October Labor History
A boycott was initiated by the Industrial Association of Machinists against Brown & Sharpe, a machine, precision, measuring and cutting tool manufacturer, headquartered in Rhode Island. The boycott was called after the firm refused to bargain in good faith (withdrawing previously negotiated clauses in the contract), and forced the union into an unwanted and bitter strike during which police sprayed pepper gas on some 800 IAM pickets at the company's North Kingston plant in early 1982. Three weeks later, a machinist narrowly escaped serious injury when a shot fired into the picket line hit his belt buckle. The National Labor Relations Board subsequently charged Brown & Sharpe with regressive bargaining, and of entering into negotiations with the express purpose of not reaching an agreement with the union.
4 October 1946
The U.S. Navy seized oil refineries in order to break a 20-state post-war strike.
6 October 1986
1,700 female flight attendants won an 18-year lawsuit (which included $37 million in damages) against United Airlines, which had fired them for getting married.
10 October 1933
18,000 cotton workers went on strike in Pixley, California. Four were killed before a pay-hike was finally won.
12 October 1898
Fourteen were killed, 25 wounded in violence resulting when Virden, Illinois mine owners attempted to break a strike by importing 200 nonunion black workers.
12 October 1902
Fourteen miners were killed and 22 wounded by scab herders at Pana, Illinois.
24 October 1987
The 35-member executive council of the AFL-CIO decided unanimously to readmit the 1.6-million Teamsters Union to its ranks. The scandal-ridden union had been expelled from the federation in 1957. President Jackie Presser was awaiting trial at the time, and the U.S. Justice Department was considering removal of the union's leadership because of possible links to organized crime.
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