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January 30, 2015

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This Week in Labor History

Weekend Labor History
January 30
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born in Hyde Park, N.Y. He was elected president of the United States four times starting in 1932. His New Deal programs helped America survive the Great Depression. His legislative achievements included the creation of the National Labor Relations Act, which allows workers to organize unions, bargain collectively, and strike - 1882

January 31
Some 12,000 pecan shellers in San Antonio, Texas—mostly Latino women—walk off their jobs at 400 factories in what was to become a three-month strike against wage cuts. Strike leader Emma Tenayuca was eventually hounded out of the state - 1938

Ida M. Fuller is the first retiree to receive an old-age monthly benefit check under the new Social Security law. She paid in $24.75 between 1937 and 1939 on an income of $2,484; her first check was for $22.54 - 1940

After scoring successes with representation elections conducted under the protective oversight of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the United Farm Workers of America officially ends its historic table grape, lettuce and wine boycotts – 1978
(The Fight in the Fields tells of legendary United Farm Workers of America founder and leader Cesar Chavez and his union’s struggles: to raise farmworker pay from .40 an hour; to win union recognition from savagely resistant grape and lettuce growers; to stop the use of deadly pesticides that were killing children in the fields. The pacifist Chavez endured several month-long fasts to counteract what he saw as a growing tendency toward violence in the farmworker movement, and many think those heroic acts contributed to his early death, at the age of 64.)

Union and student pressure forces Harvard University to adopt new labor policies raising wages for lowest-paid workers - 2002

Five months after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans school board fires every teacher in the district in what the United Teachers of New Orleans sees as an effort to break the union and privatize the school system - 2005

February 01
Led by 23-year-old Kate Mullaney, the Collar Laundry Union forms in Troy, N.Y., and raises earnings for female laundry from $2 to $14 a week - 1864

Bricklayers begin working 8-hour days - 1867

Some 25,000 Paterson, N.J., silk workers strike for 8-hour work day and improved working conditions. Eighteen hundred were arrested over the course of the six-month walkout, led by the Wobblies. They returned to work on their employers’ terms - 1913

The federal minimum wage increases to $1.60 per hour - 1968

Int’l Brotherhood of Firemen & Oilers merge with Service Employees Int’l Union - 1995
— Compiled and edited by David Prosten, Union Communication Services

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