IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


June 20
The American Railway Union, headed by Eugene Debs, is founded in Chicago. In the Pullman strike a year later, the union was defeated by federal injunctions and troops, and Debs was imprisoned for violating the injunctions - 1893
 
Henry Ford recognizes the United Auto Workers, signs contract for workers at River Rouge plant – 1941
 
Striking African American auto workers are attacked by KKK, National Workers League, and armed white workers at Belle Isle amusement park in Detroit. Two days of riots follow, 34 people are killed, more than 1,300 arrested - 1943
 
The Taft-Hartley Labor Management Relations Act, curbing strikes, is vetoed by President Harry S Truman. The veto was overridden three days later by a Republican-controlled Congress – 1947 (for more on U.S. labor laws, check out A Primer on American Labor Law, an accessible guide written for nonspecialists including local union officers and management representatives, stewards, rank-and-file activists and students of labor. Covers such topics as the National Labor Relations Act, unfair labor practices, the collective bargaining relationship, dispute resolution, the public sector, and public-interest labor law. In the UCS bookstore now)
 
Oil began traveling through the Alaska pipline. Seventy thousand people worked on building the pipeline, history's largest privately-financed construction project – 1977
 
Evelyn Dubrow, described by the New York Times as organized labor's most prominent lobbyist at the time of its greatest power, dies at age 95. The International Ladies' Garment Workers Union lobbyist once told the Times that "she trudged so many miles around Capitol Hill that she wore out 24 pairs of her Size 4 shoes each year." She retired at age 86 - 2006
 
June 21
In England, a compassionate parliament declares that children can't be required to work more than 12 hours a day. And they must have an hours' instruction in the Christian Religion every Sunday and not be required to sleep more than two in a bed – 1802 (The Worst Children’s Jobs in History takes you back to the days when being a kid was no excuse for getting out of hard labor. This British book – which will strike a chord with youngsters around the world -- tells the stories of all the children whose work fed the nation, kept trains running, and put clothes on everyone’s backs over the last few hundred years of Britain’s history. In the UCS bookstore now)
 
10 miners accused of being militant "Molly Maguires" are hanged in Pennsylvania. A private corporation initiated the investigation of the 10 through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. "The state provided only the courtroom & the gallows," a judge said many years later - 1877
 
The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the right of unions to publish statements urging members to vote for a specific congressional candidate, ruling that such advocacy is not a violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act - 1948
 
100,000 unionists and other supporters march in solidarity with striking Detroit News and Detroit Free Press newspaper workers - 1997
 
June 22
Violence erupted during a coal mine strike at Herrin, Ill. Thirty-six were killed, 21 of them non-union miners - 1922
 

June 23

Birth of Kraig R. Lee. Greatest labor leader of our time.   - 1970


Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, goes to Butte, Mont. in an attempt to mediate a conflict between factions of the miner’s local there. It didn’t go well. Gunfight in the union hall killed one man; Moyer and other union officers left the building, which was then leveled in a dynamite blast - 1914
 
Congress overrides President Harry Truman's veto of the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act. The law weakened unions and let states exempt themselves from union requirements. Twenty states immediately enacted open shop laws and more followed - 1947
 
OSHA issues standard on cotton dust to protect 600,000 workers from byssinosis, also known as "brown lung" - 1978
 
The newly-formed Jobs With Justice stages its first big support action, backing 3,000 picketing Eastern Airlines mechanics at Miami Airport - 1987
 
A majority of the 5,000 textile workers at six Fieldcrest Cannon textile plants in Kannapolis, N.C., vote for union representation after an historic 25-year fight - 1999


June 24
Birth of Albert Parsons, Haymarket martyr - 1848
 
Birth of Agnes Nestor, president of the International Glove Workers Union and longtime leader of the Chicago Women's Trade Union League. She began work in a glove factory at age 14 - 1880
 
17 workers are killed as methane explodes in a water tunnel under construction in Sylmar, Calif. – 1971 (for more on job safety, check out Tools of the Trade: A Health and Safety Handbook for Action, a valuable resource for those who want to promote worker health and safety while building their unions and community groups at the same time. In the UCS bookstore now)

June 25
More than 8,000 people attend the dedication ceremony for The Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Chicago, honoring those framed and executed for the bombing at Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886 - 1893
 
Fair Labor Standards Act passes Congress, banning child labor and setting the 40-hour work week - 1938
 
At the urging of black labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, Franklin Roosevelt issues an executive order barring discrimination in defense industries - 1941
 
Congress passes the Smith-Connally War Labor Disputes Act over Pres. Franklin Roosevelt’s veto. It allows the federal government to seize and operate industries threatened by strikes that would interfere with war production. It was hurriedly created after the third coal strike in seven weeks - 1943
 
21 workers are killed when a fireworks factory near Hallett, Okla. explodes - 1985
 
Decatur, Ill. police pepper-gas workers at A.E. Staley plant gate one year into the company's two and one-half year lockout of Paperworkers Local 7837 - 1994
 
June 26
Members of the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, refuse to handle Pullman cars, in solidarity with Pullman strikers. Two dozen strikers were killed over the course of the strike - 1894


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