• Today in Labor History
    Aug. 14, 2003
    The Northeast of the United States and Canada experienced a massive blackout, which affected 50 million people. Initially concerned that it could be a terrorist attack, it soon became clear that it was the failure of Ohio-based First Energy Corporation to maintain its portion of the electrical grid. In a statement following the costly blackout, the Utility Workers Union of America called on Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission to investigate the industry’s maintenance practices and urged the state legislature to revise its deregulation laws that led to lax standards and mass layoffs of line workers.
    ~ Voices of Labor

  • Sleeping Giant: When Public Workers Awake
    Posted On: Feb 05, 2019
    Feb. 5, 2019 | BLACK HISTORY MONTH | It was the radical African-American intellectual, W.E.B. Du Bois, who famously called the mass disaffection and migration of southern slaves to Union battle lines in the Civil War a “general strike.”  To be sure, Du Bois took some literary license with the concept of the general strike—as perhaps more classically exemplified in the mass walkouts in Seattle in 1919 and England in 1926—as well as the history of slave resistance during the Civil War.  But the flight of many slaves to Union lines and their willingness to take up arms against slavery likely spurred Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, slowed cotton production, and ultimately augmented the Northern army with nearly 200,000 black volunteers.  While hardly a conventional labor action, it can be viewed, imaginatively, as a political strike which lay outside the logic of economic bargaining, a logic that would ultimately lead to the system of industrial relations that began to be erected in the 1930s aimed at resolving conflict short of worker strikes or employer lockouts… History News Network  
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