Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

June 30, 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; 25 percent of all African-American leased convicts died.

June 29, 1917


Labor folklorist, historian, carpenter, union organizer, and shipwright Archie Green is born.  Green was a pioneer in documenting the cultural traditions of working people and he influenced a generation of scholarship on occupational culture and working life.  He is credited with winning Congressional support for passage of a bill that established the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

June 28, 1911


The Building Trades Council of Minneapolis is founded, with a membership of eighteen local building craft unions.  The council’s motto:  “We must hang together or hang separately.”

June 27, 1905


The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies,” is founded at a 12-day convention in Chicago.  The Wobbly motto:  “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

June 26, 1894


In solidarity with striking Pullman workers, members of the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, refuse to run trains that include Pullman cars.  By June 29, over 125,000 workers on 29 railroads had joined the boycott.

June 25, 1938


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) into law. The FLSA applied to industries whose combined employment represented only about one-fifth of the labor force.  In these industries, it banned certain types of child labor, established a minimum wage, and set a maximum workweek at 44 hours.

June 24, 1880


Agnes Nestor is born. Nestor, who began working in a glove factory at age 14, helped to found the International Glove Workers Union and served in various leadership positions within the union from 1903-1948, including president.  She helped organize unions in other industries, campaigned for women’s suffrage, a minimum wage, and maternity health legislation, and against child labor.

June 23, 1999


After a 25-year-long struggle, textile workers at six Fieldcrest Cannon plants in North Carolina vote for union representation by the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE).  The combined facilities made up the biggest textile mill in the country, employing more than 5,000 workers and theirs was the largest union victory in a Southern textile mill in U.S. history.

June 22, 1977


137 workers on strike at the Grunwick photo processing plant in Willesden, North West London, are supported by the first in a series of solidarity demonstrations and mass pickets attempting to prevent buses carrying scabs from entering the plant.   The mainly female Asian workforce walked out in 1976 over wages and working conditions, were all fired, joined a union, and were on the picket line for two years.

June 21, 1877


Ten miners accused of being militant “Molly Maguires” are hanged in Pennsylvania.  A private corporation initiated the investigation of the men through a private detective agency.  A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them.  “The state provided only the courtroom & the gallows,” a judge said many years later.

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