Today in Labor History – October 1st

Today Labor History October 1

Twenty-one people were killed when the Los Angeles Times building was dynamited during a labor strike. Anarchists were immediately blamed. The McNamara brothers were kidnapped and taken to the private home of a Chicago police sergeant, where many labor leaders believe they were tortured. They were convicted based on the testimony of a third individual who was also presumably tortured. A union member eventually confessed to the bombing, which he said was supposed to have occurred early in the morning when the building would have been largely unoccupied. – 1910

The George Washington Bridge officially opened, spanning the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. Thirteen workers died during the four-year construction project for what at the time was the longest main span in the world. – 1931

Thousands of dairy farmers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa struck in support of higher prices for their milk. – 1935

The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened as the first toll superhighway in the United States. It was built in most part by workers hired through the state’s Re-Employment offices. – 1940

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was signed by President Nixon. Its main goal was to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. – 1970

The United Transport Service Employees of America merged with the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees. – 1972

The Insurance Workers International Union merged with the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union. – 1983

The Railroad Yardmasters of America merged with the United Transportation Union. – 1985

The Pattern Makers League of North America merged with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers. – 1991

The Stove, Furnace & Allied Appliance Workers International Union of North America merged with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, & Helpers. – 1994

The National Hockey League team owners began a lockout of the players that lasted 103 days.  It came a year after the League played without a collective bargaining agreement. The lockout was a subject of dispute as the players sought collective bargaining and owners sought to help franchises that had a weaker market as well as make sure they could cap the rising salaries of players. The lockout caused the 1994-95 season to be shortened to 48 games instead of 84, the shortest season in 53 years.- 1994

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union merged with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. – 1998

The International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers merged with the Communications Workers of America. – 2000

Deadly Times: The 1910 Bombing of The Los Angeles Times and America's Forgotten Decade of Terror

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Today in Labor History – October 1st

  1. I was a business agent and officer of the Canadian section of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (‘RWDSU’) during the historic merger with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (‘UFCW’) in 1998. The merger convention was held in Pittsburg that year and was not without controversy. A sizable section of the RWDSU led by Tom Collins (BTW, never trust a man named after a drink) did not merge into the UFCW. Instead, they merged into the United Steelworkers of America (‘USW’) and then, subsequently, with the Canadian Auto Workers (‘CAW’). To this day, the former members of the RWDSU are mixed in with the auto workers union, now called ‘UNIFOR’. A mismatch if I’ve ever seen one.

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