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February 24, 2018
Posted On: Jan 31, 2018

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

In the current Steward Update newsletter
Late Filing Claim Denied; Workers to Get Payments
An arbitrator denied a company’s claim that its union had missed a ten-day filing date to file a grievance which involved the payment of vacation and personal holiday pay for workers who were terminated when the company went out of business. The arbitrator noted that the union had given the company timely notice that it was pursuing the payment of the funds and that the company had acknowledged it owed the funds. The company continued to promise payment for several months; when it failed to follow through, the union filed the formal grievance. On the merits of the case, the arbitrator ruled the terminated workers should be paid for their accrued vacation and personal holiday time.

Labor Quote
History Remembers
"The only people whose names are recorded in history are those who did something.  The peaceful and indifferent are forgotten; they never know the fighting joy of living."
—Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, 1917

Labor Cartoon
Martin Bucella

Steward Tip
Strategically Planning Union Meetings
Demographic shifts in the workforce, and the geographic expansion of union jurisdictions, frequently make it a challenge for even the most loyal and dedicated members to make it to regular union meetings.  It might help boost participation by having meetings in the workplace, where appropriate – before work, during lunch or right after work. Another possibility, for reaching members who don’t come to meetings, is to send out e-mail messages to members on a regular basis.

—Excerpted from The Union Steward’s Complete Guide (2nd Edition, Updated)

Today in Labor History
January 31
Some 12,000 pecan shellers in San Antonio, Texas—mostly Latino women—walk off their jobs at 400 factories in what was to become a three-month strike against wage cuts.  Strike leader Emma Tenayuca was eventually hounded out of the state - 1938
Ida M. Fuller is the first retiree to receive an old-age monthly benefit check under the new Social Security law. She paid in $24.75 between 1937 and 1939 on an income of $2,484; her first check was for $22.54 - 1940
After scoring successes with representation elections conducted under the protective oversight of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the United Farm Workers of America officially ends its historic table grape, lettuce and wine boycotts - 1978
Union and student pressure forces Harvard University to adopt new labor policies raising wages for lowest-paid workers - 2002
Five months after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans school board fires every teacher in the district in what the United Teachers of New Orleans sees as an effort to break the union and privatize the school system - 2005

February 01
Led by 23-year-old Kate Mullaney, the Collar Laundry Union forms in Troy, N.Y., and raises earnings for female laundry workers from $2 to $14 a week - 1864
Bricklayers begin working 8-hour days - 1867
Some 25,000 Paterson, N.J., silk workers strike for 8-hour work day and improved working conditions. Eighteen hundred were arrested over the course of the six-month walkout, led by the Wobblies. They returned to work on their employers’ terms - 1913
(In this expanded edition of Strike! you can read about labor-management conflicts that have occurred over the past 140 years. Here you’ll learn much about workers’ struggle to win a degree of justice, from the workers’ point of view. The author also examines the ever-shifting roles and configurations of unions, from the Knights of Labor of the 1800s to the AFL-CIO of the 1990s. A new chapter, “Beyond One-Sided Class War,” looks at how modern protest movements, such as the Battle of Seattle and Occupy Wall Street, were ignited and considers the similarities between these challenges to authority and those of labor’s past.)
The federal minimum wage increases to $1.60 per hour - 1968
Int’l Brotherhood of Firemen & Oilers merges with Service Employees Int’l Union - 1995
February 02
Three hundred newsboys organize to protest a cut in pay by the Minneapolis Tribune - 1917
Legal secretary Iris Rivera fired for refusing to make coffee; secretaries across Chicago protest - 1977
The 170-day lockout (although management called it a strike) of 22,000 steelworkers by USX Corp. ends with a pay cut but greater job security.  It was the longest work stoppage in the history of the U.S. steel industry - 1987

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten.

Steward Update Weekly is brought to you by your union and Union Communication Services—Worker Institute at Cornell ILR, publisher of the Steward Update print edition newsletter, which provides union stewards with helpful information and advice. We hope the Steward Update Weekly will be a helpful tool in your important work as a steward for your union; if you have questions or suggestions on how the Weekly can be more useful, please email us at

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