Today in Labor History

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Archive for the month “March, 2013”

March 14, 1954


The film “Salt of the Earth”–which tells the story of the 1951 strike by members of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers at the Empire Zinc mine in New Mexico–premieres. Of the 13,000 movie theaters in the U.S. at the time of its release, only 13 showed the film. “This film is a new weapon for Russia,” said HUAC member and U.S. Rep. Donald L. Jackson.

March 13, 1906


Civil rights activist and suffragist Susan B. Anthony dies at the age of 86. “Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.” -Susan B. Anthony, The Revolution, March 18, 1869.

March 12, 1951


Facing rapidly decreasing wages, a skyrocketing cost of living, and massive repression, upwards of 300,000 workers in Barcelona, Spain, build upon a boycott against increased tram fares and walk off their jobs in a general strike. It was the first general strike during Franco’s regime.

March 11, 1811


Stocking workers in Nottingham, England, gather to protest automation that was replacing their jobs and lowering their wages.  They then marched to the nearby town of Arnold, where they destroyed sixty knitting frames.  The riots spread and the Prime Minister decreed frame-breaking a capital offense a year later.  Seventeen workers were executed.

March 10, 1941


Transport Workers Union bus drivers in New York City go on strike over wages, hours, working conditions, and benefits.  The strike halted most of Manhattan’s bus service for twelve days before it was settled in the workers’ favor.  [Photo: Hundreds of uniformed TWU strikers march together in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, despite having been banned from participating in the parade as a group.]

March 9, 1902


Rail and ship freight workers begin a sympathy strike with striking freight handlers and clerks in Boston who had walked out over their co-workers being fired for refusing to handle freight by a company using scab labor to replace union freight drivers.  Within three days, 20,000 freight workers were on strike in the city and the dispute was quickly settled.

March 8, 1908


15,000 women workers in the needle trades take to the streets of New York City on the 51st anniversary of the 1857 protest by women garment workers. They demanded better working conditions, suffrage, and an end to child labor. March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day since 1910.

March 7, 2003


Members of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 802, go on strike on Broadway in New York City over the League of American Theaters and Producers’ proposed reduction in minimum orchestra size requirements.  Union actors and stagehands supported the musicians and a settlement was reached on March 11.

March 6, 2012


Thousands of activists and artists in New York City come together to form the “The Longest Unemployment Line in the World,” stretching for three miles from Wall Street to Union Square.  They held pink slips for 14 minutes to represent the country’s 14 million unemployed workers – all of whom, if standing in a single line, would stretch unbroken around the continental United States, said one of the event’s organizers.

March 5, 1984


Workers employed at the Cortonwood Colliery in Yorkshire go on strike after the British National Coal Board announces the closure of the mine, the first of 20 pit closures that would put 20,000 miners work.  At its height, the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 saw 165,000 miners on strike in the United Kingdom.

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