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Michigan govt signs right-to-work plan limiting union powers; violence and assaults break out

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Simply because there is a violent pass is no reason to cheer on a violent present.

Heck, the bullying of people who are simply willing to do the same job for less as scabs goes to show how much bullying is engrained into the union system.

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Sure.

It's ironic that we decry the violence when it is violence that forces unions to exist in the first place. They are far from perfect, but necessary.

If employers paid fair wages, benefits, etc...unions wouldn't be necessary. Unions are borne out of bad employers. Unions do take on a life on their own, and there are definite negatives to them, but they are a product of bad employers. So, blaming the unions for protecting bad employees, bloated this or that--all fair game. But if you want to actually get to the root of the problem, ask yourself why we need unions at all.

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An Eclectic List of Events in U.S. Labor History

Most citizens of the United States take for granted labor laws which protect them from the evils of unregulated industry. Perhaps the majority of those who argue for "free enterprise" and the removal of restrictions on capitalist corporations are unaware that over the course of this country's history, workers have fought and often died for protection from capitalist industry. In many instances, government troops were called out to crush strikes, at times firing on protesters. Presented below are a few of the many incidents in the (too often overlooked) tumultuous labor history of this country.

NOTE: Please DO NOT mail me with requests for additional information (such as assistance in locating additional resources, etc.); all that i have to offer on this topic is presented on this page, and i regret that i am unable to assist the Internet community with anything more. For additional labor resources, check out the following:

1619

In North America's first recorded labor uprising, Polish craftsmen, who produced glass, pitch & tar for the Jamestown colony, went on strike to protest their lack of voting rights. The incident ended peacefully when the Poles were granted full voting rights.

1806

The union of Philadelphia Journeymen Cordwainers was convicted of and bankrupted by charges of criminal conspiracy after a strike for higher wages, setting a precedent by which the U.S. government would combat unions for years to come.

27 April 1825

The first strike for the 10-hour work-day occurred by carpenters in Boston.

3 July 1835

Children employed in the silk mills in Paterson, NJ went on strike for the 11 hour day/6 day week.

July 1851

Two railroad strikers were shot dead and others injured by the state militia in Portgage, New York.

1860

800 women operatives and 4,000 workmen marched during a shoemaker's strike in Lynn, Massachusetts.

13 January 1874

The original Tompkins Square Riot. As unemployed workers demonstrated in New York's Tompkins Square Park, a detachment of mounted police charged into the crowd, beating men, women and children indiscriminately with billy clubs and leaving hundreds of casualties in their wake. Commented Abram Duryee, the Commissioner of Police: "It was the most glorious sight I ever saw..."

12 February 1877

U.S. railroad workers began strikes to protest wage cuts.

21 June 1877

Ten coal-mining activists ("Molly Maguires") were hanged in Pennsylvania.

14 July 1877

A general strike halted the movement of U.S. railroads. In the following days, strike riots spread across the United States. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the nationwide strike. At the "Battle of the Viaduct" in Chicago, federal troops (recently returned from an Indian massacre) killed 30 workers and wounded over 100.

5 September 1882

Thirty thousand workers marched in the first Labor Day parade in New York City.

1884

The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, forerunner of the AFL, passed a resolution stating that "8 hours shall constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886." Though the Federation did not intend to stimulate a mass insurgency, its resolution had precisely that effect.

Late 1885/Early 1886

Hundreds of thousands of American workers, increasingly determined to resist subjugation to capitalist power, poured into a fledgling labor organization, the Knights of Labor. Beginning on May 1, 1886, they took to the streets to demand the universal adoption of the eight hour day.

Chicago was the center of the movement. Workers there had been agitating for an eight hour day for months, and on the eve of May 1, 50,000 workers were already on strike. 30,000 more swelled their ranks the next day, bringing most of Chicago manufacturing to a standstill. Fears of violent class conflict gripped the city. No violence occurred on May 1 -- a Saturday -- or May 2. But on Monday, May 3, a fight involving hundreds broke out at McCormick Reaper between locked-out unionists and the non-unionist workers McCormick hired to replace them. The Chicago police, swollen in number and heavily armed, quickly moved in with clubs and guns to restore order. They left four unionists dead and many others wounded.

