Today in Labor History – December 07, 1888 – Heywood Broun born in New York City. Journalist, columnist and co-founder, in 1933, of The Newspaper Guild. 1896 – Steam boiler operators from 11 cities across the country meet in Chicago to form the National Union of Steam Engineers of America, the forerunner to the Int’l Union of Operating Engineers. Each of the men represented a local union of 40 members or fewer.
1931 – More than 1,600 protesters staged a national hunger march on Washington, D.C., to present demands for unemployment insurance.
1982 – United Hatters, Cap & Millinery Workers Int’l Union merges into Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union.
2009 – Delegates to the founding convention of the National Nurses United (NNU) in Phoenix, Ariz., unanimously endorse the creation of the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in U.S. history. The 150,000-member union is the product of a merger of three groups.
Today in Labor History – December 06, 1869 – African-American delegates meet in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union as a branch of the all-White National Labor Union created three years earlier. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU’s founding president; Frederick Douglass became president in 1872.
1884 – The Washington Monument is completed in Washington, D.C. On the interior of the monument are 193 commemorative stones, donated by numerous governments and organizations from all over the world; one of them is from the Int’l Typographical Union, founded in 1852. In 1986 the ITU merged into the Communications Workers of America.
1907 – A total of 361 coal miners die at Monongah, W.Va., in nation’s worst mining disaster.
1961 – Int’l Glove Workers Union of America merges into Amalgamated Clothing Workers.
1997 – United Mine Workers begin what is to become a 110-day national coal strike.
Today in Labor History – December 05, 1911 – Union Iron Workers John T. and James B. McNamara are sentenced to 15 years and life, respectively, for involvement in the dynamiting of the Los Angeles Times building during a drive to unionize the building trades in the city. They placed the bomb in an alley next to the building, set to detonate when they thought the building would be empty; it went off early, and an unanticipated gas explosion and fire did the real damage, killing twenty people. The newspaper was strongly conservative and anti-union.
1955 – Ending a 20-year split, the two largest labor federations in the U.S. merge to form the AFL-CIO, with a membership estimated at 15 million.
1999 – AFL-CIO President John Sweeney welcomes the collapse of World Trade Organization talks in Seattle, declaring, “No deal is better than a bad deal.”
2008 – The U.S. Department of Labor reports employers slashed 533,000 jobs the month before—the most in 34 years—as the Great Recession surged. The unemployment rolls had risen for seven months before that and were to continue to soar for another 10 months before topping 10 percent and beginning to level off late the following year.
Today in Labor History – December 04, 1943 – President Roosevelt announces the end of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), concluding the four-year run of one of the American government’s most ambitious public works programs. It helped create jobs for roughly 8.5 million people during the Great Depression and left a legacy of highways and public buildings, among other public gains.
1952 – UAW President Walter Reuther elected president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
1970 – Cesar Chavez jailed for 20 days for refusing to end United Farm Workers’ grape boycott.
Today in Labor History – November 14, 1903 – Women’s Trade Union League founded in Boston.
1934 – The American Railway Supervisors Association is formed at Harmony Hall in Chicago by 29 supervisors working for the Chicago & North Western Railway. They organized after realizing that those railroaders working under their supervision already had the benefits of unionization and were paid more for working fewer hours.
1934 – The Depression-era Public Works Administration agrees with New York City today to begin a huge slum clearance project covering 20 acres in Brooklyn, where low cost housing for 2,500 families will be completed. It was the first of many such jobs-and-housing projects across the country.
1938 – The National Federation of Telephone Workers—later to become the Communications Workers of America—is founded in New Orleans.
Today in Labor History – November 15, 1881 – Founding convention of the Federation of Trades and Labor Unions is held in Pittsburgh. It urges enactment of employer liability, compulsory education, uniform apprenticeship and child and convict labor laws. Five years later it joined with the Knights of Labor to form the American Federation of Labor.
Today in Labor History – November 20, 1816 – First use of term “scab,” by Albany Typographical Society.
1884 – Norman Thomas born, American socialist leader.
1888 – The time clock is invented by Willard Bundy, a jeweler in Auburn, N.Y. Bundy’s brother Harlow starts mass producing them a year later.
1901 – Mine fire in Telluride, Colo., kills 28 miners, prompts union call for safer work conditions.
1968 – A total of 78 miners are killed in an explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, W. Va.
2008 – The Great Recession hits high gear when the stock market falls to its lowest level since 1997. Adding to the mess: a burst housing bubble and total incompetence and greed—some of it criminal—on the part of the nation’s largest banks and Wall Street investment firms. Officially, the recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.
Today in Labor History – November 28, 1828 – William Sylvis, founder of the National Labor Union, born.
1891 – National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, precursor to IBEW, founded.
1908 – A total of 154 men die in a coal mine explosion at Marianna, Pa. Engineer and General Superintendent A.C. Beeson tells the local newspaper he had been in the mine a few minutes before the blast and had found it to be in perfect condition.
1953 – Some 400 New York City photoengravers working for the city’s newspapers, supported by 20,000 other newspaper unionists, begin what is to become an 11-day strike, shutting down the papers.
Today in Labor History – November 29, 1934 – Clerks, teamsters and building service workers at Boston Stores in Milwaukee strike at the beginning of the Christmas rush. The strike won widespread support—at one point 10,000 pickets jammed the sidewalks around the main store—but ultimately was lost. Workers returned to the job in mid-January with a small pay raise and no union recognition.
1966 – The SS Daniel J. Morrell, a 603-foot freighter, breaks in two during a strong storm on Lake Huron. Twenty-eight of its 29 crewmen died; survivor Dennis Hale was found the next day, near frozen and floating in a life raft with the bodies of three of his crew mates. He had survived for nearly 40 hours in frigid temperatures wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, a life jacket, and a pea coat.
1999 – National Labor Relations Board rules that medical interns can unionize and negotiate wages and hours
Today in Labor History – November 30, 1854 – “Fighting Mary” Eliza McDowell, also known as the “Angel of the Stockyards,” born in Chicago. As a social worker she helped organize the first women’s local of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union in 1902.
1930 – Mother Jones died at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md.; “I’m not a lady, I’m a hell-raiser!”
1951 – More than 12,000 members of the Insurance Agents Union strike in 35 states and Washington, D.C., against the Prudential Insurance Co.
1999 – Unionists and activists shut down World Trade Organization meeting, Seattle, Wash.