Today's Labor History
This week’s Labor History Today podcast: Remembering Gene Debs; Waging Peace
Shubert Sebree remembers Eugene Debs. Professor Laura McEnaney, author of Postwar: Waging Peace in Chicago, on the fate of labor's complex New Deal coalition and connecting the essential workers of the 1940s with those fighting today’s war against the pandemic.
Plus Joe Glazer and The Ballad of Eugene Victor Debs, and this week’s Labor History in 2: Workers Pay the Price for Bad Management
Last week’s show: No longer newsworthy?
Members of the upstart Polish union Solidarity seize the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk. Sixteen days later the government officially recognizes the union. Many consider the event the beginning of the end for the Iron Curtain - 1980
Former AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland dies at age 77 - 1999
Populist social commentator Will Rogers killed in a plane crash, Point Barrow, Alaska. One of his many classic lines: "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts" - 1935
President Richard M. Nixon announces a 90-day freeze on wages, prices and rents in an attempt to combat inflation - 1971
Gerry Horgan, chief steward of CWA Local 1103 and NYNEX striker in Valhalla, NY, is struck on the picket line by a car driven by the daughter of a plant manager and dies the following day. What was to become a four-month strike over healthcare benefits was in its second week - 1989
Eight automotive department employees at a Wal-Mart near Ottawa won an arbitrator-imposed contract after voting for UFCW representation, becoming the giant retailer's only location in North America with a collective bargaining agreement. Two months later the company closed the department. Three years earlier Wal-Mart had closed an entire store on the same day the government announced an arbitrator would impose a contract agreement there - 2008
George Meany, plumber, founding AFL-CIO president, born in City Island, Bronx. In his official biography, George Meany and His Times, he said he had "never walked a picket line in his life." He also said he took part in only one strike (against the United States Government to get higher pay for plumbers on welfare jobs). Yet he also firmly said that "You only make progress by fighting for progress." Meany served as secretary-treasurer of the AFL from 1940 to 1952, succeeded as president of the AFL, and then continued as president of the AFL-CIO following the historic merger in 1955 until retiring in 1979 - 1894
Homer Martin, early United Auto Workers leader, born in Marion, Ill. - 1902
Congress passes the National Apprenticeship Act, establishing a national advisory committee to research and draft regulations establishing minimum standards for apprenticeship programs. It was later amended to permit the Labor Dept. to issue regulations protecting the health, safety and general welfare of apprentices, and to encourage the use of contracts in their hiring and employment - 1937
- David Prosten
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