Today in Labor History – August 12th

The national Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners was founded in Chicago in a gathering of 36 carpenters from 11 cities. – 1881

A coal company guards killed seven and wounded 40 striking miners who were trying to stop scabs in Virden, Illinois. – 1898

Based on the news that their boss, Florenz Ziegfeld, was joining the Producing Managers’ Association, the chorus girls in his Ziegfield Follies created their own union, the Chorus Equity Association. They were helped by a big donation from superstar and former chorus girl Lillian Russell. In 1955 the union merged with the Actor’s Equity Association. – 1919

Teamsters official William Grami was kidnapped, bound and beaten near Sebastopol, California. He was leading a drive to organize apple plant workers in the area. – 1955

The North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, was signed between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, despite protests from labor, environmental and human rights groups. It went into effect in January 1994 and has cost U.S. workers 3 million jobs and caused wages in Mexico to plummet.  – 1992

What became a 232-day strike by major league baseball players over owners’ demands for team salary caps began on this day. The strike resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of the season, including the postseason, for the first time since 1904. 948 games were canceled in all, and MLB became the first major professional sports league to lose an entire postseason due to labor struggles. Due to the strike, both the 1994 and 1995 season were not played to a complete 162 games. – 1994

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