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Brazil: Brazilians Celebrate Independence Day, Protest Labor Reforms

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

France: Macron’s woes: French unions are gearing up for major strikes

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Conversation
Categories: Labor News

Israel: Construction sector deadly for Arab workers

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Al-Monitor
Categories: Labor News

Germany: Deutsche Bank boss says they will replace 'big number' of workers with robots

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Quartz
Categories: Labor News

Georgia: ITUC Condemns Government Interference in Trade Union Affairs

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Korea (South): The “Mad Bitches” of S. Korea’s Irregular Workforce Fight Back

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Korea Exposé
Categories: Labor News

China: Labour activist Meng Han released after 21 months in prison

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

MI Grand Rapids ATU 836 Members and Supporters disrupt planned Labor Day walk by Union Busting Mayor

Current News - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 08:53

MI Grand Rapids ATU 836 Members and Supporters disrupt planned Labor Day walk by Union Busting Mayor
"Members of the ATU have been without a contract for over two years and Mayor Bliss is a Rapids Transit board member. The board voted in favor of a merit increase for Rapid CEO Peter Varga during the August 30, 2017 board meeting where DeShane was arrested."
http://www.therapidian.org/placematters-protesters-disrupt-planed-labor-...

John Rothwell
9/05/17 03:58pm - Place Matters
During the Grand Rapids Labor Day Bridge Walk, on Monday, September 4, 2017, protestors disrupted Mayor Bliss' planned remarks.

/John Rothwell
ATU supporters protest at the start of Grand Rapids Labor-day walk

Protesters block Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss from addressing walker at the start of the local Labor Day Bridge Walk /John Rothwell

Michelle Covington (Left) Mayor Bliss and Lupe Ramos-Montigny (Red white and blue top) Walking in the Labor day walk. /John Rothwell

After a one-year hiatus, the Grand Rapids Labor Day Bridge Walk was back in full stride on Monday, September 4, 2017. As hundreds of participants lined up to start the five-mile walk, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss was disrupted from addressing the crowd when she was met by protesters supporting the local Amalgamated Transit Union. She stepped back and started the walk early as a result.

The ATU has been in a contract dispute with The Rapid for over two years. Social Alternative Grand Rapids members came out to work with, and support the ATU in shutting down Mayor Bliss from speaking to the walkers and to bring attention to the lack of contract.

“She is largely responsible for this union busting that is going on with The Rapid,” branch organizer of Social Alternative Grand Rapids Philip Snyder said. “Frankly, how dare she speak on Labor Day at Laborfest as a quote union supporter, when in actuality she is fighting unions every step of the way.”

As the protest was taking place, walking participants involved were booing and yelling at the protesters. Many could be overheard asking the protesters why they were disrupting a family event and what were they doing protesting on a holiday, with some going as far to call the protesters anti-American and Commies.

“It was certainly ironic, but somewhat expected, that people were booing. The protest and support being held in a conservative town such as Grand Rapids (is ironic),” Snyder said. “Labor Day has lost a lot of its meaning as a holiday for workers. It is now a long weekend to shop at sales, go to the beach, camp or a last time downtown. We are having a beer tent. People do not associate the day with labor anymore.”

Walking participant Michelle Covington felt that the Mayor needed some security or a body guard, reporting her concern to the Grand Rapids Police. Shortly after, Mayor Bliss was met by Grand Rapids Police where she exited the walk on her own behalf as participants continued on.

Lupe Ramos-Montigny walked next to the Mayor in support of Labor Day and general labor in the area.

“I believe in open protest, that we have the freedom of speech, but what I do not agree with is harassment," Ramos-Montigny said.

Protesters were glad to see the mayor leave.

"It's Labor Day, she's a union buster. She (Bliss) does not belong here, so we came here and started chanting, go home Bliss, union busting is disgusting,” Local ATU member Louis DeShane said. “At Scribner and Bridge we finally blocked her at the corner there, and she finally left. So we were like na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey good-bye. Our goal was accomplished, we shut her down.”

