On this day in Labor History ghosts and goblins are going door to door to gather up candy. But did you know that some of that candy is made by union workers?
In Hershey, Pennsylvania, tagged the Sweetest place on earth you’ll find the nation’s chocolate center.
It wasn’t always so sweet for workers who in 1937 tried to win union recognition.
Then the company laid off some of the union organizers, and claimed it was due to seasonal cutbacks.
Outraged, 600 workers began a sit-down strike in the plant.
Local dairy farmers relied on Hershey to purchase their milk.
They grew increasingly angry at the strikers.
They joined with workers not participating in the strike, and other community members.
The angry mob stormed the plant to oust the strikers.
Twenty-five strikers were severely beaten and the sit-in strike ended.
But the next year, the Hershey workers tried again to form a union.
This time they affiliated with the Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union of America and established Local 464.
They are not the only union members who help make Halloween sweet.
Today the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union Local 1 in Chicago, Illinois makes tootsie rolls.
If your candy of choice is Clark Bars or Thin Mints, you might want to thank a member of Local 348 in Cambridge Massachusetts.
And Local 125 makes Ghirardelli Chocolate in San Francisco.
Unfortunately things are not always so sweet. In September of 2016, 400 union workers at the Just Born candy factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania went out on strike. The company decided to change their pensions to 401ks for new hires and reduce health care contributions.
They make such iconic candies as Peeps, Mike & Ike’s, and Hot Tamales.
One strike slogan rang out “no pensions, no peeps!”