IBEW Local 131 Information Center

This Week In Labor History

This Week in Labor History
April 11
Ford Motor Company signs first contract with United Auto Workers - 1941

Jackie Robinson, first black ballplayer hired by a major league team, plays his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbetts Field - 1947

United Mine Workers President W. A. "Tony" Boyle is found guilty of first-degree murder, for ordering the 1969 assassination of union reformer Joseph A. "Jock" Yablonski. Yablonski, his wife and daughter were murdered on December 30, 1969. Boyle had defeated Yablonski in the UMW election earlier in the year -- an election marred by intimidation and vote fraud. That election was set aside and a later vote was won by reformer Arnold Miller - 1974
34,000 New York City Transit Authority workers, eleven days into a strike for higher wages, end their walkout with agreement on a 9 percent increase in the first year and 8 percent in the second, along with cost-of-living protections - 1980

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issues regulations prohibiting sexual harassment of workers by supervisors in the workplace - 1980

Police in Austin, Minn. tear-gas striking Hormel meatpacking workers. Seventeen strikers are arrested on felony riot charges - 1986

Some 25,000 marchers in Watsonville, Calif. show support for United Farm Workers organizing campaign among strawberry workers, others - 1997

April 12
A group of "puddlers" -- craftsmen who manipulated pig iron to create steel -- met in a Pitsburgh bar and formed The Iron City Forge of the Sons of Vulcan. It was the strongest union in the U.S. in the 1870s, later merging with two other unions to form what was to be the forerunner of the United Steel Workers - 1858

Birth of Florence Reece, active in Harlan County, Ky. coal strikes and author of famed labor song “Which Side Are You On?” - 1900

The Union Label and Service Trades Department is founded by the American Federation of Labor. Its mission: promote the products and services of union members - 1909

April 13
International Hod Carriers & Building Laborers’ Union (today’s Laborers’ Int’l Union) is founded, as 25 delegates from 23 Local Unions in 17 cities -- representing 8,186 Laborers -- meet in Washington DC - 1903

Labor leader and Socialist Party founder Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned for opposing American entry into World War I.  While in jail he ran for president, received 1 million votes - 1919

April 14
More than 100 Mexican and Filipino farm workers are arrested for union activities, Imperial Valley, Calif. Eight were convicted of “criminal syndicalism” - 1930

John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” published - 1939

The United Steelworkers and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers unions merge to form the largest industrial union in North America - 2005

April 15
A. Philip Randolph, civil rights leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, born in Crescent City, Fla. - 1889

IWW union Agricultural Workers Organization formed in Kansas City, Mo. - 1915

Teacher unionists gather at the City Club on Plymouth Court in Chicago to form a new national union: the American Federation of Teachers – 1916

Start of ultimately successful six-day strike across New England by what has been described as the first women-led American union, the Telephone Operators Department of IBEW - 1919

Transport Workers Union founded – 1934

The first McDonald’s Restaurant opens, in Des Plaines, Ill., setting the stage years later for sociologist Amitai Etzioni to coin the term "McJob." As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, a McJob is "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector." - 1955

April 16
Employers lock out 25,000 New York City garment workers in a dispute over hiring practices. The International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union calls a general strike; after 14 weeks, 60,000 strikers win union recognition and the contractual right to strike - 1916

500 workers in Texas City, Texas die in a series of huge oil refinery and chemical plant explosions and fires - 1947

An estimated 20,000 global justice activists blockade Washington, D.C. meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund - 2000

April 17
The Supreme Court holds that a maximum hours law for New York bakery workers is unconstitutional under the due process clause of the 14th amendment - 1905

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