Members of the ATU have been without a contract for over two years and Mayor Bliss is a Rapids Transit board member. The board voted in favor of a merit increase for Rapid CEO Peter Varga during the August 30, 2017 board meeting where DeShane was arrested.

The War On Grand Rapids ATU 836 Pensions & Union Rights With Local 836 Pres RiChard Jackson
https://youtu.be/MZdN76_uG8c
Union busters and politicians in Grand Rapids, Michigan have sought to break the ATU Local 836 transit workers union reported ATU 836 president RiChard Jackson. They have sought to ban the members from handing out flyers on off-work time and have ordered the police to visit students and workers who are supporting this fight to defend their defined pension benefits. This presentation and interview took place in Chicago on April 3, 2016 at the 2016 Labor Notes convention.
For more information media:
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww3-22-16-atu-hanley-on-sanders-tr...
Facebook ATUGR
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww2-15-16-chicago-fired-atu241-ex-...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5jaBcpHZGc
http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=6121
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: ATU 836union bustingGrand Rapids Mayor
Categories: Labor News

Global: Organizing, fighting and winning together: the IUF 27th Congress

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

Fleet Memo for September 2 2017

IBU - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 15:46
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Categories: Unions

USA: Is Trump Really Pro-Worker?

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NYT
Categories: Labor News

Canada: Canada demands U.S. end ‘right to work’ laws as part of NAFTA talks

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Globe and Mail
Categories: Labor News

UK: McDonald's faces first UK industrial action

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BBC
Categories: Labor News

UK: Poverty, illness, homelessness – no wonder McDonald’s UK workers are going on strike

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Boston area transit privatization plan goes forward amid allegations of corruption/mismanagement

