Exhibit

Labor History = LH

Local and National History = LNH

Years
1900 LNH
Italian laborers working on railroad improvements in the western part of Bridgeport protested being forced to live in an old carriage shop considered crowded and unhealthy, with $1.25 per month being taken out of their pay for the accommodations.

The protest lead to an investigation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which together with an anonymous burning of the barracks leads to reform.


1900 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 70,996.


1901 LN
1901-1905
Dennis Mulvihill, DEMOCRAT, an Irish immigrant is elected Mayor of Bridgeport. Mulvihill was keenly aware of the trouble of local workers, since he had worked as a stoker in the Wheeler and Wilson sewing machine factory. At a time when the population of the city was growing rapidly and in need of city services such as schools, Mulvihill tried to reduce city spending and lower taxes.

Population of Bridgeport is more than one-half foreign born and overwhelmingly blue-collar.
1890: 48,866 persons
1900: 70,996 persons

Nationally based corporations acquire a number of Bridgeport's important firms; e.g. 1900:
Bryant Electric becomes subsidiary of Westinghouse; 1904: Crane Company of Chicago absorbs Eaton, Cole, and Burnham; 1907: Singer Manufacturing acquires Wheeler and Wilson Sewing Machine Co. Companies such as Raybestos (1904), Bridgeport Metal Goods (1909) are founded.


1901 LN
Socialist Party begins in Bridgeport.

Gustave Whitehead August 14, 1901: German immigrant Gustave Whitehead, employed at the Locomobile factory flies the propeller driven craft he designed to an altitude of 200 feet, travelling one and a half miles. Whitehead's flight was reported in the Bridgeport Herald, New York Herald, and the Boston Transcript.


1903 LNH
May 1903. Trolley workers at the Connecticut Railway and Lighting Company went on strike, asking for a $2.25 per ten-hour day. On June 26, 1903, a mass meeting took place in Washington Park to support the strikers.

Building trades employers try to force workers to present a reference card from former employers in order to be hired. 415 carpenters, joiners, painters, and plumbers strike for 30 to 98 days, successfully opposing the use of reference cards as requirements for employment. Strikers believed that the contractors would use the reference cards to discriminate against union activists.


1903 LN
Children worked in local factories. Employees of Buckingham and Brewer Printers.


1905 LNH
Female Cartridge inspectors at Union Metallic Cartridge Company strike for 5 days, demanding increasing wages. They are fired from their jobs.

George Tillyou, manager of Steeplechase Island, refused to permit inspection by agent of the union for journeymen carpenters. The journeymen carpenters go on strike; they are fired and replaced.


1905 LN
Marcus L. Reynolds, Mayor


1906 LN
Bridgeport called the "Industrial Capital of Connecticut" by Fred Enos, president of the Bridgeport Board of Trade, based on capital invested in industries and value of products.
Theatrical stage employees at S.Z. Poli strike for increased wage rate of $2.00 per week. They are unsuccessful.


1906 LNH
Theatrical stage employees at S.Z. Poli strike for increased wage rate of $2.00 per week. They are unsuccessful.

Building trades strike: May 1, 1906. 220 bricklayers, plasterers and stone masons, and 180 hod carriers, strike building contractors, demand higher wages, and for the 220, half holiday Saturdays. The strikes are unsettled after six months; the hod carriers find employment elsewhere.


1907 LN
1907-1909:
Henry Lee, Mayor



1907 LNH
Skilled and unskilled workers at the American Tube and Stamping Company during two strikes bring workers together in solidarity. On May 18, 75 machinists, supported by 17 unskilled workers, strike for ½ day, successfully demanding a shorter work day (9 hours) with no decrease in wages. On July 16, 900 iron and steel workers, joined initially by at least 80 machinists, strike for a month, demand increased wages and the return of an alternating schedule. The unskilled workers are members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and a majority are Hungarian. After a month, the workers return with the alternating shift schedule restored but no wage increase. Bridgeport City Council raises wages for unskilled laborers and mechanics employed by the city to $1.75 per day from $1.50 per day. (Skilled labor employed by the City is paid $l5 to $18 per week). 1500 laborers on New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Co. in various parts of Connecticut strike for 20 days. They demand a pay increase from $1.50 per day to $1.75. Most workers in the State, including Bridgeport win 10 cents per day. NOTE: Bridgeport strike graphic


1909 LNH
Iron Molders at Bridgeport Malleable Iron Company strike for 4 days, demanding restoration of former piece prices and that helpers be supplied; unsuccessful.


1910 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 102,054.

Albert and Max Henkels of Germany set up a lace manufacturing company on 1070 Connecticut Avenue to manufacture fine lace.


1911 LN
The Locomobile Company, makers of luxury automobiles, begin to build Army Trucks. Considered to be the sturdiest truck of the time, the trucks were later called Riker Trucks, after the designer and Chief Engineer, Andrew L. Riker.

In New York City, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146 women. The tragedy draws attention to the terrible working conditions of some factories, leading to reform.


1911 LN
1911-1921
Clifford B. Wilson is elected Mayor. Wilson, a progressive Republican, helped the city attain new schools, a new sewage system, and many other civic improvements. He instituted the first city planning for Bridgeport. Wilson was mayor for five terms, leading the city during war years.


1911 LNH
Bridgeport Teachers Association forms.


1912 LN
Marcellus Hartley Dodge merges the Remington Arms Company of Ilion, New York and the Union Metallic Cartridge Company of Bridgeport into the Remington Arms Company, Inc

President Woodrow Wilson elected.

Large Expansion of Warner Brothers Company.

High point of Socialist voting in nation until 1930.


1913 LN
Workmens Compensation Law passed.

US Department of Labor Established.

Election of Socialist Fred Cederholm as Bridgeport City Councilman


1913 LNH
Weavers at Salts Textile Manufacturing Company strike.


1914 LN
The outbreak of World War I in Europe brings orders for munitions and arms for the Russian, French and British armies to Bridgeport factories.

Two thirds of all small arms and ammunition made in the United States for the Allied Cause are made in Bridgeport.

The Great Migration of blacks from the South looking for jobs in northern, industrial cities begins. The black population of many cities greatly increases over the next years.


1914 LN
1914-1915
The number of people employed in Bridgeport increases by 48.4%; total salaries and wages by 188.6%; capital 121.9% and value of products 144.4%.


1914 LN
Explosion of Population:
In a single year, Bridgeports population grows from 100,000 to l50,000 as workers seeking jobs in the booming factories move to Bridgeport.


1915 LN
1915-1919​
Points of National Interest

During World War I there was a mass upsurge of labor activity and union membership.

Between the years 1915-1918 over 4 million workers went out on strike in the United States. In 1919, over 4 million workers went on strike in the United States.


