• November 19, 2017
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    The Week in Labor History

    ovember 13
    A total of 259 miners died in the underground Cherry Mine fire. As a result of the disaster, Illinois established stricter safety regulations and in 1911, the basis for the state’s Workers Compensation Act was passed - 1909
     
    A Western Federation of Miners strike is crushed by the militia in Butte, Mont. - 1914
     
    The Holland Tunnel opens, running under the Hudson River for 1.6 miles and connecting the island of Manhattan in New York City with Jersey City, N.J. Thirteen workers died over its 7-year-long construction - 1927
     
    GM workers’ post-war strike for higher wages closes 96 plants - 1945
     
    Striking typesetters at the Green Bay, Wisc., Press Gazette start a competing newspaper, The Green Bay Daily News. With financial support from a local businessman who hated the Press Gazette, the union ran the paper for four years before their angel died and it was sold to another publisher. The Gannett chain ultimately bought the paper, only to fold it in 2005 - 1972
     
    Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union activist Karen Silkwood is killed in a suspicious car crash on her way to deliver documents to a newspaper reporter during a safety investigation of her Kerr-McGee plutonium processing plant in Oklahoma - 1974

    November 14 
    Women’s Trade Union League founded, Boston - 1903
     
    The American Railway Supervisors Association is formed at Harmony Hall in Chicago by 29 supervisors working for the Chicago & North Western Railway. They organized after realizing that those railroaders working under their supervision already had the benefits of unionization and were paid more for working fewer hours - 1934
     
    The Depression-era Public Works Administration agrees with New York City today to begin a huge slum clearance project covering 20 acres in Brooklyn, where low cost housing for 2,500 families will be completed. It was the first of many such jobs-and-housing projects across the country - 1934
     
    The National Federation of Telephone Workers—later to become the Communications Workers of America—is founded in New Orleans - 1938
     
    Jimmy Carter-era OSHA publishes standard reducing permissible exposure of lead, protecting 835,000 workers from damage to nervous, urinary and reproductive systems - 1978
    (Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class: While OSHA was working to preserve people’s health in the ‘70s, other forces were working against labor’s interests.  Stayin’ Alive is a remarkable account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s.)
     
    Federation of Professional Athletes granted a charter by the AFL-CIO - 1979
     
    November 15
    Founding convention of the Federation of Trades and Labor Unions is held in Pittsburgh. It urges enactment of employer liability, compulsory education, uniform apprenticeship and child and convict labor laws. Five years later it changes its name to the American Federation of Labor - 1881

    November 16
    A county judge in Punxsutawney, Pa., grants an injunction requested by the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co. forbidding strikers from speaking to strikebreakers, posting signs declaring a strike is in progress, or even singing hymns. Union leaders termed the injunction “drastic” - 1927
     
    The National Football League Players Association ends a 57-day strike that shortened the season to nine games. The players wanted, but failed to win until many years later, a higher share of gross team revenues - 1982
     
    November 17
    The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York is founded "to provide cultural, educational and social services to families of skilled craftsmen." The Society remains in existence to this day – 1785

    Martin Irons dies near Waco, Texas.  Born in Dundee, Scotland, he emigrated to the U.S. at age 14.  He joined the Knights of Labor and in 1886 led a strike of 200,000 workers against the Jay Gould-owned Union Pacific and Missouri railroads.  The strike was crushed, Irons was blacklisted and he died broken-down and penniless.  Said Mother Jones: "The capitalist class hounded him as if he had been a wild beast." - 1900
     
    To the huge relief of Post Office Department employees, the service sets a limit of 200 pounds a day to be shipped by any one customer.  Builders were finding it cheaper to send supplies via post than via wagon freight. In one instance, 80,000 bricks for a new bank were shipped parcel post from Salt Lake City to Vernal, Utah, 170 miles away.  The new directive also barred the shipment of humans: a child involved in a couple’s custody fight was shipped—for 17¢—from Stillwell to South Bend, Ind., in a crate labeled “live baby” - 1916
     
    With many U.S. political leaders gripped by the fear of communism and questioning citizen loyalties in the years following World War II, the Screen Actors Guild votes to force its officers to take a “non-communist” pledge.  A few days earlier the Hollywood Ten had been called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities - 1947
     
    November 18
    Seattle printers refuse to print anti-labor ad in newspaper - 1919
     
    Thirty-one men died on Lake Michigan with the sinking of the Carl D. Bradley during one of the worst storms in the lake’s history. The 623-foot ship, carrying limestone, broke in two. Four crewmen survived - 1958
     
    November 19
    Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, executed in Utah on what many believe was a framed charge of murder. Before he died he declared: “Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize.” - 1915
     
    The nation’s first automatic toll collection machine is used at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey's Garden State Parkway - 1954
     
    The National Writers Union is founded, representing freelance and contract writers and others in the trade. In 1992 it was to merge into and become a local of the United Auto Workers - 1981

    - compiled/edited by David Prosten at Union Communication Services

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  • Budget Proposal Would Freeze Federal Pay Through 2015
    Updated On: Mar 20, 2012

    The GOP Budget Proposal Would Freeze Federal Pay Through 2015
    By Ian Smith

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012 

     below link is from FedSmith

    http://www.fedsmith.com/article/3351/gop-budget-proposal-would-freeze-federal.html

     The GOP's 2013 federal budget blueprint released today contains a number of proposed cuts for federal workers including a 10% reduction in the federal workforce and an extended pay freeze through 2015.

    The proposed cuts in the budget should not come as a shock. We reported last week that federal employees could expect some form of proposed cuts in the budget, plus given the plethora of proposals that would scale back on the federal workforce ranging from workforce cuts through attrition to freezing step increases that have been suggested since the pay freeze was first proposed by President Obama in 2010, it stands to reason some form of cost cutting via public sector workers would be utilized.

    The Proposed Cuts

    The budget proposes the following:

    • A 10% workforce reduction over the next three years through attrition
    • Extending the current pay freeze through 2015

    It is estimated that these cuts would save taxpayers approximately $368 billion over ten years.

    The impetus for these cuts is to slow the rapid growth of the public sector which has been crowding out growth in the private sector. According to the proposal, "The federal government has added 147,000 new workers since the President took office. It is no coincidence that private-­?sector employment continues to grow only sluggishly while the government expands: To pay for the public-­? sector’s growth, Washington must immediately tax the private sector or else borrow and impose taxes later to pay down the debt."

    The budget proposal notes, however, that the duties of the federal government do require a strong federal workforce. So while the GOP intends to make cuts, they don't want to take them too far. Hence, the proposal says that "Pay increases and fringe benefits [of the federal workforce] should be reformed to better align with those of their private-sector counterparts."

    This statement is referring to the CBO's recent study which shows that public sector wages and benefits continue to outpace those of the private sector, noting that the CBO showed that federal workers receive, on average, 16% higher pay and benefits to comparable workers in the private sector.

    "The reforms called for in this budget aim to slow the federal government’s unsustainable growth and reflect the growing frustration of workers across the country at the privileged rules enjoyed by government employees. They reduce the public-­?sector bureaucracy, not through layoffs, but via a gradual, sensible attrition policy," concludes the Budget Committee.

    The 2013 budget proposal is nearly identical to the one put forth by the House Budget Committee last year in terms of its approach to reducing the federal workforce. A statement from last year's proposal reads, "[The proposed budget would] boost private-sector employment by slowing the explosive growth of the public sector, achieving a 10 percent reduction over the next three years in the federal workforce through attrition, coupled with a pay freeze for the next five years and reforms to government workers' generous benefit packages."

    The Path to Prosperty: FY 2013 Budget Resolution 


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