Labor History

March 01

2014.02.24history-joe-curranThe Granite Cutters National Union begins what is to be a successful nationwide strike for the 8-hour day. Also won: union recognition, wage increases, a grievance procedure and a minimum wage scale – 1900

Joseph Curren is born on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. At age 16 he joined the Merchant Marines and in 1937 went on to lead the formation of the National Maritime Union. He was the union’s founding president and held the post until 1973, when he resigned amidst corruption charges. He died in 1981 – 1906

IWW strikes Portland, Ore., sawmills – 1907

An article in the March 1936 edition of the magazine Popular Science lists what it terms “the world’s craziest jobs,” all of them in Hollywood. Included: Horse-tail painter (to make the tails stand out better in the movies); bone-bleacher (for animal skeletons in Westerns); and chorus-girl weigher, whose function the article did not make terribly clear – 1936

Sailors aboard the S.S. California, docked in San Pedro, Calif., refuse to cast off the lines and allow the ship to sail until their wages are increased and overtime paid. The job action lasts three days before the secretary of labor intervenes and an agreement is reached. The leaders were fined two days’ pay, fired and blacklisted, although charges of mutiny were dropped. The action marked the beginnings of the National Maritime Union – 1936

CIO president John L. Lewis and U.S. Steel President Myron Taylor sign a landmark contract in which the bitterly anti-union company officially 2014.02.24history-taylor-lewisrecognized the CIO as sole negotiator for the company’s unionized workers. Included: the adoption of overtime pay, the 40-hour work week, and a big pay hike – 1937

After five years of labor by 21,000 workers, 112 of whom were killed on the job, the Hoover Dam (Boulder Dam) is completed and turned over to the government. Citizens were so mad at President Herbert Hoover, for whom the dam had been named, that it was later changed to Boulder Dam, being located near Boulder City, Nev. – 1936

The federal minimum wage increases to $1 per hour – 1956

March 02

Postal workers granted 8-hour day – 1913

More than 6,000 drivers strike Greyhound Lines, most lose jobs to strikebreakers after company declares “impasse” in negotiations – 1990

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