1915 LN
Remington Arms Company builds an immense factory in Bridgeport on Boston Avenue, next to the older Union Metallic Plant. The building is a half mile long!


1916 LN
Bridgeport, due to its important role in war-related industries, is given the nickname Arsenal of Democracy.


1917 LNH
Bassick Company is formed from the consolidation of three companies; Burns and Bassick Company, Universal Caster Company, and M.B. Schenck Company, manufacturers of auto hardware, casters and furniture trimmings.

Bullard Machine Tool Co.

World War I: produced recoil mechanisms, .75 mm field guns, and aircraft parts for the French.

World War I: Albert and Henkels Lace Company is sold through the Alien Property Custodian American Fabrics Company.

World War I: Bridgeport Projectile Company, built and owned by Germany, is taken over by the U.S. government to produce shells and shrapnel for the U.S. war effort, renamed Liberty Ordnance Company.


1917 LN
1917-1918
From Bridgeport, 8,671 persons went into the armed service. 237 Bridgeporters died overseas in the War, including 2 nurses.


1917 LN
April: United States enters World War I. Socialist party opposes U.S. entry.

November: Bolsheviks overthrow the Kerenski government of Russia; Russian Revolution.

Socialist Party expels its left (nationally.)

Formation of Communist Party and Communist Labor Party, which unite in 1921.


1917 LNH
3,404 workers strike in Bridgeport in 23 strikes. The largest strike involves 2,500 polishers and grinders at Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge who strike for 30 days, unsuccessfully objecting to women being employed at the same work and being paid less.

Due mostly to increased industrial demand, women took on jobs that were formerly considered only for men in war production, as well as other production and services.


1918 LNH
10,740 Bridgeport workers strike.

700 machinists and tool makers at Union Metallic Company, Remington and other shops strike for 5 days, seeking a wage increase; they get an award from the U.S. War Department. When Bridgeport employers refuse to abide by War Departments decision, 7,000 shop employees at munitions factories strike to implement that wage award, returning to work when the National War Labor Board (NWLB) promises to hear the case. In August, the NWLB orders a basic 8-hour day, higher wages for all war workers, with the smallest increase (5 cents) going to the skilled craftsmen, and the creation of employee shop committees in 63 Bridgeport metal working companies. Dubbing their 5 cent increase a Feast, 5000 skilled machinists at munitions factories walk out on August 30 until September 13 when U.S. President Wilson threatens to draft them if they do not return to work.

100 Remington-UMC women form IAM Womens Lodge 1196, angry that the company is not paying them the 32 cents an hour ordered by the NWLB.

November 11th,: Armistice cuts short progress made with NWLB award.

December 1918 - March 1919: Increased Unemployment as result of war de-mobilization.


1918 LN
The Lake Torpedo Boat Company built the R-21 submarine for the U.S. Government.


1918 LN
At the time armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, the Bassick Company was delivering 50,000 hand grenades a day to the United States.


1919 LN
International Institute founded by the YWCA to help immigrants assimilate into American society.


1919 LN
Prohibition. Eighteenth Amendment is ratified.


1919 LN
Palmer Raids; arrest of 6,000 in the United States. 550 are deported.


1919 LNH
Estimated 10,000 factory workers strike for increased wages and 44-hour work week from Remington Typewriter, International Silver, Cornwall and Patterson, Monumental Bronze, Sprague Meter, Challenge Cutlery, Connecticut Electric Manufacturing, Acme Shear, and H.O. Canfield Rubber Company. Most of these strikes are unsuccessful, in the context of the national IAM crushing the Bridgeport locals efforts to enroll all machine shop strikers in the IAM, whether machinists or not.

3,000 members of the Corset Workers Union strike at Warner Brothers, George C. Batcheller and Co., La Resista Corset Company, and Crown Corset Company for 6-8 days demanding a 44 hour week and increased wages. They are largely successful.

500 members of Local 223, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, strike Wolf and Abraham for 7 days for increased wages, 44 hour week, and a closed shop. These 500 members, mostly immigrant clothing operators, are successful in their strike.

Pressmen from the American Graphophone strike for 30 days for increased wages; compromises result.
U.S. Department of Labor Womens Bureau writes a report on homework in Bridgeport.
November 17th: Government raids on immigrant halls in Bridgeport, Ansonia, Waterbury, Hartford, Rockville; New Britain.

60 Bridgeport residents arrested at Union of Russian Workers Hall and other sites on East Side.
January 2, 1920: 72 Russian and Lithuanian immigrants arrested in Connecticut, accused of being members of Communist Party or Communist Labor Party.

Note: Many cases dismissed by April 1920, due to court ruling that Department of Justice agents violated the civil liberties of the immigrants. Total of 59 Connecticut aliens deported to Russia.


1920 LN
Population of Bridgeport:  143,555


1920 LN
General Electric Company leases the huge Remington Arms plant in May 1920 and begins to manufacture wiring devices and fractional horspower motors.

After World War I, demand for munitions and machine tools shrinks, and employment in those factories goes down.



1920 LNH
As part of nationwide Palmer raids, U.S. Department of Justice agents and local police arrest at least 60 non-citizens, alleged members of the Union of Russian Workers from Bridgeport. Statewide, Federal agents arrest at least 336 "aliens" for suspected radical activities. Rules of evidence, legal procedure, and rights of defendants are trampled on. Many spend months in jail and 53 from Connecticut are deported. Part of anti-radical, anti-labor, and anti-immigrant hysteria.

1920-1922: General assault on labor in early 1920's (national economic depression 1920-1922). Workers are forced to accept pay cuts, in spite of strikes.


1921 LNH
"A noticeable feature of the year 1921 is the gradual dropping of women from industrial employment." Report of the Department of Labor on the Condition of Wage-Earners in the State (CT: Hartford, 1922), p. 11.


1921 LN
Depression; loss of war orders in local factories sends Bridgeport into a mild economicslump. Nationally, by the end of this depression: militancy deflated; unions excluded form most large companies; left is isolated.

1921-1923: Fred Atwater



1922 LN
General Electric buys plant from Remington.

Jewish Service Bureau organized to meet the demands resulting from the post World War I period.

The two largest theatres in Bridgeport, built by Sylvester Z. Poli open on Main Street,becoming the cultural center of the City. The Palace theatre seated 3,600 and the Majestic theatre seated 2,400.



1922 LNH
73 Bridgeport repair men and laborers strike the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad as part of the strike on the whole line involving 2246 others, over pay cuts of 5 to 6 cents per hour. This is part of a national strike by 400,000 railway repair workers. United States Attorney General Harry Daugherty wins a sweeping injunction in federal court prohibiting any activity encouraging the strike.

40 women and girls in Warner's brassiere binding department, members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) strike successfully against a wage cut, and are supported by women in the corset departments, who refuse to take over their jobs. A half-year later at Warner, the local negotiates an agreement for a wage increase, union recognition, and the equal distribution of work in slack times.