Angered by the deadly force of the police, a group of anarchists, led by August Spies and Albert Parsons, called on workers to arm themselves and participate in a massive protest demonstration in Haymarket Square on Tuesday evening, May 4. The demonstration appeared to be a complete bust, with only 3,000 assembling. But near the end of the evening, an individual, whose identity is still in dispute, threw a bomb that killed seven policemen and injured 67 others. Hysterical city and state government officials rounded up eight anarchists, tried them for murder, and sentenced them to death.

On 11 November 1887, four of them, including Parsons and Spies, were executed. All of the executed advocated armed struggle and violence as revolutionary methods, but their prosecutors found no evidence that any had actually thrown the Haymarket bomb. They died for their words, not their deeds. A quarter of a million people lined Chicago's street during Parson's funeral procession to express their outrage at this gross mis-carriage of justice.

For radicals and trade unionists everywhere, Haymarket became a symbol of the stark inequality and injustice of capitalist society. The May 1886 Chicago events figured prominently in the decision of the founding congress of the Second International (Paris, 1889) to make May 1, 1890 a demonstration of the solidarity and power of the international working class movement. May Day has been a celebration of international socialism and (after 1917) international communism ever since.

The Bayview Massacre also took place at this time, where seven people, including one child, were killed by state militia. On 1 May 1886 about 2,000 Polish workers walked off their jobs and gathered at Saint Stanislaus Church in Milwaukee, angrily denouncing the ten hour workday. They then marched through the city, calling on other workers to join them; as a result, all but one factory was closed down as sixteen thousand protesters gathered at Rolling Mills, prompting Wisconsin Govorner Jeremiah Rusk to call the state militia. The militia camped out at the mill while workers slept in nearby fields, and on the morning of May 5th, as protesters chanted for the eight hour workday, General Treaumer ordered his men to shoot into the crowd, some of whom were carrying sticks, bricks, and scythes, leaving seven dead at the scene. The Milwaukee Journal reported that eight more would die within twenty four hours, and without hesitation added that Governor Rusk was to be commended for his quick action in the matter.

23 November 1887

The Thibodaux Massacre. The Louisiana Militia, aided by bands of "prominent citizens," shot at least 35 unarmed black sugar workers striking to gain a dollar-per-day wage, and lynched two strike leaders.

25 July 1890

New York garment workers won the right to unionize after a seven-month strike. They secured agreements for a closed shop, and firing of all scabs.

6 July 1892

The Homestead Strike. Pinkerton Guards, trying to pave the way for the introduction of scabs, opened fire on striking Carnegie mill steel- workers in Homestead, Pennsylvania. In the ensuing battle, three Pinkertons surrendered; then, unarmed, they were set upon and beaten by a mob of townspeople, most of them women. Seven guards and eleven strikers and spectators were shot to death.

11 July 1892

Striking miners in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho dynamited the Frisco Mill, leaving it in ruins.

1893

The first of several bloody mining strikes at Cripple Creek, Colorado.

5 July 1893

During a strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company, which had drastically reduced wages, the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago's Jackson Park was set ablaze, and seven buildings were reduced to ashes. The mobs raged on, burning and looting railroad cars and fighting police in the streets, until 10 July, when 14,000 federal and state troops finally succeeded in putting down the strike.

1894

Federal troops killed 34 American Railway Union members in the Chicago area attempting to break a strike, led by Eugene Debs, against the Pullman Company. Debs and several others were imprisoned for violating injunctions, causing disintegration of the union.

21 September 1896

The state militia was sent to Leadville, Colorado to break a miner's strike.

10 September 1897

19 unarmed striking coal miners and mine workers were killed and 36 wounded by a posse organized by the Luzerne County sherif for refusing to disperse near Lattimer, Pennsylvania. The strikers, most of whom were shot in the back, were originally brought in as strike-breakers, but later organized themselves.

1898

A portion of the Erdman Act, which would have made it a criminal offense for railroads to dismiss employees or discriminate against prospective employees based on their union activities, was declared invalid by the United States Supreme Court.

12 October 1898

Fourteen were killed, 25 wounded in violence resulting when Virden, Illinois mine owners attempted to break a strike by importing 200 nonunion black workers.

29 April 1899

When their demand that only union men be employed was refused, members of the Western Federation of Miners dynamited the $250,000 mill of the Bunker Hill Company at Wardner, Idaho, destroying it completely. President McKinley responded by sending in black soldiers from Brownsville, Texas with orders to round up thousands of miners and confine them in specially built "bullpens."

1899 and 1901

U.S. Army troops occupied the Coeur d'Alene mining region in Idaho.

