Today in Labor History for the week of April 14

2014.04.14history-zinn-ppls-historyApril 14

More than 100 Mexican and Filipino farm workers are arrested for union activities, Imperial Valley, Calif. Eight were convicted of “criminal syndicalism” - 1930

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath published - 1939
(A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present: If your last serious read of American history was in high school—or even in a standard college course—you’ll want to read this amazing account of America as seen through the eyes of its working people, women and minorities.)

The United Steelworkers and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers unions merge to form the largest industrial union in North America - 2005

April 152014.04.14history-ap-randolph

A. Philip Randolph, civil rights leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, born in Crescent City, Fla. - 1889

IWW union Agricultural Workers Organization formed in Kansas City, Mo. - 1915

Teacher unionists gather at the City Club on Plymouth Court in Chicago to form a new national union: the American Federation of Teachers - 1916

Start of ultimately successful six-day strike across New England by what has been described as the first women-led American union, the Telephone Operators Department of IBEW - 1919

Transport Workers Union founded - 1934

The first McDonald’s restaurant opens, in Des Plaines, Ill., setting the stage years later for sociologist Amitai Etzioni to coin the term "McJob." As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, a McJob is "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector" - 1955

April 16

Employers lock out 25,000 New York City garment workers in a dispute over hiring practices. The Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union calls a general strike; after 14 weeks, 60,000 strikers win union recognition and the contractual right to strike - 1916

2014.04.14history-prepared-bookcoverFive hundred workers in Texas City, Texas die in a series of huge oil refinery and chemical plant explosions and fires - 1947
(Are You Prepared? A Guide to Emergency Planning in the Workplace: Today’s headlines are filled with disaster, from the natural—fire, flood, hurricane, tornado and the like—to the man-made, such as workplace shootings, explosions, accidental releases of toxic chemicals or radiation, even nightmares such as bombings. Are you and your co-workers prepared to respond quickly and safely if disaster strikes? Steps you take today can save lives tomorrow, from having escape plans to knowing how to quickly turn off power and fuel supplies.)

An estimated 20,000 global justice activists blockade Washington, D.C., meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund - 2000

April 172014.04.14history-bakery

The Supreme Court holds that a maximum-hours law for New York bakery workers is unconstitutional under the due process clause of the 14th amendment - 1905

April 18

West Virginia coal miners strike, defend selves against National Guard - 1912

After a four-week boycott led by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., bus companies in New York City agree to hire 200 black drivers and mechanics - 1941

April 19

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the nation’s “Furniture City,” more than 6,000 immigrant workers—Germans, Dutch, Lithuanians and Poles—put down their tools and struck 59 factories for four months in what was to become known as the Great Furniture Strike - 1919

2014.04.14history-murrah-bldgAn American domestic terrorist’s bomb destroys the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 99 of whom were government employees - 1995

April 20

Nearly 10,000 demonstrators celebrate textile workers’ win of a 10-percent pay hike and grievance committees after a one-month strike, Lowell, Mass. - 1912

Ludlow massacre: Colorado state militia, using machine guns and fire, kill about 20 people—including 11 children—at a tent city set up by striking coal miners - 1914

An unknown assailant shoots through a window at United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther as he is eating dinner at his kitchen table, permanently impairing his right arm. It was one of at least two assassination attempts on Reuther. He and his wife later died in a small plane crash under what many believe to be suspicious circumstances - 1948

National Association of Post Office Mail Handlers, Watchmen, Messengers & Group Leaders merge with Laborers - 1968

United Auto Workers members end a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester, protesting management demands for new work rules and mandatory overtime provisions - 1980