On this day in Labor History the year was 1970. That was the day the NFL Players Association went out on strike. The American Football League and the National Football League officially merged that year. Each league had their own player’s association. With the league merger they joined forces into one union.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1965. That was the day that US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. This federally funded healthcare program provides assistance to one of the country’s most vulnerable populations—the elderly. At the time the law was enacted, many seniors found it difficult, if not impossible, to get private health insurance.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1956. That was the day that an oil tank explosion took the lives of nineteen men fighting a fire at Shamrock Oil and Gas company in the northeast of Dumas, Texas. Dumas was in the Texas panhandle, oil boom country. The day after the tragedy, the Chicago Daily Tribune carried the story of what happened.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1932. That was the day that flames burned in the US Capitol. The US armed forces set fire to a “shanty-town” of unemployed World War I veterans. The veterans had come to the capitol to demand a bonus that had been promised for their service. The payment was not due until 1945. But the nation was in the throes of the Great Depression. Desperate veterans demanded the bonus be paid early.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1903. Labor leader “Mother” Mary Harris Jones was leading a march of child laborers to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in New York. The long march had begun twenty days before in Philadelphia. Mother Jones was hoping to draw national attention to the plight of child workers.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1990. That was the day that George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA prohibits employment discrimination of people with disabilities, and requires public accommodations be accessible. The passage of the act was the result of years of grassroots organizing by members of the ADA community and their allies.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1898. That was the day that United State armed forces invaded Puerto Rico. The invasion was part of the Spanish-American war. In 1898 the US Department of State, noted “It seems to be conceded that every year we shall be confronted with an increasing surplus of manufactured goods for sale in foreign markets if American operatives and artisans are to be kept employed year round.”
On this day in Labor History the year was 1968. That was the first day of a new U.S. labor partnership, the Alliance for Labor Action. The Alliance was forged by President of the United Automobile Workers, Walter Reuter and the President of the Teamsters, Frank Fitzsimmons. The UAW had left the AFL-CIO over differences in how to approach labor organizing.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1877. That was the day that a mob began an attack on Chinese workers in San Francisco that killed four people. During the mid-1870s a depression swept across the nation. White workers from the east coast headed west, many to San Francisco, hoping to find a job. Skilled Chinese workers who had completed their labor on the Transcontinental Railroad also came to the city.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1877. A group of labor leaders and members of the Workingmen’s Party met in St. Louis. They were there because of the labor strike that had swept the nation. The United States was in the grip of a terrible depression. Railroad workers in Martinsburg, West Virginia had walked off the job, after their wages were slashed.