12 May 1902

Over 100,000 miners went on strike in eastern Pennsylvania over the issue of federal mediation in labor issues. The strike was settled 163 days later with the commencement of a Federally-authorized commission that recommended wage increases and reductions in the length of the workday.

12 October 1902

Fourteen miners were killed and 22 wounded by scabherders at Pana, Illinois.

23 November 1903

Troops were dispatched to Cripple Creek, Colorado to control rioting by striking coal miners.

July 1903

Labor organizer Mary Harris ("Mother") Jones leads child workers in demanding a 55 hour work week.

23 February 1904

William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Chronicle began publishing articles on the menace of Japanese laborers, leading to a resolution of the California Legislature that action be taken against their immigration.

8 June 1904

A battle between the Colorado Militia and striking miners at Dunnville ended with six union members dead and 15 taken prisoner. Seventy-nine of the strikers were deported to Kansas two days later.

17 April 1905

The Supreme Court held that a maximum hours law for New York bakery workers was unconstitutional under the due process clause of the 14th ammendment.

1908

The Erdman Act was further weakened when Section 10 was declared unconstitutional. This section had made it illegal for railroad employers to fire employees for being involved in union activities (see 1898).

22 November 1909

The "Uprising of the 20,000." Female garment workers went on strike in New York; many were arrested. A judge told those arrested: "You are on strike against God."

25 December 1910

A dynamite bomb destroyed a portion of the Llewellyn Ironworks in Los Angeles, where a bitter strike was in progress.

1911

The Supreme Court ordered the AFL to cease its promotion of a boycott against the Bucks Stove and Range Company. A contempt charge against union leaders (including AFL President Samuel Gompers) was dismissed on technical grounds.

25 March 1911

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire. The Triangle Shirtwaist Company, occupying the top three floors of a ten-story building in New York City, was consumed by fire. One hundred and forty-seven people, mostly women and young girls working in sweatshop conditions, lost their lives. Approximately 50 died as they leapt from windows to the street; the others were burned or trampled to death as they desperately attempted to escape through stairway exits locked as a precaution against "the interruption of work". On 11 April the company's owners were indicted for manslaughter.

2 December 1911

A Chicago "slugger," paid $50 by labor unions for every scab he "discouraged," described his job in an interview: "Oh, there ain't nothin' to it. I gets my fifty, then I goes out and finds the guy they wanna have slugged. I goes up to `im and I says to `im, `My friend, by way of meaning no harm,' and then I gives it to `im -- biff! in the mug. Nothin' to it."

24 February 1912

Women and children were beaten by police during a textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

18 April 1912

The National Guard was called out against striking West Virginia coal miners.

11 June 1913

Police shot three maritime workers (one of whom was killed) who were striking against the United Fruit Company in New Orleans.

5 January 1914

The Ford Motor Company raised its basic wage from $2.40 for a nine hour day to $5 for an eight hour day.

20 April 1914

The "Ludlow Massacre." In an attempt to persuade strikers at Colorado's Ludlow Mine Field to return to work, company "guards," engaged by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and other mine operators and sworn into the State Militia just for the occasion, attacked a union tent camp with machine guns, then set it afire. Five men, two women and 12 children died as a result. Additional web resources are cataloged at www.holtlaborlibrary.org/ludlow.html#Web%20Sites.

13 November 1914

A Western Federation of Miners strike is crushed by the militia in Butte, Montana.

19 January 1915

World famous labor leader Joe Hill was arrested in Salt Lake City. He was convicted on trumped up murder charges, and was executed 21 months later despite worldwide protests and two attempts to intervene by President Woodrow Wilson. In a letter to Bill Haywood shortly before his death he penned the famous words, "Don't mourn - organize!"

On this same day, twenty rioting strikers were shot by factory guards at Roosevelt, New Jersey.

25 January 1915

The Supreme Court upholds "yellow dog" contracts, which forbid membership in labor unions. 22 July 1916

A bomb was set off during a "Preparedness Day" parade in San Francisco, killing 10 and injuring 40 more. Thomas J. Mooney, a labor organizer and Warren K. Billings, a shoe worker, were convicted, but were both pardoned in 1939.

19 August 1916

Strikebreakers hired by the Everett Mills owner Neil Jamison attacked and beat picketing strikers in Everett, Washington. Local police watched and refused to intervene, claiming that the waterfront where the incident took place was Federal land and therefore outside their jurisdiction. (When the picketers retaliated against the strikebreakers that evening, the local police intervened, claiming that they had crossed the line of jursidiction.)