1923 LNH
Weeklong strike by Local 223, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA), at Wolf & Abraham over wage cuts and discharge of union members; settled with help of local Board of Arbitrators.


1923 LN
Casco Products Corporation is incorporated, manufacturer of auto parts.


1924 LN
Bridgeport first radio station, WICC (Industrial Capitol of Connecticut).

U.S. Congress drastically reduces immigration to U.S.



1925 LNH
600 garment workers at Wolf & Abraham out for 6 weeks over wages. A compromise of an increase of $1.00 a week arbitrated by Mayor Behrens and federal mediators.

June 2, 1925. 225 weavers at Salts Textile Company out for 6 days because of dissatisfaction with new pay systems; resulted in compromise.

July 31, 1925. 200 hod carriers employed by building firms, out for 12 days, wanted wage increase and recognition of union; wage increase of 5 cents per hour granted. Union not recognized.


1926 LNH
When Warner Company lays off two-thirds of its 700 workers, the 26 cutters strike unsuccessfully; Warner Company goes through a non-union period until the early 1930's.

300 garment workers at Wolf and Abraham strike when firm announces it is opening a new shop in New Jersey; after 2 months, firm closes in Bridgeport and moves to New Jersey shop.

May 3, 350 carpenters and hod carriers strike different firms for a wage increase. After 2 days, carpenters are ordered back to work by their national union and hod carriers gain increase after one day.


1926 LN
Stanley Works of New Britain, tool manufacturer, purchases American Tube and Stamping Company in Bridgeport, and updates its steel mills.

Electrical industry in Bridgeport; 2000 working at Bryant Electric; GE has 3000 in Bridgeport of 55,000 total employees. About 7000 in Bridgeport employed in making of electrical wiring devices.



1927 LN
Elliott Fisher Company merges with Underwood Typewriter Company of Hartford and Bridgeport with executive offices in New York.


1927 LN
Bridgeport Jewish Community Center chartered. In 1927, purchased a site at 836 Fairfield Avenue.



1928 LNH
July 1, 1926 to July 1, 1928
500 Trade weavers at Salts Textile Works, out 21 days because of dissatisfaction with piecework pay; returned at old wages.

80 upholsterers at S.G. Krupka Company demanded discharge of foreman, out for 21 days, no concession.

1928:600 hod carriers and laborers struck for the eight-hour day (5 days plus half day on Saturday, a 44 hour week) and $7.50 per day. After two weeks they won a partial settlement.

1000 Carpenters struck for a month for a 40-hour week and $11 per day; gained a partial settlement.


1929 LNH
400 Salts Textile workers win wage increase when Shelton Weavers Club at Shelton Looms (owned by same company that just bought Salts Textile) threatens a sympathy strike.


1930 LN
1930-1931:  2,300 banks fail nationwide. The Great Depression, started in 1929, continues.


1930 LN
1930-1933: Unemployed Councils and Unemployed Leagues form In California, farm workers strikes.


1930 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 146,716


1930 LN
1920-1933:  Edward T. Buckingham, Mayor


1930 LN
Service in the Bridgeport telephone exchange is converted to dial operation.


1932 LNH
November 29, 1932. More than 200 hunger marchers enroute to Washington to petition Congress for relief leave from Bridgeport after picking up around 35 local followers. The local Communist leader, William Sacher, greeted the marchers in Bridgeport.
 
1932-1933
 
Governor Wilbur Cross appoints former labor organizer Joseph Tone as Labor Commissioner, and State Labor Department embarks on an anti-sweatshop campaign, arresting a number of managers of clothing manufacturing companies. Women worked as many as 84 hours a week and seven days a week when the law limits the hours to 55, and minors were working up to 66 hours a week when the law limited their employment to 48 hours. This provided support for labor organizing campaigns in garment shops.


1933 LNH
8/4/33   Labor was reported to have secured its first and precedent setting victory today in its statewide drive to improve wages and working hours. John J. Egan, Secretary of Connecticut Federation of Labor and Fred Cederholm, state organizer for the International Pocketbook Workers Union, said the Stylecraft Leather Goods Company, which has been closed down by a strike, will probably reopen as a union shop.

1500 garment workers strike for 12 days in Bridgeport, closing 21 dress manufacturing companies, part of a strike of 60,000 workers in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. After mediation by the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the strike ends when garment manufacturers, including the CT Dress Manufacturer Association, sign an agreement with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and its dress makers branch, the Joint Board of Dress and Waist Makers Union of Greater New York, for a guaranteed minimum wage for a 35 hour week; the right of collective bargaining; and placing responsibility on the jobbers for payment of minimum wage scales and maintenance of the code for the industry when it is adopted in Washington. (The Dress and Waist Makers Union had about 20,000 members at the start of the strike; it tripled its strength during the strike.)

74 Bridgeport shoe repair shop employees affiliate with the Boot and Shoe Workers International Union, AFL.


1933 LN
January. Adolph Hitler to power in Germany. Hitler crushes trade unions, and begins escalation of steps against Jews that leads to the Nazi annihilation of two-thirds of European Jewry by the time Germany is defeated in World War II in 1945.

Beginning of New Deal and revival of AFL.

June. National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), including Section 7(a), the right of workers to organize into unions "free from employer interference" and to bargain collectively.

The Twenty-First Amendment, repealing prohibition (18th Amendment) is passed.

The WPA (Works Progress Administration) starts in President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal administration. Workers hired by the project build and improve municipal schools, civic structures, parks, and other services.


1933 LN
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company buys a controlling interest in the Remington Arms Company.


1933 LN
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaims a New Deal policy; through centralized economic planning, including regulation of corporations and public works programs to put people to work, support the economy and worker's purchasing ability.

The 1933 National Industrial Relations Act (NIRA) sets up the National Recovery Administration (NRA), under which corporations meet together to establish codes of fair competition, including minimum wages and working conditions and maximum hours. The NRA sanctions of the rights of workers to unionize and bargain collectively through its famous Section 7(a). Workers feel the federal government is on their side, and many strikes are undertaken when companies do not live up to the NRA CODES.

Though the NRA is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935, the 1935 National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act similarly affirms worker's right to organize. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can hold elections among workers to certify which union would be able to represent workers in collective bargaining. The NLRB can also determine whether employers were engaging in unfair labor practices such as firing workers for joining a union.
Sunstrand Adding Machine of Rockford, Illinois, and the Elliott Fisher Company of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania move to Bridgeport and manufacture adding, billing and accounting machines as the Underwood Elliott Fisher Company.
June 30: 21 married teachers start involuntary leaves; chosen by the Board of Education "as not dependent on their teaching salaries for support." (reinstated in 1937).


