Today in Labor History – September 1st

Walter Reuther

Walter Reuther

The Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers is founded at a meeting in Chicago, the product of two separate brotherhoods created over the previous 13 years – 1893

Congress declares Labor Day a national holiday – 1894

Some 30,000 women from 26 trades marched in Chicago’s Labor Day parade – 1903

Walter Reuther was born. Reuther was president of the United Auto Workers from 1946 until his death in 1970 under suspicious circumstances. He was also president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) prior to its merger with the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Reuther was a supporter of political action and said that “There’s a direct relationship between the breadbox and the ballot box, and what the union fights for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls.” – 1907

A 3-week strike in Woonsocket, R.I., part of a national movement to obtain a minimum wage for textile workers,resulted in the deaths of three workers. Ultimately more than 420,000 workers struck nationally more than 420,000 workers struck nationally – 1934

In Hawaii, some 26,000 sugar workers represented by the Longshoremen’s union begin what is to become a successful 79-day strike that shuts down 33 of the 34 sugar plantations on the islands. The strike brought an end to Hawaii’s paternalistic labor relations and impacted political and social institutions throughout the then-territory – 1946

Int’l Metal Engravers & Marking Device Workers Union changed its name to Int’l Association of Machinists – 1956

Some 20,000 Pennsylvania Railroad shop workers effectively halt operations in 13 states for 12 days. It was the first shutdown in the company’s 114-year history – 1960

Boot Shoe Workers’ Union merged with Retail Clerks Int’l Union – 1977

The Journeymen Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists’ Int’l Union of America merged with United Food & Commercial Workers – 1980

Glass Bottle Blowers’ Association of the United States & Canada merged with Int’l Brotherhood of Pottery & Allied Workers to become Glass, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers – 1982

Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers Int’l Union merged with United Glass & Ceramic Workers of North America to form Int’l Union of Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers – 1982

Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees changed name to Transportation-Communications Union – 1987

Coopers Int’l Union of North America merged with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int’l Union – 1992

The federal minimum wage is increased to $5.15 per hour – 1997

The AFL-CIO creates Working America, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization designed to build alliances among non-union working people – 2003

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