Three days later, twenty-two union men attempted to speak out at a local crossroads, but each was arrested; arrests and beatings of strikebreakers became common throughout the following months, and on 30 October vigilantes forced IWW speakers to run the gauntlet, subjecting them to whipping, tripping kicking, and impalement against a spiked cattle guard at the end of the gauntlet. In response, the IWW called for a meeting on 5 November. When the union men arrived, they were fired on; seven people were killed, 50 were wounded, and an indeterminate number wound up missing.

7 September 1916

Federal employees win the right to receive Worker's Compensation insurance.

12 July 1917

After seizing the local Western Union telegraph office in order to cut off outside communication, several thousand armed vigilantes forced 1,185 men in Bisbee, Arizona into manure-laden boxcars and "deported" them to the New Mexico desert. The action was precipitated by a strike when workers' demands (including improvements to safety and working conditions at the local copper mines, an end to discrimination against labor organizations and unequal treatment of foreign and minority workers, and the institution of a fair wage system) went unmet. The "deportation" was organized by Sheriff Harry Wheeler. The incident was investigated months later by a Federal Mediation Commission set up by President Woodrow Wilson; the Commission found that no federal law applied, and referred the case to the State of Arizona, which failed to take any action, citing patriotism and support for the war as justification for the vigilantes' action.

15 March 1917

The Supreme Court approved the Eight-Hour Act under the threat of a national railway strike.

1 August 1917

IWW organizer Frank Little was lynched in Butte, Monatana.

5 September 1917

Federal agents raided the IWW headquarters in 48 cities.

3 June 1918

A Federal child labor law, enacted two years earlier, was declared unconstitutional. A new law was enacted 24 February 1919, but this one too was declared unconstitutional on 15 May 1922.

27 July 1918

United Mine Workers organizer Ginger Goodwin was shot by a hired private policeman outside Cumberland, British Columbia.

26 August 1919

United Mine Worker organizer Fannie Sellins was gunned down by company guards in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.

19 September 1919

Looting, rioting and sporadic violence broke out in downtown Boston and South Boston for days after 1,117 Boston policemen declared a work stoppage due to their thwarted attempts to affiliate with the American Federation of Labor. Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge put down the strike by calling out the entire state militia.

22 September 1919

The "Great Steel Strike" began. Ultimately, 350,000 steel workers walked off their jobs to demand union recognition. The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee called off the strike on 8 January 1920, their goals unmet.

11 November 1919

The Centralia Massacre. Violence erupted when members of the American Legion attempted to force their way into an IWW hall in Centralia, Washington during an Armistice Day anniversary celebration. Four Legionnaires were shot dead by members of the IWW, after which IWW organizer Wesley Everest was lynched by a local mob.

22 December 1919

Amid a strike for union recognition by 395,000 steelworkers (ultimately unsuccessful), approximately 250 "anarchists," "communists," and "labor agitators" were deported to Russia, marking the beginning of the so-called "Red Scare."

2 January 1920

The U.S. Bureau of Investigation began carrying out the nationwide Palmer Raids. Federal agents seized labor leaders and literature in the hopes of discouraging labor activity. A number of citizens were turned over to state officials for prosecution under various anti-anarchy statutes.

19 May 1920

The Battle of Matewan. Despite efforts by police chief (and former miner) Sid Hatfield and Mayor C. Testerman to protect miners from interference in their union drive in Matewan, West Virginia, Baldwin-Felts detectives hired by the local mining company and thirteen of the company's managers arrived to evict miners and their families from the Stone Mountain Mine camp. A gun battle ensued, resulting in the deaths of 7 detectives, Mayor Testerman, and 2 miners. Baldwin-Felts detectives assasinated Sid Hatfield 15 months later, sparking off an armed rebellion of 10,000 West Virginia coal miners at "The Battle of Blair Mountain," dubbed "the largest insurrection this country has had since the Civil War" by The Battle of Matewan Home Page.

1920 and 1921

Army troops were used to intervene against striking mineworkers in West Virginia. Details of these events can be found in the extensive and excellent article at www.wvculture.org/history/journal_wvh/wvh50-1.html.

22 June 1922

Violence erupted during a coal-mine strike at Herrin, Illinois. Thirty-six were killed, 21 of them non-union miners.

2 June 1924

A child labor ammendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed; only 28 of the necessary 36 states ever ratified it.

