- Category: City Desk
"The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.....The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome." -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights leader, a social justice activist
Wednesday, March 22:
Mark Twain, a lifelong member of the Int’l Typographical Union (now part of CWA), speaks in Hartford, Conn., extolling the Knights of Labor’s commitment to fair treatment of all workers, regardless of race or gender. -1886
The Grand Coulee Dam on Washington state’s Columbia river begins operation after a decade of construction. 8,000 workers labored on the project; 77 died. The publicly funded and publicly owned dam is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States, it provides irrigation for 670,000 acres with the potential for 1.1 million. -1941
Thursday, March 23:
The trial of 101 Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) members began in Chicago for opposing World War I in public; tried for violating the Espionage Act. The judge sentenced Bill Haywood and 14 others to 20 years, the rest shorter sentences. Fined a total of $2,500,000, the IWW (a democratic American labor union) was shattered on behalf of the greedy Capitalists. Haywood jumped bail and fled to revolutionary pre-communist Russia, where he remained until his death 10 years later. -1918
The Norris-La Guardia Act goes into effect. The Act restricts injunctions against unions and bans yellow dog contracts, which require newly-hired workers to declare they are not union members and will not join one. The Act was championed by U.S. Rep. La Guardia and Senator Norris, both Progressive Republicans. -1932
15 workers die, and another 170 are injured when a series of explosions rip through BP’s Texas City refinery. Investigators found BP management gave priority to cost savings over worker safety .-2005
Friday, March 24:
Groundbreaking on the first section of the New York City subway system, from City Hall to the Bronx. The New York subway workers would go on to find the TWU in 1934. The TWU established a reputation for left-wing politics (people before profits) and was among the first Unions to join the CIO. -1900
Hawaii: 7,500 hotel workers and members of HERE, Local 5 end 21-day strike of 11 major hotels. They struck to protect their earned pension benefits that the CEOs wanted to rob. -1990
Saturday, March 25:
146 workers are killed in a fire at New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. A fire broke out at the Triangle shirtwaist factory, within minutes it engulfed 3 upper floors, burning to death, or causing to jump to their deaths, 146 workers, 123 of them women, some as young as 15 who were locked in by the owners. A year prior to the fire, 20,000 garment workers walked off the job in New York to protest the dangerous working conditions. They demanded unlocked fire escapes, a pay raise, a 52-hour work week, and overtime pay. The bosses at Triangle formed an association with the owners of the other large factories. Soon after, strike leaders were arrested. Some were fined, and others were sent to labor camps. Armed thugs were enlisted to beat up and intimidate strikers. The strike was lost, no demands were met and the fire escapes remained locked (ultimately causing the death of the 146 one year later). The two Triangle shirtwaist factory owners cashed their insurance checks and retired very rich men. -1911
An explosion at a coal mine in Centralia, Ill., kills 111 miners. Mineworkers President John L. Lewis calls a 6-day work stoppage by the nation’s 400,000 soft coal miners to demand safer working conditions. The Capitalists fight against safer conditions citing that higher costs might cut into shareholder profits. -1947
Sunday, March 26:
San Francisco brewery workers begin a 9-month strike as local employers follow the Union-busting lead of the National Brewer’s Association and fire their Unionized workers, replacing them with scabs. 2 Unionized brewers refused to go along, kept producing beer, prospered wildly, and induced the Association to capitulate. A contract benefit since having Unionized 2 years earlier, is undoubtedly worth defending: free beer. -1868
Mine disaster at Jed, West Virginia, kills 83 workers. -1912
Monday, March 27:
Mother Jones is ordered to leave Colorado, where state authorities accuse her of “stirring up” striking coal miners. The greedy Capitalists called Mother Jones “The Most Dangerous Woman in America” her rallying cry was famous, "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” -1904
Start of the 8-month Northern railway strike in Canada by the IWW. Wobblies picketed employment offices in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Tacoma, and Minneapolis in order to block the hiring of scabs. -1912
Tuesday, March 28:
Martin Luther King led a march of striking Union sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Police attacked the workers with mace and sticks. A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed. 280 workers were arrested. He was assassinated a few days later after speaking to the Union workers. King fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform. -1968
Massey Mines was hit with 80 Citations for safety violations during special inspections in February. The Upper Big Branch mine had 50 citations in the 30 days leading up to the deadly West Virginia coal mine explosion that killed at 29 miners on this date. -2011
This Week in Labor History is compiled by Kevin D. Curtis
- Category: City Desk
March 17, 2023
By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact News
Big Sky Connection - Backers of six pieces of legislation in Helena from hunters and outfitters say they'd improve elk management in Montana, especially as non-resident hunters have put pressure on elk on public lands. Comments from Jim Vashro, Montana Wildlife Federation board member and president, Flathead Wildlife; and Mac Minard (meh-NARD), executive director, Montana Outfitters, and Guides Association.
