Weekend Labor History June 28

: Birthday of machinist Matthew Maguire, who many believe first suggested Labor Day. Others believe it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter (1850); President Grover Cleveland signs legislation declaring Labor Day an official U.S. holiday (1894); The federal government sues the Teamsters to force reforms on the union, the nation’s largest. The following March, the government and the union sign a consent decree requiring direct election of the union’s president and creation of an Independent Review Board (1988)
June 29: What is to be a 7-day streetcar strike begins in Chicago after several workers are unfairly fired. Wrote the police chief at the time, describing the strikers’ response to scabs: “One of my men said he was at the corner of Halsted and Madison Streets, and although he could see fifty stones in the air, he couldn’t tell where they were coming from.” The strike was settled to the workers’ satisfaction (1885); An executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National Labor Relations Board.  A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, established by the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, had been struck down by the Supreme Court (1934); IWW strikes Weyerhauser and other Idaho lumber camps (1936); Jesus Pallares, founder of the 8,000-member coal miners union, Liga Obrera de Habla Espanola, is deported as an “undesirable alien.” The union operated in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado (1936); The Boilermaker and Blacksmith unions merge to become Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (1954); The newly-formed Jobs With Justice stages its first big support action, backing 3,000 picketing Eastern Airlines mechanics at Miami Airport (1987); The U.S. Supreme Court rules in CWA v. Beck that, in a union security agreement, a union can collect as dues from non-members only that money necessary to perform its duties as a collective bargaining representative (1988).
June 30: Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to mine coal, a practice that had been in place since 1848. In 1898, 73 percent of the state’s total revenue came from this source. 25 percent of all black leased convicts died (1928); The Walsh-Healey Act took effect today. It requires companies that supply goods to the government to pay wages according to a schedule set by the Secretary of Labor (1936); The storied Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (right), a union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America (1967); Up to 40,000 New York construction workers demonstrated in midtown Manhattan, protesting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s awarding of a $33 million contract to a nonunion company. Eighteen police and three demonstrators were injured. “There were some scattered incidents and some minor violence,” Police Commissioner Howard Safir told the New York Post. “Generally, it was a pretty well-behaved crowd.” (1998). 
Complete labor history postings, plus more info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services.
photo: 1949 strike by the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers against the Potash Company of America in Carlsband, New Mexico. Strikers prevented the moving of ore by train by sitting on the tracks; photo courtesy University of Colorado Boulder archive.
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