Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

June 17, 1864

Image

Twenty workers are killed and many others seriously injured in an explosion at the U.S. Arsenal in Washington, D.C. The workers were girls and young women, mostly Irish immigrants, making ammunition for the Union Army. The funeral procession, which included President Abraham Lincoln, stretched for more than a mile. A monument was erected in the Congressional Cemetery, where 17 of the workers were buried.

June 16, 1918

Image

Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relationship between capitalism and war. Ten days later he was arrested under the Espionage Act and eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail.

June 16, 1918

Image

Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relationship between capitalism and war. Ten days later he was arrested under the Espionage Act and eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail.

June 15, 1990

Image

Janitors in Los Angeles are brutally beaten by police during a peaceful demonstration in the Century City district. The incident generated public outrage and the janitors subsequently won their first union contract. The Justice for Janitors campaign has helped hundreds of thousands of janitors in cities across the country raise industry standards and transform poverty wages into livable wages.

June 14, 1911

ImageTransport workers on strike in Liverpool over wages, hours, and union recognition, call for a general strike when the employers’ Shipping Federation refuses to negotiate with the unions affiliated with the Transport Workers Federation.  The strike was a success and within weeks the workers’ demands were met, inspiring a wave of similarly successful strikes by other industries in the city over the following months.

June 13, 1917

Image

Professor and union organizer Israel Kugler is born.  In the 1960s, he led an 18-month long strike by faculty at St. John’s University and co-founded the Professional Staff Congress in 1972, a union of faculty at the City University of New York, which now represents more than 25,000 faculty and staff.  [Photo:  Kugler (third from the left) on a picket line at Baruch College, 1973.]

June 12, 2013

Image

Today is World Day Against Child Labour, an annual observance established in 2002 by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) to raise awareness about and activism around the issue of child labor, defined as “work performed by children who are under the minimum age legally specified for that kind of work, or work which, because of its detrimental nature or conditions, is considered unacceptable for children and is prohibited.”

June 11, 1969

Image

Labor leader John L. Lewis dies. Born in Cleveland, IA, in 1880 to Welsh immigrant parents, Lewis went to work as a miner when he was a teenager. He worked as a mine workers’ organizer for the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and went on to serve the president of the United Mine Workers of America for 40 years. A firm believer in industrial unionism, Lewis formed the predecessor organization to what would become the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

June 10, 1946

Image

The United States Supreme Court rules on Anderson et al. v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. – also known as the “portal-to-portal” case – finding that preliminary work activities, where controlled by the employer and performed entirely for the employer’s benefit, are considered working time under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  In 1947, Congress enacted the Portal-to-Portal Act to amend the FLSA in light of the court’s ruling.

June 9, 1865

Image

Librarian, trade union activist, and writer Helen Marot is born in Philadelphia. Marot’s work investigating child labor in New York led to the enactment of the state’s 1903 Compulsory Education Act. She served as executive secretary of the New York Women’s Trade Union League and was an advocate for children and women workers throughout her life.

Post Navigation