Today in Labor History – September 1st

Walter Reuther

Walter Reuther

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers was founded at a meeting in Chicago. This brought together the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Ship Builders, which had been organized on October 1, 1880, and the National Brotherhood of Boilermakers, which had been formed in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 1888. Its headquarters are in Kansas City, Kansas. – 1893

Congress declared the first Monday in September Labor Day, a national holiday. The day honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. Beginning in the last 19th century, as the trade and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. “Labor Day” was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887 Oregon was the first state on the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day. – 1894

Some 30,000 women from 26 different trades marched in Chicago’s Labor Day parade. – 1903

Walter Reuther was born. Reuther was president of the United Auto Workers from 1946 until his death in 1970 under suspicious circumstances Click To Tweet He was also president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) prior to its merger with the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Reuther was a supporter of political action and once said “There’s a direct relationship between the bread box and the ballot box, and what the union fights for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls.” – 1907

A 3-week strike in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, part of a national movement to obtain a minimum wage for textile workers, resulted in the deaths of three workers. Ultimately more than 420,000 workers struck nationally. – 1934

In Hawaii, some 26,000 sugar workers represented by the Longshoremen’s union begin what was to become a successful 79-day strike that shut down 33 of the 34 sugar plantations on the islands and cost growers over $15 million. The strike brought an end to Hawaii’s paternalistic labor relations and impacted political and social institutions throughout the then-territory – 1946

The International Metal Engravers & Marking Device Workers Union changed its name to International Association of Machinists. – 1956

Some 20,000 Pennsylvania Railroad shop workers effectively halted operations in 13 states for 12 days. It was the first shutdown in the company’s 114-year history. – 1960

The Boot Shoe Workers’ Union merged with the Retail Clerks International Union. – 1977

The Journeymen Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists’ International Union of America merged with the United Food & Commercial Workers. – 1980

The Glass Bottle Blowers’ Association of the United States & Canada merged with the International Brotherhood of Pottery & Allied Workers to become The Glass, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union. – 1982

The Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers International Union merged with the United Glass & Ceramic Workers of North America to form the International Union of Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers. – 1982

The Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees changed its name to the Transportation-Communications Union. – 1987

The Coopers International Union of North America merged with the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union. – 1992

The federal minimum wage was increased to $5.15 per hour. – 1997

The AFL-CIO creates Working America, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization designed to build alliances among non-union working people. – 2003

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