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  • Today in Labor History
    Updated On: Mar 20, 2019

    MARCH 20

    • 1865 — Michigan authorizes formation of workers’ cooperatives. Thirteen are formed in the state over a 25-year period. Labor reform organizations were advocating "cooperation" over "competitive" capitalism following the Civil War and several thousand cooperatives opened for business across the country during this era. Participants envisioned a world free from conflict where workers would receive the full value of their labor and freely exercise democratic citizenship in the political and economic realms.

    • 1905— Fifty-eight workers are killed, 150 injured when a boiler explosion levels the R.B. Grover  shoe factory in Brockton, Mass. The four-story wooden building collapsed and the ruins burst into flames, incinerating workers trapped in the wreckage.

    • 1908 — The American Federation of Labor issues a charter to a new Building Trades Department. Trades unions had formed a Structural Building Trades Alliance several years earlier to work out jurisdictional conflicts, but lacked the power to enforce Alliance rulings.

    • 1956 — Members of the Int’l Union of Electrical Workers reach agreement with Westinghouse Electric Corp., end a 156-day strike.

    • 1991 — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that employers could not exclude women from (the often highest paying) jobs where exposure to toxic chemicals could potentially damage a fetus.

    • 1997 — Three hundred family farmers at a National Pork Producers Council meeting in Iowa protest factory-style hog farms.

    MARCH 21

    • 1853 — American Labor Union founded.

    MARCH 22

    • 1886 — Mark Twain, a lifelong member of the Int’l Typographical Union (now part of CWA), speaks in Hartford, Conn., extolling the Knights of Labor’s commitment to fair treatment of all workers, regardless of race or gender.

    • 1941 — The Grand Coulee Dam on Washington state’s Columbia River begins operation after a decade of construction.  Eight thousand workers labored on the project; 77 died.

    • 1982 — Eight hundred striking workers at Brown & Sharpe in Kingstown, R.I. are tear-gassed by state and local police in what was to become a losing 17-year-long fight by the Machinists union.

    • 1990 — A 32-day lockout of major league baseball players ends with an agreement to raise the minimum league salary from $68,000 to $100,000 and to study revenue-sharing between owners and players.

    • 1998 — A bitter six-and-a-half-year UAW strike at Caterpillar Inc. ends. The strike and settlement, which included a two-tier wage system and other concessions, deeply divided the union.

    CLICK HERE to view this week's labor history
    Copyright  © 2019 Union Communication Services—Worker Institute at Cornell ILR, All rights reserved.
    Union Communication Services — The Worker Institute at Cornell ILR


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