IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


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

September 20
Upton Sinclair, socialist and author of "The Jungle"—published on this day in 1906—born in Baltimore, MD - 1878

According to folklorist John Garst, steel-drivin’ man John Henry, a slave, outperformed a steam hammer on this date at the Coosa Mountain Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway (now part of the Norfolk Southern) near Leeds, Ala. Other researchers place the contest near Talcott, W. Va. - 1887

International Hod Carriers, Building & Common Laborers Union of America changes name to Laborers' International Union - 1965

September 21
Militia sent to Leadville, Colo., to break miners strike - 1896

Mother Jones leads a march of miners' children through the streets of Charleston, W. Va. - 1913

National Football League Players Assn. members begin what is to become a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout ever - 1982 

September 22
Emancipation Proclamation signed - 1862

Eighteen-year-old Hannah (Annie) Shapiro leads a spontaneous walkout of 17 women at a Hart Schaffner & Marx garment factory in Chicago. It grows into a months-long mass strike involving 40,000 garment workers across the city, protesting 10-hour days, bullying bosses and cuts in already-low wages - 1910 

Great Steel Strike begins; 350,000 workers demand union recognition. The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee calls off the strike, their goal unmet, 108 days later - 1919

Martial law rescinded in Mingo County, W. Va. after police, U.S. troops and hired goons finally quell coal miners' strike - 1922

U.S. Steel announces it will cut the wages of 220,000 workers by 10 percent - 1931

United Textile Workers strike committee order strikers back to work after 22 days out, ending what was at that point the greatest single industrial conflict in the history of American organized labor. The strike involved some 400,000 workers in New England, the mid-Atlantic states and the South - 1934

Some 400,000 coal miners strike for higher wages in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois and Ohio - 1935

The AFL expels the International Longshoremen's Association for racketeering; the union was readmitted to the then-AFL-CIO six years later - 1953

OSHA reaches its largest ever settlement agreement, $21 million, with BP Products North America following an explosion at BP's Texas City, Texas plant earlier in the year that killed 15 and injured 170 - 2005

Eleven Domino's employees in Pensacola, Fla. form the nation's first union of pizza delivery drivers - 2006

San Francisco hotel workers end a two-year contract fight, ratify a new five-year pact with their employers - 2006

September 23
The Workingman's Advocate of Chicago publishes the first installment of The Other Side, by Martin A. Foran, president of the Coopers' International Union. Believed to be the first novel by a trade union leader and some say the first working-class novel ever published in the U.S. - 1868

A coalition of Knights of Labor and trade unionists in Chicago launch the United Labor party, calling for an 8-hour day, government ownership of telegraph and telephone companies, and monetary and land reform. The party elects seven state assembly men and one senator - 1886

A 42-month strike by Steelworkers at Bayou Steel in Louisiana ends in a new contract and the ousting of scabs - 1996

California Gov. Gray Davis (D) signs legislation making the state the first to offer workers paid family leave - 2002

September 24
Canada declares the Wobblies illegal - 1918

September 25
American photographer Lewis Hine born in Oshkosh, Wisc. - 1874

Two African-American sharecroppers are killed during an ultimately unsuccessful cotton-pickers strike in Lee County, Ark. By the time the strike had been suppressed, 15 African-Americans had died and another six had been imprisoned. A white plantation manager was killed as well - 1891 

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).


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