For any breaking labor news this holiday week, check dclabor.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us @dclabor on Twitter.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1943, President Roosevelt seized the railroads to avert a nationwide strike. The nation was in the midst of World War Two. During the war, demands on food and other goods drove prices up. The cost of living had grown more than twenty-five percent from 1939 to 1943, but wages did not keep pace.
Railroad workers asked for a wage increase. When negotiations showed little progress, three of the railroad unions announced they would strike. Many unions had agreed not strike during the war, but workers grew increasingly impatient, as they saw industry owners rake in war profits.
Roosevelt's decision to place the railroads under the “supervision” of the War Department prompted the railroad brotherhoods to agree to his offer to arbitrate the wage dispute.
The seizure did not last long. The unions and railroad management came to agreement in mid-January, and the railroad workers won raises with the new contracts.
Today’s labor quote is by President Roosevelt, from Executive Order 9412, seizing control of the railroads:
"If any employees of the railroads now strike, they will be striking against the Government of the United States.”
For any breaking labor news this holiday week, check dclabor.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us @Dclabor on Twitter.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1869, the Knights of Labor were founded. The largest and one of the most important American labor organizations of the 1880s, the Knights promoted the social and cultural uplift of the workingman, rejected socialism and anarchism, demanded the eight-hour day, and called for legislation to end child and convict labor. In some cases the Knights acted as a labor union, negotiating with employers, but it was never well organized, and after a rapid expansion in the mid-1880s, it just as quickly lost its new members and became a small operation again. A diverse industrial union open to all workers, the Knights' constitution banned “parasites,” from membership, including stockbrokers and lawyers.
The Knights of Labor contributed to the tradition of labor protest songs in America, frequently including music in their regular meetings, and encouraging local members to write and perform their work. The song "Hold the Fort", a Knights of Labor pro-labor revision of the hymn by the same name, became the most popular labor song prior to Ralph Chaplin's IWW anthem "Solidarity Forever".
Today’s labor quote is the chorus from "Hold the Fort"
Hold the fort for we are coming.
Union men, be strong!
Side by side we battle onward;
Victory will come.
In twin victories hailed as "an inspiration to working people everywhere," hotel workers in DC this week won the right to organize while those in Las Vegas won a 4-year contract.
The UNITE HERE union workers "have proven we can take on the powerful and win, even when the boss is running for President of the United States," said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. UNITE HERE Local 25 and Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. announced on Wednesday that they have reached an agreement to permit an organizing campaign for workers at the recently-opened Trump hotel at the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Also on Wednesday, UNITE HERE Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 announced a new first time union contract covering employees at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. The four-year contract will provide the employees with annual wage increases, a pension, family health care, and job security. The Culinary Union had been voted in by workers at Trump Hotel Las Vegas last March, but Trump had refused to recognize and bargain with the union.
Read more on our website at dclabor.org
On today's labor calendar, just a reminder that as you're out and about over the holidays, take a moment to appreciate those who are on the job while we're enjoying time with our loved ones.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 2008, Walmart agreed to settle wage and hour suits across the U.S., for a grand total of between $352 million and $640 million. It was accused of failure to pay overtime, requiring off-the-clock work, and failure to provide required meal and rest breaks.
On December 24, 1913, seventy-two copper miners’ children died in panic caused by a company stooge in Calumet, Michigan, who shouted “fire” up the stairs into a crowded hall where children had gathered for a holiday party. They were crushed against closed doors when they tried to flee.
And on December 25, 1967, fourteen servicemen from military bases across the U.S., led by Private Andrew Stapp, formed The American Servicemen’s Union. The union, which was never recognized by the government, claimed tens of thousands of members and their demands included the right to elect officers.
Today’s labor quote is by Francis of Assisi
“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
Hosts: Chris Garlock and Ed Smith
Jerame Davis, [email protected] Executive Director (in-studio): Labor Secretary Andy Puzder and what’s ahead for LGBTQ rights at work.
Joanna Blotner, Jews United for Justice: this week's passage of the Universal Paid Leave Act at the DC City Council and what’s next.
Labor Song: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
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