Tag Archives: Unions

LEARN SOMETHING – The Great Pullman Strike of 1894 and the History of Labor Day

In the late 1800’s, the state of labor was grim as U.S. workers toiled under bleak conditions: 12 or more hour workdays; hazardous work environments; meager pay. Children, some as young as 5, were often permanent workers at plants and factories working to help their families to barely make ends meet.

The dismal livelihoods fueled the formation of the country’s first labor unions, which began to organize strikes and protests and pushed employers for better hours and pay. Many of the rallies often turned violent.

On Sept. 5, 1882 — a Tuesday — 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march in a parade from City Hall to Union Square in New York City as a tribute to American workers. Organized by New York’s Central Labor Union, It was the country’s first unofficial Labor Day parade. Three years later, some city ordinances marked the first government recognition, and legislation soon followed in a number of states.

Then came May 11, 1894, and a strike that shook an Illinois town founded by George Pullman, an engineer and industrialist who created the railroad sleeping car. The community, located on the Southside of Chicago, was designed as a “company town” in which most of the factory workers who built Pullman cars lived.

When his company laid off workers and lowered wages, it did not reduce rents, and the workers called for a strike. Among the reasons for the strike were the absence of democracy within the town of Pullman and its politics, the rigid paternalistic control of the workers by the company, excessive water and gas rates, and a refusal by the company to allow workers to buy and own houses

When wage cuts hit, 4,000 workers staged a strike that pitted the American Railway Union vs. the Pullman Company and the federal government. The strike and boycott against trains triggered a nationwide transportation nightmare for freight and passenger traffic.

In June 1894, the ARU called for a national boycott of Pullman cars for its union members, who managed the flow of railway traffic west of Chicago. The Pullman Company called Debs’ bluff, and by late June, at least 125,000 ARU members had walked off the job in support of the Pullman workers.

President Grover Cleveland, citing the now delayed mail system, declared the strike illegal and sent 12,000 troops to break it. Two men were killed in the violence that erupted near Chicago. Debs was sent to prison, and the ARU was disbanded, and Pullman employees henceforth were required to sign a pledge that they would never again unionize.

U.S. Attorney General Richard Olney nd his specially appointed deputy, an attorney for one of the struck railroads, quickly won a court injunction ordering strikers back to work, on grounds that they had conspired to illegally restrain trade. 

The court order was issued, ironically, under the anti-trust law that originally was aimed at keeping corporations from joining together to exercise monopoly control. That, of course, was precisely what the railroads did in determining pay rates and working conditions, and in trying to destroy the strikers’ union. 

But that was ignored, while federal officials and the press thundered out warnings that Eugene Debs was leading a conspiracy aimed at forcibly overthrowing the government. 

When he and the strikers refused to comply with the injunction, in came federal troops, and with them the strike’s first serious violence. 

The worst of many incidents broke out in Chicago when soldiers fired into a crowd of some 10,000 people who, spurred on by agents provocateurs from the railroads, had gathered to set fire to boxcars and otherwise violently protest the movement of trains by the Army. Twenty-five people were killed, 60 badly injured. 

In other incidents, strikers and their supporters also were fired on by special deputy marshals whom government investigators later identified as “thugs, thieves and ex-convicts” armed and paid for by the railroads. 

Hundreds of union officials and members were cited for violating the injunction, which prohibited anyone from even suggesting that railroad employees refuse to work. Debs and other key leaders were jailed for three to six months and government agents raided and ransacked ARU offices . 

The union couldn’t even hold rallies in support of the strike, and though the Pullman strikers themselves held out for a few months, the massive railroad strike launched in their behalf was over after 19 days. 

A national Labor Day holiday was then declared within months.

Some experts say Grover Cleveland supported the idea of such a holiday, which already existed in several states, in an effort to make peace with the unions before he ran for re-election. (He would lose anyway.) But perhaps one of the most eloquent explanations of why the federal government saw fit to declare the holiday can be found in a Congressional committee report on the matter.

Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced a bill, S. 730, to Congress shortly after the Pullman strike, proposing Labor Day be the first Monday in September. Here’s how Rep. Lawrence McGann (D-IL), who sat on the Committee on Labor, argued for the holiday in a report submitted on May 15, 1894:

The use of national holidays is to emphasize some great event or principle in the minds of the people by giving them a day of rest and recreation, a day of enjoyment, in commemoration of it. By making one day in each year a public holiday for the benefit of workingmen the equality and dignity of labor is emphasized. Nothing is more important to the public weal than that the nobility of labor be maintained. So long as the laboring man can feel that he holds an honorable as well as useful place in the body politic, so long will he be a loyal and faithful citizen.

