Today in Labor History

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Archive for the category “1950-1959”

February 18, 1953


The Screen Actors Guild’s first-ever strike – which began over filmed television commercials – ends when a contract is reached that covers all work in commercials.

December 16, 1951


The New York Times reports on December 17 that the “metropolitan area was threatened with a bagel famine yesterday as thirty-two of the city’s thirty-four bagel bakeries remained closed in a dispute between 300 members of Local 338 of the Bagel Bakers of America, A.F.L., and the Bagel Bakers Association.” The union settled its dispute over health and welfare payments and workplace sanitation in late January.

November 28, 1953


400 photo engravers employed by New York City newspapers go on strike over wages and improved working conditions. 20,000 other newspaper workers represented by other unions refused to cross the photo engravers’ picket lines. The strike ended eleven days later with the workers receiving a $3/week wage increase.

October 23, 1958

springhill-mine-survivor-and-sonThe Cumberland Railway and Coal Company’s No. 2 Colliery – one of the deepest coal mines in the world – just outside the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia, is struck by an underground “bump.” The shift was the result of increased tensions in the earth due to the removal of coal and the lack of replacement support. Rescue efforts continued for days. Of the 174 men in the mine at the time, 74 were killed and 100 were trapped but eventually rescued.

June 26, 1959

June 26The St. Lawrence Seaway officially opens. The joint project between the U.S. and Canada employed 22,000 workers to build the 2,342-mile waterway system linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.

June 2, 1952

6833519008_bcfba045f0_zThe U.S. Supreme Court rules that President Harry Truman had no authority when he seized control of the nation’s steel mills on April 8 – the day before a nationwide steelworkers’ strike was set to begin – to keep them in production for the Korean War effort. 600,000 steelworkers went on strike on June 3, effectively ending production for the next six weeks.

May 19, 1950

May 19Thirty-one workers are killed and more than 350 others are injured when ammunition and explosives being loaded without a permit onto barge explode at the Pennsylvania Railroad piers on the Raritan River in South Amboy in what would be one of New Jersey’s worst disasters. The force of the blast was felt 30 miles away.

May 2, 1952

ph_HEC-020_arch_xl1,200 retail employees – most of them women – begin a strike at Dupuis Frères, a major department store in Montréal, Canada, when negotiations with management reach a standstill nearly two years after trying to get a first contract. The strike lasted for three months until the store’s manager was replaced with someone willing to negotiate with the union.

February 18, 1953

parents-with-three-children-watching-televisionThe Screen Actors Guild’s first-ever strike – which began on December 1, 1952, over filmed television commercials – ends when a contract is reached that covers all work in commercials.

January 22, 1959

oldknoxOne of the worst mining disasters in northeastern Pennsylvania history occurs when the Knox Mine Company digs illegally under the Susquehanna River without drilling boreholes to gauge the rock thickness overhead. The insufficient “roof” cover caused 10 billion gallons of water to pour into the mine. Ten people were indicted on a variety of charges, including violations of the Anthracite Mine Act, conspiracy, and involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of twelve miners whose bodies were never been recovered.

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