Today in Labor History

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Archive for the month “July, 2015”

July 30, 2001

Crisis_20_diciembre_2001Facing demands by foreign investors in the middle of a recession, the government of Argentina’s proposed austerity bill is passed, which includes slashing state salaries and some pension by up to 13%. The economic crisis continued to deteriorate for months and by December major unions called for a general strike.

July 24, 1941

wpid-0321ov_WWII_Work_Production_PosterWhen their pay was shorted, 700 workers at Canada’s largest aluminum plant in Arvida, Quebec, walk off the job in an illegal (because the industry had been classified as essential to the war effort) strike. The next day, the strike spread to 4,500 workers, who occupied the plant. Work resumed several days later and negotiations began, with the union as intermediary, assisted by federal conciliators.

July 23, 1877

351sfoAnti-Chinese nativist agitators at a huge outdoor rally in San Francisco about the economic depression and unemployment organized by the Workingmen’s Party of the United States incite a two-day riot of ethnic violence against Chinese workers, resulting in four deaths and the destruction of property. Five years later, President Chester Arthur signed the federal Chinese Exclusion Act, prohibiting immigration of Chinese laborers.

July 21, 1978

POWMay78A wildcat strike begins by postal workers at the New Jersey Bulk and Foreign Mail Center in an attempt to nullify the tentative national contract agreement between the postal unions and the United States Postal Service. The conflict spread until eventually 4,750 postal workers were on strike nationwide. After the strike was broken, 125 workers were fired, 130 were temporarily suspended, 2,500 received letters of warning, the union memberships did not ratify the proposed settlement, and an arbitrated contract settlement was imposed.

July 11, 1936

AFD 186624After seven years of construction, the Triborough Bridge opens in New York City, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. 2,700 construction workers worked on the $60 million project, financed in part through the Public Works Administration through much of the Great Depression.

July 8, 1905

abolishcapitalismThe founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World concludes in Chicago. Founding member William “Big Bill” Haywood addressed the convention: “This is the Continental Congress of the working-class. We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working-class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working-class from the slave bondage of capitalism.”

July 7, 1998

44034A two-day general strike called by a coalition of 60 unions shuts down most of Puerto Rico. More than half a million people participated in the walkout, supporting striking telephone workers and protesting plans to privatize the telephone company. It was the largest work stoppage in the island’s history.

July 6, 1988

Hazlehead-Park-33Explosions and the resulting fire on the Piper Alpha offshore oil drilling platform in the North Sea kill 165 oil workers and two crewmen of a rescue vessel. An inquiry found the operator, Occidental, guilty of having inadequate maintenance and safety procedures, but no criminal charges were ever brought against the company.

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