This Week in Labor History April 15-21

1912 Eight members of the Musicians union die in the sinking of the Titanic. According to survivors, they played their instruments until nearly the end.
1915 IWW union Agricultural Workers Organization formed in Kansas City, Mo.
1916 Teacher unionists gather at the City Club on Plymouth Court in Chicago to form a new national union: the American Federation of Teachers.

1916 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.
1947 Five hundred workers in Texas City, Texas die in a series of huge oil refinery and chemical plant explosions and fires.

1905 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.
2013 An explosion at a West Texas fertilizer plant kills 15 people and injures nearly 300 when 30 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate — stored in sheds without sprinkler systems — caught fire.  Of those killed, 10 were emergency responders.

1912 West Virginia coal miners strike, defend themselves against the National Guard.
1941 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.

1911 In Grand Rapids, Mich., 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.
1995 An American domestic terrorist’s bomb destroys the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 99 of whom were government employees.

1914 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.
1948 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.

1967 New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signs the Taylor Law, permitting union organization and bargaining by public employees, but outlawing the right to strike.
1997 Some 12,500 Goodyear Tire workers strike nine plants in what was to become a three-week walkout over job security, wage and benefit issues.

(Compiled by David Prosten, founder Union Communication Services)

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