Click on the image above for the audio. An increase in hunting has pushed some elk off public lands and onto private lands. (prochym/Adobe Stock)
March 17, 2023 - A package of bills in Helena is aimed at improving elk management in Montana. The six bills are bipartisan efforts from lawmakers, hunters and outfitters, and all have survived the Legislature's transmittal deadline outside their house of origin.
One is House Bill 635, which would set aside up to 15% of non-resident big game licenses for non-resident landowners so they can hunt on their own property.
Jim Vashro, president of Flathead Wildlife and a board member of the Montana Wildlife Federation, explained how usage is evolving and driving change.
"Montana has seen a real increase in hunting pressure by non-residents on publicly available land," Vashro pointed out. "This would move some segment of that hunting pressure onto private land, and ease up the competition on public land."
The measure had its first hearing in the Senate Thursday. The bill could remove more than 2,500 non-resident hunters from competing with Montanans on public lands. Some hunters and outfitters oppose it, saying it could reduce the number of big-game licenses available.
Mac Minard, executive director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, said the bill is meant to entice owners of private land to open them to the public.
"Incentivizing landowners to participate in this can, in fact, open quite a bit of public access going forward," Minard contended.
Also in the package, House Bill 596 had its first Senate hearing Thursday. It provides some fixes to a popular incentive-based program passed in 2021, which also opens up private property to public hunting.
Minard noted the legislative package creates incremental benefits for elk management and lays the foundation for a good relationship between hunters and outfitters.
"It has been an absolute pleasure to be able to stand side-by-side with dedicated sportsmen from all aspects of the Montana sporting community, and move forward in a collaborative effort on things that we can agree on," Minard remarked.
The Montana Citizens Elk Management Coalition and Montana Outfitters and Guides Association developed the bills in early January during the "Elk Camp at the Capitol" event. It is the first legislative collaboration between hunters and outfitters in 15 years.
- Category: City Desk
Click on the image above for the audio.
PNS - Friday, March 17, 2023 - The Senate moves to formally end the Iraq and Gulf Wars, public health advocates brace for a potential ban on abortion medication, and GOP-led states step up work to restrict mail-in voting.
- Category: City Desk
March 16, 2023
By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact News
Big Sky Connection - The Prairie Potholes region stretches from Montana to Iowa and is an important habitat for duck populations. An influx of federal funds will protect and restore the region. Comments from two representatives of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership: Joel Webster, vice president of Western conservation, based in Missoula; and Christy Plumer (PLUMM-er), chief conservation officer.
Click on the image for the audio. The Prairie Potholes region is considered some of the most important waterfowl habitats in North America. (DeVane/Adobe Stock)
March 16, 2023 - The Interior Department is investing funds in protecting what some call America's 'duck factory.'
The Prairie Potholes are marshes and wetlands that stretch from Montana to Iowa, created by glacier activity thousands of years ago.
The Inflation Reduction Act enabled the Interior Department to put $23 million toward conserving and restoring the region.
Joel Webster - vice president of Western conservation for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and based in Missoula - said the project gives financial incentive to landowners to protect the landscape in an area heavy on farming.
"If we don't act," said Webster, "there's going to be continued pressure to drain them, to fill them in, to make space for expanded agriculture."
Webster said the Prairie Potholes provide habitat for up to three quarters of the country's breeding ducks. He noted that the region is also an important source of clean drinking water.
Christy Plumer - chief conservation officer with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership - called this a once in a lifetime investment. She said a lot of places across the country, like the potholes, are need in of restoration, especially as the climate changes.
"We're really excited to see this added infusion of federal funds coming in to help thriving communities," said Plumer, "and provide new opportunities for hunting and fishing access."
The $23 million project is part of a larger $120 million investment to rebuild and restore units of the National Wildlife Refuge System.