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July 28, 2015
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Today’s Labor History
July 23
Anarchist Alexander Berkman shoots and stabs but fails to kill steel magnate Henry Clay Frick in an effort to avenge the Homestead massacre 18 days earlier, in which nine strikers were killed. Berkman also tried to use what was, in effect, a suicide bomb, but it didn't detonate - 1892

Northern Michigan copper miners strike for union recognition, higher wages and 8-hour day. By the time they threw in the towel the following April, 1,100 had been arrested on various charges and Western Federation of Miners President Charles Moyer had been shot, beaten and forced out of town - 1913

Aluminum Workers Int'l Union merges with The United Brick & Clay Workers of America to form Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers - 1981

July 24
The United Auto Workers and the Teamsters form the Alliance for Labor Action (ALA), later to be joined by several smaller unions. The ALA's agenda included support of the civil rights movement and opposition to the war in Vietnam. It disbanded after four years following the death of UAW President Walter Reuther - 1968
(All Labor Has Dignity: People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform.)

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $6.55 per hour today. The original minimum, set in 1938 by the Fair Labor Standards Act, was 25¢ per hour - 2008
 
U.S. minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour, up from $6.55 - 2009

July 25
Workers stage a general strike—believed to be the nation’s first—in St. Louis, in support of striking railroad workers. The successful strike was ended when some 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized special police killed at least eighteen people in skirmishes around the city - 1877
 
New York garment workers win closed shop and firing of scabs after 7-month strike – 1890

Fifteen “living dead women” testify before the Illinois Industrial Commission.  They were “Radium Girls,” women who died prematurely after working at clock and watch factories, where they were told to wet small paintbrushes in their mouths so they could dip them in radium to paint dials.  A Geiger counter passed over graves in a cemetery near Ottawa, Illinois still registers the presence of radium - 1937

The Teamsters and Service Employees unions break from the AFL-CIO during the federation's 50th convention to begin the Change to Win coalition - 2005

July 26
In Chicago, 30 workers are killed by federal troops, more than 100 wounded at the "Battle of the Viaduct" during the Great Railroad Strike - 1877
 
President Grover Cleveland appoints a United States Strike Committee to investigate the causes of the Pullman strike and the subsequent strike by the American Railway Union. Later that year the commission issues its report, absolving the strikers and blaming Pullman and the railroads for the conflict - 1894
 
Battle of Mucklow, W.Va., in coal strike. An estimated 100,000 shots were fired; 12 miners and four guards were killed - 1912
 
President Truman issues Executive Order 9981, directing equality of opportunity in armed forces - 1948
 
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect today. It requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities and bans discrimination against such workers - 1992

- compiled/edited by David Prosten, Union Communication Services 

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