• October 24, 2020
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    Today's Labor History
    This week’s Labor History Today podcast: One Day More
    Saul Schniderman remembers musician activist Elaine Purkey.
    Justice Denied: David Gariff on “Ben Shahn and the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti.”
    From the Tales from the Reuther Library podcast, “When It Happened Here: Michigan and the Transnational Development of American Fascism.”
    And, on this week’s Labor History in 2: Paul Robeson, “The Voice of an Era.”
    Last week’s show: The Package King

    October 23
    Postal workers Joseph Cursseen and Thomas Morris die after inhaling anthrax at the Brentwood mail sorting center in Washington, D.C., which has since been re-named after them. Other postal workers are made ill. Letters containing the deadly spores had been addressed to U.S. Senate offices and media outlets - 2001


    October 24
    Strike of Teamsters, Scalesmen and Packers in New Orleans. City trade is paralyzed; in two weeks the walkout becomes a general strike, involving more than 20,000 whites and blacks together, in support of demands for union recognition and a 10-hour work day - 1892

    The first U.S. federal minimum wage – 25 cents an hour – takes effect, thanks to enactment of the Depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act. The law required an increase to 30 cents an hour one year from this date, and to 40 cents an hour on this date in 1945. The FLSA also established the 40-hour work week and forbade child labor in factories - 1938

    The 40-hour work week went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by Pres. Roosevelt two years earlier - 1940
    U.S. minimum wage increases to 40 cents an hour - 1945

    AFL-CIO readmits Teamsters union to the labor federation, ending a 30-year expulsion for corruption. In 2005 the Teamsters again parted company with the AFL-CIO – along with a half-dozen other unions – over differences of approach on organizing and politics - 1987.


    October 25
    25,000 silk dye workers strike in Paterson, NJ - 1934

    In what becomes known as the Great Hawaiian Dock Strike, a six-month struggle to win wage parity with mainland dock workers ends, in victory - 1949

    The Tribune Co. begins a brutal five-month-long lockout at the New York Daily News, part of an effort to bust the newspaper’s unions - 1990

    John Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Intl. Union, elected president of AFL-CIO - 1995


    - David Prosten

    Today's Labor Quote: Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union

    “Contracting out of maintenance work, elimination of relief crews, excessive overtime, and paring of staff to the ‘bare bones’ set the stage for an explosion that was waiting to happen.”

    On this date in 1989, an explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Texas, killed 23 and injured 314. AP photo/Ed Kolenovsky

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