Current News - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 14:40

Boston area transit privatization plan goes forward amid allegations of corruption/mismanagement
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/09/02/mbta-s02.html
By John Marion
2 September 2017
The privatization of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) serving greater Boston is moving forward, amidst allegations of mismanagement and corruption on the part of state officials. This has included the hiring of a General Executive to head the system with no previous transportation experience and conflicts of interest in the hiring of contractors.
After record snowfalls in February 2015 caused the near-collapse of Boston’s public transportation system, the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker jumped at the opportunity to use the crisis as an excuse for the privatization of the system. The MBTA — including buses, subways, trolleys, and heavy commuter rail — had been a public agency for more than 50 years.
Baker created an unelected Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), which has attacked workers’ benefits while privatizing cash handling, spare parts warehouses, customer service jobs, and now three of the system’s bus maintenance yards. In December 2016 the FMCB used the threat of privatization to force Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589, the largest MBTA union, into a deal which slashed raises in a contract that wasn’t set to expire for another two years.
A Human Resources Workforce & Strategy update, summarizing the first six months of this year and available on the FMCB’s web site, states that 746 workers have been “separated,” through being either fired or goaded into early retirement agreements. The average yearly salary of these workers is $76,000; the average salary of the 348 new hires during this period is $60,900. The report boasts that 65 workers were fired during the first six months of this year for attendance violations.
However, neither price nor quality is being considered in the hiring of executives, who are euphemistically referred to as “talent.” On August 15 the MBTA announced that Luis Manuel Ramírez, a former Siemens and General Electric executive with no public transportation experience, has been hired as the system’s General Manager.
The MBTA paid Lochlin Partners, a recruiting firm, $93,000 for the hire and will be paying Ramírez more than $300,000 per year plus bonuses.
After his GE career, Ramírez was President and CEO of Global Power Equipment Group from 2012 to 2015. Accounting and audit controls at the company were so bad that in March 2017 it submitted a filing to the SEC admitting that its financial statements from 2011-2015 could “‘not be relied on.’” Its stock value has dropped by nearly 75 percent since then, according to a report aired on radio station WBUR.
On May 6 2015, less than two months after Ramírez left the company, Global Power issued a press release admitting that it had understated the cost of sales in its 2014 financial statements, the effect of which was to inflate the profits shown on its income statement. One week later a class action lawsuit against Global Power was filed by stockholders stating that the company’s financial statements had been “materially false and misleading.” Ramírez had signed off on the 2014 financial statements.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, who made the decision without public input, told WBUR that she “‘selected Luis Ramírez based on his long and successful career of transforming and turning around complex organizations.” In other words, she hired a financial con man to accelerate the privatization of the MBTA and clamp down on workers.
After the February 2015 winter crisis, the Massachusetts legislature — both houses of which were controlled by Democrats — passed a measure sought by Governor Baker to exempt the MBTA from an existing law that limited the privatization of government services. The 2015 measure also gave the Transportation Secretary authority to hire a General Manager without the public input that was previously part of the process.
Pollack appointed a five-member “advisory committee” for the selection process, and it included two members of the FMCB. One of them, Monica Tibbits-Nutt, was interviewed by WBUR after the scandal broke.
Claiming that “‘our job was to give the potential candidates a really thorough understanding of what the MBTA needs,’” Tibbits-Nutt told the interviewer that she had only two meetings with Ramírez and the second was “‘just a handshake.’” She defended the hire with the excuse that “‘a lot of litigation happens in the corporate world,’” and admitted that she had been told nothing about the lawsuit, the SEC investigation, or the financial restatements.
This combination of corporate plunder and irrationality is not limited to the hiring of a public transportation General Manager with no public transportation experience. On Tuesday the Boston Globe reported that a contract to CH2M Hill Companies to manage the construction of a 4.7-mile Green Line trolley extension has been canceled because an engineering company it would have managed on the project has bought CH2M Hill.
The MBTA plans to hire another contractor and is claiming that the project schedule will not change, but this development adds to 27 years of delays. The construction, which would extend trolley service from Lechmere station in Cambridge to Somerville and Medford, was first approved by the state legislature in 1990.
The project was almost cancelled at the end of 2015 because cost estimates had increased by more than $1 billion. An Interim Project Management Team was appointed and released its final report in May 2016, stating that not enough MBTA staff were working on the project to handle “the dozens of consultants,” and “too much autonomy and authority was ceded to consultants who took full advantage by charging too much.”
Money also would have been siphoned off by bond investors after then-Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, signed a law authorizing the issuance of $1.3 billion worth of capital bonds.
A cheaper construction plan was then devised which would eliminate escalators and toilets and reduce shelter at stops to open-air roofs over the platforms. The Medford Street and School Street bridges in Somerville, which would have been replaced to provide a better right-of-way, will instead have tunnels dug under their abutments.
The Democratic Party has enabled these schemes while working with the unions to contain workers’ anger. US Senator Edward Markey spoke at an August 11 picket at the Lynn bus maintenance facility, one of the three facing privatization.
However, all sides agree that the maintenance jobs must be “saved” at the expense of the workers. Indeed, the mechanics union has offered some $29 million in concessions in ongoing contract talks. The unions main concern is not workers jobs and benefits, but their right to continue the collection of dues payments.

Tags: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)privatizationcorruptiontransit workers
Categories: Labor News

Japan Rail And Militant Unions Call For Rally On Nov 5 In Tokyo

Current News - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 14:15

Revive Militant Labor Unions! Victory for the Struggle of National Railways!
10 Thousand Workers’ Grand March against War, Privatization and Dismantling of Labor Laws

Call for endorsement to, and participation in,
November 5 National Workers’ All-Out Rally /
Stop Constitutional Revision! 10 Thousand Workers’ Grand March

Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers Kansai Area Branch (Kan-Nama)
Metal and Machinery Workers’ Union in Osaka (Minato-Godo)
National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)
Nationwide Movement against the Division and Privatization of National Railways and for the Withdrawal of the Dismissal of 1047 National Railway Workers (Nationwide Movement of National Railway Struggle)

