At its height, the Quebec General Strike in the spring of 1972 was the largest strike in North America’s history. The strike, which involved over 250,000 public and private service workers, was a very important moment in Quebecers’ self-determination and struggle for rights. Planning of the strike had been in motion since 1970, when Quebec’s three main union federations held joint meetings to discuss ways in which they could work together to address common struggles. At the time, many of Quebec’s working class felt disenchanted with and ignored by the government.
A union presence among the 17,000 wool and silk factory workers in and around Passaic, NJ in late 1925 and early 1926 was almost nonexistent. The United Textile Workers (UTW), an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), had tried to organize the workers in the past but had had no success. The management of the mills used the fact that the workers were largely immigrants from many different countries to their advantage and suppressed union support.
Male textile factory workers at El Inca factory in Lima, Peru walked off the job in December of 1918 to protest the effects of a law that enacted an eight-hour workday requirement for women and children. The law was intended to protect the rights of children and particularly women laborers, but instead dissolved the set-up within the factories, slowing production and preventing the remaining male workers from meeting their quotas.
The Wal-Mart distribution center in Elwood, Illinois, is one of the five largest in the country. Wal-Mart’s goods are imported here, shipped to smaller centers, and then sent to individual stores. However, many people who worked in the distribution centers were hired through employment contractors and were kept at “temporary” employee status, depriving them of benefits and higher pay, even if they had worked the same job for years. Conditions inside the warehouses were often unsafe and many workers experienced wage theft and discrimination by employers.
On 15 June 1953, in East Berlin, construction workers on the Stalinallee Avenue began to voice their issues with the SED’s (Socialist Unity Party) new regulations. The SED trade union officials, following mass worker emigration from East Germany, increased worker production requirements to fulfill their desired targets. However, the SED trade union officials announced that workers would be paid at the same rate, thus effectively decreasing the value of each worker.
On 31 January 2008, the Walt Disney corporation's workers represented by the union Unite Here Local 11 found themselves without a labor contract. Workers held meetings with management to discuss new contract plans, but the talks fell through. Most importantly, the workers hoped to secure a health-care plan in which they would not have to contribute their own wages. However, Disney favored a health care plan that would include worker contributions.
In 1978, Chemical Waste Management Inc. (CWM), a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc. (WMX), bought 300-acres of land near Emelle, Alabama for a hazardous waste landfill. Residents did not have the opportunity to protest the landfill prior to its construction because CWM was not legally obligated to disclose information about land use.