Today in Labor History – July 25th

After striking for seven months, New York garment workers won the right to unionize and secured a closed shop (a shop where everyone must join the Union) and the firing of all scabs. – 1890

Fifteen “living dead women” testified before the Illinois Industrial Commission.  They were “Radium Girls,” women who died prematurely after working at clock and watch factories, where they were told to wet small paintbrushes in their mouths so they could dip them in radium to paint dials.  A Geiger counter passed over graves in a cemetery near Ottawa, Illinois still registers the presence of radium. – 1937

The Teamsters and Service Employees unions break from the AFL-CIO during the federation’s 50th convention to begin the Change to Win coalition, ultimately comprised of seven unions. They said they wanted more emphasis on organizing and less on electoral politics. – 2005

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