The Week In Labor History (October 17)

The Week In Labor History (October 17)

October 11

The Miners’ National Association was founded in Youngstown, Ohio, with the goal of uniting all miners, regardless of skill or ethnicity, echoing the Knights of Labor and presaging the Industrial Workers of the World. – 1873


October 12

The First Industrial Congress of the US (first US national labor congress) met in New York City. – 1845

Also known as “Miners Day,” October 12 commemorates the seven miners killed in the “Virden Riot” of October 1898, when miners got in a shootout with mine guards attempting to bring in strikebreakers. The riot came in response to the mine owners refusal to accept the 8-hour day, offer raises, abolish the company store and recognize the United Mine Workers. Six security guards were also killed and 35 others wounded.


October 13

American Federation of Labor votes to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi antagonism to organized labor within Germany – 1934

More than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases – 1985

National Basketball Association cancels regular season games for the first time in its 51-year history, during a player lockout. Player salaries and pay caps are the primary issue. The lockout lasts 204 days – 1998


October 14

New York City cigar makers struck against pay cuts and repressive factory rules during October. The strike ended in January 1878 with the pay cuts and repressive rules intact. Samuel Gompers, the strike leader, was blacklisted and unable to find work for four months. – 1877


October 15

President Woodrow Wilson signs the Clayton Antitrust Act—often referred to as “Labor’s Magna Carta”—establishing that unions are not “conspiracies” under the law. It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law – 1914


October 17

“Salt of the Earth” strike begins by the mostly Mexican-American members of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union Local 890 in Bayard, N.M. Strikers’ wives walked picket lines for seven months when their husbands were enjoined during the 14-month strike against the New Jersey Zinc Co. – 1950

Twelve New York City firefighters die fighting a blaze in midtown Manhattan. Until the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, the fire on East 22nd Street claimed more firefighters’ lives than any other disaster in the city. – 1966

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