Today in Labor History – November 15th

Labor History November 15

The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada was founded in Pittsburgh.  FOTLU was the predecessor organization to what became the American Federation of Labor in 1886.  Its goal was to “organize a systematic agitation to propagate trades union principles…to elevate trades unionism, and to obtain for the working classes, that respect for their rights, and that reward for their services, to which they are justly entitled.”- 1881

The main headquarters of the New York City Wobblies (IWW) was ransacked and destroyed by agents acting under the US Attorney General Palmer. The Palmer raids were part of the first U.S. communist witch hunt, starting well before the more well known McCarthy purges. It was also where J. Edgar Hoover cut his baby teeth. – 1919

To “organize workers into a powerful industrial union”, United Mine Workers of America President, John L. Lewis called a meeting in Pittsburgh’s Islam Grotto, founding the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). – 1938

Four workers were killed and one was injured during a hazardous chemical (methyl mercaptan) leak at a DuPont industrial plant in suburban Houston. DuPont had ignored safety standards to increase profits. – 2014

The CIO, 1935-1955

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