IBEW Local 131 Information Center

This Week In Labor History

This Week in Labor History
April 25
The New York Times declares the struggle for an eight-hour workday to be “un-American” and calls public demonstrations for the shorter hours “labor disturbances brought about by foreigners.” Other publications declare that an eight-hour workday day would bring about “loafing and gambling, rioting, debauchery and drunkenness” - 1886
IWW Marine Transport Workers begin West Coast strike - 1923

The Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and 100 others are arrested while picketing a Charleston, S.C. hospital in a demand for union recognition – 1969
Supreme Court rules that employers may not require female employees to make larger contributions to pension plans in order to obtain the same monthly benefits as men - 1978
April 26
The U.S. House of Representatives passes House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved by the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending - 1924
On the orders of President Roosevelt, the U.S. Army seizes the Chicago headquarters of the unionized Montgomery Ward & Co. after management defies the National Labor Relations Board - 1944
With the official national unemployment rate standing at 9 percent, some 60,000 union members and other activists march in Washington, D.C., to demand jobs for all Americans - 1975
As the U.S. car industry tanks, the UAW agrees to concessions with Chrysler Corp. in return for a 55 percent stake in the company. The union then sold the shares to fund a trust that took over retiree health care costs - 2009
April 27
First strike for 10 hour day, by Boston carpenters - 1825
James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses” published in IWW newspaper “Industrial Solidarity” - 1946
President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements for Government Employment. The order listed “sexual perversion” as a condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment to potential applicants - 1953
April 28
Coal mine collapses at Eccles, W.Va., killing 181 workers - 1914
119 die in Benwood, W.Va. coal mine disaster – 1924
United Wallpaper Craftsmen & Workers of North America merges with Pulp, Sulfite & Paper Mill Workers - 1958
American Federation of Hosiery Workers merges with Textile Workers Union of America - 1965
Congress creates OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The AFL-CIO sets April 28 as “Workers Memorial Day” to honor the hundreds of thousands of workers killed and injured on the job every year - 1970.
First “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” promoted by the Ms. Foundation, to boost self-esteem of girls with invitations to a parent’s workplace - 1993
April 29
Coxey’s Army of 500 unemployed civil war veterans reaches Washington, DC – 1894
When their demand that only union men be employed was refused, members of the Western Federation of Miners dynamited and destroyed the $250,000 mill of the Bunker Hill Company at Wardner, Idaho - 1899
April 30
An explosion at the Everettville mine in Everettville, W. Va., kills 109 miners, many of whom lie in unmarked graves to this day - 1927
May 01
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones born in County Cork, Ireland - 1830
Cigar makers in Cincinnati warn there could be a strike in the Fall if factory owners continue to insist that they pay 30 cents per month for heating gas consumed at work during mornings and evenings - 1883
Eight-hour day demonstration in Chicago and other cities begins tradition of May Day as international labor holiday – 1886
Nineteen machinists working for the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad gather in a locomotive pit to decide what to do about a wage cut. They vote to form a union, which later became the International Association of Machinists - 1888
The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union strikes in San Francisco, demanding one day of rest per week, a ten-hour work day and a union shop for all restaurants in the city - 1901
Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebrated at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. She died six months later - 1930
New York City’s Empire State Building officially opens. Construction involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, and hundreds of Mohawk iron workers. Five workers died during construction - 1931
Congress enacts amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments – protections which didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges and regulation-writing problems - 1974
The Federal minimum wage rises to $2.00 per hour - 1974
International Molders & Allied Workers Union merges with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union - 1988
Woodworkers of America International merges with International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers - 1994
International Leather Goods, Plastics & Novelty Workers Union merges with Service Employees International Union - 1996
Rallies in cities across the U.S. for what organizers call “A Day Without Immigrants.” An estimated 100,000 immigrants and sympathizers gathered in San Jose, Calif., 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles.  In all, there were demonstrations in at least 50 cities - 2006

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