This Week in Labor History June 3-9

JUNE 3
1935 More than 1,000 Canadian men, working at “Royal Twenty Centers” established by the Canadian government to provide work for single, unemployed homeless males during the Great Depression, begin an “On to Ottawa Trek” to protest conditions at the camps. They were being paid 20 cents a day plus food and shelter to build roads, plant trees and construct public buildings.

JUNE 4
1947 The House of Representatives approves the Taft-Hartley Act. The legislation allows the president of the United States to intervene in Labor disputes. President Truman vetoed the law but was overridden by Congress.

JUNE 5
1998 A strike begins at a General Motors Corp. parts factory in Flint, Mich., that spreads and ultimately forces the closure of GM plants across the country for seven weeks.

JUNE 6
1933 The U.S. Employment Service was created.
1937 A general strike by some 12,000 autoworkers and others in Lansing, Mich., shuts down the city for a month in what was to become known as the city’s “Labor Holiday.”

JUNE 7
1904 Militia sent to Cripple Creek, Colo., to suppress Western Federation of Miners strike.
1929 Striking textile workers battle police in Gastonia, N.C. Police Chief O.F. Aderholt is accidentally killed by one of his own officers.

JUNE 8
1904 A battle between the Militia and striking miners at Dunnville, Colo., ended with six union members dead and 15 taken prisoner. Seventy-nine of the strikers were deported to Kansas two days later.
1917 Spectator mine disaster kills 168 in Butte, Mont.
1966 Some 35,000 members of the Machinists union begin what is to become a 43-day strike—the largest in airline history—against five carriers. The mechanics and other ground service workers wanted to share in the airlines’ substantial profits.
1852 The earliest recorded strike by Chinese immigrants to the U.S. occurred when stonemasons, who were brought to San Francisco to build the three-story Parrott granite building — made from Chinese prefabricated blocks — struck for higher pay.
1971 New York City drawbridge tenders, in a dispute with the state over pension issues, leave a dozen bridges open, snarling traffic in what the Daily News described as “the biggest traffic snafu in the city’s history.”

JUNE 9
1865 Helen Marot is born in Philadelphia to a wealthy family. She went on to organize the Bookkeepers, Stenographers and Accountants Union in New York, and to organize and lead the city’s 1909-1910 Shirtwaist Strike.

(Compiled by David Prosten, founder Union Communication Services)

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