“You really have to know what you’re doing, because people can die.” IATSE 22 president Chuck Clay is talking about riggers, who often go as far up as 14 stories up to attach lights, banners and trusses for events in the metro Washington area. “Anything suspended in the air,” Clay says. His union – which represents area stagehands -- recently won a case at the NLRB to create a separate unit of riggers at PSAV, the largest AV company in the country. PSAV had argued that the riggers were the same as regular AV personnel, but the union successfully argued that their specialized skills set them apart. “Riggers have special training, they have to know math and geometry, tensile strength, so they can safely hang as much as several tons of equipment,” Clay said. That’s also why Local 22 is pushing for DC legislation that would require certification. “Ninety nine percent of the unit signed union cards,” Clay added. The union election is going forward and ballots will be counted March 14. IATSE 22 will receive an Organizing Award at this year’s Evening with Labor this Saturday.
photo courtesy IATSE 22
(Actually leap year Feb. 29, 1940) Screen Actors Guild member Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award, honored for her portrayal of “Mammy” in “Gone with the Wind.” Click on the video below to see and hear McDaniel accept the award.
McDaniel's emotional, and inspiringly brief, remarks don't allude to the fact that she and her escort were seated at a table near the kitchen, far from the podium and her fellow "Gone with the Wind" cast members' table. Two months prior, Georgia's segregationist laws prevented her from attending the Atlanta premiere.
It would take the Academy over two decades to single out another African-American actor's performance---Sidney Poitier, 1963's Best Actor for his performance in "Lilies of the Field."
- Open Culture
Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast. On this week’s show: William P. Jones on “The Tribe of Black Ulysses: African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow South,” plus a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to the AFL-CIO urging the formation of a “Committee on Inquiry Into the Administration of Justice in the Freedom Struggle.” Interviews by Chris Garlock and Alan Wierdak.
U.S. Supreme Court finds that a Utah state law limiting mine and smelter workers to an 8-hour workday is constitutional – 1898
The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is organized on this day as 36 delegates representing 24 local fire fighter unions convene in Washington, DC. They debate on a name for the new organization, deciding between the International Brotherhood of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Fire Fighters - 1918
A fifteen-week strike in San Francisco by 108 members of the ILGWU’s “Chinese Ladies Garment Workers Union” was started against a National Dollar Stores factory and three retail stores on February 26, 1938. Two weeks after white retail clerks struck in support, the strike was won. Workers received a pay increase, enforcement of health and safety regulations, and guarantees of work. Although the company closed a year later, the union later helped Chinese workers get positions in previously white-only shops, and some moved into leadership positions in the ILGWU - 1938
In response to the layoff of 450 union members at a 3M factory in New Jersey, every worker at a 3M factory in Elandsfontein, South Africa, walks off the job in sympathy - 1986
Labor history courtesy Union Communication Services.
Virginia Diamond was re-elected president of the Northern Virginia Labor Federation on Feb. 21st. "There is great union solidarity in northern Virginia to work together for political action, community engagement and organizing support,” Diamond said. "The next two years are crucial to make NoVA a union town." Other officers elected were: 1st Vice President Dolores Gerber-Trevino (CWA), 2nd Vice President Eric Stewart (IBEW), Secretary Treasurer Esker Bilger (ATU); Executive Board: Nelson Aguilar (UBC), Joe Bertoni (IAFF), Melvin Carter (UAW), Eamon Clifford (IUOE), Sarah Jacobson (Unite Here), Kitty Hagarty (AFGE), Mauricio Lopez (SEIU 32BJ), Richard Louie (NALC), Sonia Lozano (LiUNA), Roxana Mejia (IUPAT), Mike Quinones (IUEC), Don Slaiman (News Guild); and Financial Trustees Vance Ayres (IUEC), Ed Gilmartin (AFA), and Quincy Jones (ATU). photo: swearing in the NoVA Board