Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast. Union City's Chris Garlock hosts, with Joe McCartin, Patrick Dixson and Chris Bangert-Drowns. On this week's show: the War Labor Board during World War 1, the 2006 national Day of Action by immigrants and their supporters, the arrests of farm workers for organizing in 1930, and the publication of “The Grapes of Wrath” in 1939.
Plus Saul Schniderman on Florence Reese, Kurt Stand on Gene Debs, and music by Tish Hinojosa and Natalie Merchant.
Int’l Hod Carriers & Building Laborers’ Union (today’s Laborers’ Int’l Union) is founded, as 25 delegates from 23 Local Unions in 17 cities—representing 8,186 Laborers—meet in Washington, D.C. - 1903
A 17-year-old Jimmy Hoffa (right) leads his co-workers at a Kroger warehouse in Clinton, Indiana, in a successful job action: by refusing to unload a shipment of perishable strawberries, they forced the company to give in to their demands. Among other things: the “strawberry boys” had to report to work at 4:30 a.m., stay on the job for 12 hours, and were paid 32¢ an hour—only if growers arrived with berries to unload. Plus, they were required to spend three-fourths of any earnings buying goods from Kroger - 1930
Labor leader and Socialist Party founder Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned for opposing American entry into World War I. While in jail he ran for president, received 1 million votes - 1919
More than 100 Mexican and Filipino farm workers are arrested for union activities, Imperial Valley, Calif. Eight were convicted of “criminal syndicalism” - 1930
John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath published - 1939
The United Steelworkers and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers unions merge to form the largest industrial union in North America - 2005
A. Philip Randolph, civil rights leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, born in Crescent City, Fla. - 1889
Eight members of the Musicians union die in the sinking of the Titanic. According to survivors, they played their instruments until nearly the end. Five weeks later a concert organized by the union to benefit the musicians' families, held in a theater donated for the evening by impresario Flo Ziegfeld, featured the talents of 500 musicians. The evening ended with a rendering of "Nearer, My God, to Thee," the hymn being played as the ship went down. The union at the time was called the Musical Mutual Protective Union Local 310, the New York affiliate of the American Federation of Musicians - 1912
IWW union Agricultural Workers Organization formed in Kansas City, Mo. - 1915
Teacher unionists gather at the City Club on Plymouth Court in Chicago to form a new national union: the American Federation of Teachers - 1916
Start of ultimately successful six-day strike across New England by one of the earliest women-led American unions, the Telephone Operators Department of IBEW - 1919
Transport Workers Union founded - 1934
The first McDonald’s restaurant opens, in Des Plaines, Ill., setting the stage years later for sociologist Amitai Etzioni to coin the term "McJob." As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, a McJob is "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector" - 1955
Compiled/edited by Union Communication Services