It was 1998 when we, the three unions—Kan-Nama, Minato-Godo and Doro-Chiba—started holding the November National Workers All-out Rally with a call for establishing a nationwide network of militant labor unions. Though we were well aware at that moment that our endeavor was too reckless as a small stream, we boldly dared to issue an appeal to workers all over the country. And now this autumn we are going to hold the 20th November rally. We would like to express our greatest thanks for the efforts of all the organizers, participants and supporters toward the realization of our ideals. And again we appeal to you. The time has come for us to rise up with firm determination. After 20 years of strenuous efforts to revive labor movement, the time is coming to closely associate our efforts with a furious voice of people now filled in our society.
The brake on war drive is going to be released. The crisis of war over Korean Peninsula and East Asia is imminent. Abe government forcibly enacted recently security-related laws1) (war laws) and conspiracy law2), and in line with that, declared to have a new Constitution enacted in 2020. A string of recent suspicious political issues—Moritomo Gakuen3) &Kake Gakuen4) Scandals and Defense Ministry’s disclosure of daily report issue5) have exposed evil and corruption prevail in Abe’s inner circle. Although being on the verge of a crisis, Abe does not change his policy to submit a draft of revised Constitution of Liberal Democratic Party to an extraordinary Diet session scheduled for this fall. “Stop war” has been a consistent and biggest agenda for Japan’s postwar labor movement. We shall never let war start again. It is high time to go back to the starting point and unite every angry voice of working class people.
1. Security related laws: the laws allow Japan to fight overseas in the name of “right to collective self-defense” for the first time after WWII under the war-renouncing Constitution.
2. Conspiracy Law: the law allows authorities to criminalize planning and preparations to commit crime.
3. Moritomo Gakuen Scandal: a private educational firm with a nationalist bent, secured a huge and suspicious discount on state-owned land at a seventh of its listed price for a new elementary school. Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie and prominent politicians support its conservative education ethos.
4. Kake Gakuen Scandal; Kake Gakuen won approval from the central government to open a new veterinary department of its Okayama University of Science in a special strategic zone. It is suspected that the government might have chosen Kake Gakuen for the deregulation project because of Abe’s close friendship with Kake.
5. Defense Ministry’s daily report issue: The allegations of a cover-up involving logs that recorded the daily activities of troops serving as UN peacekeepers in South Sudan and the then Defense Minister Tomomi Inada’s alleged involvement. The logs described particularly tense situations in the fledgling African country and their disclosure last year could have adversely affected the government's push to continue the troop deployment and assign new, and possibly riskier, security responsibilities during the UN mission.
Abe government is attempting to deliver a death blow to the postwar labor laws by establishing so-called “Work Style Reform.” The core intent of this reform is to abolish regulation on dismissal and create a society where there are no regular job workers (total casualization of workers). “Zero Overtime Pay Bill” will be submitted to an extraordinary Diet session this fall. The conversion of fixed-term employment to permanent employment begins from April next year. This really is a brutal attack on 4.5 million targeted workers that force them into a “regular employee in name only” who will be paid at about the same level as minimum wages. Employment system is now going to be destroyed fundamentally. The government is promoting to privatize all public services and works, dismantle social security system and abandon rural areas. A total breakdown of society is now beginning.
Some executives of Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) are showing their readiness to accept the Zero Overtime Pay Bill at the meeting with Prime Minister Abe. But a large number of labor unions and workers affiliated to Rengo opposed it and protested calling for the federation to withdraw the acceptance of the government’s request immediately. Although the Abe government attempted to create its power base within Rengo to publicly support its policy of Constitutional revision that can legally wage war and dismantling of the labor law, it has failed for the time being because it was too coercive. In the prewar period, the government abolished independent labor unions and organized all industrial workers into company-by-company political cells called Industrial Patriotic Associations (Sangyo Houkokukai) in 1940. In postwar period, in 1946, the Japanese Congress of Industrial Organizations (Sanbetu Kaigi) was formed but disbanded during the Korean War in 1950. Instead, the General Council of Japanese Trade Unions (Sohyo) was established. The division and Privatization of Japan National Railways (JNR) in 1987 resulted in breaking-up of the Sohyo and was replaced by the Rengo. The forth transformation of national federation of labor unions is now going to start in Japan. This shows that the time has come to discuss about how we transform and reorganize our labor movement.
The 30-year struggle against the division and privatization of JNR has been actually the biggest showdown over union busting in post-war Japan. At the same time, it has played a decisive role in stopping the revision of the Japanese Constitution. From the onset, the underlying intention of the division and privatization of JNR has been the “laying the foundations for enshrining a strong Constitution through the privatization and division of the JNR, that would bring about destruction of the National Railway Workers’ Union”. It was openly declared by the then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.
Now, under the banner of “Withdraw the dismissal of 1,047 National Railway Workers! Smash the outsourcing, personnel transfer and irregular employment!” we are determined to launch fierce counter-offensive.
The November Rally has been developed into international solidarity struggle against war and neoliberalism since 2003 by demanding an end to the Iraq war. Last year, we successfully started to organize this rally as part of the epoch-making “International Joint Action in November in Tokyo and Seoul” with a call for all over the world. This year, the November Rally will be held by welcoming Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and many foreign union representatives.
We have decided with a fresh determination for a significant leap forward, to carry out the 20th anniversary of the rally on November 5th with a new scheme in two steps:
From noon to 2pm: National Workers All-out Rally against war, privatization and dismantling of the labor law
From 2pm: People’s All-out Rally against constitutional revision and Ten Thousand People’s March in Ginza, downtown Tokyo
We would like to step into a new phase of revitalizing labor movement. Let’s stop the revision of the Japanese Constitution and war! Let’s crush neoliberalism! We sincerely ask your endorsement to and participation in November 5 National Workers All-out Rally and Ten Thousand People’s Grand March”.

