Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history. The stories of the struggles of working people in this country and around the world to make a better life for themselves and their children and all of us – people who work for a living – are often unknown and untold. Today in Labor History is all about helping to bring those stories to light.

September 1, 1893

Canadian_Work_Seminar-Oil_SandsThe International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers is founded in Chicago. Today, the union represents workers from over 250 locals throughout the United States and Canada working in industrial construction, repair, and maintenance; manufacturing; shipbuilding and marine repair; railroad; mining and quarrying; cement kilns; and related industries.

August 31, 1999

28057.previewDetroit public school teachers go on strike for the first time in seven years after negotiations between the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the school district fail to address their concerns around wages, hours, and working conditions. The strike continued through September when a contract was reached that the teachers accepted.

August 30, 1907

moreno1U.S. labor leader and civil rights activist Luisa Moreno is born in Guatemala. Moreno was active in organizing tobacco, sugar cane, and cannery workers and founded The Spanish-Speaking Peoples Congress in 1938 to bring together all Spanish-speaking people residing in the U.S. around issues of immigration, employment, and civil rights. Targeted for her politics, Moreno was deported in 1950 when she refused to testify against International Longshore and Warehouse Union leader Harry Bridges in exchange for citizenship.

August 26, 1894

StateLibQld_1_67991_Shearing_at_the_woolshed_at_Jimbour_Station,_ca._1895Striking sheep shearers in New South Wales, Australia, burn and scuttle the paddle steamer Rodney, which had been transporting scab labor. Later that day, Billy McClean, a union shearer, was shot and wounded in an altercation with scabs. He and five others were charged with rioting and sentenced to three years’ hard labor. McClean was released after eighteen months because he was dying from the bullet wound and died on March 22, 1896.

August 22, 2010

factory_bangladesh_wide-3201b09292609984d2c7296835db67ab4aea8dc7-s900-c85Police open fire and attack with tear gas 2,000 garment workers who block a highway in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for three hours to demand that they be paid overdue wages. In 2010, the garment industry in Bangladesh raked in $12 billion, but the minimum wage for garment workers – working 10 to 16 hours a day under hazardous conditions, six days a week – was $24 a month.

August 18, 2011

081711882_MCA3291Agencia BrasilBrazilian President Dilma Rouseff addresses a list of 150 demands by the Margaridas (“Daisies”) – an organization advocating for the rights of women rural workers – and agrees to establish healthcare facilities and centers to enforce health and safety regulations in rural areas, finance more family-owned farms, and to create a national program on sustainable agriculture to help women in rural communities.

August 16, 2012

4af29301-a06b-4f5e-add0-76dc9b165323-2060x1236South African police open fire on a large crowd of men who had walked out on strike at the British-owned Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana, killing 34 workers. The miners – who earned roughly $400 a month – were on strike over wages. In contrast, Lonmin’s annual profits for shareholders in 2011 was $273 million, and its CEO was paid nearly $2 million a year.

August 15, 1845

solidarity-of-labourEnglish artist and book illustrator Walter Crane is born in Liverpool. He was part of the Art Workers Guild, which promoted the unity of all of the arts. Following the Haymarket bombing, Crane made multiple trips to the U.S., where he spoke in defense of the men accused of the bombing.

August 12, 1909

anarchy_0Workers and the Canadian Pacific Railway police engage in a protracted gun battle during a strike by 700 non-union freight handlers – immigrants from Greece and Italy – in Thunder Bay, Ontario. A federal conciliation board settled the strike, but in 1910, the Canadian Pacific Railway fired 400 of those workers.

August 11, 1828

Photo29375The Mechanics’ Union of Trade Associations – a central labor organization in Philadelphia that was formed after building trades workers lost a strike for the ten hour day – organizes the Working Men’s Party, determined to promote “the interests and enlightenment of the working classes.”

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