• October 20, 2017
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    The Week in Labor History

    October 16
    Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, is beheaded during the French Revolution.   When alerted that the peasants were suffering due to widespread bread shortages, lore has it that she replied, “Let them eat cake.”  In fact she never said that, but workers were, justifiably, ready to believe anything bad about their cold-hearted royalty - 1793
     
    Abolitionist John Brown leads 18 men, including five free Blacks, in an attack on the Harper's Ferry ammunition depot, the beginning of guerilla warfare against slavery - 1859  


    October 17
    A huge vat ruptures at a London brewery, setting off a domino effect of similar ruptures, and what was to become known as The London Beer Flood.  Nearly 1.5 million liters of beer gushed into the streets drowning or otherwise causing the deaths of eight people, mostly poor people living in nearby basements - 1814
     
    Labor activist Warren Billings is released from California's Folsom Prison. Along with Thomas J. Mooney, Billings had been pardoned for a 1916 conviction stemming from a bomb explosion during a San Francisco Preparedness Day parade. He had always maintained his innocence - 1939
     
    "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. A great movie, see it! - 1950
    (Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films About Labor: This wonderful book is an encyclopedic guide to 350 labor films from around the world, ranging from those you’ve heard of—Salt of the Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, Roger & Me—to those you’ve never heard of but will fall in love with once you see them.)
     
    Twelve New York City firefighters die fighting a blaze in midtown Manhattan - 1966
     
    Int’l Printing Pressmen's & Assistants' Union of North America merges with Int’l Stereotypers', Electrotypers' & Platemakers' Union to become Printing & Graphic Communications Union - 1973
     
    Industrial Union of Marine & Shipbuilding Workers of America merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers - 1988
     
    October 18
    The "Shoemakers of Boston"—the first labor organization in what would later become the United States—was authorized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony - 1648
     
    New York City agrees to pay women school teachers a rate equal to that of men - 1911
     
    IWW Colorado Mine strike; first time all coal fields are out - 1927
     
    Some 58,000 Chrysler Corp. workers strike for wage increases - 1939
     
    The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) was formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO's Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979 to form the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) - 1943
     
    GM agrees to hire more women and minorities for five years as part of a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - 1983
    (Sisters in the Brotherhoods: Working Women Organizing for Equality: Many blue-collar arenas remain contested terrain for females. Women still struggle to get training, to get jobs, and to secure a harassment-free workplace. Despite the efforts of the pioneering generation, females still enter these jobs one by one and two by two and only against great odds do they remain there. These oral histories explore the achievements of the women who made history simply by going to work every day.)

    October 19
    The National Association of Letter Carriers achieves equalization of wages for all letter carriers, meaning city delivery carriers began receiving the same wages regardless of the size of the community in which they worked – 1949

    The J.P. Stevens textile company is forced to sign its first union contract after a 17-year struggle in North Carolina and other southern states - 1980
     
    October 20
    Eugene V. Debs, U.S. labor leader and socialist, dies in Elmhurst, Ill. Among his radical ideas: an 8-hour workday, pensions, workman's compensation, sick leave and social security. He ran for president from a jail cell in 1920 and got a million votes - 1926
     
    Hollywood came under scrutiny as the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) opened hearings into alleged Communist influence within the motion picture industry. Dozens of union members were among those blacklisted as a result of HUAC’s activities - 1947
     
    Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan writes to PATCO President Robert Poli with this promise: if the union endorses Reagan, "I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety." He got the endorsement. Nine months after the election, he fires the air traffic controllers for engaging in an illegal walkout over staffing levels and working conditions - 1980
     
    Death of Merle Travis, songwriter and performer who wrote "Sixteen Tons" and "Dark as a Dungeon" – 1983

    Two track workers are killed in a (San Francisco) Bay Area Rapid Transit train accident.  Federal investigators said the train was run by a BART employee who was being trained as an operator as members of the Amalgamated Transit Union were participating in what was to be a four-day strike - 2013

    October 21
    Wisconsin dairy farmers begin their third strike of the year in an attempt to raise the price of milk paid to producers during the Great Depression.  Several creameries were bombed before the strike ended a month later. The economy eventually improved, allowing the farmers to make more money - 1933
     
    October 22
    Bank robber Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd is killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio. He was a hero to the people of Oklahoma who saw him as a "Sagebrush Robin Hood," stealing from banks and sharing some of the proceeds with the poor - 1934

    - compiled/edited by David Prosten at Union Communication Services

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  • Wounded Warrior Leave Act
    Posted On: Aug 05, 2016

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

                 Contact: OPM Office of Communications

           August 4, 2016

              (202) 606-2402 or media@opm.gov

    Newly Established Leave Policy Gives Disabled Veterans

    More Time to Address Medical Issues

    WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will be issuing final regulations on August 5th to implement the newly created disabled veteran leave category.  Established under the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Wounded Warriors Act), disabled veteran leave will be available to any Federal employee hired on or after November 5, 2016, who is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.  The Wounded Warriors Act established the effective date of implementation one year after passage of the Act, which will be November 5, 2016. 

    “This rule ensures the Federal Government supports our service members who have sacrificed their own health and well-being to serve our country.  We know this is something they need,” said Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert.  “We want these veterans to have sufficient leave during their first year of Federal service in order to take care of any medical issues related to their service-connected disability,” added Cobert.

    Disabled veteran leave is available as a one-time benefit during a 12-month period beginning on an eligible employee’s “first day of employment” and may not exceed 104 hours for a regular full-time employee.  Disabled veteran leave can only be used for undergoing medical treatment of a qualifying service-connected disability, which was incurred or aggravated in the line of active duty.

    Eligible employees must be “hired” on or after November 5, 2016. OPM regulations define the term “hired” to include:

    • Newly hired with no previous Federal service;
    • Reappointed with at least a 90-day break in service; and
    • Military reservists or members of the National Guard who return to duty in their civilian positions after a period of military service

    While current Federal employees who were hired before November 5, 2016 are not eligible for disabled veteran leave, the Federal Government offers a wide range of leave options and workplace flexibilities to assist employees who need to be away from the workplace, including disabled veterans who must take time off from work to receive medical treatment for their service-connected disabilities.   

    In the coming weeks, OPM will be providing an information session to all agencies to ensure they are prepared to implement this new leave category.

    - end -


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