Name of the event: November 5th National Workers All-out Rally for victory of national railway workers’ struggle and revival of militant labor unions.
Ten Thousand People’s Grand March (International Joint Action in Tokyo and Seoul) against war, privatization and dismantling of labor law
Date: Sunday, November 5, 2017
Time: 12:00 noon
Venue: Hibiya Open-air Music Hall, Tokyo
Contact: Doro-Chiba@doro-chiba.org

Tags: Doro-ChibaMetal and Machinery Workers’ Union in Osaka (Minato-Godo)Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers Kansai Area Branch (Kan-Nama)Warimperialism
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Imprisoned Union Activist on Hunger Strike Needs Hospital Treatment, Wife Says

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: CHRI
Categories: Labor News

USA: The corporate war against unions

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: CNN
Categories: Labor News

The US celebrates Labor Day because of a bloody railroad clash over 100 years ago that left 30 people dead and cost $80 million in damages

Current News - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 16:55

The US celebrates Labor Day because of a bloody railroad clash over 100 years ago that left 30 people dead and cost $80 million in damages
http://www.businessinsider.com/labor-day-history-2017-8?r=UK&IR=T

Áine Cain
12h 6,272

Fighting in Chicago spiraled out of control and cost 30 people their lives. Wikimedia Commons

• Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, after the Pullman strike.

• The bloody strike led to 30 deaths and millions of dollars in damage.

• The strike prompted Congress and US President Grover Cleveland to establish the holiday.

Labor Day tends to be a pretty low-key US holiday.

Workers across the country typically receive a Monday off to enjoy the unofficial end of summer and shop the sales.

But the history behind the day is far more dramatic and charged than this modern day observance suggests. US President Grover Cleveland signed the holiday into law just days after federal troops brought down the bloody Pullman strike in 1894.

Indiana state professor and labor historian Richard Schneirov, who edited "The Pullman Strike and the Crisis of the 1890s," told Business Insider that this particular strike proved to be a sort of "culmination" of the fraught debate over labor, capital, and unions in the 19th century.

The setting for the strike was the company town of Pullman, Chicago. The Pullman Company hawked an aspirational product: luxury rail cars.

A contemporary drawing depicts strikers clashing with troops.Wikimedia Commons

Engineer and industrialist George Pullman's workers all lived in company-owned buildings. The town was highly stratified. Pullman himself lived in a mansion, managers resided in houses, skilled workers lived in small apartments, and laborers stayed in barracks-style dormitories. The housing conditions were cramped by modern standards, but the town was sanitary and safe, and even included paved streets and stores.

Then the disastrous economic depression of the 1890s struck. Pullman made a decision to cut costs — by lowering wages.

