IBEW Local 131 Information Center




This Week In Labor History


Today in labor history for the week of October 4, 2010 

October 04 
President Truman orders the U.S. Navy to seize oil refineries, breaking a 20-state post-war strike - 1945

The United Mine Workers of America votes to reaffiliate with the AFL-CIO after years of on-and-off conflict with the federation. In 2009 the union’s leader, Richard Trumka, becomes AFL-CIO President - 1961

Distillery, Wine & Allied Workers International Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers International Union - 1995

October 05
A strike by set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Calif. when scabs try to cross the picket line. The incident is still identified as "Hollywood Black Friday" and "The Battle of Burbank" - 1945

The UAW ends a three-week strike against Ford Motor Co. when the company agrees to a contract that includes more vacation days and better retirement and unemployment benefits - 1976

Polish Solidarity union founder Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize - 1983

2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, win a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years - 2004 

October 06
First National Conference of Trade Union Women - 1918

1,700 female flight attendants win 18-year, $37 million suit against United Airlines. They had been fired for getting married - 1986

Thirty-two thousand machinists begin what is to be a successful 69-day strike against the Boeing Co. featuring pay increase that averaged an estimated $19,200 in wages and benefits over four years and safeguards against job cutbacks - 1995

October 07
Joe Hill, labor leader and song writer, born in Gavle, Sweden - 1879

Hollywood’s "Battle of the Mirrors." Picketing members of the Conference of Studio Unions disrupted an outdoor shoot by holding up large reflectors that filled camera lenses with blinding sunlight. Members of the competing IATSE union retaliated by using the reflectors to shoot sunlight back across the street. The battle went on all day, writes Tom Sito in "Drawing the Line" - 1946

October 08
Thirty of the city's 185 firefighters are injured battling the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for three days - 1871

Structural Building Trades Alliance organizes in Indianapolis with goal of eliminating jurisdictional strikes that were seriously disrupting the industry and shoring up the power of international unions over local building trades councils. Conflicts between large and small unions doomed the group and it disbanded six years later - 1902

In Poland, the union Solidarity and all other labor organizations are banned by the government - 1982

Upholsterers' International Union of North America merges with United Steelworkers of America - 1985

October 09
United Hebrew Trades is organized in New York by shirtmaker Morris Hillquit and others. Hillquit would later would become leader of the Socialist Party - 1888

Retail stock brokerage Smith Barney reaches a tentative sexual harassment settlement with a group of female employees. The suit charged, among other things, that branch managers asked female workers to remove their tops in exchange for money and one office featured a "boom boom room" where women workers were encouraged to "entertain clients." The settlement was never finalized: a U.S. District Court Judge refused to approve the deal because it failed to adequately redress the plaintiff's grievances - 1997

3,300 sanitation workers working for private haulers in Chicago win a 9-day strike featuring a 28 percent wage increase over 5 years - 2003

October 10
Six days into a cotton field strike by 18,000 Mexican and Mexican-American workers in Pixley, Calif., four strikers are killed and six wounded; eight growers were indicted and charged with murder - 1933

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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