Today in Labor History – November 15th

John L Lewis

John L Lewis

The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada was founded in Pittsburgh.  FOTLU was the predecessor organization to what became the American Federation of Labor in 1886.  Its goal was to “organize a systematic agitation to propagate trades union principles…to elevate trades unionism, and to obtain for the working classes, that respect for their rights, and that reward for their services, to which they are justly entitled.”- 1881

The main headquarters of the New York City Wobblies (IWW) was ransacked and destroyed by agents acting under the US Attorney General Palmer. The Palmer raids were part of the first U.S. communist witch hunt, starting well before the more well known McCarthy purges. It was also where J. Edgar Hoover cut his baby teeth. – 1919

To “organize workers into a powerful industrial union”, United Mine Workers of America President, John L. Lewis called a meeting in Pittsburgh’s Islam Grotto, founding the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). – 1938 Click To Tweet

Four workers were killed and one was injured during a hazardous chemical (methyl mercaptan) leak at a DuPont industrial plant in suburban Houston. DuPont had ignored safety standards to increase profits. – 2014

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3 thoughts on “Today in Labor History – November 15th”

  1. I met a man n 1976. He was unemployed. He had been a student @ the electricians local but he couldn’t seem 2 catch a break, so he took a job installing telephone & PA Systems. That worked 4 a while then it was on 2 Pile Driving. There, where a day working pile-driving is harder than the average working man can even fathom, he learned a lot. Rigging burning, welding, physics. Then the Company went nonunion. A union & a nonunion side. The day they abolished the Union side, he became a Millwright. When times were tough, he worked Seafarers. Trips abroad. Then his wife became a Millwright & they tried to work @ home, but everytime the Union got them a job outta town.. they came off the work list, & so the next job was outta town too. Plus the south decided to go nonunion. So we moved 2 the North, After bustling butt 4 over 20 years, now they wanna cut his pension. This is not supposed 2 happen. We’ve walked picket lines, but politics rule & vacuums suck. We did what ever it took 2 stay Union. Now, our Union is not standing by us. It’s underfunded/mismanaged. Now our state has all kinds of Right 2 work 4 less laws & Prevailing Wages r.. wtf.. gone. What happened.?? What happened?? To the once, mighty Unions Of America.??
    Union busters, mismanagement, that’s what happened. Union brothers wearing suits & never getting their hand dirty. Giving away everything we worked 4. Concessions 4 the contractors. What about the members. They forget who pays their way. I respect those that came b4 me. They beat a path, I needed only to walk.. I’m thankful 4 those that came b4 me. That’s called respect. Have some for the retirees. Ya f-n punks.
    I want my f-n Union Back. And I wanna CLEAN HOUSE.!!
    Signed the wife & sister member.,

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