Today in Labor History – June 27th

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman, women’s rights activist and radical, was born in Lithuania. She came to the US at age 17. – 1869

The Bureau of Labor, which will become the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was established. Today, the BLS is a governmental agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates statistical data on employment, labor, and economics. – 1884

The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies,” the radical syndicalist union, was founded at Brand’s Hall, in Chicago, Illinois. The Wobblies advocated for industrial unionism, with all workers in a particular industry organized in the same union, as opposed by the trade unions typical today. The Wobblie motto was, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” – 1905

Congress passed the Wagner Act, authored by Senator Robert Wagner of New York. Also known as the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the legislation created the structure for collective bargaining in the United States. – 1935

A 26-day strike of New York City hotels by 26,000 workers, the first such walkout in 50 years, ended with a five-year contract calling for big wage and benefit gains. – 1985

A.E. Staley locked out 763 workers in Decatur, Illinois. The lockout lasted two and one-half years. – 1993

In a 5-4 decision, a conservative Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Janus V AFSCME that fair share payments by public employees violate the First Amendment of the Constitution, Free Speech. This decision allows people who disagree with paying fair share payments to the union can become freeloaders and get all the benefits of the union. – 2018

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