14 June 1924

A San Pedro, California IWW hall was raided; a number of children were scalded when the hall was demolished.

25 May 1925

Two company houses occupied by nonunion coal miners were blown up and destroyed by labor "racketeers" during a strike against the Glendale Gas and Coal Company in Wheeling, West Virginia.

1926

Textile workers fought with police in Passaic, New Jersey. A year-long strike ensued.

21 November 1927

Picketing miners were massacred in Columbine, Colorado.

3 February 1930

"Chicagorillas" -- labor racketeers -- shot and killed contractor William Healy, with whom the Chicago Marble Setters Union had been having difficulties.

14 April 1930

Over 100 farm workers were arrested for their unionizing activities in Imperial Valley, California. Eight were subsequently convicted of `criminal syndicalism.'

4 May 1931

Gun-toting vigilantes attack striking miners in Harlan County, Kentucky.

7 March 1932

Police kill striking workers at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan plant.

10 October 1933

18,000 cotton workers went on strikein Pixley, California. Four were killed before a pay-hike was finally won.

1934

The Electric Auto-Lite Strike. In Toledo, OH, two strikers were killed and over two hundred wounded by National Guardsmen. Some 1300 National Guard troops, including included eight rifle companies and three machine gun companies, were called in to disperse the protestors.

1934

International Longshoremans and Warehouse union strike of 1934. Two longshoremen, Nick Bordoise and Howard Sperry, were shot to death by the San Francisco Police. May 1934

Police stormed striking truck drivers in Minneapolis who were attempting to prevent truck movement in the market area.

1 September - 22 September 1934

A strike in Woonsocket, RI, part of a national movement to obtain a minimum wage for textile workers, resulted in the deaths of three workers. Over 420,000 workers ultimately went on strike.

9 November 1935

The Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) was formed to expand industrial unionism.

11 February 1937

General Motors recognizes the United Auto Workers union following a sit-down strike.

26 May 1937

The 'Battle of the Overpass'. Walter Reuther and a group of UAW supporters, fresh from having organized GM and Chyrsler, attempting to distribute leaflets at Gate 4 of the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge plant, and were beaten up (together with bystanders) by Ford Service Department guards.

30 May 1937

Police killed 10 and wounded 30 during the "Memorial Day Massacre" at the Republic Steel plant in Chicago.

25 June 1938

The Wages and Hours (later Fair Labor Standards) Act is passed, banning child labor and setting the 40-hour work week. The Act went into effect in October 1940, and was upheld in the Supreme Court on 3 February 1941.

27 February 1939

The Supreme Court rules that sit-down strikes are illegal.

20 June 1941

Henry Ford recognizes the UAW.

15 December 1941

The AFL pledges that there will be no strikes in defense-related industry plants for the duration of the war.

28 December 1944

President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Army to seize the executive offices of Montgomery Ward and Company after the corporation failed to comply with a National War Labor Board directive regarding union shops.

1946

Workers in packinghouses nation-wide went on strike.

1 April 1946

A strike by 400,000 mine workers in the U.S. began. U.S. troops seized railroads and coal mines the following month.

4 October 1946

The U.S. Navy seized oil refineries in order to break a 20-state post-war strike.

20 June 1947

The Taft-Hartley Labor Act, curbing strikes, was vetoed by President Truman. Congress overrode the veto.

20 April 1948

Labor leader Walter Reuther was shot and seriously wounded by would-be assassins.

27 August 1950

President Truman ordered the U.S. Army to seize all the nation's railroads to prevent a general strike. The railroads were not returned to their owners until two years later.

8 April 1952

President Truman ordered the U.S. Army to seize the nation's steel mills to avert a strike. The act was ruled to be illegal by the Supreme Court on 2 June.

5 December 1955

The two largest labor organizations in the U.S. merged to form the AFL-CIO, with a membership estimated at 15 million.

5 April 1956

Columnist Victor Riesel, a crusader against labor racketeers, was blinded in New York City when a hired assailant threw sulfuric acid in his face.

14 September 1959

The Landrum-Griffin Act passes, restricting union activity.

7 November 1959

The Taft-Hartley Act is invoked by the Supreme Court to break a steel strike.

1 April 1963

The longest newspaper strike in U.S. history ended. The 9 major newspapers in New York City had ceased publication over 100 days before.

10 June 1963

Congress passes a law mandating equal pay to women.

