This week in labor history: June 26-July 2

1894 Members of the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, refuse to handle Pullman cars, in solidarity with Pullman strikers. Two dozen strikers were killed over the course of the strike.

1869 Emma Goldman, women’s rights activist and radical, is born in Lithuania. She came to the U.S. at age 17.
1905 The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies,” is founded at a 12-day-long convention in Chicago. The Wobbly motto: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
1935 Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act, creating the structure for collective bargaining in the United States.

1850 Birthday of machinist Matthew Maguire, who many believe first suggested Labor Day. Others believe it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter.
1894 – President Grover Cleveland signs legislation declaring Labor Day an official U.S. holiday.
1988 The federal government sues the Teamsters to force reforms on the union, the nation’s largest.

1987 The newly-formed Jobs With Justice stages its first big support action, backing 3,000 picketing Eastern Airlines mechanics at Miami Airport.
1988 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in CWA v. Beck that, in a union security agreement, a union can collect as dues from non-members only that money necessary to perform its duties as a collective bargaining representative.

1928 Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to mine coal, a practice that had been in place since 1848. In 1898, 73 percent of the state’s total revenue came from this source.

1936 The Walsh-Healey Act took effect today. It requires companies that supply goods to the government to pay wages according to a schedule set by the Secretary of Labor.
1967 The storied Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, a union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America.
1998 Up to 40,000 New York construction workers demonstrated in midtown Manhattan, protesting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s awarding of a $33 million contract to a non-union company.
2013 Nineteen fire fighters die when they are overtaken by a wildfire they are battling in a forest northwest of Phoenix, Ariz. It was the deadliest wildfire involving fire fighters in the U.S. in at least 30 years.

1873 The American Flint Glass workers union is formed, headquartered in Pittsburgh. It was to merge into the Steelworkers 140 years later, in 2003.
1922 One million railway shopmen strike.
1971 National Association of Post Office & General Service Maintenance Employees, United Federation of Postal Clerks, National Federation of Post Office Motor Vehicle Employees & National Association of Special Delivery Messengers merge to become American Postal Workers Union.
2001 United American Nurses affiliate with the AFL-CIO.

1962 The first Walmart store opens in Rogers, Ark. By 2014 the company had 10,000 stores in 27 countries, under 71 different names, employing more than 2 million people. It is known in the U.S. and most of the other countries in which it operates for low wages and extreme anti-unionism.
1964 President Johnson signs Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbidding employers and unions from discriminating on the basis of race, color, gender, nationality or religion.
2009 The Labor Dept. reports that U.S. employers cut 467,000 jobs over the prior month, driving the nation’s unemployment rate up to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent.

(Compiled by David Prosten, founder of Union Communication Services)

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