“The strike is a weapon of the oppressed, of men capable of appreciating justice and having the courage to resist wrong and contend for principle.”
Circus workers of the world, unite! Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast.
On this week’s show: A rollicking hour with former union clowns Murray Horwitz and Chris Bricker; both were graduates of the Ringling College of Clowns, Class of 1971 and went on to become professional clowns and then union reps at the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus. Horwitz went on to become an American playwright, lyricist, NPR broadcaster, and arts administrator, and Bricker is a longtime labor organizer and saw-playing member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 1000, the acoustic travelling musicians union.
Birthday of machinist Matthew Maguire, who many believe first suggested Labor Day. Others believe it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter - 1850
President Grover Cleveland signs legislation declaring Labor Day an official U.S. holiday. Don’t give him too much credit, though: 23 states had already established the holiday and Cleveland was no friend of labor: a few weeks after the Labor Day declaration he sent in the U.S. Army to crush the historic Pullman Strike. Thirty workers were killed, labor leader Gene Debs was arrested on trumped-up charges of conspiracy, and all the strikers were fired and blacklisted. - 1894
A Liberty Ship named after the founding president of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, is launched in Sausalito, Calif. She replaced a cargo steamship bearing Gompers’ name which had been torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese sub in the South Pacific the previous year - 1944
An executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National Labor Relations Board. A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, established by the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, had been struck down by the Supreme Court - 1934
The newly-formed Jobs With Justice stages its first big support action, backing 3,000 picketing Eastern Airlines mechanics at Miami Airport - 1987
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in CWA v. Beck that, in a union security agreement, a union can collect as dues from non-members only that money necessary to perform its duties as a collective bargaining representative - 1988
Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to mine coal, a practice that had been in place since 1848. In 1898, 73 percent of the state's total revenue came from this source. 25 percent of all Black leased convicts died on the job - 1928
The storied Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, a union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America - 1967
Up to 40,000 New York construction workers demonstrated in midtown Manhattan, protesting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s awarding of a $33 million contract to a nonunion company. Eighteen police and three demonstrators were injured. "There were some scattered incidents and some minor violence," Police Commissioner Howard Safir told the New York Post. "Generally, it was a pretty well-behaved crowd." – 1998
Labor history courtesy Union Communication Services
After four failed organizing drives and two years of negotiation, the 1,400 members of IBEW Local 410 ratified a first contract last Sunday with Baltimore Gas and Electric. “Congratulations to the Local Union 410 bargaining team, and welcome to the IBEW,” said Fourth District International Vice President Brian Malloy in announcing the conclusion of a 20-year campaign for the protection of a negotiated and democratically approved collective bargaining agreement. The members of Local 410 now officially become members of the IBEW, the largest single-day growth of the Brotherhood in more than a generation, said Director of Professional and Industrial Membership Development Jammi Juarez. “It took about a year and half longer than I thought it would, but this deal is pretty close to what we originally offered,” said Local 410 Business Manager Eric Gomez. “But however long it took, this changes things.” IBEW.org
Meanwhile, IBEW 1900 has now met with Pepco 31 times in ongoing negotiations there. “We continue to make proposals and counter-proposals in an attempt to reach a fair contract,” reports Local 1900 president Jim Griffin. The Federal Mediator continues to work with both sides as negotiations continue; the contract has been extended through Sunday July 7.
photo: Members of the negotiating committee and stewards of Baltimore Local 410 celebrate the contract ratification: A.J. Aziz (Negotiating Committee), Robert Sexton (steward) Jeff Flannery (steward), Fourth District International Representative Gina Cooper, Dave Waldhauser (steward) Gerry Werner (chief shop steward), Business Manager Eric Gomez, Marvin Austin(Negotiating Committee), Matt Tanner (steward) Ben Ferstermann (Negotiating Committee), and Fourth District International Representative Chuck Tippie, Mark Dill (Negotiating Committee).
click here for latest listings
Union City Radio: 7:15a M-F; WPFW-FM 89.3
Baltimore Symphony Musicians picket line: Thu, June 27, 7:30am – 10:30am
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, 1212 Cathedral St, Baltimore, MD 21201
UFCW 400 Week of Action at Shoppers: Alexandria, VA: Thu, June 27, 11am – 1pm
Shoppers #2649/2365 (3801 Jefferson Davis Highway, Alexandria, VA
Union City Radio: Your Rights at Work: Thu, June 27, 1pm – 3pm
WPFW 89.3 FM or listen online.
Guests: Sequnely Gray (DC JWJ); UFCW 400 Shoppers workers; Jeffrey Robinson (ACLU); artist Susan Eisenberg.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Women in the Trades: Thu, June 27, 3:30pm – 5:30pm
AFL-CIO, 815 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20005; RSVP here
UFCW 400 Week of Action at Shoppers: Fairfax, VA: Thu, June 27, 4pm – 6pm
Shoppers #2615/2336 (9622 Main Street, Fairfax, VA
UFCW 400 Week of Action at Shoppers: Falls Church, VA: Thu, June 27, 4pm – 6pm
Shoppers #2648/2364 (6360 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church, VA
DC Just Pay Coalition Outreach Blitz: June 28-30
Multiple locations; click here
photo: Shoppers customers signing petitions Wednesday; via UFCW 400 Twitter