IBEW Local 131 Information Center

This Week In Labor History

This Week In Labor History
May 30

The Ford Motor Company signs a "Technical Assistance" contract to produce cars in the Soviet Union, and Ford workers were sent to the Soviet Union to train the labor force in the use of its parts. Many American workers who made the trip, including Walter Reuther, a tool and die maker who later was to become the UAW's president.  Reuther returned home with a different view of the duties and privileges of the industrial laborer - 1929

In what became known as the Memorial Day Massacre, police open fire on striking steelworkers at Republic Steel in South Chicago, killing ten and wounding more than 160 - 1937
The Ground Zero cleanup at the site of the World Trade Center is completed 3 months ahead of schedule due to the heroic efforts of more than 3,000 building tradesmen & women who had worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for the previous 8 months – 2002
May 31

Rose Will Monroe, popularly known as Rosie the Riveter, dies in Clarksville, Ind. During WWII she helped bring women into the labor force – 1997 (read about how women have had to fight for their rightful place in American life – and in the labor movement as well -- in Rocking the Boat: Union Women’s Voices 1915-1975, available in the UCS bookstore)

June 01
The Ladies Federal Labor Union Number 2703, based in Illinois, was granted a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Women from a wide range of occupations were among the members, who ultimately were successful in coalescing women’s groups interested in suffrage, temperance, health, housing, and child labor reform to win state legislation in these areas - 1888
Union Carpenters win a 25-cents-per-day raise, bringing wages for a nine-hour day to $2.50 - 1898
Congress passes the Erdman Act, providing for voluntary mediation or arbitration of railroad disputes and prohibiting contracts that discriminate against union labor or release employers from legal liability for on-the-job injuries - 1898
3,500 immigrant miners begin Clifton-Morenci, Ariz. copper strike – 1903
12,500 longshoremen strike the Pacific coast, from San Diego to Bellingham. Demands included a closed shop and a wage increase to 55 cents an hour for handling general cargo - 1916
As many as 60,000 railroad shopmen strike to protest cuts in wages – 1922
Farm workers under the banner of the new United Farm Workers Organizing Committee strike at Texas’s La Casita Farms, demand $1.25 as a minimum hourly wage – 1966
(find out more about the United Farm Workers and founder Cesar Chavez in Farmworker’s Friend: The Story of Cesar Chavez available in the UCS bookstore)
Dakota Beef meatpackers win 7-hour sit-down strike over speed-ups, St. Paul, Minn. – 2000
June 02
Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia stage the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay – 1786

A constitutional amendment declaring that "Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age" was approved by the Senate today, following the lead of the House five weeks earlier. But only 28 state legislatures ever ratified the amendment -- the last three in 1937 -- so it has never taken effect
- 1924
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President Harry Truman acted illegally when he ordered the Army to seize the nation’s steel mills to avert a strike - 1952
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and Textile Workers Union of America merge to form Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union – 1976
June 03
International Ladies Garment Workers Union founded – 1900
A Federal child labor law, enacted two years earlier, was declared unconstitutional – 1918
(read more about child labor in Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor, featuring Hine’s stunning photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work; in the UCS bookstore)

June 04
The AFL-CIO opens its new headquarters building, in view of the White House - 1956
June 05
Thirty-five members of the Teamsters, concerned about the infiltration of organized crime in the union and other issues, meet in Cleveland to form Teamsters for a Democratic Union - 1976


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