Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “new york city”

April 11, 1980


The New York City transit strike ends. 34,000 Transport Workers Union Local 100 members walked off the job on April 1 when contract negotiations failed. In the end, the workers won a contract calling for a 9% raise in the first year and 8% in the second year, along with a cost of living adjustment.

February 17, 1986


Labor leader Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., dies. Van Arsdale was the son of a union electrician and rose to the leadership of IBEW Local 3 at an early age. He was responsible for the first multi-employer pension plan in the construction industry, spearheaded the construction of affordable housing for union members, and served as president of the New York City Central Labor Council from its inception until his death.

September 4, 1894


The New York Times reports that the “contract tailors of New York and Brooklyn celebrated Labor Day yesterday by going on strike.” 10,000 workers went on strike for shorter working hours and demanded to be paid wages instead of being paid for piecework. Unemployed tailors pledged not to replace their striking brothers. “Reports,” said the Times, “show that the tailors…are united and will not give in.”

August 10, 1935


Hundreds of Transport Workers Union members descend on a New York City courthouse, offering their own money to bail out their president, Mike Quill, and four other union leaders arrested while making their way through Grand Central Station to union headquarters after picketing the IRT offices in lower Manhattan.

July 20, 1899


New York City newsboys go on strike, refusing to sell the New York Journal and the New York World. Not allowed to return unsold papers (which they had to buy up front), newsboys—who were desperately poor and often homeless—typically earned around 30 cents a day and worked late into the night. The strike ended after two weeks when the companies agreed to start buying back unsold papers.

May 15, 1917


The Library Employees’ Union of Greater New York, composed mainly of New York Public Library employees, is chartered by the American Federation of Labor. A major focus of the union was the inferior status of women library workers and their low salaries.

March 16, 1960


The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is formed to represent New York City public school teachers.

March 10, 1941


Transport Workers Union bus drivers in New York City go on strike over wages, hours, working conditions, and benefits.  The strike halted most of Manhattan’s bus service for twelve days before it was settled in the workers’ favor.  [Photo: Hundreds of uniformed TWU strikers march together in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, despite having been banned from participating in the parade as a group.]

March 8, 1908


15,000 women workers in the needle trades take to the streets of New York City on the 51st anniversary of the 1857 protest by women garment workers. They demanded better working conditions, suffrage, and an end to child labor. March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day since 1910.

March 7, 2003


Members of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 802, go on strike on Broadway in New York City over the League of American Theaters and Producers’ proposed reduction in minimum orchestra size requirements.  Union actors and stagehands supported the musicians and a settlement was reached on March 11.

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