Today in Labor History – January 26th

downloadIn what could be considered the first workers’ compensation agreement in America, pirateHenry Morgan pledges his underlings 600 pieces of eight or six slaves to compensate for a lost arm or leg. Also part of the pirate’s code, reports Roger Newell: shares of the booty were equal regardless of race or sex, and shipboard decisions were made collectively. – 1695

Samuel Gompers, first AFL president, born in London, England. He emigrated to the U.S. as a youth – 1850

The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America received a charter from the American Federation of Labor to organize “every wage earner from the man who takes the bullock at the house until it goes into the hands of the consumer.” The union merged with the Retail Clerks International Union in 1979 to form the United Food and Commercial Workers – 1987

A two-day sit down strike occurred at a Brooklyn power plant leading to a large scale organizing drive in New York subways – 1937

A handful of American companies announce nearly 60,000 layoffs today, as the recession that began during the George W. Bush presidency charges full-tilt toward what has become known as the Great Recession – 2009

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