Weekend Labor History


Friday: Rose Will Monroe (right), popularly known as Rosie the Riveter, dies in Clarksville, Ind.  During WWII she helped bring women into the labor force (1997)
Saturday: The Ladies Federal Labor Union Number 2703, based in Illinois, was granted a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Women from a wide range of occupations were among the members, who ultimately were successful in coalescing women’s groups interested in suffrage, temperance, health, housing and child labor reform to win state legislation in these areas (1888); Union Carpenters win a 25¢-per-day raise, bringing wages for a 9-hour day to $2.50 (1898); Congress passes the Erdman Act, providing for voluntary mediation or arbitration of railroad disputes and prohibiting contracts that discriminate against union labor or release employers from legal liability for on-the-job injuries (1898); Nearly 3,500 immigrant miners begin Clifton-Morenci, Ariz., copper strike (1903); Some 12,500 longshoremen strike the Pacific coast, from San Diego to Bellingham, Wash. Demands included a closed shop and a wage increase to 55¢ an hour for handling general cargo (1916); As many as 60,000 railroad shopmen strike to protest cuts in wages (1922); Extinguishing the light of hope in the hearts and aspirations of workers around the world, the Mexican government abolishes siestas—a mid-afternoon nap and work break which lengthened the work day but got people through brutally hot summer days (1944); Farm workers under the banner of the new United Farm Workers Organizing Committee strike at Texas’s La Casita Farms, demand $1.25 as a minimum hourly wage (1966); Dakota Beef meatpackers win 7-hour sit-down strike over speed-ups, St. Paul, Minn. (2000); General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing made the automaker the largest U.S. industrial company to enter bankruptcy protection. It went on to recover thanks to massive help from the UAW and the federal government (2009)
Sunday: Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia stage the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay (1786); A constitutional amendment declaring that “Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age” was approved by the Senate today, following the lead of the House five weeks earlier. But only 28 state legislatures ever ratified the amendment—the last three in 1937—so it has never taken effect (1924); The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President Harry Truman acted illegally when he ordered the Army to seize the nation’s steel mills to avert a strike (1952); Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and Textile Workers Union of America merge to form Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union (1976) Complete labor history postings, plus more info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services.

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