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  • Today in Labor History
    Updated On: Apr 10, 2019

    March 27

    • 1904 — Mother Jones is ordered to leave Colorado, where state authorities accuse her of “stirring up” striking coal miners.
      (The Autobiography of Mother Jones: A founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World and a fearless and tireless advocate for working people, Mary Harris Jones — “Mother Jones” — was the most dynamic woman ever to grace the American labor movement. Employers and politicians called her “the most dangerous woman in America” and rebellious working men and women loved her as they never loved anyone else.)
       
    • 2002 — U.S. Supreme Court rules that undocumented workers do not have the same rights as Americans when they are wrongly fired.

    March 28

    • 1935 — 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.
       
    • 1968 — Martin Luther King, Jr., leads a march of striking sanitation workers, members of AFSCME Local 1733, in Memphis, Tenn. Violence during the march persuades him to return the following week to Memphis, where he was assassinated.

    March 29

    • 1852 — Ohio makes it illegal for children under 18 and women to work more than 10 hours a day.
       
    • 1918 — 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.
       
    • 1948 — “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.
       
    • 1988 — National Maritime Union of America merges with National Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association.

    March 30

    • 1918 — Chicago stockyard workers win 8-hour day.
       
    • 1930 — At the height of the Great Depression, 35,000 unemployed march in New York’s Union Square. Police beat many demonstrators, injuring 100.
       
    • 1970 — The federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act is enacted.
    • 1990 — 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’”.
    • 2012 — 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.

    March 31

    • 1840 — President Martin Van Buren issues a broadly-applicable executive order granting the 10-hour day to all government employees engaged in manual labor.
       
    • 1883 — Cowboys earning $40 per month begin what is to become an unsuccessful two-and-a-half-month strike for higher wages at five ranches in the Texas Panhandle.
       
    • 1927 — Cesar Chavez born in Yuma, Ariz.
       
    • 1930 — Construction begins on the three-mile Hawk’s Nest Tunnel through Gauley Mountain, W. Va., as part of a hydroelectric project. A congressional hearing years later was to report that 476 laborers in the mostly Black, migrant workforce of 3,000 were exposed to silica rock dust in the course of their 10-hour-a-day, six-days-a-week shifts and died of silicosis. Some researchers say that more than 1,000 died.
       
    • 1933 — President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps to help alleviate suffering during the Depression. By the time the program ended after the start of World War II it had provided jobs for more than six million men and boys. The average enrollee gained 11 pounds in his first three months.
       
    • 1941 — Wisconsin state troopers fail to get scabs across the picket line to break a 76-day Allis-Chalmers strike in Milwaukee led by UAW Local 248. The plant remained closed until the government negotiated a compromise.
       
    • 1995 — Federal judge Sonia Sotomayor, later to become a Supreme Court justice, issues an injunction against baseball team owners to end a 232-day work stoppage.

    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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