Labor History

January 31

Some 12,000 pecan shellers in San Antonio, Texas—mostly Latino women—walk off their jobs at 400 factories in what was to become a three-month strike against wage cuts.  Strike leader Emma Tenayuca was eventually hounded out of the state – 1938

2014.01.27history-ida-fullerIda M. Fuller is the first retiree to receive an old-age monthly benefit check under the new Social Security law.  She paid in $24.75 between 1937 and 1939 on an income of $2,484; her first check was for $22.54 – 1940

After scoring successes with representation elections conducted under the protective oversight of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the United Farm Workers of America officially ends its historic table grape, lettuce and wine boycotts – 1978

Union and student pressure forces Harvard University to adopt new labor policies raising wages for lowest-paid workers – 2002

Five months after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans school board fires every teacher in the district in what the United Teachers of New Orleans sees as an effort to break the union and privatize the school system – 2005

February 012014.01.27history-strike-bookcover

Led by 23-year-old Kate Mullaney, the Collar Laundry Union forms in Troy, N.Y., and raises earnings for female laundry workers from $2 to $14 a week – 1864

Bricklayers begin working 8-hour days – 1867

Some 25,000 Paterson, N.J., silk workers strike for 8-hour work day and improved working conditions.  Eighteen hundred were arrested over the course of the six-month walkout, led by the Wobblies.  They returned to work on their employers’ terms – 1913
2014.01.27history-iris-rivera(Strike!: Read about the Paterson silk workers and other strikes in this book which tells you something your school history books almost certainly did not: how working Americans for the past 125 years have used the strike again and again to win a degree of justice and fair play.)

The federal minimum wage increases to $1.60 per hour – 1968

Int’l Brotherhood of Firemen & Oilers merge with Service Employees Int’l Union – 1995

February 02

Three hundred newsboys organize to protest a cut in pay by the Minneapolis Tribune – 1917

Legal secretary Iris Rivera fired for refusing to make coffee; secretaries across Chicago protest – 1977

The 170-day lockout (although management called it a strike) of 22,000 steelworkers by USX Corp. ends with a pay cut but greater job security.  It was the longest work stoppage in the history of the U.S. steel industry – 1987

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