IBEW Local 131 Information Center

This Week In Labor History

July 11
Striking coal miners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho dynamite barracks housing Pinkerton management thugs - 1892

A nine-year strike, the longest in the history of the United Auto Workers, began at the Ohio Crankshaft Division of Park-Ohio Industries Inc. in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio.  Despite scabs, arrests and firings, UAW Local 91 members hung tough and in 1992 won a fair contract - 1983
July 12
Bisbee, Ariz. deports Wobblies; 1,186 miners sent into desert in manure-laden boxcars. They had been fighting for improved safety and working conditions - 1917 (A Job and a Life: Organizing & Bargaining on Family Issues is a step-by-step guide for union leaders, activists, negotiating teams and organizers, providing the tools needed to advance a successful work and family agenda. Want to negotiate for child care at work? Need to find out how other unionists have confronted family leave issues? Want to learn the best way to rally your members and your community around your work/family concerns? This is your book. In the UCS bookstore now.)

The Screen Actors Guild holds its first meeting. Among those attending: future horror movie star (Frankenstein’s Monster) and union activist Boris Karloff - 1933

July 13
Southern Tenant Farmers' Union organized in Tyronza, Ark. - 1934

Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder - 1995

July 14
The Great Uprising nationwide railway strike begins in Martinsburg, W.Va. after railroad workers are hit with their second pay cut in a year. In the following days, strike riots spread through 17 states. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the strike - 1877

Woody Guthrie, writer of "This Land is Your Land" and "Union Maid," born in Okemah, Okla. – 1912 (For more on Woody’s amazing life, check out Woody Guthrie: A Life, by Joe Klein. This is an easy-to-read, honest description of Guthrie’s life, from a childhood of poverty to a youth spent "bummin’ around" to an adulthood of music and organizing -- and a life cut short by incurable disease. Guthrie’s life and work inspired millions while he lived and continues to do so through musicians such as his son Arlo, Bob Dylan -- who as a teenager visited and sang for Guthrie as death approached -- friend and contemporary Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few. In the UCS bookstore now.)

Italian immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murder and payroll robbery – unfairly, most historians agree – after a two-month trial, and are eventually executed. Fifty years after their deaths the state's governor issued a proclamation saying they had been treated unfairly and that "any disgrace should be forever removed from their names." - 1921

July 15
50,000 lumberjacks strike for eight-hour day - 1917

Robert Gray, an African-American sharecropper and leader of the Share Croppers Union, is murdered in Cap Hill, Alabama - 1931

A half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees - 1959

July 16
Ten thousand workers strike Chicago's International Harvester operations - 1919

Martial law declared in strike by longshoremen in Galveston, Texas - 1920

San Francisco Longshoreman's strike spreads, becomes four-day general strike - 1934

July 17
Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny - 1944

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