IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


This Week In Labor History
June 06
The U.S. Employment Service was created - 1933

A general strike by some 12,000 autoworkers and others in Lansing, Mich. shuts down the city for a month in what was to become known as the city’s “Labor Holiday.” The strike was precipitated by the arrest of nine workers, including the wife of the auto workers local union president: the arrest left three children in the couple’s home unattended - 1937

Labor Party founding convention opens in Cleveland, Ohio – 1996

June 07
Militia sent to Cripple Creek, Colo., to suppress Western Federation of Miners strike – 1904

Sole performance of Pageant of the Paterson (NJ) Strike, created and performed by 1,000 mill workers from the silk industry strike, New York City – 1913


Striking textile workers battle police in Gastonia, N.C.  Police Chief O.F. Aderholt is accidentally killed by one of his own officers. Six strike leaders are convicted of “conspiracy to murder” and are sentenced to jail for from 5 to 20 years - 1929 (For more on the history of the textile workers, check out There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America, a sympathetic, thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s to organized labor’s decline in the 1980s and struggle for survival and growth today. In the UCS bookstore now.)

The Steel Workers Organizing Committee, later to become the United Steel Workers of America, is formed in Pittsburgh - 1936

Founding convention of the United Food and Commercial Workers. The merger brought together the Retail Clerks International Union and the Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butcher Workmen of North America - 1979

The United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club announce the formation of a strategic alliance to pursue a joint public policy agenda under the banner of Good Jobs, A Clean Environment, and A Safer World - 2006

June 08
A battle between the Militia and striking miners at Dunnville, Colo. ended with six union members dead and 15 taken prisoner.  Seventy-nine of the strikers were deported to Kansas two days later – 1904

Spectator mine disaster kills 168, Butte, Mont. – 1917

Some 35,000 members of the Machinists union begin what is to become a 43-day strike – the largest in airline history – against five carriers. The mechanics and other ground service workers wanted to share in the airlines’ substantial profits - 1966

The earliest recorded strike by Chinese immigrants to the U.S. occurred when stonemasons brought to San Francisco to build the three-story Parrott granite building - made from Chinese prefabricated blocks - struck for higher pay - 1852 (for an updated look at immigrants and organizing, check out The New Urban Immigrant Workforce: Organizing Innovations, a ground-breaking look at immigrant labor organizing and mobilization today, providing real evidence of immigrants’ eagerness for collective action and organizing. In the UCS bookstore now.)

New York City drawbridge tenders, in a dispute with the state over pension issues, leave a dozen bridges open, snarling traffic in what the Daily News described as "the biggest traffic snafu in the city's history" - 1971

June 09
Helen Marot is born in Philadelphia to a wealthy family.  She went on to organize the Bookkeepers, Stenographers and Accountants Union in New York, and organized and led the city's 1909-1910 Shirtwaist Strike.  In 1912, she was a member of a commission investigating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire - 1865

June 10
Unions legalized in Canada - 1872

U.S. Supreme Court rules in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. that preliminary work activities, where controlled by the employer and performed entirely for the employer's benefit, are properly included as working time. The decision is known as the "portal to portal case" - 1946

President Kennedy signs a law mandating equal pay to women who are performing the same jobs as men (Equal Pay Act) – 1963 (Blue-Collar Women at Work with Men: Negotiating the Hostile Environment shows that women have made a lot of progress in the workplace since Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act specifically prohibited gender-based discrimination -- but there’s a long way to go. In the UCS bookstore now.)

June 11
Representatives from the AFL, Knights of Labor, populists, railroad brotherhoods and other trade unions hold a unity conference in St. Louis but fail to overcome their differences - 1894

Police shoot at maritime workers striking United Fruit Co. in New Orleans; 1 killed, 2 wounded – 1913

John L. Lewis dies. A legendary figure, he was president of the United Mine Workers from 1920 to 1960 and a driving force behind the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations - 1969

June 12
Fifty thousand members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen employed in meatpacking plants walk off their jobs; demands include equalization of wages and conditions throughout U.S. plants - 1904

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidates two sections of a Florida law: one required state licensing of paid union business agents, the other required registration with the state of all unions and their officers - 1945

Major League Baseball strike begins, forces cancellation of 713 games. Most observers blamed team owners for the strike: they were trying to recover from a court decision favoring the players on free agency - 1981


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