5 January 1970

Joseph A. Yablonski, unsuccessful reform candidate to unseat "Tough Tony" Boyle as President of the United Mine Workers, was murdered, along with his wife and daughter, in their Clarksville, Pennsylvania home by assassins acting on Boyle's orders. Boyle was later convicted of the killing. West Virginia miners went on strike the following day in protest.

18 March 1970

The first mass work stoppage in the 195-year history of the Post Office Department began with a walkout of letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan, soon involving 210,000 of the nation's 750,000 postal employees. With mail service virtually paralzyed in New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia, President Nixon declared a state of national emergency and assigned military units to New York City post offices. The stand-off culminated two weeks later.

29 July 1970

United Farm Workers forced California grape growers to sign an agreement after a five-year strike.

3 November 1979

Five labor organizers were killed at the Greensboro Massacre in Greensboro, North Carolina. A rally organized to protest recruitment by the KKK and American Nazi Party at Cone Mills and various other textile mills in the area, where workers were attempting to organize across racial lines, turned violent, resulting in the deaths of the organizers. It was subsequently revealed that U.S. government CIA collaborators marched alongside the KKK and Nazi collaborators, and that the Greensboro Police Department, an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and a paid FBI informant were all aware of the potential for violence, yet did nothing to prevent it (surprisingly, there was not a single police officer present at the rally).

3 August 1981

Federal air traffic controllers began a nationwide strike after their union rejected the government's final offer for a new contract. Most of the 13,000 striking controllers defied the back-to-work order, and were dismissed by President Reagan on 5 August.

October 1982

A boycott was initiated by the International Association of Machinists against Browne & Sharpe, a machine, precision, measuring and cutting tool manufacturer, headquartered in Rhode Island. The boycott was called after the firm refused to bargain in good faith (withdrawing previously negotiated clauses in the contract), and forced the union into an unwanted and bitter strike during which police sprayed pepper gas on some 800 IAM pickets at the company's North Kingston plant in early 1982. Three weeks later, a machinist narrowly escaped serious injury when a shot fired into the picket line hit his belt buckle. The National Labor Relations Board subsequently charged Brown & Sharpe with regressive bargaining, and of entering into negotiations with the express purpose of not reaching an agreement with the union.

6 October 1986

1,700 female flight attendants won an 18-year lawsuit (which included $37 million in damages) against United Arilines, which had fired them for getting married.

24 October 1987

The 35-member executive council of the AFL-CIO decided unanimously to readmit the 1.6-million member Teamsters Union to its ranks. The scandal-ridden union had been expelled from the federation in 1957. President Jackie Presser was awaiting trial at the time, and the U.S. Justice Department was considering removal of the union's leadership because of possible links to organized crime.

17 September 1989

Ninety-eight miners and a minister occupied the the Pittston Coal Company's Moss 3 preparation plant in Carbo, Virginia, beginning a year-long strike against Pittston Coal. While a month-long Soviet coal strike dominated U.S. news broadcasts, the year-long Pittston strike garnered almost no mainstream press coverage whatsoever

An interesting and illuminating summary for the uninformed ..

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I was cheering for violence? .. where? .. more likely you are being delusional .. pragmatism escapes you? .. as do irony and sarcasm? .. what else is there left? .. perspective .. yes, I would settle for perspective ..

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I'm not saying that people should go out and hurt other people because that would be terribly wrong. But I would not be upset if at the end of all this there were some seriously maimed politicians.

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The $5-a-day Workday

After the success of the moving assembly line, Henry Ford had another transformative idea: in January 1914, he startled the world by announcing that Ford Motor Company would pay $5 a day to its workers. The pay increase would also be accompanied by a shorter workday (from nine to eight hours). While this rate didn't automatically apply to every worker, it more than doubled the average autoworker's wage.

While Henry's primary objective was to reduce worker attrition—labor turnover from monotonous assembly line work was high—newspapers from all over the world reported the story as an extraordinary gesture of goodwill.

Thousands of Workers Flock to Detroit

After Ford’s announcement, thousands of prospective workers showed up at the Ford Motor Company employment office. People surged toward Detroit from the American South and the nations of Europe. As expected, employee turnover diminished. And, by creating an eight-hour day, Ford could run three shifts instead of two, increasing productivity.

Henry Ford had reasoned that since it was now possible to build inexpensive cars in volume, more of them could be sold if employees could afford to buy them. The $5 day helped better the lot of all American workers and contributed to the emergence of the American middle class. In the process, Henry Ford had changed manufacturing forever.

