Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

Archive for the month “August, 2014”

August 15, 1914


The 48-mile Panama Canal officially opens. According to hospital records, 5,609 workers died of diseases and accidents during the U.S. construction period between 1904 and 1914. Of these, 4,500 were West Indian workers. It is estimated that 22,000 workers died during the earlier French construction period.

August 13, 1936

Seattle Strike

35 journalists at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer walk off the job to protest the firing of two colleagues for joining the American Newspaper Guild. The P-I was forced to suspend publication and the striking employees began publishing their own newspaper, The Guild Daily, which reached a circulation of 60,000 copies a day. The strike was one of the first significant and successful strikes by white collar workers in the U.S. ended in a victory in late November when the newspaper settled with the Guild.

August 12, 1892


After several railroad companies refuse to obey a recently-enacted New York state law mandating a 10-hour workday and increases in the minimum wage, switchmen in Buffalo go out on strike. When the local police refused to intervene, sheriff’s deputies, thousands of soldiers, and scabs were all brought in quickly to crush the Switchmen’s Mutual Association strike. The strike ended later that month.

August 11, 1937


The membership of the Pacific Coast district of the International Longshoremen’s Association – with the exception of three locals in the Northwest – votes to disaffiliate and forms the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union. The ILWU today represents over 59,000 workers primarily on the West Coast of the United States, Hawaii, and Alaska.

August 5, 1993


The Family and Medical Leave Act goes into effect, providing employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for family and medical reasons. FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees.

August 4, 1919

Half of the police force in Liverpool, England, who had gone out on strike following the government’s ban on their union (the National Union of Police and Prison Officers), are replaced by scabs. Every single man who had gone out on strike was fired, lost their pension, and no one was reinstated.

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