Today in Labor History – February 2nd

Emma Tenayuca

Emma Tenayuca

Three hundred newsboys organized to protest a cut in pay by the Minneapolis Tribune – 1917

U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage were “repatriated” to Mexico.  Over 400,000 Mexican-Americans were deported during the decade’s first four years, many US citizens living here as long as 40 years. – 1931

Emma Tenayuca led a month-long strike against low wages at the Southern Pecan-Shelling company in San Antonio, Texas. – 1938

Iris Rivera, a Chicago legal secretary, lost her job because she refused to make coffee for her employer. Her rationale: “(1) I don’t drink coffee, (2) it’s not listed as one of my job duties, and (3) ordering the secretaries to fix the coffee is taking the role of homemaker too far”. Although she was not rehired, her case resulted in a large-scale protest by Chicago secretaries and generated considerable network news coverage. The activist group Women Employed presented Rivera’s boss with a “coffee demerit badge”: a bag of soggy coffee grounds. – 1977

The 170-day lockout (although management called it a strike) of 22,000 steelworkers by USX Corporation ended with a pay cut but greater job security. It was the longest work stoppage in the history of the U.S. steel industry. – 1987

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