1933 LN
Jasper McLevy, a Socialist, was mayor of Bridgeport for twenty-four years. One of his many accomplishments was the institution of the civil service system for city jobs.


1934 LN
December 3: Bridgeport teachers average lowest pay in state. Different wages for men and women teachers.

Blizzard of February 1934, dumping twenty-eight inches of snow on the Northeast. The City Welfare Department sent out a sleight to deliver milk to needy families. Works Progress Administration employees were used, as well as volunteers, to shovel snow.


1934 LN
Minneapolis Teamster strikes.

San Francisco strikes of waterfront workers.


1934 LNH
2,000 Dress workers in Connecticut, including workers from three Bridgeport plants, all members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, strike for one week. They gain union recognition, 37 and 1/2 working hours per week, a minimum wage of $l4.50 weekly for machine operators and $l3 weekly for unskilled workers.

As a result of a strike by former FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) men for cash instead of scrip relief, as well as complaints that storekeepers and scrip-workers discriminated against scrip-users, the Welfare board decides to substitute a check-cash system instead of the scrip-coupon system for persons on relief.

At least 420 textile workers (weavers and warpers), members of United Textile Workers, at Bridgeport Coach Lace, American Fabrics, Bridgeport Web, and Lownds, strike for three weeks in Bridgeport. They are among 20,000 striking textile workers in Connecticut, and 171,000 throughout New England. The issue in the strike is whether or not the NRA textile code is to be upheld. The code prohibits what are known as "stretch-outs," that is, compelling employees to attend more than two looms. The doubling up of looms will mean the discharge of textile workers. Under the code, workers are not permitted to attend more than a specified number of looms.


1935 LNH
April 24, 1935: Stylecraft Votes on Union Today. Connecticut's first instance of workers determining by secret ballot whether they favor jurisdiction by the American Federation of Labor or by a company union over their collective affairs will occur today in City Hall. Employees of the Stylecraft Leather Goods Company voted at the Common Council Chambers at Bridgeport City Hall that they favored the company union in preference to the AFL. The vote was 160 to 15.

Although the executive committee of the Bridgeport Teacher's Association votes 4 to 1 against affiliating with the American Federation of Teachers (part of the American Federation of Labor), some local teachers form the Bridgeport Teacher's Union and affiliate with the AFT.


1935 LN
Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) formed within AFL.

National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) is established, which allows labor to organize and bargain collectively. The National Labor Relations Board is begun to watch over collective bargaining.

Social Security Act is established.

Communist International endorses Popular Front policy.


1935 LN
Employment at Bullard reaches 1929 peak, with 1100 men working 3 shifts.

At GE, there are now more than 6000 employed.


1936 LN
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) forms as CIO affiliate.

Walsh- Healy Act is enacted, setting a minimum wage for workers at companies which have government contracts. The act also mandates an eight hour day and 40 hour work week and bans child and convict labor.


1936 LN
1936-1937:  Unionization and strikes in auto, steel (nationally). Union membership in US increases from under 3 million in 1933 to over 8 million in 1941, with much of the increase taking place after 1936. 1937 sit-down strikes.


1936 LN
December 1936-Febuary 1937:  Autoworkers; sit-down strike at General Motors in Flint, Michigan.


1936 LNH
Local 203 of the United Electrical and Radio Workers of America (CIO) at General Electric is chartered.


1937 LNH
August 20: Local 320 of International Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (CIO) wins election at Bridgeport Brass, defeating "an independent plant union."

800 pocketbook workers at four Bridgeport factories (Stylecraft Leather Goods, Beacon Leather Goods, Cameo Handbag, and Lorraine Leather Goods) strike for a week and gain a 40 hour week instead of 44 hours, and an increase of $1 a week. The one year "protocol" agreement did not include another goal of the workers, full recognition of their union: the International Ladies Handbag, Pocketbook and Novelties Workers Union, affiliated with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers (CIO).

60 Bridgeport garbage and ash collectors, organized in the Municipal Industrial Employees union, strike unsuccessfully for sole bargaining rights for the union, closed shop, seniority rights, and 4 helpers instead of 3 to every garbage truck. After 6 days, the city hires replacements; 11 days later, only 15 strikers are reinstated.

800 employees of the Casco Products Company , members of Local 210, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), CIO strike for 24 days, gaining wage increases of 8 to 10 percent. The strike included a 12 hour sit down strike. This was Bridgeport's first sit down strike, by 50 workers on April 6, 1937.

Employees of bookbinding division of the Braunworth Company voted for bookbinders union affiliated with AFL (International Brotherhood of Bookbinders) as their collective bargaining agent. They had been organized as a CIO union, but the switch was recommended by the CIO because the CIO is mainly interested in organizing mass production plants. This is an example of cooperation between CIO and AFL.

May 21-28, 71 bus drivers in the newly organized bus driver's union strike for one week, demanding higher wages and working conditions. Members of Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway and Motor Coach Operators of America, an AF of L affiliate. Compromise agreement: 6 day, 48-hour week with time and a half for beginners with an increase to 56 cents after six months, recognition of seniority rights and arbitration. Workers had sought minimum wage of 70 cents an hour and the other working conditions, which they got.

March 14, 1937. "Jennings Employees Return to Work Monday." About 65 strikers at Jennings Brothers went on strike last Thursday to demand a minimum wage of 50 cents an hour and a 40 hour week. They will return to work on Monday and settle their differences with management by conferences. Company will not recognize them as members of a CIO union. However, the company restored a 10% cut in wages made for a part of the workers in 1931.

May-June: 100 Jennings employees, members of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, CIO, strike for 3 weeks, ending by accepting a 5 cents an hour wage increase for a 40-hour week.

June 2, 1937: Newly organized Bridgeport local of the Retail Clerks International Protective Association receives its charter.

350 "girl" employees of the Commercial Shirt Company, members of the Connecticut Shirt Makers Union, No. 125, an affiliate of the ACWA-CIO, walk out protesting against the installation of new machinery that lowers the amount of piecework they can turn out.


1937 LN
U.S. Steel, General Motors, and Chrysler sign union contracts with CIO unions.

Ten strikers shot dead in "Memorial Day Massacre" at Republic Steel Company in South Chicago.


1938 LNH
Feb. 21: Bridgeport CIO rallies in Central High school auditorium, attended by nearly 500 persons.


1938 LN
Bridgeport Brass: $4.5 million rolling mill manufacturing plant completed to produce brass, copper and copper-base alloys for industrial and commercial use, at Housatonic Avenue and Grand Street.

Sikorsky gets backing from United Aircraft to develop a direct lift helicopter; first successful helicopter in Western Hemisphere flies a year later.


1938 LN
United Aircraft merges Chance Vought Aircraft, a UA subsidiary since 1929, with, which becomes Vought-Sikorsky.

July 8, 1939. Bridgeport Brass gets $697,450 contract from U.S. Navy for cartridge casings.

