This Week in Labor History (August 29)

This Week in Labor History (August 29)

August 24

The Gatling Gun Co.—manufacturers of an early machine gun—writes to B&O Railroad Co. President John W. Garrett during a strike, urging their product be purchased to deal with the “recent riotous disturbances around the country.” Says the company: “Four or five men only are required to operate (a gun), and one Gatling … can clear a street or block and keep it clear” – 1877


August 25

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was founded at a meeting in New York City.  A. Philip Randolph became the union’s first organizer. – 1925
President Harry Truman ordered the U.S. Army to seize all the nation’s railroads. The motivation was simple: the railroad unions had been threatening a strike that could lead to a shutdown. Truman instead took control in order to keep the railroad running and to force the unions to accede. It was an unexpected action from a strongly business-minded president, especially giving the circumstances surrounding the strike. The railroads were kept under federal control for two years. – 1950
 

August 26
The United Auto Workers was founded, with Francis Dillon appointed as the first president. – 1935
 
The Women’s Strike for Equality was staged in cities across the U.S., marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment under which women won the right to vote.  A key focus of the strike, more accurately a series of marches and demonstrations, was equality in the workplace.  An estimated  20,000 women participated, some carrying signs with the iconic slogan, “Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot.”  Another sign: “Hardhats for Soft Broads”. At the time, the gathering was the largest on behalf of women in the United States.  – 1970
 

August 28
Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march was organized by A. Phillip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, who built an alliance of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations that came together under the banner of “Jobs and Freedom”. Estimates of the number of participants varied from 200,000 to 300,000. Observers estimated that 75-80% of the marchers were black. – 1963

August 29
Sixty letter carriers from 18 states meet in a room above Schaefer’s Saloon on Plankinton Avenue in Milwaukee. They unanimously adopted a resolution to form a National Association of Letter Carriers – 1889
 
Dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club voted 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790. Their first union contract ratified eight months later, guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and termination, automatic hourly wage increases, sick days, a grievance procedure, and removal of one-way mirrors from peep show booths. The first strip club to unionize was Pacer’s in San Diego under the Hotel Management, Employee Management, Local 30. – 1996

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