Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1875, women weavers formed a union in Fall River, Massachusetts.
In 1932, with the Great Depression in full force, the year opened with 14 million unemployed, national income down by 50 percent, and breadlines that included former shopkeepers, businessmen and middle-class housewives. Charity was overwhelmed: only one-quarter of America’s unemployed were receiving any help at all.
In 1937, workers began to acquire credits toward Social Security pension benefits. Employers and employees became subject to a tax of one percent of wages on up to $3,000 a year.
And in 1966, members of the Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union working for the New York transit system began what was to be a successful 12-day strike. Fiery TWU leader Mike Quill, jailed for several days during the strike, then hospitalized, died three days after his release from the hospital.
On this date in 1987, the International Typographical Union, the nation’s oldest union, merged with Communications Workers of America.
In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, took effect, despite strong objections by labor.
Today’s labor quote is by Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch:
"Given the experience that we have had thus far, with our subsequent trade agreements with NAFTA and others, you would think that with our experience of job loss that we have had there that when you find yourself in a hole that you might stop digging."
Stephen Lynch, who said "The one thing that I have been struck with, after coming here to Congress is, how many people in Washington, D.C. talk about job loss like they are talking about the weather, or a natural disaster like an earthquake."