The celebration of Labor Day as a national holiday will in time naturally lead to an honorable emulation among the different crafts beneficial to them and to the whole public. It will tend to increase the feeling of common brotherhood among men of all crafts and callings, and at the same time kindle an honorable desire in each craft to surpass the rest.

There can be no substantial objection to making one day in the year a national holiday for the benefit of labor. The labor organizations of the whole country, representing the great body of our artisan population, request it. They are the ones most interested. They desire it and should have it. If the farmers, manufacturers, and professional men are indifferent to the measure, or even oppose it, which there is no reason to believe, that still would constitute no good objection, for their work can be continued on holidays as well as on other days if they so desire it. Workingmen should have one day in the year peculiarly their own. Nor will their employers lose anything by it. Workingmen are benefited by a reasonable amount of rest and recreation. Whatever makes a workingman more of a man makes him more useful as a craftsman.

Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law on June 28, 1894.

And that is how Labor Day came to be.

NOTE:  Before the 1969 Stonewall rebellion, the union movement largely ignored issues facing the gay community. As the gay liberation movement gained momentum, organized labor recognized that discrimination based on sexual orientation victimized union members, divided the ranks, and weakened union organization. The American Federation of Teachers was the first union to recognize this, passing a resolution opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Back2Stonewall.com is 100% pro-Union and stand for the protections of  the American worker.

Trump Spends Memorial Day Signing EO's To Attack Federal Workers and Union Busting

Trump Spends Memorial Day Weekend By Signing EO’s To Attack Federal Workers and Bust Unions

Donald Trump started Memorial Day Weekend by signing 3 executive orders restricting the activities of unions that represent many of the U.S. government’s 2.1 million employees, and attacking Federal employees.

In a conference call with reporters on Friday, senior White House officials said the executive orders call back to a promise Trump made at his State of the Union address, in which he sought to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to remove poor performers more quickly.

The second executive order would drastically cut the amount of time that federal employees can be paid for doing union work while on-the-clock.

Under the executive order, federal employees would not be able to spend any more than 25 percent of their work hours on through official time thus harming employee’s an employee’s right to fight back against management attacks and mistakes.

The executive order calls on agencies to renegotiate contracts with labor unions and reduce official time by about two-thirds.

A third executive order would curtail the labor contract bargaining window between government and unions.

The terms of negotiated contracts would be overseen by a new Labor Relations Working Group, which the EO orders OPM to establish.

In addition, the executive order would require federal union contracts be posted to an online database, with the goal of promoting transparency.

Senior White House officials said a drawn-out bargaining benefits union negotiations. Federal agencies, they said, paid $16 million in salaries for union negotiators in 2016.

Will Kohler a union steward with the IRS and the Nation Treasury Union (NTEU) in Covington, Kentucky said: “This is a blatant attack on Federal workers and nothing more than Union busting in it’s most blatant form.” and added “If the Federal Government was serious about employee poor performance and the time unions spend representing bargaining unit employees then its time would be better spent overhauling its current ineffectual employee training sessions and train its revolving door management better so that many issues that happen between managers and employees could be avoided.” 

National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon agreed calling the executives orders “an assault on federal employees.”

“Rather than promote efficiency in the federal sector, the administration is demanding federal workers lose their ability to challenge unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory firings and other actions. This would begin the process of dismantling the merit system that governs our civil service,” Reardon said in a statement.

AFL-CIO Declares War on HRC, Tells Members And Other Unions To Stop Donating Money



The AFL-CIO’s LGBT constituency group Pride at Work is declaring war on the Human Rights Campaign.

The LGBT workers’ organization this weekend approved a scathing resolution that calls on members and organizations to stop funding the Human Rights Campaign until the advocacy group addresses what Pride at Work sees as huge and detrimental  issues and  problems with HRC’s yearly Corporate Equality Index.

The opening  of the page-long resolution  indicates the tone of Pride at Work’s message, and its ongoing frustration with the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization.

“Too often, HRC has catered to its big-moneyed donors at the expense of those who live on the margins. These misguided priorities have disproportionately impacted the transgender community, people of color, and workers, and; … LGBT consumers look to the CEI when deciding how to spend their hard-earned money.”

