IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


Today in labor history for the week of September 27, 2010 

September 27
Striking textile workers in Fall River, Mass. demand bread for their starving children - 1875

The International Typographical Union renews a strike against the Los Angeles Times and begins a boycott that runs intermittently from 1896 to 1908. A local anti-Times committee in 1903 persuades William Randolph Hearst to start a rival paper, the Los Angeles Examiner. Although the ITU kept up the fight into the 1920s, the Times remains nonunion to this day - 1893

International Ladies' Garment Workers Union begins strike against Triangle Shirtwaist Co. This would become the "Uprising of the 20,000," resulting in 339 of 352 struck firms—but not Triangle—signing agreements with the union. The Triangle fire that killed 246 would occur less than two years later - 1909

Twenty-nine west coast ports lock out 10,500 workers in response to what management says is a worker slowdown in the midst of negotiations on a new contract. The ports are closed for 10 days, reopen when Pres. George W. Bush invokes the Taft-Hartley Act - 2002 

September 29
A report by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the average weekly take home pay of a factory worker with three dependents is now $94.87 - 1962

September 30
29 strike leaders are charged with treason – plotting "to incite insurrection, rebellion & war against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" – for daring to strike the Carnegie Steel Co. in Homestead, Pa. Jurors refuse to convict them - 1892

Railroad shopmen in 28 cities strike the Illinois Central Railroad and the Harriman lines for an 8 hour day, improved conditions and union recognition, but railroad officials obtain sweeping injunctions against them and rely on police and armed guards to protect strikebreakers - 1915

Black farmers meet in Elaine, Ark. to establish the Progressive Farmers and Householders Union to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices. They are shot at by a group of whites, and return the fire. News of the confrontation spread and a riot ensued, leaving at least 100, perhaps several hundred blacks dead and 67 indicted for inciting violence - 1919

October 01
Twenty-one die when the L.A. Times building is dynamited during a citywide fight over labor rights and organizing. A union member ultimately confessed to the bombing, which he said was supposed to have occurred early in the morning when the building would have been largely unoccupied - 1910

Thousands of dairy farmers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa strike in demand of higher prices for their milk - 1935

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was signed by President Nixon today, requiring medium to large employers to provide safe and healthy workplaces - 1970

United Transport Service Employees of America merges with Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees - 1972

Insurance Workers International Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers International Union - 1983

Railroad Yardmasters of America merge with United Transportation Union - 1985

Pattern Makers League of North America merges with International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers - 1991

Stove, Furnace & Allied Appliance Workers International Union of North America merges with International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, & Helpers - 1994

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union merges with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union - 1998

International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers merges with Communications Workers of America - 2000

October 02
American Federation of Labor officially endorses campaign for a six hour day, five day workweek - 1934

Joining with 400,000 coal miners already on strike, 500,000 CIO steel workers close down the nation’s foundries, steel and iron mills, demanding pensions and better wages and working conditions - 1949

Starbucks Workers Union baristas at an outlet in East Grand Rapids, Mich., organized by the Wobblies, win their grievances after the National Labor Relations Board cites the company for labor law violations, including threats against union activists - 2007

October 03
The state militia is called in after 164 high school students in Kincaid, Ill. go on strike when the school board buys coal from the scab Peabody Coal Co. - 1932

The Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America is founded in Camden, N.J. It eventually merged with the International Association of Machinists, in 1988 - 1933

Pacific Greyhound Lines bus drivers in seven western states begin what is to become a three-week strike, eventually settling for a 10.5 percent raise - 1945

The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) is formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO's Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which in turn merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979, forming the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) - 1943

The United Auto Workers calls for a company-wide strike against Ford Motor Co., the first since Ford’s initial contract with the union 20 years earlier - 1961

Folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie ("This Land is Your Land", "Union Maid" and hundreds of others) dies of Huntington's disease in New York at the age of 55 - 1967

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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