On this day in labor history, the year was 1941.
That was the day 2500 steel workers at the Pressed Steel Car Company near McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania walked off the job.
It was the second walkout in two weeks.
Workers effectively shut down production of armor plate for the Navy, shell forgings for the Army and railroad cars used to transport military materiel.
The company had gone back on promises of holding a collective bargaining election.
Steelworkers Organizing Committee sub-regional director, Abe Martin told The Pittsburgh Press that while the union had not called the strike, workers had “walked out themselves because they are fed up with the company’s discrimination against them.”
SWOC had been trying to organize the plant for years.
But the company had engineered an election for a so-called, independent union 18 months earlier, when the complex was only operating at half capacity.
Workers walked out at the beginning of the month and ended their strike on the guarantee that negotiations for a new election would begin.
But when they returned, they found that some were stripped of seniority while others were forcibly transferred to new departments.
The day before, machine shop workers on the afternoon shift were fed up and dropped their tools.
Word spread throughout the evening and by early morning, picket lines were solid and production had come to a complete standstill.
When the company tried to force reopening of the plant after Labor Day, 1500 workers formed picket lines at the gates to stop scabbing.
They returned to work 10 days later in compliance with a request by the National Defense Mediation Board.
The NLRB rejected SWOC’s election petition two months later, but SWOC persisted and won exclusive bargaining rights the following June.
December 1 - Sitting to Start a Movement
November 30 - A Budget for the People
November 29 - A Powerful Voice for Women’s Rights is Born
November 28 - The IBEW is Born
November 27 - Workers Take Broadway by Storm
November 26 - Revolutionizing the Rails
November 25 - Strike for Better Schools
November 24 - Cigar Makers Organize
November 23 - Strike Like an Egyptian
November 22 - Clara Lemlich
November 21 - The Canuts
November 20 - The Scab
November 19 - Joe Hill’s Final Words
November 18 - Atlanta GM Workers Kick Off Sit-Down Strike Wave
November 17 - The Anti-Communist Witchhunt Escalates
November 16 - Using the Law to Crush Organizing
November 15 - Founding of the AFL
November 14 - Founding of the National Women’s Trade Union League
November 13 -The Cherry Mine Disaster
November 12 - The Misery of Chainsaw Al
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