Today in Labor History September 23rd

Richard Nixon

The Workingman’s Advocate of Chicago published the first installment of The Other Side, by Martin A. Foran, president of the Coopers’ International Union. This was believed to be the first novel by a trade union leader and some say the first working-class novel ever published in the U.S. – 1868

President Richard Nixon issued the Philadelphia Plan, forcing building trades unions to add black members into their ranks. Nixon did this believing that it would show him as a strong civil rights president without having to do very much to give in to the more radical demands of the civil right movement. More importantly to Nixon, he saw it as a way to undercut organized labor, creating a coalition of African-Americans and Republicans against racist unions. Opponents of the new rule of affirmative action immediately sued to kill the new policy, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in its favor in 1971 and the Supreme Court rejected the appeal. – 1969

A 42-month strike by Steelworkers at Bayou Steel in Louisiana ended in a new contract and the ousting of scabs. – 1996

California Governor Gray Davis (D) signed legislation making the state the first to offer workers paid family leave. – 2002

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