This Week in Labor History(August 14)

This Week in Labor History(August 14)
August 10
Hundreds of Transport Workers Union members descend on a New York City courthouse, offering their own money to bail out their president, Mike Quill, and four other union leaders arrested while making their way through Grand Central Station to union headquarters after picketing the Interborough Rapid Transit offices in lower Manhattan – 1935

August 12
 
The North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, was signed between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, despite protests from labor, environmental, and human rights groups. It went into effect in January 1994 and has cost U.S. workers 3 million jobs and caused wages in Mexico to plummet.  – 1992
 
What became a 232-day strike by major league baseball players over owners’ demands for team salary caps began on this day. The strike resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of the season, including the postseason, for the first time since 1904. 948 games were canceled in all, and MLB became the first major professional sports league to lose an entire postseason due to labor struggles. Due to the strike, both the 1994 and 1995 seasons were not played to complete 162 games. – 1994

August 14
President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, providing, for the first time ever, guaranteed income for retirees and creating a system of unemployment benefits – 1935
 
Members of the upstart Polish union Solidarity seize the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk. Sixteen days later the government officially recognizes the union. Many consider the event the beginning of the end for the Iron Curtain – 1980

August 15
The Panama Canal opens after 33 years of construction and an estimated 22,000 worker deaths, mostly caused by malaria and yellow fever. The 51-mile canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – 1914
 
Gerry Horgan, a 34-year-old chief steward of CWA Local 1103 and NYNEX striker in Valhalla, N.Y., is struck and killed by a car that drove into a picket line. What was to become a 4-month strike over healthcare benefits was in its second week. At his funeral, a line of thousands of CWA members wearing red stretched for more than a mile along the route to the church. Every Thursday, CWA members wear red to honor Gerry’s memory and to show that we are united in the fight for justice for all working people. Watch the video Why We Wear Red – The story of CWA Chief Steward E Gerald “Gerry” Horgan here– 1989

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