Today in Labor History

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Archive for the category “1990-1999”

January 14, 1993

Jan 14

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues a Permit-Required Confined Spaces Standard to prevent more than fifty deaths and 5,000 serious injuries annually for workers whose job requires them to work in confined spaces, such as underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines.

December 22, 1998


Chico Mendes – rubber tapper, trade union leader, and environmental activist – is assassinated by a rancher. Mendes fought to preserve the Amazon rainforest and advocated for the rights of Brazilian peasants and indigenous peoples. Mendes was the nineteenth rural activist murdered that year in Brazil.

November 17, 1993


The U.S. House of Representatives approves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 234 for, 200 against. It passed in the U.S. Senate by 61 for, 38 against. President Bill Clinton signed the agreement into law on December 8, 1993, stating that “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs.” What it actually meant was job losses, decreased wages, and attacks on public interest laws.

November 4, 1996


A 28-month-long strike by rubber workers against Bridgestone-Firestone over the company’s demands for huge wage and benefit concessions and elimination of union protections ends with the rehiring of all former strikers, a wage increase, and all but one of the workers’ demands. A coordinated global campaign put pressure on the company by publicizing its pollution record, its workplace safety and health violations, and its lack of civic responsibility.

August 31, 1999

28057.previewDetroit public school teachers go on strike for the first time in seven years after negotiations between the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the school district fail to address their concerns around wages, hours, and working conditions. The strike continued through September when a contract was reached that the teachers accepted.

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.

June 12, 1994

June 12Farmworker, labor leader, and Asian American civil rights activist Philip Vera Cruz dies. Vera Cruz was one of the founders of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, composed mainly of Filipino workers. Their strike in 1965 against Delano, California, grape growers was joined by the mostly Latino union, the National Farm Workers Association. The two groups went on to merge to become the United Farm Workers. Vera Cruz remained an activist for social justice throughout his life.

January 31, 1992

Photo of 1 year old's drive dug and dead deer in Monroe, GA.160 gravediggers represented by SEIU Local 106 – locked out after they went on strike against the Cemeteries Association of Greater Chicago over wages and benefits – reach a contract agreement after 43 days.

December 14, 1990

December 14A general strike in Morocco – called by two of the country’s main labor unions, the General Workers’ Trade Union and the Democratic Confederation of Labor – press for an increase in the minimum wage and an expansion of benefits. 111 people were ultimately sentenced to prison terms of 15 days to 12 years in the government crackdown that took place during the strike.

December 8, 1993

December 8President Bill Clinton signs the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into law, stating that it “will promote more growth, more equality, better preservation of the environment, and a greater possibility for world peace.” In reality, NAFTA has done the opposite: costing jobs and lowering wages, increasing inequality, and compromising environmental and consumer protections.

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