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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today in Labor History

August 15

To begin what proved to become one of the world’s longest construction projects, workers lay the foundation stone of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral, built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men. The job was declared completed in 1880 -- 632 years later - 1248

The Panama Canal opens after 33 years of construction and an estimated 22,000 worker deaths, mostly caused by malaria and yellow fever. The 51-mile canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans - 1914

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
[Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to Capitalism is a concise and readable book that provides nonspecialist readers with all the information they need to understand how capitalism works – and how it doesn’t. This humorous, educational and well-illustrated book will appeal to those working for a fairer world and students of social sciences who need to engage with economics. The book is illustrated with funny and instructional cartoons by Tony Biddle and is supported with a comprehensive, free set of web-based course materials for popular economics courses. In the UCS bookstore now.]

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
SOURCE: Union Communications Services, Inc.

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