding adoption of a pension plan - 1948

The Wall Street Journal begins a series alleging insider stock deals at the union-owned Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (ULLICO). After three years a settlement was reached with Robert Georgine, a building trades leader serving as ULLICO president and CEO, requiring him to repay about $2.6 million in profits from the sale of ULLICO stock, forfeit $10 million in compensation and make other payments worth about $4.4 million. All but 2 of the company’s directors were said to have profited from the deals - 2002

March 16
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is formed in New York, to represent New York City public school teachers and, later, other education workers in the city - 1960

March 17
The leadership of the American Federation of Labor selects the Carpenters union to lead the eight 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 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
Police evict retail clerks occupying N.Y. Woolworth’s in fight for 40-hour week - 1937

The Post Office’s first mass work stoppage in 195 years began in Brooklyn and Manhattan and spread to 210,000 of the nation’s 750,000 postal employees. Mail service was virtually paralyzed in several cities, and President Nixon declared a state of emergency. A settlement came after two weeks - 1970

Wal-Mart agrees to pay a record $11 million to settle a civil immigration case for using illegal immigrants to do overnight cleaning at stores in 21 states - 2005

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

March 19
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

March 20
Michigan authorizes formation of workers’ cooperatives. Thirteen are formed in the state over a 25-year period. Labor reform organizations were advocating "cooperation" over "competitive" capitalism following the Civil War and several thousand cooperatives opened for business across the country during this era. Participants envisioned a world free from conflict where workers would receive the full value of their labor and freely exercise democratic citizenship in the political and economic realms - 1865

The American Federation of Labor issues a charter to a new Building Trades Dept. Trades unions had formed a Structural Building Trades Alliance several years earlier to work out jurisdictional conflicts, but lacked the power to enforce Alliance rulings - 1908

Members of the International Union of Electrical Workers reach agreement with Westinghouse Electric Corp., end a 156-day strike - 1956

Three hundred family farmers at a National Pork Producers Council meeting in Iowa protest factory-style hog farms - 1997  

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.