April 28, 1939. Chinese government orders 2 million pounds of rod brass for $400,000 from Bridgeport Brass.

September 21, 1939. starts 6-day week as orders rise.

September 20, 1939. Vought-Sikorsky hires 800 more to mechanical staff of 1100 for Navy order.


1939 LN
1939-1941:  With Hitler's military expansion in Europe in the late 1930's and with the start of World War II in Europe in September 1939, the U.S. gears up its military: orders from the U.S. War Department, Army and Navy to Bridgeport industry massively increase.


1939 LNH
23 day tri-state truck strike includes 200 employees of three local terminals; members of Truck Drivers Local 443.

400 members of the Corset Workers Union, AF of L, strike at Warner plant for a week. Vast majority of the strikers are girls and women. They demand a closed shop and increase in pay for the men in the shipping department. The strike, which ended on August 24, results in the institution of a 45 cent hourly wage for the "slower" class of workers; establishment of a higher wage scale in the shipping room; and election of grievance committees in each department.

7 week strike against the Dollar Dry Cleaners by Local 45 of the Laundry Workers, Cleaners and Dyers union of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, ends September 4.

October 10: Organized shirt workers from Commercial Shirt, Parkley Shirt, and Rivoli Shirt receive a pay increase of 7 ½ percent. 3500 other workers in New Hampshire, Bridgeport, Derby, Shelton, Wallingford, Branford and New Britain and 40,000 other shirt workers in Connecticut and other states will also receive the increase, which was worked out through the union and several groups of manufacturers with headquarters in New York.

Metropolitan Body Company has 130 members of Local 505, United Auto Workers (UAW), CIO, strike for two and a half weeks and gain closed shop. Six months later, 200 employees of the Metropolitan Body Company strike again, saying that management is violating their contract by not substituting piece-work pay rates for day rates. Nine and a half weeks later, 82 employees had returned to work, but at ten weeks (Feb. 1, 1940) there were still workers on strike.


1939 LN
Committee for Industrial Organization leaves AFL, becomes Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL began to expel CIO unions as early as 1936).

Fair Labor Standards Act, is enacted, which mandates a minimum wage and 40-hour work week. It also forbids child labor in any business engaged in interstate commerce.


1940 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 147,121


1940 LN
Bryant Electric employees 1,200.

December 17, 1940. U.S. War Department gives $3 million for Bullard to build a new factory equal in size to the present plant.

December 5, 1940. City firms get defense contracts for $4,281,626 between November 1 and 15.


1940 LN
1940-1941: Bridgeport Brass receives orders for cartridge cases, artillery ammunition components, cartridge cups, and other items from the U.S. War Department; orders total more than three million dollars in cost.


1941 LN
1941-1945:  U.S. in World War II. War orders pour into Bridgeport companies.


1941 LN
August 13, 1941. Singer, which already holds several million dollars worth of contract for Army ordnance work, has started plant expansion and retooling operations for the direct manufacture of air-raid precaution equipment.

November 13, 1941. GE gets government orders for one million for giant molded rubber cords for emergency lighting purposes in conjunction with the national defense program.

Remington opens plant in Denver.

Bridgeport Post takes over Bridgeport Times-Star, buying it for $200,000. Times-Star employees were given only 30 minutes to vacate the building, and the Post sent a special wrecking crew to demolish the Times-Star presses. Ends competition among daily newspapers in Bridgeport.


1941 LN
June. Germany invades the Soviet Union. December. Japan attacks U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. enters World War II.


March on Washington movement against racial discrimination in jobs. Fair Employment Practices Commission is established.


1941 LN
1941-1945:  United States in World War II. No-strike pledge by unions. Major role of federal agencies in shaping union practices.

More than 110,000 Japanese Americans are interned in U.S. concentration camps.


1941 LNH
1941
Bridgeport Building Trades Council, AFL, announces raises signed with contractors, in climate of greatly increased volume of building. Bricklayers, masons and plasters, electricians, and latherers get increases from $1.37 and ½ to $1.50 per day. Laborers scale goes from 85 to 95 cents per day.

650 steel workers at Stanley plant strike for two days for wage increases and recognition of Local 2215 of the CIO-Steel Workers Organizing Committee as bargaining agent for its 800 members among the 1100 employees, and a 10 percent increase in pay.

Spurning organizers of both the CIO and AFL, 200 employees of the American Chain and Cable strike for two days and win pay increases of 10 cents per hour for 850 employees.

May 22, 1941. Strike at Warner Corset Company.

Logan Brothers Stores and the AFL-Retail Sales People's union sign a contract, providing for wage increases and reduced hours.

Bridgeport Times Star reports on September 4, 1941 that AFL longshoremen (Longshoremen International) continued striking at Cilco Terminal and the yard of the City Lumber Company. Union demands a closed shop and a contract covering both the yard and the terminal.

UE CIO wins an NLRB election at Remtico plant of Remington-Rand. 150 voted.

Producto Machine Company and UE CIO sign a contract covering more than 250 employees.

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers CIO wins bargaining election at the east plant of the Bassick Company. Earlier, UE won an election at the west plant of the Bassick Company. The contract, the first ever to be negotiated with an affiliate of the Stewart-Warner Corporation covers 850 workers.

Negro Musicians Local No. 549 forms.


1942 LNH
Workers at Vought - Sikorsky choose United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers Union of America, CIO, as their bargaining agent in NLRB election and achieve a contract three months later.

War industries in Bridgeport hire more women workers.        

Blast at Remington Arms Factory injures 80 and kills seven people.

Employees of the Stanley Works plants on Howard and Seaview Avenues choose the United Steel Workers of America (USWA), CIO as their collective bargaining agent in an NLRB election.

Painters Union 190 gains increase of $1 per day to $11 for an eight-hour day (resulting rate is $1.37 per hour).

August 21. Workers of Bridgeport will purchase a Vought - Sikorsky Corsair fighting plane and present it to the US Navy on Labor Day.


1942 LN
Sikorsky helicopter becomes first production helicopter in American history when Army orders 15 helicopters. To build them, United Aircraft leases a vacant plant in Bridgeport. United Aircraft also separates Chance -Vought and Sikorsky as of January 1, 1943.

New rolling mill which the Bridgeport Brass Company has built and equipped for the Defense Plant Corp at Indianapolis, Indiana in April.


1943 LN
April 1943: Bullard plant employees (6,500 total employees) go on 60 and ½ hour week, 2 shifts.


1943 LNH
As part of war production drive, labor-management committees organized at plants, including RemingtonBridgeport Brass, and Bridgeport Gas Light.


1944 LNH
GE white collar group joins CIO; majority of the tool designers, tool developers, and draughtsmen employed at the Bridgeport Works of the GE, about 120 in all, vote to be represented by UE Local 203 CIO.


