Labor History

March 28

Members of Gas House Workers’ Union Local 18799 begin what is to become a 4-month recognition strike against the Laclede Gas Light Co. in St. Louis. The union later said the strike was the first ever against a public utility in the U.S. – 1935

2014.03.24history-mlk-memphisMartin Luther King, Jr., leads a march of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn. Violence during the march persuades him to return the following week to Memphis, where he was assassinated – 1968

March 29

Ohio makes it illegal for children under 18 and women to work more than 10 hours a day – 1852

Sam Walton, founder of the huge and bitterly anti-union Walmart empire, born in Kingfisher, Okla. He once said that his priority was to “Buy American,” but Walmart is now the largest U.S. importer of foreign-made goods—often produced under sweatshop conditions – 1918

“Battle of Wall Street,” police charge members of the United Financial Employees’ Union, striking against the New York Stock Exchange and New York Curb Exchange (now known as the American Stock Exchange). Forty-three workers are arrested in what was to be the first and only strike in the history of either exchange – 1948

National Maritime Union of America merges with National Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association – 1988

March 30

Chicago stockyard workers win 8-hour day – 19182014.03.24history-harry-bridges

At the height of the Great Depression, 35,000 unemployed march in New York’s Union Square. Police beat many demonstrators, injuring 100 – 1930

The federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act is enacted – 1970

Harry Bridges, Australian-born dock union leader, dies at age 88. He helped form and lead the Int’l Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for 40 years. A Bridges quote: “The most important word in the language of the working class is ‘solidarity’” – 1990

Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild announce that the membership has voted to merge with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, creating the 150,000-member SAG-AFTRA – 2012

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