Friday, May 25, 2012

Today in Labor History

May 25

Pressured by employers, striking shoemakers in Philadelphia are arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy for violating an English common law that bars schemes aimed at forcing wage increases. The strike was broken - 1805

Philip Murray is born in Scotland. He went on to emigrate to the U.S., become founder and first president of the United Steelworkers of America, and head of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) from 1940 until his death in 1952 - 1886

Two company houses occupied by non-union coal miners were blown up and destroyed during a strike against the Glendale Gas & Coal Co. in Wheeling, W. Va. - 1925

Thousands of unemployed WWI veterans arrive in Washington, D.C. to demand a bonus they had been promised but never received. They built a shantytown near the U.S. Capitol but were burned out by U.S. troops after two months - 1932

The notorious 11-month Remington Rand strike begins. The strike spawned the "Mohawk Valley (NY) formula," described by investigators as a corporate plan to discredit union leaders, frighten the public with the threat of violence, employ thugs to beat up strikers, and other tactics. The National Labor Relations Board termed the formula "a battle plan for industrial war." - 1936

The AFL-CIO begins what is to become an unsuccessful campaign for a 35-hour workweek, with the goal of reducing unemployment. Earlier tries by organized labor for 32- or 35-hour weeks also failed - 1962
[Greed and Good: America’s unions have always bargained over the wages, hours, and working conditions of workers. Should unions now also be paying equally serious attention to the "wages" executives take home? Veteran labor journalist Sam Pizzigati thinks so. A generation ago, Greed and Good notes, top executives averaged 40 times the pay of their workers. Today’s top execs routinely grab over 300 times what their average workers earn. That’s one key reason why America’s richest 1 percent now holds more wealth -- over trillion more -- than America’s entire bottom 90 percent combined. This incredible concentration of wealth at the top, this book’s vivid pages help us understand, is squeezing satisfaction from our jobs, pleasure from our pastimes, even years from our lives. In The UCS bookstore now.]

SOURCE: Union Communications Services, Inc.

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