Today in Labor History – April 1st

Fans Protest Lockout

On this day, many believe that Cincinnati became the first U.S. city to pay firefighters a regular salary. Others say no, it was Boston in 1678, exact date unknown. – 1853

The United Mine Workers of America won eight-hour day. – 1898

San Francisco laundry workers went on strike for wage increases and an eight-hour day. – 1907

More than 2,000 workers went on strike at the Draper Corporation power loom manufacturing plant in Hopedale, Massachusetts.They were seeking higher wages and a nine-hour workday. Eben S. Draper, president of the firm and a former state governor, declared: “We will spend $1 million to break this strike” and refused to negotiate. Striking workers staged protest marches, rallies, and mass meetings and were met with concerted and relentless legal action, police violence, and scabs. The strike ended in a stalemate 13 weeks later. – 1913

T-Bone Slim’s song The Popular Wobbly was published in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) publication One Big Union Monthly. – 1920

West Virginia miners walked out at the Coal River Colliery Company (CRC). The strike was unusual because CRC was an investment venture of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE), with stock owned by members of the Brotherhood. The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) called the strike because the company refused to pay the current union wage scale. – 1924

A strike of cotton mill workers began in Gastonia, North Carolina.  During the strike, police raided the strikers’ tent colony and the chief of police was killed. The strike leaders were framed for murder and convicted, but later freed. – 1929

500 hungry school children in tattered clothes marched through Chicago’s downtown section to the Board of Education offices to demand that the school system provide them with food. – 1932

400,000 members of the United Mine Workers went on strike for higher wages and employer contributions to the union’s health and welfare fund. President Truman seized the mines. – 1946

40,000 textile workers went on strike in cotton and rayon mills of six southern states, seeking higher pay, sickness and accident insurance, and pensions. – 1951

The longest newspaper strike in U.S. history, 114 days, ended in New York City. Workers at nine newspapers were involved. – 1963

Major league baseball players began what was to become a 13-day strike, ending when owners agreed to increase pension fund payments and to add salary arbitration to the collective bargaining agreement. – 1972

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters merged with the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees. – 1978

An eleven-day strike by 34,000 New York City transit workers began, halting bus and subway service in all five boroughs before strikers returned to work with a 17 percent raise over two years plus a cost-of-living adjustment. – 1980

The United Cement, Lime and Gypsum Workers International Union merged with the Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers Union. – 1984

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers was granted a charter by the AFL-CIO. – 1989

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $3.80 per hour. – 1990

The United Mine Workers of America dedicated the John L. Lewis Mining and Labor Museum at Lewis’ boyhood home in Lucas, Iowa. – 1990

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $4.25 per hour. – 1991

Players began the first strike in the 75-year history of the National Hockey League. They won major improvements in the free agency system and other areas of conflict, and ended the walkout after 10 days.- 1992

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