The CIO

Among the labor leaders who founded the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) on this date in 1935 (the announcement was made November 9th) were Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, David Dubinsky of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and Max Zaritsky of the Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers. The CIO […]

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Harry Kelber, a Forgotten Labor Activist

by Bennett Muraskin HARRY KELBER (1914-2013) was a union organizer, journalist, publisher, educator, and dissident who capped his career by writing an autobiography, My Seventy Years as a Labor Activist. Yes, seventy years! His career included union activism and developing the first labor studies program at Cornell University, a program that eventually evolved into Empire […]

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February 24: 1199 Against the War

Local 1199, the Drug and Hospital Workers in New York led by Leon Davis, became the first U.S. labor union to oppose the war in Vietnam by sending a telegram to President Lyndon Baines Johnson on this date in 1965. In August, Jesse Olson, a vice president of the union, would testify before Congress during […]

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January 3: The School of the Americas

Mark David Pearlman, an attorney with the AFL-CIO’s Latin American arm, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), was assassinated in El Salvador, along with Michael Peter Hammer, director of Land Reform Programs, and José Rodolfo Viera, head of the Salvadoran Farm Workers’ Union, on this date in 1981. The three were working on […]

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November 23: The Uprising of the 20,000

More than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women, launched an eleven-week strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry on this date in 1909 — the largest strike by women in American history. Assaulted by goons, arrested by cops, lacking a substantial strike fund, the young women endured winter picketing, hunger, and harsh treatment in the […]

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November 8: The CIO

Among the labor leaders who founded the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) on this date in 1935 (the announcement was made November 9th) were Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, David Dubinsky of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and Max Zaritsky of the Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers. The CIO […]

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December 8: AFL Is Launched

On this day in 1886, the American Federation of Labor was created by 26 craft unions with Samuel Gompers (a Dutch-born Jew) as president. During his 37-year tenure, procedures for collective bargaining and labor-management contracts were established and trade unionism became an established feature of the American capitalist system. Gompers was a labor conservative who […]

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