Today in Labor History

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Archive for the category “1980-1989”

September 19, 1981

tumblr_mvwcv1F3lW1qj171uo1_500More than 260,000 people converge on Washington, DC, for Solidarity Day, a march and rally for “Jobs, Justice, Compassion” in response to President Ronald Reagan’s anti-worker, anti-union policies. 250 organizations – including unions, civil rights, religious, and social justice – participated.

September 17, 1989

1989_pittston_coal_strike_a_battle_for_workers_rigFive months into a Pittston Company mine strike, nearly 100 workers stage a sit-down strike in the Moss 3 central coal processing plant and successfully cease production for four days, supported by thousands of people outside the plant. A strike settlement was announced on January 1, 1990, which included a new contract that reinstated the health and retirement benefits that the company had stripped away.

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.

June 18, 1984


During picketing of the Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire, England, police attack striking miners, arresting nearly one hundred people and injuring dozens. Ninety-five miners were arrested and charged with riot, an offense that carried a potential life sentence. The subsequent trials collapsed due to lack of evidence.

March 3, 1985

article-0-03C2B2E7000005DC-205_468x325[1]A Special Delegate Conference of the National Union of Mineworkers in Great Britain votes 98-91 to return to work after the nearly year-long miners’ strike over the announced closure of twenty mines and the loss of 20,000 jobs. Soon after the strike ended, the Thatcher government’s program of “accelerated closure” was put into practice.

February 13, 1982

Neil Aggett15,000 people attend the funeral of Dr. Neil Aggett, a South African physician and union organizer. Detained by the security police for his anti-apartheid and labor activism, Aggett was held and tortured for 70 days before dying in police custody. Aged 28, he was the only white South African to die in detention under apartheid.

January 18, 1984

Uruguay_Protests1984_01_fullA 24-hour general strike called for by the Plenario Intersindical de Trabajadores (PIT) in Uruguay demands wage increases, union rights for public employees, the release of political prisoners, and respect for democratic liberties. The strike shut down the capital city and is followed by a series of other strikes that successfully united opposition against the military government.

October 23, 1989

pasadena85,000 pounds of highly flammable gas released through an open valve ignites, resulting in a series of explosions and fire at the Phillips 66 plastics plant in Pasadena, Texas. Twenty-three workers were killed and 314 injured. OSHA’s investigation faulted the company for a host of health and safety violations and issued 566 willful and 9 serious violations with a combined total proposed penalty of over $5.5 million dollars.

July 17, 1981


3,500 miners in the Cape Breton Island coal fields in Nova Scotia, Canada, go on strike over wages. It was the first strike since nationalization of the mines in 1967. The bitter strike was settled in October, with a tentative agreement that raised wages 50 percent over two years.

June 15, 1987


300 voice-over actors working in television animation begin what will be a five week-long strike that resulted in a new contract which included a wage increase, shorter recording sessions, and a bonus when required to do three main characters in one session.

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