IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


August 08
Delegates to the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly elect 35-year-old Charles James, leader of the Boot and Shoe Workers local union, as their president. He was the first African-American elected to that leadership post in St. Paul, and, many believe, the first anywhere in the nation - 1902
 
Cripple Creek, Colo. miners strike begins - 1903
 
Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America merge with Retail Clerks International Union to become United Food & Commercial Workers - 1979
 
Cesar Chavez is posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Mexican-American ever to receive the honor - 1994
 
August 09
Twenty people, including at least nine firefighters, are killed in Boston’s worst fire. It consumed 65 downtown acres and 776 buildings over 12 hours - 1872
 
Knights of Labor strike New York Central railroad, ultimately to be defeated by scabbing - 1890
 
Nine men and one woman meet in Oakland, Calif. to form what was to become the 230,000-member California School Employees Association, representing school support staff throughout the state - 1927
 
United Papermakers & Paperworkers merge with Int'l Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite & Paper Mill Workers of the US & Canada to become United Paperworkers International Union, now a division of the Steelworkers Union - 1972
 
73,000 Bell Atlantic workers end a successful two-day strike over wages and limits on contracting out of work - 1998
 
The United Steelworkers and Amicus, the largest manufacturing union in the United Kingdom, announce formation of a strategic alliance to work on a range of mutual concerns - 2005
 
August 10
The Air Line Pilots Association is founded at a meeting in Chicago attended by 24 activists from across the country - 1931
 
Hundreds of Transport Workers Union members descend on a New York City courthouse, offering their own money to bail out their president, Mike Quill, and four other union leaders arrested while making their way through Grand Central Station to union headquarters after picketing the IRT offices in lower Manhattan - 1935
 
President Roosevelt signs amendments to the 1935 Social Security Act, broadening the program to include dependents and survivors' benefits - 1939
 
Construction on the St. Lawrence Seaway begins. Ultimately 22,000 workers spent five years building the 2,342 mile route from the Atlantic to the northernmost part of the Great Lakes - 1954
 
I.W. Abel, president of the United Steel Workers of America from 1965 to 1977, dies at age 79 - 1987
 
Pres. Barack Obama signs a $26 billion bill designed to protect 300,000 teachers, police and others from layoffs spurred by budgetary crises in states hard-hit by the Great Recession - 2010
 
August 11
Federal troops drive some 1,200 jobless workers from Washington D.C. Led by unemployed activist Charles "Hobo" Kelley the group's "soldiers" include young journalist Jack London and William Haywood, a young miner-cowboy called "Big Bill" - 1884
 
One hundred "platform men" employed by the privately owned United Railroads streetcar service in San Francisco abandon their streetcars, tying up many of the main lines in and out of the city center - 1917
 
International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union receives CIO charter - 1937
 
August 12
The national Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners is founded in Chicago in a gathering of 36 carpenters from 11 cities - 1881
 
Coal company guards kill 7, wound 40 striking miners who are trying to stop scabs, Virden, Ill. - 1898
 
With the news that their boss, Florenz Ziegfeld, was joining the Producing Managers’ Assn., the chorus girls in his Ziegfield Follies create their own union, the Chorus Equity Assn. They were helped by a big donation from superstar and former chorus girl Lillian Russell. In 1955 the union merged with the Actor’s Equity Assn - 1919
 
Teamsters official William Grami is kidnapped, bound and beaten near Sebastopol, Calif. He was leading a drive to organize apple plant workers in the area - 1955
 
The North American Free Trade Agreement -- NAFTA -- was concluded between the United States, Canada and Mexico, despite protests from labor, environmental and human rights groups. It went into effect in January, 1994 - 1992
(Although workers in the United States have long understood that NAFTA has been a disaster, with more than two million jobs leaving the country for lower-wage countries following the law’s passage, relatively few Americans know what a nightmare NAFTA has been for Mexican workers -- the people who, the agreement’s proponents argued, would be lifted from poverty and be turned into serious consumers of American goods. NAFTA From Below details the terrible impact NAFTA has had south of the border, in testimonies from scores of Mexicans, first-hand accounts of workers organizing for their rights, of farmers and indigenous peoples fighting to preserve their land, and of efforts north and south to build alternatives.)
 
What was to become a 232-day strike by major league baseball players over owners' demands for team salary caps began on this day; 938 games were cancelled - 1994
 
August 13
Striking miners at Tracy City, Tenn., capture their mines and free 300 state convict strikebreakers. The convicts had been "leased" to mineowners by officials in an effort to make prisons self-supporting and make a few bucks for the state. The practice started in 1866 and lasted for 30 years - 1892
 
Newspaper Guild members begin three-month strike of Hearst-owned Seattle Post-Intelligencer, shutting the publication down in their successful fight for union recognition - 1936
 
Civil rights leader and union president A. Philip Randolph strongly protests the AFL-CIO Executive Council's failure to endorse the August 28 "March on Washington" - 1963
 
August 14
President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, providing, for the first time ever, guaranteed income for retirees and creating a system of unemployment benefits - 1935
 
Members of the upstart Polish union Solidarity seize the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk. Sixteen days later the government officially recognizes the union. Many consider the event the beginning of the end for the Iron Curtain - 1980
 
Former AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland dies at age 77 - 1999


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