IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


August 15
Populist social commentator Will Rogers killed in a plane crash, Point Barrow, Alaska. One of his many classic lines: "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts" - 1935
 
President Richard M. Nixon announces a 90-day freeze on wages, prices and rents in an attempt to combat inflation - 1971
 
Gerry Horgan, chief steward of CWA Local 1103 and NYNEX striker in Valhalla, NY, is struck on the picket line by a car driven by the daughter of a plant manager and dies the following day. What was to become a four-month strike over healthcare benefits was in its second week - 1989
 
Eight automotive department employees at a Wal-Mart near Ottawa won an arbitrator-imposed contract after voting for UFCW representation, becoming the giant retailer's only location in North America with a collective bargaining agreement. Two months later the company closed the department. Three years earlier Wal-Mart had closed an entire store on the same day the government announced an arbitrator would impose a contract agreement there - 2008

August 16
George Meany, plumber, founding AFL-CIO president, born in City Island, Bronx. In his official biography, George Meany and His Times, he said he had "never walked a picket line in his life." He also said he took part in only one strike (against the United States Government to get higher pay for plumbers on welfare jobs). Yet he also firmly said that "You only make progress by fighting for progress." Meany served as secretary-treasurer of the AFL from 1940 to 1952, succeeded as president of the AFL, and then continued as president of the AFL-CIO following the historic merger in 1955 until retiring in 1979 - 1894
 
Homer Martin, early United Auto Workers leader, born in Marion, Ill. - 1902
 
Congress passes the National Apprenticeship Act, establishing a national advisory committee to research and draft regulations establishing minimum standards for apprenticeship programs. It was later amended to permit the Labor Dept. to issue regulations protecting the health, safety and general welfare of apprentices, and to encourage the use of contracts in their hiring and employment – 1937 (Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits: A Century of Building Trades History follows the history of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO from the emergence of building trades councils in the age of the skyscraper. It takes the reader through treacherous fights over jurisdiction as new building materials and methods of work evolved; and describes numerous Department campaigns to improve safety standards, work with contractors to promote unionized construction, and forge a sense of industrial unity among its autonomous and highly diverse affiliates.)

National Agricultural Workers Union merges into Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen - 1960
 
International Union of Wood, Wire & Metal Lathers merges with United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners - 1979
 
August 17
IWW War Trials in Chicago, 95 go to prison for up to 20 years - 1918
 

Bakery & Confectionery Workers International Union of America merges with Tobacco Workers International Union to become Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers - 1978
 
Year-long Hormel meatpackers' strike begins in Austin, Minn. - 1985
 
August 18
Radio station WEVD, named for Eugene V. Debs, goes on the air in New York City, operated by The Forward Association as a memorial to the labor and socialist leader - 1927
 
Founding of the American Federation of Government Employees, following a decision by the National Federation of Federal Employees (later to become part of the Intl. Assn. of Machinists) to leave the AFL - 1932
 
August 19
First edition of IWW "Little Red Song Book" published - 1909
 
Some 2,000 United Railroads streetcar service workers and supporters parade down San Francisco’s Market Street in support of pay demands and against the company’s anti-union policies. The strike failed in late November in the face of more than 1,000 strikebreakers, some of them imported from Chicago - 1917
 
Founding of the Maritime Trades Dept. of the AFL-CIO, to give "workers employed in the maritime industry and its allied trades a voice in shaping national policy" - 1946
 
Phelps-Dodge copper miners in Morenci and Clifton Ariz. are confronted by tanks, helicopters, 426 state troopers and 325 National Guardsmen brought in to walk strikebreakers through picketlines in what was to become a failed three-year fight by the Steelworkers and other unions - 1983 (The Unfinished Struggle is a tight, entertaining history of the American labor movement. Steve Babson’s sympathetic, dramatic narrative examines workers’ attempts to organize for fairness and justice, beginning with the Great Uprising railroad strike of 1877, through the founding of the American Federation of Labor, the hugely successful sitdown strikes of the 1930s and on into the 1990s. He illuminates the American labor movement’s tumultuous past, evolving agenda, and continuing conflicts. Timely reading as 45,000 CWA and IBEW members are on strike against Verizon.)
 
Some 4,400 mechanics, cleaners and custodians, members of AMFA at Northwest Airlines, strike the carrier over job security, pay cuts and workrule changes. The 14-month strike was to fail, with most union jobs lost to replacements and outside contractors - 2005
 
August 21
Slave revolt led by Nat Turner begins in Southampton County, Va. - 1831


Provided by : Union Communication Services, Inc.