Today in Labor History – October 24th

today labor history october 24th

With the completion of the transcontinental telegraph line, the Pony Express was discontinued. The Pony Express consisted of relays of men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2,000-mile trail. Eventually, the service had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses. The express route was extremely hazardous, but only one mail delivery was ever lost. – 1861

Black and white teamsters, salesmen and packers struck together in New Orleans, paralyzing commerce throughout the city and quickly turning into a General Strike. Workers were fighting for a 10-hour work day, overtime pay, and a preferential union shop (a situation in which the employer goes first to the union when seeking to hire new employees). They were soon joined by non-industrial workers, such as musicians, clothing workers, clerks, utility workers, streetcar drivers and printers. – 1892

The first U.S. federal minimum wage – 25 cents an hour – took effect, thanks to enactment of the Depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The law required an increase to 30 cents an hour one year from this date, and to 40 cents an hour on this date in 1945.  The FLSA also established the 40-hour work week and forbade child labor in factories. – 1938

The AFL-CIO readmitted the Teamsters Union, which had been expelled in 1957. The 35-member executive council of the AFL-CIO voted unanimously to readmit the 1.6-million member Teamsters Union despite the federal investigation into the union’s links to organized crime. – 1987

Postal workers Joseph Cursseen and Thomas Morris died after inhaling anthrax at the Brentwood mail sorting center in Washington, D.C. Other postal workers were also made ill. Letters containing the deadly spores had been addressed to U.S. Senate offices and media outlets. – 2001

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