In a sense, workers throughout Chicago, and the country at large, were in the same boat as the Pullman employees. Wages dropped across the board, and prices fell. However, after cutting pay by nearly 30%, Pullman refused to lower the rent on the company-owned buildings and the prices in the company-owned stores accordingly.

Schneirov said it became more and more difficult for the Pullman workers to support their families.

Sympathy for the Pullman workers' plight spread throughout the city — even the Chicago police took up collections for those affected.

The workers ultimately launched a strike on May 11, 1894, receiving support from the American Railway Union.

Immediately, different groups stepped in to intervene, including The Chicago Civic Foundations and the US Conference of Mayors.

But Pullman was unmoved. He refused to even meet with the strikers.

"He just wouldn't talk," Schneirov said. "He refused. Until the age of Reagan, this is the last great situation where a leading capitalist could get away with that."

Pullman's stance earned him widespread rebuke. Fellow business mogul and Republican politician Mark Hanna called him a "damn fool" for refusing to "talk with his men." Chicago mayor John Hopkins loathed Pullman, having previously owned a business in the rail car magnate's Arcade Building. As a result, the local police did little to quell the growing unrest.

The tension then escalated when Eugene Debs, president of the nationwide American Railroad Union (ARU), declared that ARU members would no longer work on trains that included Pullman cars. The move would be widely criticized by other labor groups and the press, and the boycott would end up bringing the railroads west of Chicago to a standstill. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, 125,000 workers across 29 railroad companies quit their jobs rather than break the boycott.

Eugene Debs was widely criticized for disrupting train traffic.Wikimedia Commons

When the railroad companies hired strikebreakers as replacements, strikers also took action.

Schneirov said it was common for working class communities to come together to support striking workers.

"When they began running the trains, crowds of railroad workers would form to try to stop them from running," Schneirov said. "There was a lot of sympathy from people. They'd come out and try to help the railroad workers stop the trains. They might even be initiators of standing in front of the tracks and chucking pieces of coal and rocks and pieces of wood. Then there would be lots of kids, lots of teenagers, out of work or just hanging around and looking to join in for the fun."

Things escalated from there.

The General Managers Association, a group which represented 26 Chicago railroad companies, began to plan a counterattack. It asked attorney general Richard Olney, a former railroad attorney, to intervene. Indianapolis federal courts granted him an injunction against the strike, on the grounds that law and order had broken down in Chicago.

Pro-labor Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld refused to authorize President Cleveland to send in federal troops, asserting that allegations of societal breakdown had been grossly exaggerated. But the federal government ultimately sent in soldiers to enforce the injunction. Meanwhile, the General Managers Association was able to deputize federal marshals to help put down the strike.

"The whole thing is the most one-sided, biased action on the part of the federal government in a labor dispute that you could think of," Schneirov said.

Violence raged as Chicago swelled with soldiers and strikers clashed with troops on railroads across the west. Federal forces went city by city to break the strikes and get the trains running again. In the end, 30 people died in the chaos. The riots and sabotage caused by the strike ultimately cost $80 million in damages.

Schneirov said Cleveland's decision to declare Labor Day as a holiday for workers was likely a move meant to please his constituents after the controversial handling of the strike. The president was a Democrat, and most urban laborers at the time were Catholic Democrats.

"It's also part of the growing legitimacy of labor unions in the country," he said. "Unions were becoming very popular with working people. Even if they couldn't join a union, the idea of the union was popular."

Labor Day wasn't the only product of the strike. Debs was arrested and jailed for six months. The ARU, one of the biggest unions of its time, fell apart. Pullman died of a heart attack three years after the riots. Investigations were launched over the incident and found that Pullman was partly to blame for what happened. These reports helped to warm public opinion to the idea of unions.

However, Schneirov said the positive view of unions the Pullman strike ultimately brought about has faded in recent years.

"This idea that free competition and the self-regulating market are sufficient, and that working people shouldn't have the right to combine and form unions, this idea has become dominant again since the 1980s," Schneirov said. "But most people would still join a union if it wasn't so damn hard."

Tags: Pullman StrikeRailroad workers
Categories: Labor News

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