Today in labor history, October 19, 1993: Air France freight and other workers go on strike when the company announces plans to cut 4,000 jobs and reduce bonuses. The strike not only forced the government to change its mind about the layoffs, but also led to the ouster of the airline’s chairman.
Today in labor history, October 12, 1933: Following a campaign by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union to organize in Los Angeles’ garment industry whose workforce is 75% Latina, 4,000 garment workers in Los Angeles walk off the job, demanding union recognition, a 35-hour work week, and the minimum wage. The strike ended on November 6 with the workers winning some of their demands.
Today in labor history, October 11, 1941: 1700 news dealers in New York go on strike against the World Telegram over the price of newspapers, delivery charges, and the return of unsold newspapers. The strike spread as other publishers refused to make deliveries to dealers who joined the strike. A judge issued an injunction against the strike, ruling that the news dealers were not employees.
Today in labor history, October 5, 1945: On what became known as “Hollywood Black Friday,” a six-month strike by set decorators boils over at the gates of Warner Brothers’ studios in Burbank as scabs attempt to drive through the crowd of 300 strikers. By the end of the day, some 300 police and deputy sheriffs had been called to the scene and over 40 injuries were reported. Media coverage of the violence pressured the studios to negotiate and the strike ended about a month later.
Today in labor history, October 1, 1975: 200 press operators and members of Pressmen’s Local 6 go on strike at the Washington Post. Determined to break the strike and bust the militant union, managers and scabs were flown to the building by helicopter to operate the presses. Nine of the ten other unions at the newspaper supported the striking pressmen, but the nearly two year-long strike ended in defeat.
Today in labor history, September 27, 1945: One month after V-J Day, the Oil Workers International Union calls a national strike against sixteen major oil companies with the demand to retain wartime wages (52 hours’ pay for 40 hours’ work). President Harry Truman broke the strike by seizing the oil properties under the provisions of the Smith-Connally Act.
Today in labor history, September 3, 1928: Being pushed into obsolescence by owners intent on replacing live music with recorded sound, 700 movie theater musicians in Chicago go on strike. The action was part of a nationwide wave of protest by the American Federation of Musicians, but by the end of the year, nearly 2,600 theater musicians were unemployed across the country.
Today in labor history, September 1, 2014: Today is Labor Day. In 1894, after sending in the Army and U.S. Marshals to break the Pullman strike, President Grover Cleveland’s popularity was in the toilet. In the immediate wake of the strike, legislation designating a federal Labor Day holiday was rushed unanimously through Congress and arrived on Cleveland’s desk for his signature.
Today in labor history, August 27, 1950: In anticipation of a nationwide strike by railroad workers just weeks after the start of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman issues an executive order putting the country’s railroads under the control of the U.S. Army. The strike lasted for 21 months. In May 1952, Truman approved the return of the railroads to private ownership.
Today in labor history, August 26, 1970: Women in more than ninety cities across the U.S. participate in the Women’s Strike for Equality, organized by the National Organization for Women. Among other things, the action called for women to stop working for a day to draw attention to the issue of unequal pay for women’s work.