Monday, May 05, 2014

Today in Labor History

National Typographical Union founded, Cincinnati, Ohio. It was renamed the Int’l Typographical Union in 1869, in acknowledgment of Canadian members. When the ITU merged into CWA in 1986 it was the oldest existing union in the U.S. - 1852
On Chicago’s West Side, police attack Jewish workers as they try to march into the Loop to protest slum conditions - 1886
2014.05.05history-uprising-bookcoverSome 14,000 building trades workers and laborers, demanding an 8-hour work day, gather at the Milwaukee Iron Co. rolling mill in Bay View, Wisc. When they approach the mill they are fired on by 250 National Guardsmen under orders from the governor to shoot to kill. Seven die, including 13-year-old boy - 1886
(Apparently Republican Gov. Scott Walker wasn’t the first viciously anti-worker governor in Wisconsin.  InUprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, author John Nichols recounts the gripping story of the more than 100,000 public employees, teachers, students, and their allies who descended on the capital in Madison, Wisconsin in 2011 after Scott Walker announced his plan to eliminate the right of public sector employees to unionize. The dramatic struggle elicited extensive national media coverage and debate, as well as enormous grassroots support for protestors, and paved the path for the Occupy Wall Street movement.)
Nineteen machinists working for the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad gather in a locomotive pit to decide what to do about a wage cut. They vote to form a union, which later became the Int’l Association of Machinists - 1888
Italian-American anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are arrested in Boston for murder and payroll robbery. Eventually they are executed for a crime most believe they did not commit - 1920
Heavily armed deputies and other mine owner hirelings attack striking miners in Harlan County, Ky., starting the Battle of Harlan County - 1931
John J. Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Int’l Union from 1980 to 1995, then president of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009, born in the Bronx, N.Y. - 1934
Lumber strike begins in Pacific Northwest, will involve 40,000 workers by the time victory is achieved after 13 weeks: union recognition, a 50¢-per-hour minimum wage and an 8-hour day - 1937
The U.S. unemployment rate drops to a 30-year low of 3.9 percent; the rate for blacks and Hispanics is the lowest ever since the government started tracking such data - 2000

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