This Week In Labor History August 28-September 3

1963 – The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom — the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech march — is held in Washington, D.C., with 250,000 participating.
2017 – Effective today, the hourly minimum wage in St. Louis was reduced from $10 to $7.70 due to action by the Missouri legislature, prohibiting cities from setting a minimum wage rate higher than the state rate.

1889 – Sixty letter carriers from 18 states meet in a room above Schaefer’s Saloon on Plankinton Avenue in Milwaukee. They unanimously adopt a resolution to form a National Association of Letter Carriers.
1907 – Seventy-five workers die when the lower St. Lawrence River’s Quebec Bridge collapses while under construction. A flawed design was found to be the cause.
1996 – Dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club vote 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790.
1998 – Northwest Airlines pilots, after years of concessions to help the airline, begin what is to become a two-week strike for higher pay.
2000 – Delegates to the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention approve the launching of, now in its fourteenth year. It was the first web-based daily Labor news service by a state labor federation.

1834 – Delegates from several East Coast cities meet in convention to form the National Trades’ Union, uniting craft unions to oppose “the most unequal and unjustifiable distribution of the wealth of society in the hands of a few individuals.”
1935 – President Franklin Roosevelt’s Wealth Tax Act increases taxes on rich citizens and big business, lowers taxes for small businesses.
1966 – OSHA publishes scaffold safety standard, designed to protect 2.3 million construction workers and prevent 50 deaths and 4,500 injuries annually.

1919 – John Reed forms the Communist Labor Party in Chicago. The Party’s motto: “Workers of the world, unite!”
1912 – Some 10,000 striking miners began a fight at Blair Mountain, W.Va., for recognition of their union, the United Mine Workers of America. Federal troops were sent in and miners were forced to withdraw five days later, after 16 deaths.
1980 – “Solidarity” workers movement founded as a strike coordination committee at Lenin Shipyards, Gdansk, Poland. The strike launched a wave of unrest in the Soviet Union that ultimately led to its dissolution in 1991.
1991 – An estimated 325,000 unionists gathered in Washington, D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally for workplace fairness and healthcare reform.
1999 – Detroit teachers begin what is to become a nine-day strike, winning smaller class sizes and raises of up to four percent.

1893 – The Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers is founded at a meeting in Chicago, the product of two separate brotherhoods created over the previous 13 years.
1894 – Congress declares Labor Day a national holiday.
2003 – The AFL-CIO creates Working America, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization designed to build alliances among non-union working people – 2003

1921 – Mineowners bomb West Virginia strikers by plane, using homemade bombs filled with nails and metal fragments.
1954 – President Eisenhower signs legislation expanding Social Security by providing much wider coverage and including 10 million additional Americans, most of them self-employed farmers, with additional benefits.
1974 – The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed by President Ford, regulating and insuring pensions and other benefits, and increasing protections for workers

1891 – African-American cotton pickers organize and strike in Lee County, Texas, against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up Blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations.
1928 – Some 300 musicians working in Chicago movie houses strike to protest their impending replacement by talking movies.
1991 – Twenty-five workers die, unable to escape a fire at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, N.C. Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection.

(Compiled by David Prosten, founder Union Communication Services)

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