1945 LN
September: Bridgeport Brass announces $5-6 million reconversion program to peacetime.


1945 LN
Germany surrenders. United States drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japan surrenders. World War II ends.


1946 LN
National strike wave. United Electrical (UE) strikes success at shutting down every General Electric and Westinghouse plant in the United States and Canada convinces companies to change their attitudes towards unions. Boulwarism.


1946 LNH
National strike wave as post-war reconversion begins. (Only the 1919 strike wave had a higher percentage of workers striking.)

January 15, 1946. Bridgeport UE workers at General Electric (6,600 workers) and Bryant Hemco (1,600) strike, demanding $2.00 a day increase. 

Jobs that were assigned to women during the war are again being assigned to men.




1947 LNH
GE Local 203

Josephine Willard - Letter from Lloyd Willard - Mob Incident Josephine Willard - Union Steward at G.E. - 1940's Local 203 UE-CIO at GE drops 26 members for being alleged communists, and requires that all stewards sign an affidavit that they are not Communists.

2,350 to 2,500 building trades workers in Bridgeport area strike for increased wages.

At Bridgeport Brass, some workers secede from the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (MMSW) and form the Progressive Metalworkers' Council (PMC), which then affiliates with the Industrial Marine and Shipbuilders of America. Both unions are CIO affiliates. This is part of Connecticut CIO official John J. Driscoll's revolt against the top leadership of MMSW, which the PMC charges is "communist infiltrated." In a May 22 NLRB-supervised election, workers at Bridgeport Brass vote by 55% to retain MMSW as their bargaining agent. (Note that PMC defeats MMSW in several Waterbury brass mills.) A month later, MMSW Local 320 officers are seeking a court injunction to force PMC members to turn the union office and records back to the certified MMSW officers.


1947 LN
1947-1949:  Taft Hartley Act.

June:  House Committee on Un-American Activities calls 4 UE leaders to testify about Communist influence in UE (three months before hearings on Communism in Hollywood).

Truman Doctrine.

Federal Loyalty Oath.


1947 LN
1947-1949:  Rival unions raid more than 500 UE locals.


1948 LN
First group of U.S. Communist leaders arrested under Smith Act on charges of organizing a conspiracy to teach and advocate the forcible overthrow of the government.

Communist coup in Czechoslovakia.

Soviet Union begins blockade of Berlin.

Congress approves Marshall Plan.

Truman orders an end to segregation in the armed forces.


1949 LN
CIO expels United Electrical; Mine Mill and Smelters; longshoremen; and 8 smaller communist-led unions on charges of "communist domination."

CIO and AFL create ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Union).

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established.

Communist victory in China.

Soviet Union detonates atomic bomb.


1949 LN
March 10. Production workers at Remington start 4 day week, and 6 weeks later, 550 lose jobs with Remington Arms cut in orders.

December. 15,900 unemployed in Bridgeport.

Chance Vought division of United Aircraft had shifted operations to Grand Prairie, Texas.

First Barnum Festival led by H. Steinkraus


1949 LNH
Local 203 UE-CIO at GE drops 26 members for being alleged communists, and requires that all stewards sign an affidavit that they are not Communists.

2,350 to 2,500 building trades workers in Bridgeport area strike for increased wages.

At Bridgeport Brass, some workers secede from the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (MMSW) and form the Progressive Metalworkers' Council (PMC), which then affiliates with the Industrial Marine and Shipbuilders of America. Both unions are CIO affiliates. This is part of Connecticut CIO official John J. Driscoll's revolt against the top leadership of MMSW, which the PMC charges is "communist infiltrated." In a May 22 NLRB-supervised election, workers at Bridgeport Brass vote by 55% to retain MMSW as their bargaining agent. (Note that PMC defeats MMSW in several Waterbury brass mills.) A month later, MMSW Local 320 officers are seeking a court injunction to force PMC members to turn the union office and records back to the certified MMSW officers.


1950 LNH
May 26: IUE Local 203 wins an election among General Electric workers against UE.

By 1950, 1,600 workers at Singer are represented by IUE (Local 227) instead of UE as previously.

August 7. Local 24411, Federal Brass Workers union, AFL is representing Bridgeport Brass Workers. 700 union members unanimously reject companys contract offer.

September. IUE members at General Electric vote against a nationwide strike order.

Workers at Columbia Records, members of Local 237, UE, walk out twice; in September, for two days, over a disagreement in pay rates for certain piece workers in new jobs in the press room; and in December, for 26 hours as a show of strength to press demands for a 10 to 15 cent an hour wage boost. Employees of Decca Records, members of Local 258, UE, walk out for one day in conjunction with Columbia workers, to obtain pay increases before a national wage freeze is invoked.

Dictaphone Employees Federal Union, AFL, Local 24760, defeats the UE and the CIO IUE in a National Labor Relations Board election. UE held bargaining rights at Dictaphone from 1946-1950.

October 17. Walter Reuther, national president of the CIO UAW union, speaks to 500 at Klein Memorial Auditorium.


1950 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 158,709

Peak year of Bridgeports population count in U.S. census.

Neighborhoods of Bridgeport greatly expand; growth of northern section of the City.


1950 LN
September 24: Recovering dramatically from a 1.2 million dollar loss sustained in 1949, Bridgeport Brass this year has every month broken all production and profit records. Bridgeport's second largest industry is today thriving on an almost entire peacetime production menu, employing 5300 in 2 giant plants operating on 3 shifts 5 days a week. The only dark cloud in the picture is that copper is becoming scarce and may hamper production. Like most other industries, a year ago Bridgeport Brass was the victim of a market which virtually collapsed as consumers spread the word that prices were about to tumble 50-60%.

August 3l: Defense procurement contracts: $188,878 for Bridgeport (includes Sikorsky) manufacturers since the outbreak of hostilities in Korea on June 24. Between November 15 and December 6, 1950, Bridgeport manufacturers got $349,111 in orders for defense procurement contracts.

June 22, 1950: Despite the 5-month long strikes in the Bridgeport and Elizabethport, New Jersey plants, the Singer Manufacturing reported earnings of $284,072 during 1949.


1950 LN
1950-1955:  Businesses in Bridgeport including CASCO Products, Columbia Records, and the Acme Shear Company advertise in Puerto Rico for factory workers.


1950 LN
United States enters Korean War.

McCarran Internal Security Act requires registration of the Communist Party and its members and imposes many restrictions against both, though act claims Party membership per se not unlawful.

Senator Joseph McCarthy launches anti-Communist crusade.

CIO expels nine unions for alleged Communist domination.


1951 LN
February 7, 1951: Avco Manufacturing is taking over the former Chance Vought plant in Stratford. Avco will make aircraft engines for the Air Force. U.S. will own Avco plant.

