Today's Labor History
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In what may have been baseball’s first labor strike, the Detroit Tigers refuse to play after team leader Ty Cobb is suspended: he went into the stands and beat a fan who had been heckling him. Cobb was reinstated and the Tigers went back to work after the team manager’s failed attempt to replace the players with a local college team: their pitcher gave up 24 runs - 1912
Amalgamated Meat Cutters union organizers launch a campaign in the nation’s packinghouses, an effort that was to bring representation to 100,000 workers over the following two years - 1917
Jerry Wurf, who was to serve as president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) from 1964 to his death in 1981, born in New York City. The union grew from about 220,000 members to more than 1 million during his presidency - 1919
Big Bill Haywood, a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies), dies in exile in the Soviet Union - 1928
Atlanta transit workers, objecting to a new city requirement that they be fingerprinted as part of the employment process, go on strike. They relented and returned to work six months later - 1950
Oklahoma jury finds for the estate of atomic worker Karen Silkwood, orders Kerr-McGee Nuclear Co. to pay $505,000 in actual damages, $10 million in punitive damages for negligence leading to Silkwood’s plutonium contamination - 1979
Two hundred sixteen miners die from an explosion and its aftermath at the Fraterville Mine in Anderson County, Tenn. All but three of Fraterville’s adult males were killed. The mine had a reputation for fair contracts and pay—miners were represented by the United Mine Workers—and was considered safe; methane may have leaked in from a nearby mine - 1902
Shootout in Matewan, W. Va., between striking union miners (led by Police Chief Sid Hatfield) and coal company agents. Ten died, including seven agents - 1920
The Steel Workers Organizing Committee, formed by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, formally becomes the United Steelworkers of America - 1942
A total of 31 dockworkers are killed, 350 workers and others are injured when four barges carrying 467 tons of ammunition blow up at South Amboy, N.J. They were loading mines that had been deemed unsafe by the Army and were being shipped to the Asian market for sale - 1950
The Railway Labor Act takes effect today. It is the first federal legislation protecting workers’ rights to form unions - 1926
Some 9,000 rubber workers strike in Akron, Ohio - 1933
Compiled/edited by Union Communication Services
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