Today in Labor History – September 16th


43,000 oil workers went on strike in 20 states, immediately after World War II ended. The end of the war saw a wave of strikes across the country, as workers who had patriotically sacrificed any resistance to workplace injustices during the war no longer had any excuses not to fight for decent pay and benefits. Soon after the oil workers walked off the job, 200,000 coalminers, 44,000 NW lumber workers, 70,000 Midwest truck drivers, and 40,000 machinists in San Francisco and Oakland joined them. East coast longshoremen and New England textile workers also struck – 1945

Thousands protested the anti-union contractor, BE&K, in St. Paul, Minnesota, which wanted to build a paper plant there, the largest demonstration ever held in the state – 1989

A player lockout by the National Hockey League begins, leading to cancellation of what would have been the league’s 88th season. The lockout, over owner demands that salaries be capped, lasted 310 days – 2004

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee wins a signed contract with the Mount Olive Pickle Co. and growers, ending a 5-year boycott. The agreement marked the first time an American labor union represented guest workers – 2004

Richard Trumka is elected president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s convention in Pittsburgh. He had served as the secretary-treasurer under predecessor John Sweeney from 1995 to 2009, and prior to that was president of the United Mine Workers for 13 years – 2009

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