Look what happens when a "boss" buys into the theory of enlightened self interest .

Fords actions stopped the efforts to unionise his factories simply because the workers had no need to form unions .

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Sure.

It's ironic that we decry the violence when it is violence that forces unions to exist in the first place. They are far from perfect, but necessary.

If employers paid fair wages, benefits, etc...unions wouldn't be necessary. Unions are borne out of bad employers. Unions do take on a life on their own, and there are definite negatives to them, but they are a product of bad employers. So, blaming the unions for protecting bad employees, bloated this or that--all fair game. But if you want to actually get to the root of the problem, ask yourself why we need unions at all.

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I have no problem with unions existing and in fact neither does this legislation. What it does is eliminate my main concern we have here with regards to unions. To do some jobs (like say a teacher or a nurse) you have to be in a union. You don't have the chance to opt out. I know the courts here disagree that it doesn't infringe in my free rights of association but I hapen to disagree. All this does is give everybody the choice of whether to be in the union or not.

Of course, even with this in place, you can bet the few people that opt out will be shunned and bullied until they either quit or join the union as per past union practices.

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You mean Harbingers quote? .. seems straight forward who said what .. are you mixing metaphors or alcohol with typing again Ron?? .. perception is a gift .. :)

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The $5-a-day Workday

After the success of the moving assembly line, Henry Ford had another transformative idea: in January 1914, he startled the world by announcing that Ford Motor Company would pay $5 a day to its workers. The pay increase would also be accompanied by a shorter workday (from nine to eight hours). While this rate didn't automatically apply to every worker, it more than doubled the average autoworker's wage.

While Henry's primary objective was to reduce worker attrition—labor turnover from monotonous assembly line work was high—newspapers from all over the world reported the story as an extraordinary gesture of goodwill.

Thousands of Workers Flock to Detroit

After Ford’s announcement, thousands of prospective workers showed up at the Ford Motor Company employment office. People surged toward Detroit from the American South and the nations of Europe. As expected, employee turnover diminished. And, by creating an eight-hour day, Ford could run three shifts instead of two, increasing productivity.

Henry Ford had reasoned that since it was now possible to build inexpensive cars in volume, more of them could be sold if employees could afford to buy them. The $5 day helped better the lot of all American workers and contributed to the emergence of the American middle class. In the process, Henry Ford had changed manufacturing forever.

Look what happens when a "boss" buys into the theory of enlightened self interest .

Fords actions stopped the efforts to unionise his factories simply because the workers had no need to form unions .

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Sure.

It's ironic that we decry the violence when it is violence that forces unions to exist in the first place. They are far from perfect, but necessary.

If employers paid fair wages, benefits, etc...unions wouldn't be necessary. Unions are borne out of bad employers. Unions do take on a life on their own, and there are definite negatives to them, but they are a product of bad employers. So, blaming the unions for protecting bad employees, bloated this or that--all fair game. But if you want to actually get to the root of the problem, ask yourself why we need unions at all.

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Labor versus management in the USA has historically involved violence .. on both sides .. if you tallied up lives lost due to labor strife, I am sure one would find that labor has seen many more funerals than the hired strike breakers and scabs ..

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Of course over time Ford got unions anyways so regardless of how well you treat the employees you can still end up with unions and a time came that if you wanted to build cars like your dad you had to join the union whether you wanted to or not.

The conecept isn't list though that's why you see so many employee owned or partially owned companies.

It's why "we all owners" Westjet would have already buried "labour vs. management" already if the latter wasn't being protected by the feds.

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OK, the new law means you don't have to join a union in order to be employed, nor pay union dues, but you are still covered under a union contract? So the new employees get all the benefits without the pain of union dues? So why are the rank and file members protesting when it is the union leadership who is going to suffer. Without union dues its the union leaders who is going suffer a pay cut.

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I know why there's unions and this right to work legislation isn't the banning of unions it's giving people the choice to join them or choose to exclude themselves.

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What's your opinion on those who collect benefits or welfare, but refuse to pay taxes?

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I have been on both sides of the issue both as a local, regional and national union officer and representing employers in collective bargaining as a lawyer.

In Canada we have what is known as the "Rand Formula" from an arbitration decision by SCOC Justice Ivan Rand ending the the Ford Strike of 1945 in Windsor. The Rand Formula describes a statutory provision introduced decades ago in most provinces and federally that provides that, where a union so requests, the collective agreement must include a clause requiring the employer to deduct union dues from all employees in a bargaining unit (employees covered by a collective agreement) and remit the money to the union.