Bullard Company employment office is kept open on Sunday due to the demand for skilled workers.


1951 LN
1951-1952: A series of articles in the Bridgeport Sunday Herald; first appearing on the 30th of December, outlines the "shocking conditions in which 2,700 Puerto Rican immigrants are living in Bridgeport tenements. Community problems with fair housing, health, and language difficulties are cited.


1951 LNH
UAW (CIO) has narrow victory in election to determine the bargaining agent for the production workers at AVCO.


1952 LNH
Work stoppages at Singer on 3 days including a sit-down strike on one day, over taking of time studies on jobs where standards have been established.

June 3, 1952. 850 Steel Workers at the Stanley Works start walking off their jobs following Philip Murrays order for a nationwide steel strike after the Supreme Court ruled President Trumans April seizure of the steel industry was illegal.


1952 LN
President Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected.

George Meany becomes president of the AFL and Walter Reuther becomes president of the CIO.

First U.S. hydrogen bomb exploded.


1952 LNH
Manning, Maxwell and Moore moves to Stratford, after nearly 75 years as a Bridgeport industrial operation (executive offices moved to Stratford from New York.)

3,500 workers at Bullard.

Bridgeport Sunday Herald exposure on the unacceptable living conditions for many members of Bridgeports Puerto Rican Community continues. Tenements on State Street, East Main Street, and Courtland Street are cited: 2,700 Puerto Ricans are packed into sub-standard, dilapidated Bridgeport tenements.


1953 LN
Stalin dies.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, are executed in spite of world wide protest.

July 25. U.S. Congress gives Puerto Rico Commonwealth status.


1953 LN
Warner Company buys factory in Puerto Rico to make bras.


1953 LN
1953-1954: Bridgeport Brass Company builds $2.5 million dollar tube mill.


1953 LNH
October 18. Barring a last minute move, 750 Dictaphone employees will strike tomorrow. John G. Charters, president of Local 24760, Dictaphone Employees Federal union, AFL. Unresolved issues; wages, pensions, arbitration, group insurance, and seniority.

800 workers, members of Local 210, International Jewelry Workers, AFL, strike at Manning, Maxwell and Moore) for 51 days over contract language referring to time-study and grievance procedures.

8 cents an hour wage increase to 700 members of Local 665, Laborers and Hod Carriers union, AFL, ends a 6-week strike which halts work on major construction projects here. Almost 1500 carpenters, electricians and painters refuse to cross picket lines.


1954 LN
November 11. Avco lays off 200 as jet order is cut.

February 14. Bridgeport Brass Company tomorrow will take over the mammoth aluminum plant in Adrian, Michigan, recently leased from the Air Force.

More unemployment in Bridgeport than a year ago. Avco, Singer, Underwood and others have laid off several hundred employees.


1954 LN
Supreme Court prohibits racial segregation in schools in Brown v. Board of Education.

December. Senator Joe McCarthy censured by Senate.

H.O. Canfield Company has large number of Puerto Rican workers on its payroll. The Company sends 10 foreman to a special language course at the University of Bridgeport.


1955 LN
AFL & CIO merge with George Meany as first president, UMWA.

Montgomery bus boycott begins.


1955 LN
February 1955. Bullard income hits record high.

Sikorsky opens plant in Stratford.

5,000-7,000 Puerto Ricans are living in Bridgeport.


1955 LNH
Four sit-downs in Singer departments by members of Local 227 IUE-CIO, over company "policing of jobs.

Merger of AFL & CIO.

1955-1956
1100 members of Bryant Electric Company, Local 209, UE, strike for 154 days, the longest major strike in the citys history. It is part of national strike against Westinghouse over wages by IUE (at 30 plants) and UE (at 10 plants).


1956 LNH
4 day walkout at Bassick Company.

Singer fires Bert D. Gilden after he invokes the Fifth Amendment during a hearing on communism before a sub-committee of the House Un-American Activities committee in New Haven in 1956.

Two years later, an arbitrator rules in favor of Gilden, ordering Singer to pay him back pay up to the time he would have been laid off (3 months), and to rehire him when those laid off are called back. Bert and Katya Gilden later wrote BETWEEN THE HILLS AND THE SEA, about labor and politics in Bridgeport 1946-1956.


1956 LN
President Dwight D. Eisenhower is reelected.

East coast Longshoremen's Strike.


1957 LN
Civil Rights Act (first since Reconstruction).

Supreme Court's Yates decision ends Smith Act conviction. Court says "organize" means only the initial act of reconstituting the party in 1945; and to be a crime the advocator must be urging action rather than simply urging belief.

Little Rock school desegregation crisis.

Soviet Union launches Sputnik.

AFL-CIO expels Teamsters, Bakery Workers, and Laundry Workers for corruption.


1957 LN
February 1957:  Northeastern Steel (formerly Stanley Works) files for bankruptcy. In July, citing poor market conditions, firm lays off 200 people. It is then acquired by Carpenter Steel Co. of Reading, Pa.

United Illuminating's Harbor Station is dedicated.

Connecticut changes from majority manufacturing to majority non-manufacturing economy. 10 years ago, factory workers outnumbered non-manufacturing workers by 30,000. Now there are about 70,000 more non-manufacturing than manufacturing.

Connecticut, which benefits from the highest per capita defense spending by the federal government of any state, is heavily dependent on defense contracts, particularly in aircraft, to bolster its sagging manufacturing employment levels.

November. Mayor Jasper McLevy loses election after 24 years in office. Democrat Sam Tedesco.


1958 LN
January 9. Dictaphone receives $2 million order from Civil Aeronautics authority for recording machines.

April 1958. Bullard to work four-day week.

Connecticut Turnpike opens to traffic from Greenwich to New Haven.


1958 LN
March 1959:  400 employees of American Chain and Cable will be laid off as a result of closing of firm's razor and razor blade manufacturing operation. Will still be 500 employed.

May 28:  Bridgeport Brass will sell its East Main Street plant and rent back space for some operations.

May 10:  Sikorsky 150 salaried laid off; 200 earlier. Production workers had dropped from 11,000 to 8,500 in the past year.

Re-employment lags as jobs vanish with spread of automation; the business recession in the U.S. may be about over, but unemployment hasn't melted fast enough in an economy once again moving into high gear.


1958 LNH
New contract signed at Bridgeport Brass; union gets little of what it wanted; company says it would be forced to close its 2 Bridgeport plants if accedes to union demands.

Nearly 1000 union employees of Avco Lycoming walk off their jobs for a half day in protest of companys action against 2 stewards.


1959 LNH
April 9-May 3; Local 227, IUE strikes for 3 weeks at Singer.

October 2. Nearly 2000 production workers strike at Bridgeport Brass.

