• October 28, 2016
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    The Week in Labor History

    October 24
    The 40-hour work week goes into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by President Roosevelt two years earlier - 1940
    U.S. minimum wage increases to 40¢ an hour - 1945

    October 25
    What many believe to be the first formal training on first aid in American history took place at the Windsor Hotel in Jermyn, Penn., when Dr. Matthew J. Shields instructed 25 coal miners on ways to help their fellow miners. Upon completion of the course each of the miners was prepared and able to render first aid. The training led to marked decreases in serious mining injuries and fatalities - 1899

    Some 25,000 silk dye workers strike in Paterson, N.J. - 1934
    In what becomes known as the Great Hawaiian Dock Strike, a 6-month struggle to win wage parity with mainland dock workers, ends in victory - 1949
    The Tribune Co. begins a brutal 5-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 Int’l Union, elected president of AFL-CIO – 1995

    After a two-year fight, workers at the Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, Calif., win a union contract calling for pay increases, better breaks and other gains.  “They didn’t treat us like people,” nine-year employee Oliverio Gomez told the Los Angeles Times - 2011

    October 26
    After eight years and at least 1,000 worker deaths—mostly Irish immigrants—the 350-mile Erie Canal opens, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Father John Raho wrote to his bishop that "so many die that there is hardly any time to give Extreme Unction (last rites) to everybody. We run night and day to assist the sick." - 1825
    October 27
    The New York City subway, the first rapid-transit system in America, opens. More than 100 workers died during the construction of the first 13 miles of tunnels and track – 1904
    (Survival of the Fittest: Thanks to unions, construction jobs don’t cost lives the way they used to.  If you’d like to know more about construction unions, especially if you’re considering a career in the trades, read this book.  In clear, easy-to-read language it explains how to be successful in the trades and, directly linked to that success, how to make union construction thrive and prosper.)

    Three strikes on works-relief projects in Maryland were underway today, with charges that Depression-era Works Projects Administration jobs were paying only about 28 cents an hour—far less than was possible on direct relief.  Civic officials in Cumberland, where authorities had established a 50-cent-per-hour minimum wage, supported the strikers - 1935
    The National Labor Council is formed in Cincinnati to unite Black workers in the struggle for full economic, political and social equality. The group was to function for five years before disbanding, having forced many AFL and CIO unions to adopt non-discrimination policies - 1951
    October 28
    Union organizer and anarchist Luisa Capetillo is born in Ariecibo, Puerto Rico.  She organized tobacco and other agricultural workers in Puerto Rico and later in New York and Florida. In 1916 she led a successful sugar cane strike of more than 40,000 workers on the island.  She demanded that her union endorse voting rights for women.  In 1919, three years before her death, she was arrested for wearing pants in public, the first woman in Puerto Rico to do so.  The charges were dropped – 1879

    The St. Louis Gateway Arch is completed after two and one-half years. Originally sold as a jobs program for thousands of African Americans in St. Louis suffering from the Depression, the 630-foot high arch of stainless steel marks the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Mo. Although it was predicted 13 lives would be lost in construction, not a single worker died – 1965

    October 29
    Japanese immigrant and labor advocate Katsu Goto is strangled to death, his body then strung from an electric pole, on the Big Island of Hawaii by thugs hired by plantation owners.  They were outraged over Goto’s work on behalf of agricultural workers and because he opened a general store that competed with the owners’ own company store - 1889

    Wall Street crashes—"Black Tuesday"—throwing the world's economy into a years-long crisis including an unemployment rate in the U.S. that by 1933 hit nearly 25 percent - 1929
    October 30
    Ed Meese, attorney general in the Ronald Reagan administration, urges employers to begin spying on workers "in locker rooms, parking lots, shipping and mail room areas and even the nearby taverns" to try to catch them using drugs - 1986

    The fishing boat Andrea Gail, out of Gloucester, Mass., is caught in ferocious storm and lost at sea with her crew of six. The event inspired the book, “The Perfect Storm,” by Sebastian Junger, and a film by the same name. The city of Gloucester has lost more than 10,000 whalers and fishermen to the sea over its 350-year history - 1991

    - compiled/edited by David Prosten at Union Communication Services

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  • List of 2012 Legislation Attacking Federal Employees
    Updated On: Feb 29, 2012

    Here is a good list of how congress is attacking Federal Employees in 2012. These are some of the bills in Congress that ACT is watching on your behalf....we need all members to contact their Congressman / Senator and let them know you oppose this type of legislation.


    H.R. 270 would impose a mandatory two-week unpaid furlough for federal employees. This bill remains in the hands of a House subcommittee.

    H.R. 3835 would extend the pay freeze for another year. It passed the House on Feb. 1. 2012

    H.R. 3844 would prohibit step increases. The bill has been forwarded to several House committees with jurisdiction over various parts of the legislation. Action is pending.

    H.R. 235 proposes cuts to the federal workforce and a three-year pay freeze. Subcommittee action is pending on this measure.

    S. 2079 would extend the pay freeze for another year. It has been placed on the Senate calendar.

    S. 2065 would extend the pay freeze through June 30, 2014. A Senate committee has the measure.

    S. 1476 would extend the pay freeze through 2014. It has been referred to a Senate committee.

    S. 178 and H.R. 408 would extend the pay freeze through 2015. The Senate bill is under consideration by a committee; the House bill is in the hands of a subcommittee in the house.

    S. 1936 would extend the pay freeze from its present two years to five years. A committee has the bill.


    S. 644 would eliminate the defined benefit portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) annuity. A House subcommittee has this measure.

    H.R. 3813 would sharply increase pension contributions, eliminate the FERS supplement and raise pension contributions for new hires. This bill has been cleared for action on the House floor.


    H.R. 2114 would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent by 2015, while providing a significant loophole for contracting out the work to the private sector. It has been referred to a House subcommittee.

    S. 2065 would reduce the size of government by 5 percent through attrition. This bill is in the hands of the Senate Budget Committee.

    H.R. 657 calls for cuts in the federal workforce. All agencies, other than Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security—which account for 60 percent of the workforce—would be able to hire only one employee for every two who leave federal service. Subcommittee action is pending.

    H.R. 3029, H.R. 3487 and S. 1476 would reduce the size of the federal government through attrition by permitting the hiring of only one employee for every three who left government service.

    H.R. 3029 has been placed on the House calendar; a House subcommittee has H.R. 3487 and the Senate bill remains in committee.

    H. R. 1779 would prohibit the head of any executive branch agency from hiring in any year in which OMB projects a federal budget deficit. It remains in the hands of a House subcommittee.

    S. 1611 would allow the replacement of three employees who leave federal service by one new employee. It is in committee.

    H.R. 3494 would reduce the size of the federal workforce to no more than that of Oct. 7, 2007. The bill is in a House subcommittee.

    H.R. 3662 would allow the hiring of one employee for every three who leave federal service. It is in the hands of several House committees with jurisdiction over various parts of it.

    S. 178 would, among many other actions, limit the size of the federal workforce and extend the pay freeze through 2015.


    S. 261 would cut workers’ compensation payments for older federal employees. Senate committee hearings on this bill have been conducted. Further action is pending.

    H.R. 87 and S. 712 would repeal the financial regulatory reform bill. Both bills are pending either in committee or subcommittee. ACT strongly supports these two Bills. 

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