Today in Labor History – December 7th

labor history december 7

Heywood Broun, journalist and founder of the American Newspaper Guild (now The Newspaper Guild – Communications Workers of America), was born on this day in Brooklyn, New York. “Appeasers,” Broun said, “believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will become a vegetarian.” – 1888

Eleven representatives from local unions met in Chicago to form the National Union of Steam Engineers of America, the forerunner to today’s International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). Working conditions for construction and stationary workers in the late 1800s were appalling: low wages, 60-90 hour workweeks, and few benefits. Today the IUOE represents 400,000 workers in 123 local unions in the United States and Canada.- 1896

More than 1,600 protesters staged a national hunger march on Washington, D.C. to present demands for unemployment insurance. – 1931

The United Hatters, Cap & Millinery Workers International Union merged into Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union. – 1982

2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, won a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years. – 2004

Delegates to the founding convention of the National Nurses United (NNU) in Phoenix, Arizona unanimously endorsed the creation of the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in U.S. history. The 150,000-member union is the product of merger of three groups. – 2009

Julian Assange was arrested in London and the U.S. declared war on Wikileaks. – 2010

Heywood Broun: A biography

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