Pride at Work argues, “the CEI should paint an accurate and complete picture about companies’ policies and practices when it comes to LGBT equality, but has fallen woefully short of this standard. “Pride at Work calls upon all labor unions, labor federations, and labor-affiliated organizations to cease funding HRC at all levels until these matters are addressed in a manner that shows HRC stands in solidarity with all working Americans for a fair, just and equal society.”

Using WalMart as an example Pride at Work pointed to some of the many serious flaws in HRC’s so called “Corporate Equality Index”:

Walmart got a 90 percent pro-LGBT rating on the Corporate Equality Index on the recommendation of HRC’s corporate advisory council-a board with no worker or union representatives despite the fact that Walmart’s record of constant labor law-breaking, discrimination against gays in the workplace, support of a discriminatory Arkansas law and denial of health benefits to the partner of a lesbian Walmart worker

“Through this resolution, the members of Pride@Work are demanding that enough is enough,” said Communications Workers official Shane Larson, Pride at Work’s co-president. “Working people are under attack every day, and a war on their rights to come together and fight for a voice on the job is being waged by many of the corporations that HRC asks the LGBT community to celebrate. Too often, HRC has catered to its big-moneyed donors at the expense of those who live on the margins,” it begins. “These misguided priorities have disproportionately impacted the transgender community, people of color, and workers.”

Pride at Work executive director Jerame Davis in an interview with The Advocate stated that they have reached out to the HRC time and time again but to no avail.

Pride at Work has “spent significant time and energy over the past year or so attempting to educate HRC and advocate our position with them,”  said Davis. “With little to nothing to show for our efforts, we felt it was our moral obligation to speak out in service of our members and all of the LGBT workers who are, at times, hoodwinked into thinking a corporation has a great track record on LGBT equality when, in fact, all they have is a piece of paper and HRC’s imprimatur.  What’s more, the CEI doesn’t account for a corporation’s compliance with their own policies HRC will readily admit they have no ability to verify that the policies they grade in the CEI are actually followed by the company. added Davis . “So, not only do they not grade employers on their willingness to let workers organize a union, they have no actual means of ensuring these companies they give high marks are actually treating their LGBT workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

For years many activist including this writer have called out the Human Rights Campaign on their big money donor bias.  

It’s good to see the AFL-CIO and Pride At Work stand up to the bloated corporate LGBT equality behemoth. 


*The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center and the largest federation of unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-six national and international unions, together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers


Source:  The Advocate and People’s World

FOX News Reporter Steven Crowder Goads Union Workers Into A Fight In Michigan – Video

Yesterday after  the Republican-dominated Michigan Legislature approved sweeping, statewide changes to the way both state and private sector unions will be financed, substantially reducing their power in that state, thousands of incensed union members filled the Capitol rotunda and poured out onto its lawn chanting “shame, shame, shame”

Enter Fox News “reporter”  Steven Crowder who purposely went into the pro-union crowd and purposely goaded the union members into  an altercation and then posted the below video in which he is punched several times by a pro-union protester outside the Michigan capitol building

The clip below full of jump-cuts shows angry Union members telling Crowder repeatedly to get “out of their face” before the altercation begins and even commenters on the right-wing sites are wondering what came before the edits.

Crowder, a Detroit-born, Quebec-raise conservative comedian, who was hired by FOX News and is banned from coming returning to Canada because of his past behavior set this up purposely and himself should eb arrested for inciting a riot.  Note the self-satisfied smirk as the clip ends.)

Also many witnesses state that the right-wing tea party organization Americans for Prosperity were provoking  union members to violence, and witnesses reportedly saw AFP people loosening the ropes on the tents so they would come down. And in spite of the fact the place was crawling with cops (shipped in from around the state) who didn’t do see anything amiss.”

While I am not a fan of violence.  Steven Crowder got exactly what he deserved.

Who knows maybe we’ll really luck out and he’ll have to have his jaw wired shut.


While the right-wing website are going insane over this, Crowder doesn’t seem to be taking it too seriously.  Crowder is giving an “ultimatum” to the man who punched him in the face: come forward and face jail time or face him in a mixed martial arts (MMA) match.

What journalistic professionalism!

