1927 – Work begins on the carving of Mt. Rushmore, a task 400 craftsmen would eventually complete in 1941. Despite the dangerous nature of the project, not one worker died.
1945 – President Truman orders the U.S. Navy to seize oil refineries, breaking a 20-state post-war strike.
1916 – The United Mine Workers of America votes to re-affiliate with the AFL-CIO after years of on-and-off conflict with the federation. In 2009 the union’s leader, Richard Trumka, becomes AFL-CIO President.
1995 – Distillery, Wine & Allied Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union.
1945 – A strike by set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Calif., when scabs try to cross the picket line. The incident is still identified as “Hollywood Black Friday” and “The Battle of Burbank.”
1976 – The UAW ends a three-week strike against Ford Motor Co. when the company agrees to a contract that includes more vacation days and better retirement and unemployment benefits.
1983 – Polish Solidarity union founder Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
2004 – Some 2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, win a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years.
1918 – First National Conference of Trade Union Women.
1927 – The first “talkie” movie, The Jazz Singer, premiers in New York City. Within three years, according to the American Federation of Musicians, theater jobs for some 22,000 musicians who accompanied silent movies were lost, while only a few hundred jobs for musicians performing on soundtracks were created by the new technology.
1986 – Some 1,700 female flight attendants win 18-year, $37 million suit against United Airlines. They had been fired for getting married.
1995 – Thirty-two thousand machinists begin what is to be a successful 69-day strike against the Boeing Co. The eventual settlement brought improvements that averaged an estimated $19,200 in wages and benefits over four years and safeguards against job cutbacks.
1879 – Joe Hill, Labor leader and songwriter, born in Gavle, Sweden.
1903 – The Structural Building Trades Alliance (SBTA) is founded, becomes the AFL’s Building Trades Dept. five years later. SBTA’s mission: to provide a forum to work out jurisdictional conflicts.
1946 – Hollywood’s “Battle of the Mirrors.” Picketing members of the Conference of Studio Unions disrupted an outdoor shoot by holding up large reflectors that filled camera lenses with blinding sunlight. Members of the competing IATSE union retaliated by using the reflectors to shoot sunlight back across the street. The battle went on all day, writes Tom Sito in Drawing the Line.
1871 – Thirty of the city’s 185 fire fighters are injured battling the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for three days.
1982 – In Poland, the union Solidarity and all other Labor organizations are banned by the government.
1985 – Upholsterers’ Int’l Union of North America merges with United Steelworkers of America
1888 – United Hebrew Trades is organized in New York by shirt maker Morris Hillquit and others. Hillquit would later become leader of the Socialist Party.
1997 – Retail stock brokerage Smith Barney reaches a tentative sexual harassment settlement with a group of female employees. The suit charged, among other things, that branch managers asked female workers to remove their tops in exchange for money and one office featured a “boom room” where women workers were encouraged to “entertain clients.” The settlement was never finalized: a U.S. District Court judge refused to approve the deal because it failed to adequately redress the plaintiff’s grievances.
2003 – An estimated 3,300 sanitation workers working for private haulers in Chicago win a nine-day strike featuring a 28-percent wage increase over five years.
1933 – Six days into a cotton field strike by 18,000 Mexican and Mexican-American workers in Pixley, Calif., four strikers are killed and six wounded; eight growers were indicted and charged with murder.
(Compiled by David Prosten, founder of Union Communication Services)