It is all about equality of bargaining power and the principle that once a majority of workers have opted for a union then all workers are bound by the decisions in resepct of the CBA. The formula was based on the assumption that the union is essential for all workers and must be responsible for them. Two interrelated provisions following from this assumption guaranteed the union the financial means to carry out its programs, and established the financial penalties for employees and unions engaging in work stoppages or illegal strikes. For employees, these sanctions could consist of daily fines and loss of seniority; for the union, the suspension of union dues.

Unions represent workers by hiring lawyers, economists, pension experts, professional bargainers, and the like. These things obviously cost a lot of money. Generally unionized workers benefit from these expenses in the form of higher pay, better benefits and pensions, and more job security. The Rand Formula says simply that since all employees receive these benefits, it is reasonable to require them all to contribute a small amount towards the costs of operating the union. Justice Rand explained that it is in the public interest that unions not have to engage in constant battles to obtain their funding: “The power of organized labour, the necessary co-partner of capital, must be available to address the balance of what is called social justice,” Rand wrote. The Rand Formula reduces strikes and labour strife.

The Rand Formula addresses the "free-rider problem". As an analogy think about taxes. Since we all benefit from hospitals, roads, and schools, we are all required to pay our fair share of taxes to pay for these services. What if taxes were voluntary, rather than mandatory? How many people would pay them? Even people who benefit from the things taxes buy would stop paying them if they saw others receiving the benefits without having to pay their fair share.

It has be proposed that If such an opt out is permitted and a worker does opt out. then there should be no protections available against lay-off, termination, seniority protection, no grievance procedures, waiver of wrongful dismissal suits, etc.

In BC under our Labour Relations Code a CBA may provide for compulsory union membership and compulsory union dues (automatic check-off) which means that a majority of workers must agree to the insertion of such clauses which then bind all workers. In return the union must agree to no strikes or walkouts during the currency of the CBA subject to penalties on a worker or workers and/or the union if the action is found to be sanctiond by that union.

However in the BC LRC there is also a provision that if due to a person's genuine religious convictions or beliefs so the person objects to joining trade unions generally, or objects to the paying of dues or other assessments to trade unions an application may be made the the LRB that the member's dues be directed to "a charitable organization registered as a charitable organization in Canada under Part I of the Income Tax Act (Canada) that may be designated by the board."

The only ground for this is religious and does not apply to political beliefs nor freedom of association.

The Supreme Court of Canada has found that the freedom of association is not undermined by the Rand formula. In the 1991 Lavigne decision (Lavigne v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 211), the Justices of the Court held in various concurring reasons that if the Rand formula did violate section 2(d), it could be justified under section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a reasonable limitation.

The Court unanimously held that the Charter did apply. They also decided that there was no violation, but for different reasons.

Justice La Forest, with Sopinka and Gonthier, held that there was a violation of freedom of association (section 2(d) of the Charter) but that it was justified under section 1. He also held that the use of the union funds did not constitute forced expression, and so there was no violation of the freedom of expression.

Justice Wilson, with L’Heureux-Dube, held that there was no violation at all, and if there was it would be saved under section 1. She disagreed with La Forest by finding that the use of the union funds did have expressive content, but the payments did not imply that Lavigne supported any of the union's causes and did not prevent him from expressing his own personal views. Accordingly, there was no violation of the freedom of expression.

Justice Cory and Justice McLachlin, writing separate decisions, each held there was no violation.

In Alberta unlike most jurisdictions they did not have a "Rand Formula" provision and the Alberta Labour Relations Board issued a decision that such an omission was unconstitutional as a violation of freedom of association in Section 2(d) in the case of UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNION, LOCAL NO. 401 (Applicant) and OLD DUTCH FOODS LTD. (Respondent). The Labour Board ruled that not including a provision that requires all bargaining unit employees to pay union dues is unconstitutional because it substantially impedes the ability of workers to join together and engage in meaningful collective bargaining.

In the case before us, as already mentioned, we accept the Union’s claim that the Code is underinclusive because it fails to provide adequate statutory protection to enable it and its members to engage in meaningful collective bargaining, the effect of which is to substantially interfere with the fundamental freedom of association.

http://www.alrb.gov.ab.ca/decisions/GE_05611A.pdf

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