- Category: City Desk
"At the moment, we have leaders in this country who care more about the short-term profits of big corporations than they do about the long-term well-being of the average working man and woman." - R.T. Buffenbarger, IAMAW President, AFL-CIO/CLC
Wednesday, Feb 21:
A state law was enacted in California providing the 8-hour day for most workers, but it was not enforced. Companies capitalized on the lack of enforcement and workers had no choice but to work 12–18-hour days to maximize corporate profits. -1868
United Farm Workers of America was granted a charter by the AFL-CIO. UFWA is a labor union created from the merging of two groups, the AWOC, and the NFWA led by César Chávez. The group was originally a workers' rights organization that helped workers get unemployment insurance but rapidly became a union of farm workers. -1972
Thursday, Feb 22:
Representatives of the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers meet in St. Louis with 20 other organizations to plan the founding convention of the People’s Party. Objectives: end political corruption, spread the wealth, and combat the oppression of the rights of workers and farmers. -1892
Education Secretary Paige calls the nation’s largest teachers Union, National Education Association (NEA), a “terrorist organization” during a White House meeting with state governors. At the same time, the Bush administration asserted the right to imprison citizens indefinitely without trial or access to lawyers, family members, or journalists, if they are accused of being terrorists. -2004
Friday, Feb 23:
The Journeyman Bakers’ National Union receives its charter from the American Federation of Labor. -1887
The Association of Flight Attendants was granted a charter by the AFL-CIO. -1984
Following voter approval for the measure in 2003, San Francisco’s minimum wage rose to $8.50, up from $6.75. Their whole economy improves as a result. -2004
Saturday, Feb 24:
IWW organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn takes the lead in the "Bread & Roses" Lawrence Textile Strike of 20,000 women in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Police attacked 150 children and women at the town railroad station to protect company profits. The women and girls were fighting to lower their work hours to 54 hours a week and were protesting low wages and work speedups. Women who worked in the mills had a life expectancy of fewer than 30 years, and most died of respiratory ailments caused by the hazardous working conditions. -1912
Congress passed a federal child labor tax law that imposed a 10 percent tax on companies that employ children under the age of 16 working in a mine or under the age of 14 in a “mill, cannery, workshop, factory, or manufacturing establishment.” The Supreme Court ruled the tax was unconstitutional 3 years later making child labor profitable for the capitalists again. -1919
Sunday, Feb 25:
The Paterson, New Jersey silk strike began, with 25,000 textile workers walking out when mill owners doubled the size of the looms without increasing staffing or wages. The strike was organized by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) but collapsed when mill owners exploited divisions between skilled and unskilled workers, successfully getting the skilled workforce to agree to return to work. 5 strikers were killed on behalf of the mill owners in order to protect low wages and profits during the 208-day walkout. -1913
A crowd of 100,000 strong rallied at the Wisconsin state Capitol in protest of what ultimately was to become a successful push by the Koch-backed Gov. Walker and the Republican majority to cripple public employee bargaining rights in order to crush the union. The Republican’s anti-worker/pro-business “Free Market” solution put Wisconsin in a race to the bottom, turned a budget surplus into a $2.2 Billion deficit, and cut all public services and spending on education. Wisconsin, a “right to work” state, became last in the nation for growth. -2011
Monday, Feb 26:
A coal slag heap doubling as a dam (to save costs) in West Virginia’s Buffalo Creek Valley collapsed, flooding the 17-mile-long valley. 118 died, and 5,000 were left homeless. The Pittston Coal Co. said it was "an act of God" and claimed no responsibility. -1972
A 20-week strike by 70,000 Southern California supermarket workers ended, with the union claiming victory. -2004
Tuesday, Feb 27:
Legendary Labor leader Eugene V. Debs became a charter member and secretary of the Vigo Lodge, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. 5 years later he led the union and in 1893 helped found the nation’s first industrial union, the American Railway Union. He was known as “brilliant, sincere, compassionate, and scrupulously honest”. He helped launch the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States 5 times under the banner of the Socialist Party. -1875
Mine disaster kills 75 at Red Lodge, Montana. Company profits came before worker safety and the miners died by fire. -1943
This Week in Labor History is compiled by Kevin D. Curtis
- Category: City Desk
Big Sky Connection - The number of people who help track people who are homeless in Montana's capital city has nearly doubled since last year. The United Way volunteers have helped more accurately count Helena's unsheltered population. Comments from Jeff Buscher (BUSH-er), community impact coordinator, United Way, Helena.
Click on the image above for the audio. The Helena point-in-time survey is conducted each year to count people either living in shelters or other temporary housing. (Adobe Stock)
February 14, 2024 - Helena is stepping up efforts to track its homeless population.
The number of people living without shelter has risen sharply since the city started counting in 2018. When Helena began tracking its homeless population five years ago, the point-in-time survey was new.
Jeff Buscher, community impact coordinator for the United Way in Helena, said volunteers are able to more accurately track people who don't have permanent shelter, thanks in large part to more community involvement.
"At least here in Helena, folks' awareness has been raised considerably about our unsheltered population," Buscher observed.
Buscher pointed out the number of volunteers helping count unsheltered people has nearly doubled. While final numbers for 2024 won't be available until May, volunteers found 44 people living in vehicles in this year's survey, an increase over recent years. The 2023 survey found 164 homeless people living in Helena.
While the weather was slightly warmer this year than in previous surveys, Buscher noted Montana's climate has historically played a critical role in shaping the homeless count.
"Folks are very engaged and concerned about the needs of our unsheltered population," Buscher emphasized. "Because we do live in a sometimes very hostile climate. When it gets deathly cold, there's a lot of folks that get very concerned about whether folks are outside."
The homeless counts help determine how much federal money Helena and other Montana cities will get to address the unsheltered problem.
- Category: City Desk
Click on the image above for the audio.
PNS - Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - The Foreign Aid package passes the Senate. The House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and New Yorkers vote on who will replace George Santos.
- Category: City Desk
PNS - Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - Calls for increased rural Postal Service staffing grow louder; Schumer rejects Speaker Johnson's call to add border reform to Ukraine bill; former church buildings find new purpose in NC communities.