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October 20, 2017
STEWARD UPDATE WEEKLY 9/20/17
Posted On: Sep 20, 2017

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In the current Steward Update newsletter
Lessons from Studying Anti-Union Attacks
The past decade has seen a wave of anti-worker laws in state legislatures. For union stewards, it can be overwhelming to try to understand the totality of these attacks and to explain to co-workers what’s happening or how to fight back.
     In The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time, author Gordon Lafer aims to explain three things: 1) who’s really behind these laws; 2) how to prevent working people from being played off against each other; and 3) how we can effectively fight back.

Labor Quote
New Deal
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."
—FDR, second inaugural address, January 20, 1937

Labor Cartoon
H.L. Schwadron

Steward Tip

Looking for Leverage to Win Your Fight
Public sector unions involved in highly visible events, such as political conventions, have the opportunity, if they are clever enough to seize it, to bend the boss a little more. Or you may be dealing with a public sector employer who has higher political ambitions and wants to look good to the voters. An ambitious supervisor who wants a promotion may find it helpful to clean up a lot of outstanding problems. In fact, you’ll find it pays to carefully evaluate upper management’s reaction to grievances: while some employers reward a supervisor who is piling up grievances, thus showing he’s “tough with the union,” there are others who warn a supervisor against creating too many problems and tying up time on grievance meetings. So, depending on your circumstances, you might want to file every grievance you can, on every possible situation, as a way of gaining leverage for some really important issue.
—Excerpted from The Union Steward’s Complete Guide (2nd Edition, Updated)

Today in Labor History
September 20
Upton Sinclair, socialist and author of The Jungle—published on this day in 1906—born in Baltimore, Md. - 1878
 

According to folklorist John Garst, steel-drivin’ man John Henry, born a slave, outperformed a steam hammer on this date at the Coosa Mountain Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway (now part of the Norfolk Southern) near Leeds, Ala. Other researchers place the contest near Talcott, W. Va. - 1887
 
Int’l Hod Carriers, Building & Common Laborers Union of America changes name to Laborers' Int’l Union - 1965

September 21
Militia sent to Leadville, Colo., to break miners’ strike - 1896
 
Mother Jones leads a march of miners' children through the streets of Charleston, W. Va. - 1912

(Changing Roles, Changing Lives: Stories of Women During the Industrial Revolution: During the Industrial Revolution, workers were forced to endure dangerous working conditions for miserable wages. Among those who courageously spoke out against this poor treatment were some remarkable women, including Mary Harris “Mother” Jones and Sarah G. Bagley, whose stories are told here for young readers.) 
 
National Football League Players Association members begin what is to become a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout ever - 1982 
 

Members of five unions at the Frontier Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas begin what was to become the longest successful hotel strike in U.S. history. All 550 workers honored the picket line for the entirety of the 6-year, 4-month, 10-day fight against management’s insistence on cutting wages and eliminating pensions - 1991
 
September 22
Emancipation Proclamation signed - 1862
 

Eighteen-year-old Hannah (Annie) Shapiro leads a spontaneous walkout of 17 women at a Hart Schaffner & Marx garment factory in Chicago. It grows into a months-long mass strike involving 40,000 garment workers across the city, protesting 10-hour days, bullying bosses and cuts in already-low wages - 1910
 
Great Steel Strike begins; 350,000 workers demand union recognition. The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee calls off the strike, their goal unmet, 108 days later - 1919
 
Martial law rescinded in Mingo County, W. Va., after police, U.S. troops and hired goons finally quell coal miners' strike - 1922
 
U.S. Steel announces it will cut the wages of 220,000 workers by 10 percent - 1931
 
United Textile Workers strike committee orders strikers back to work after 22 days out, ending what was at that point the greatest single industrial conflict in the history of American organized labor. The strike involved some 400,000 workers in New England, the mid-Atlantic states and the South - 1934
 
Some 400,000 coal miners strike for higher wages in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois and Ohio - 1935
 
The AFL expels the Int’l Longshoremen's Association for racketeering; six years later the AFL-CIO accepted them back into the house of labor - 1953
 

OSHA reaches its largest ever settlement agreement, $21 million, with BP Products North America following an explosion at BP's Texas City, Texas, plant earlier in the year that killed 15 and injured 170 - 2005
 
Eleven Domino's employees in Pensacola, Fla., form the nation's first union of pizza delivery drivers - 2006
 
San Francisco hotel workers end a 2-year contract fight, ratify a new 5-year pact with their employers - 2006


—Compiled and edited by David Prosten.

Steward Update Weekly is brought to you by your union and Union Communication Services—Worker Institute at Cornell ILR, publisher of the Steward Update print edition newsletter, which provides union stewards with helpful information and advice. We hope the Steward Update Weekly will be a helpful tool in your important work as a steward for your union; if you have questions or suggestions on how the Weekly can be more useful, please email us at ucs@unionist.com.

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