Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast. On this week’s show: Robyn Leigh Muncy on “The Strange Career of ‘the Working Class’ in US Political Culture Since the 1950s,” plus, in this week’s “Cool things from the George Meany Labor Archives,” Alan, Chloe and Ben discover something unexpected in their “Miscellaneous” folder for the 1912 Lawrence textile strike. Interviews by Chris Garlock, Patrick Dixon and Allan Wierdak.
Mark Twain, a lifelong member of the Int’l Typographical Union (now part of CWA), speaks in Hartford, Conn., extolling the Knights of Labor’s commitment to fair treatment of all workers, regardless of race or gender - 1886
The Grand Coulee Dam on Washington state’s Columbia River begins operation after a decade of construction. Eight thousand workers labored on the project; 77 died - 1941
Eight hundred striking workers at Brown & Sharpe in Kingstown, R.I. are tear-gassed by state and local police in what was to become a losing 17-year-long fight by the Machinists union - 1982
A 32-day lockout of major league baseball players ends with an agreement to raise the minimum league salary from $68,000 to $100,000 and to study revenue-sharing between owners and players - 1990
A bitter six-and-a-half-year UAW strike at Caterpillar Inc. ends. The strike and settlement, which included a two-tier wage system and other concessions, deeply divided the union - 1998
Trial of 101 Wobblies, charged with opposing the draft and hindering the war effort, begins in Chicago - 1918
Norris-La Guardia Act restricts injunctions against unions and bans yellow dog contracts, which require newly-hired workers to declare they are not union members and will not join one - 1932
Five days into the Post Office’s first mass work stoppage in 195 years, President Nixon declares a national emergency and orders 30,000 troops to New York City to break the strike. The troops didn’t have a clue how to sort and deliver mail: a settlement came a few days later - 1970
Coalition of Labor Union Women founded in Chicago by some 3,000 delegates from 58 unions and other organizations - 1974
Fifteen workers die, another 170 are injured when a series of explosions rip through BP’s Texas City refinery. Investigators blamed a poor safety culture at the plant and found BP management gave priority to cost savings over worker safety - 2005
Groundbreaking on the first section of the New York City subway system, from City Hall to the Bronx. According to the New York Times, this was a worker’s review of the digging style of the well-dressed Subway Commissioners: "I wouldn't give th' Commish'ners foive cents a day fer a digging job. They're too shtiff" - 1900
Labor history courtesy Union Communication Services.