OMFG! – GOProud Pimps Out Twinkies In A Recent Self Loathing HomoCON Money Beg

That giggly gaggle of deluded, self loathing Republican HomoCON’s otherwise known as GOFUCKYOURSELF GOProud has sent out a fundraising letter blaming those communist unions for the death of the Twinkie and of Hostess Brands, despite the fact the CEO of Hostess was awarded a 300 percent raise (from approximately $750,000 to $2,550,000) and at least nine other top executives of the company received massive pay raises while asking workers to take a benefits and pay cut.

So GOProud is offering to send donors a Twinkie in return for a $50 contribution.

You know that our staff at GOProud works every day free market principles and freedom for everyone. You may not know about our special emergency response squad. This morning when the news broke, they sprung into action and secured a supply of the coveted snack cakes. We now have a stash of Twinkies in the GOProud vault. You have a chance to take advantage of our quick response to this crisis. We will share our limited supply of Hostess Twinkies with GOProud donors who contribute at least $50 between now and the end of November

For a $50 donation you get a Twinkie that’s been “stashed” in the GOProud “vault?

” I don’t give a damn how much preservative those things have in them or what kind of kink you’re into, there’s no way one of those things could possibly be safe to eat after Jimy LaSalvia or Chris Barron’s touched them.

And we all know they are talking about the snack cake right?  I mean neither Jimmy LaSalvia or Chris Barron couldn’t get a REAL Twinkie if they were the last John’s left in D.C. and they were waving a fist full of 100 dollar bills.

H/T to Joe My God




The Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego Blames Unions For The Ongoing LGBT Boycotts. WTF?

Andy over at Towleroad.com has posted a letter that he recieved from The Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego.

For those of you who might not remember, the hotels owner sleazeball Doug Hyatt gave $125,000 to the Prop 8 campaign to overturn gay marriage in California because his “catholic roots” are gainst it. (But that didn;t stop him from divorcing his wife and hiding his money so she couldn;t get it in the settlement)  Anyway, since then the LGBT Community has been boycotting the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego and rightfully so.

This weekend the American Historical Association is holding its annual convention at the hotel, unfortunately it is a LARGE convention and they booked the rooms well before Prop 8 went to vote and Manchesters donation became public but the AHA does plan to include forums on same-sex marriage as part of its agenda. and in a memo (via Rex Wockner) The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History, an affiliate society of the American Historical Association, tells its members that it “stands in full solidarity with the local community in San Diego and with the goals of the boycott organizers” and urging them to “act up”:

“We ask that conference participants take all opportunities possible to clearly and visibly express their opposition to Manchester’s actions, and that those participating in and attending the mini-conference on historical perspectives on same-sex marriage take the opportunity to act up inside the hotel in solidarity with those organizing and observing the boycott.”

Bravo to The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History.  (You can read the full pdf. memo HERE.)

Well The Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego released a statement to Towleroad regarding the planned demonstrations in which it states that the LGBT Community boycott and demostrations are being manipulated by the Unions which the Hyatt is having problems with because its a cheap ass company.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego would like to acknowledge the activities taking place this weekend both inside and outside our hotel property.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego welcomes the American Historical Association (AHA) to our hotel. The AHA has confirmed a block of more than 4,000 room nights. The AHA Executive Committee honored their contract with Hyatt and they decided not to bow to the pressure of outside groups to cancel their convention. The AHA is including numerous sessions on their schedule regarding same-sex marriage issues in a variety of contexts. These sessions have also been made available to the public.

There are a number of outside organizations that are intentionally targeting Manchester Grand Hyatt under the guise of the equality movement with a hidden Union agenda. This is both misleading to the public and to the activists that respect and follow the organizations and their leadership. Hyatt has a significant history of support for the LGBT community, spanning several years with multiple awards and recognitions, which is unparalleled in the hospitality business.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego will continue to welcome and celebrate guests and patrons of all backgrounds, faiths and orientations – as we also respect and support constructive exhibitions of free speech. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego looks forward to welcoming our guests from the American Historical Association and appreciates their loyalty 

The above statement looks to me like its from from Hyatt Corp and the Mgmt of that hotel. Yes, the money  money was donated by the owner of the building and although I can understand Hyatt wanting to distance themselves from Manchester, no one believes, and it is disingenuous to suggest, that it is in any way about Unions.   That in itself is a very low blow from the Hyatt Corp suggusting that the Unions are manipulating these boycotts.

It will be a cold day in hell before I stay at ANY Hyatt again.  That I can assure you.