Today in Labor History – October 17th

John D. Rockefeller cut a contract with the Pennsylvania Railroad, giving his Standard Oil Company a rebate on all freight carried by the line. This arrangement allowed him to monopolize virtually all oil production and transportation in the U.S. – 1877

Labor activist Warren Billings was released from California’s Folsom Prison. Along with Thomas J. Mooney, Billings had been pardoned for a 1916 conviction stemming from a bomb explosion during a San Francisco Preparedness Day parade. He had always maintained his innocence. – 1939

[bctt tweet=”The “Salt of the Earth” strike began by the mostly Mexican-American members of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union” username=”VoicesOfLabor”] Local 890 in Bayard, New Mexico. Strikers’ wives walked picket lines for seven months when their men were enjoined during the 14-month strike against the New Jersey Zinc Company. The strike inspired the film “Salt of the Earth,” which was blacklisted. – 1950

Twelve New York City firefighters died fighting a blaze in midtown Manhattan. – 1966

The International Printing Pressmen’s & Assistants’ Union of North America merged with the International Stereotypers’, Electrotypers’ & Platemakers’ Union to become Printing & Graphic Communications Union. – 1973

The Industrial Union of Marine & Shipbuilding Workers of America merged with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers. – 1988

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