Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Today in Labor History

Seventy-five workers die in explosion at Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburgh, Pa. - 1862

At a New York convention of the National Labor Congress, Susan B. Anthony calls for the formation of a Working Women's Association. As a delegate to the Congress, she persuaded the committee on female labor to call for votes for women and equal 2013.09.16history-breakerpay for equal work. But male delegates deleted the reference to the vote - 1868

One hundred thousand Pennsylvania anthracite coal miners go on strike. Their average annual wage is $250. They are paid by the ton, defined by Pennsylvania as 2,400 pounds, but which mine operators have increased to as much as 4,000 pounds - 1900

(Breaker: A Boy’s Story of the 1902 Pennsylvania Coal Strike is the story of the 1902 Pennsylvania coal miners’ strike seen through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Pat McFarlane. Pat lives in Scatter Patch, a small town of immigrants and poor, working-class citizens ruled by the anthracite mine and run by a rich and aloof boss. ("They don’t suffer," said mine owner George Baer during the 1902 strike. "They don’t even speak English." Real quote, not fiction!) When his father is killed in a massive cave-in, Pat must go to work as a breaker boy. Under terrible and dangerous conditions, he and the other boys spend their days picking slate out of streams of coal. Highly recommended for young adults, ages 10-14.)

National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) formed at a convention in Washington, D.C. In 1999 it became part of the Int’l Association of Machinists (IAM) - 1917

Some Depression-era weekly paychecks around the New York area: physician, $55.32; engineer, $40.68; clerk, $22.15; salesman, $25.02; laborer, $20; typist, $15.09 - 1933

Southern employers meeting in Greenville, N.C., ready their big counter-offensive to break the textile labor strikes that have hit the Eastern seaboard. Ultimately they deploy 10,000 national guardsmen and 15,000 deputies, but fail to drive hundreds of thousands of strikers back to work - 1934

A Southern Pacific train loaded with sugar beets strikes a makeshift bus filled with 60 migrant workers near Salinas, Calif., killing 32. The driver said the bus was so crowded he couldn't see the train coming - 1963

A total of 98 United Mine Workers of America members and a minister occupy the Pittston Coal Company's Moss 3 preparation plant in Carbon, Va., beginning a year-long strike. Among other issues: management demands for drastic limitations in health and pension benefits for retired and disabled miners and their dependents and beneficiaries - 1989
The Occupy Wall Street movement is launched with an anti-Wall Street march and demonstration that ended up as a 2-month encampment in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. The event led to protests and movements around the world, with their focus on economic inequality, corruption, greed and the influence on government of monied interests. Their slogan: “We are the 99%.” - 2011

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