This is the Insurgent Radio Kiosk for Thursday, November 7th
November 7: Taft-Hartley’s Effect on Labor
On this day in Labor History the year was 1959.
That was the day that the US Supreme Court handed down a decision that would be a blow to the cause of labor.
Striving for the kind of major gains they had won in 1956.
The half a million members of United Steelworkers of America once again went out on strike.
The steel industry was extremely profitable and the workers demanded to share in the fruits of their labor.
Management wanted the ability to introduce new technology and policies to cut hours and employees.
The strike wore on for more than 100 days.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the steelworkers back to the plants.
He argued that the Taft-Hartley act gave him the legal means to issue the order.
A decade earlier Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act over President Harry Truman’s veto as a way to curtail union rights.
The Steelworkers protested the constitutionality of the law, all the way to the Supreme Court.
The union lost.
In making its decision, the court referenced President Eisenhower’s explanation of the impact of the strike. “The strike has closed 85 percent of the nation’s steel mills, shutting off practically all new supplies of steel. Over 500,000 steel workers and about 200,000 workers in related industries, together with their families, have been deprived of their usual means of support. Present steel supplies are low, and the resumption of full-scale production will require some weeks. If production is not quickly resumed, severe effects upon the economy will endanger the economic health of the nation.”
The next January, the union and management signed a new contract.
The workers received a 7 cents an hour raise, a new automatic cost-of-living adjustment, improvements to their pension and health care benefits, job protections against proposed automation.
Labor History in Two Minutes is brought to you by a partnership between the Illinois Labor History Society and the Pennsylvania-based Rick Smith Show. All opinions are those of the speaker.
It’s today’s Action Calendar!
A public input meeting to discuss pending improvements to Eagle Trace Park will be held this evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Fire Station #12, 400 South Point Road. Madison Parks staff will present several new playground design options resulting from public input. For information, phone 261-4281.
A talk with Yusef Salam, one of the exonerated “Central Park Five”, is scheduled for this evening at 6 p.m. at Madison College, 1701 Wright Street. Yusef Salam was one of five boys who were tried and convicted of a crime they did not commit. After spending 7 years in prison, his conviction was vacated when the actual criminal confessed. Since his release he has committed himself to advocating and educating people on racial disparities within the criminal justice system. The talk is free and open to all. Phone 246-6100 for information.
The first public information meeting to gain input for the Autumn Ridge Path project will be held this evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Elementary School, 221 Meadowlark Drive. The proposed multi-use path will connect Milwaukee Street and Commercial Avenue north of Highway 30. Phone 267-8678 for information.
A fundraiser for deported US Veterans will be held this evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Common Ground Coffeehouse, 2644 Branch Street in Middleton. The evening will include poetry readings, writings and music, with all donations directly benefiting the Unified US Deported Veterans, Chapter 182, Veterans for Peace. Common Ground is at 820-1010.
The Kiosk is available online at wortfm.org/kiosk.
This has been the Insurgent Radio Kiosk heard weekdays at 5:00, 6:30 and 9:00 AM and at 2:00 PM. I’m Greg Geboski.
Submit announcements at least ten days in advance of the event at wortfm.org/announcements.