IBEW Local 131 Information Center

This Week In Labor History

This Week In Labor History
May 9
Japanese workers strike at Oahu, Hawaii’s Aiea Plantation, demanding the same pay as Portugese and Puerto Rican workers. Ultimately 7,000 workers and their families remained out until August, when the strike was broken - 1909
Legendary Western Federation of Miners leader William “Big Bill” Haywood goes on trial for murder in the bombing death of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg, who had brutally suppressed the state’s miners. Haywood ultimately was declared innocent - 1907
Longshoremen’s strike to gain control of hiring leads to general work stoppage, San Francisco Bay area - 1934
Hollywood studio mogul Louis B. Mayer recognizes the Screen Actors Guild.  SAG leaders reportedly were bluffing when they told Mayer that 99 percent of all actors would walk out the next morning unless he dealt with the union.  Some 5,000 actors attended a victory gathering the following day at Hollywood Legion Stadium; a day later, SAG membership increased 400 percent - 1937
United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther and his wife May die in a plane crash as they travel to oversee construction of the union’s education and training facility at Black Lake, Mich. – 1971
4,000 garment workers, mostly Hispanic, strike for union recognition at the Farah Mfg. Co. in El Paso, Tex. - 1972
May 10
Thanks to an army of thousands of Chinese and Irish immigrants, who laid 2,000 miles of track, the nation’s first transcontinental railway line was finished by the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines at Promontory Point, Utah – 1869
U.S. & Canadian workers form Western Labor Union. It favors industrial organization and independent labor party politics - 1898
A federal bankruptcy judge permits United Airlines to legally abandon responsibility for pensions covering 120,000 employees - 2005
May 11
Nationwide railway strike begins at Pullman, Ill. 260,000 railroad workers ultimately joined the strike to protest wage cuts by the Pullman Palace Car Co. - 1894
May 12
Laundry & Dry Cleaning International Union granted a charter by the AFL-CIO - 1958
International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots merges with Longshoremens’ Association - 1971
May 13
Western Federation of Miners formed in Butte, Mont. - 1893
The Canadian government establishes the Department of Labour. It took the U.S. another four years - 1909
10,000 IWW dock workers strike in Philadelphia - 1913
UAW Pres. Douglas A. Fraser is named to the Chrysler Corp. board of directors, becoming the first union representative ever to sit on the board of a major U.S. corporation - 1980
Thousands of yellow cab drivers in New York City go on a one day strike in protest of proposed new regulations. “City officials were stunned by the (strike’s) success,” The New York Times reported - 1998

May 14
Milwaukee brewery workers begin 10-week strike, demanding contracts comparable to East and West coast workers. The strike was won because Blatz Brewery accepts their dem
ands, but Blatz was ousted from the Brewers Association for “unethical” business methods - 1953
May 15
U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samuel Gompers and other union leaders for supporting a boycott at the Buck Stove and Range Co. in St. Louis, where workers were striking for a nine-hour day. A lower court had forbidden the boycott and sentenced the unionists to prison for refusing to obey the judge’s anti-boycott injunction - 1906
The Library Employees’ Union is founded in New York City, the first union of public library workers in the United States. A major focus of the union was the inferior status of women library workers and their low salaries - 1917
The first labor bank opens in Washington, D.C., launched by officers of the Machinists. The Locomotive Engineers opened a bank in Cleveland later that year - 1920
Death of IWW song writer T-Bone Slim, New York City - 1942
Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathon Kwitney reports that AFL-CIO President George Meany, Sec.-Treas. Lane Kirkland and other union officials are among the 60 leading stockholders in the 15,000 acre Punta Cana, Dominican Republic resort. When the partners needed help clearing the land, the Dominican president sent troops to forcibly evict stubborn, impoverished tobacco farmers and fishermen who had lived there for generations, according to Kwitney’s expose - 1973

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