720 Bassick workers, members of Local 229, International Union of Electrical Workers, strike (beginning September 28).


1959 LN
Landrum-Griffin Act follows investigations of union corruption.

Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba.

Steel strike.


1960 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 156,748


1960 LN
January 5: Bridgeport Brass buys plant in Ohio.

March 4: Bridgeport Brass and Avco cancel first shift for one day.

March 21: Bridgeport Brass will close Michigan plant on April 30 because of drastic cutbacks in military aircraft production for the US Air Force.

Singer gets $900,000 Navy contract for ejector bomb racks.


1960 LN
Sit-ins against segregation begin in Greensboro, North Carolina.

President John F. Kennedy is elected.

Second Civil Rights Act.


1960 LNH
UAW Local 877 strikes for 3 months at Sikorsky, part of a strike of 2 unions against 7 plants of the United Aircraft Corporation. Local 877 returns to work after many skilled workers return to their jobs, and threat of decertification. Two months later, workers oust UAW as bargaining agent at Sikorsky plants.

IUE strikes at General Electric 3 weeks, gaining 3% wage increase but no cost of living escalator clause.


1961 LNH
Teamsters win certification election at Sikorsky against Independent Aircraft Guild. It was the first time that Teamsters win a leading aircraft producer. (In 1963, the Teamsters number slightly more than 500 out of 5,000 Sikorsky workers; the United Auto Workers Local 877 once held 2,500 of the Sikorsky people as members.) September 6, 1961.

John J. Driscoll, executive secretary of Connecticut State Labor Council and sub-regional director of UAW, succeeds Mitchell Sviridoff as head of Ct. State Labor Council.

350 workers at Manning, Maxwell and Moore in Stratford, members of 210, International Jewelry Workers, AFL, strike unsuccessfully for 21 days, over pay and contract wording. Two months later, Local 210 president Peter Iannuzzi is held in contempt for failing to produce financial records of the local.


1961 LN
Bay of Pigs invasion.

Berlin Wall erected.

Peace Corps founded.


1961 LN
June: Bridgeport Brass loses its independent status, becomes division of National Distillers and Chemical Corporation.


1962 LN
Warner's opens factory in Ireland. Has 19 plants and warehouses in US., one in France, one in Puerto Rico, and one in Quebec.

March 23: United Illuminating and Connecticuts other major utilities are studying the possibility of building a nuclear electric generating plant in Connecticut.

Singer goes into electronic field; acquires Panamoric Electronics of New York and moves it to Bridgeport; changes name of Bridgeport plant to Singer Metrics.


1962 LN
President Kennedy's Executive Order giving federal employee's unions the right to bargain with government agencies.

Cuban missile crisis.

East Coast Longshoremen's strike.


1962 LNH
Teamsters win certification at Manning, Maxwell and Moore. Teamsters Local 145 wins three-year contract at Manning Maxwell and Moore, including union shop clause, for 550 production-maintenance employees. (Greatly improved over old contract.)

UAW places Avco Local 1010 under administator after it investigates 4 officials on financial charges.


1963 LNH
24-hour wildcat strike at Avco. Union membership at Avco increased from 1970 members in 1950 to 3705 in 1963.

Columbia Records lays of employees.

2 former union officials, Peter Iannuzzi and William DeFrancesco of Local 210, International Jewelry Workers union, at Manning Maxwell and Moore in Stratford, go to prison for six months (the first case of the Landrum-Griffin labor reporting act in CT).

November 4, 1963: Local 4818 USW strikes American Chain and Cable, and USW locals strike eight other company plants in six cities in the nation. 3000 represented by USW in all nine plants. Talks collapse over issue of extended vacations.


1963 LN
Equal Pay Act prohibits wage discrimination because of sex.

Civil Rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama.
Birmingham Baptist Church bombed.

March on Washington.

Nuclear test-ban treaty between the Soviet Union and the US.

President John F. Kennedy assassinated. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President.


1963 LN
March 24:  Connecticut Department of Labor; in February, 56,940 non-manufacturing workers in Bridgeport area (21,000 in trade businesses and 12,660 in services), only 10,000 of those in unions. Those likely to be already unionized are the 4,170 construction workers, the 2,390 communications workers, and the 3,070 transportation workers.

August 24: 200 to be laid off at Sikorsky.

October 4:   Expansion of existing firms and new industries beginning in Bridgeport. An industrial expansion program estimated at more than $30,000,000 and an industrial employment gain of 6,000 jobs during the past year.

Bridgeport Brass Company found guilty of price fixing, along with other brass and copper firms. Company officer Richard L. Allen, vice-president and assistant general manager of the company pleaded no contest.

March 7:  National Distillers etc. is shifting offices and research labs from Macedon, New York to former facilities of Bridgeport Brass on Crescent Street in Bridgeport.


1964 LN
Called best year for profits at Warner


1964 LN
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Medicare established.


1964 LNH
May 12: 800 production employees, members of Local 227, IUE strike at Singer Manufacturing Company-Metrics Division over downgrading of some employees, pay cutbacks, and ignoring seniority. The workers return to their jobs May 18 to comply with a court order.

Close to 400 press and machine shop employees at Bassick walk off their jobs in solidarity with an employee who refused to perform a job which he considered too dangerous, and was given a 3 day suspension. (2 men died at Bassick in a fire in the metal hardening department 5 months earlier).

More than 500 Teamsters in Local 145 at Manning, Maxwell and Moore strike to support 10 draftsmen, also members of the union, in their efforts to reach a contract with management. A day later, the production and maintenance workers return in accordance with a court order barring them from participating in the draftsmens strike; but the next day, they walk out again after 35 Teamster union members, most of them shop stewards, are fired. The following day a contract is reached between the 10 draftsmen and management, and the company agrees to reinstate those fired in 11 days.

One week strike in April at Avco; Local 1010 (4100 production workers) and Local 376 (100 hourly paid office and technical employees). 25 arrested on first day. The state totaled 85 charges of disorderly conduct against picketers April 6-9. (Workers at Avco also walk out for 24 hours in January and again in September).

1600 members of Brass Workers Federal Labor Union, Local 24411, win union shop in new 3-year agreement.

United Illuminating: 11 day strike of 840 members, 300 in Bridgeport results in improved benefits and small wage increases.


1965 LNH
Pacifists from National and New England Committee for Non-Violent Action protest at Sikorsky against the use of helicopters in Vietnam; 7 are arrested at sit-down at main gate after 28-hour vigil. Judgement is suspended against them.

December 5. Avco Lycoming gets injunction against wildcat strikes; since May 12, 1964, 8 wildcats.

14 day Bassick strike by Local 229 results in gains in wages, vacations, holidays, and medical payments.

For the first time since World War II, women are back on the production lines at the Bullard Company.


1965 LN
Voting Rights Act, after voting rights drive and Selma to Montgomery march, outlaws impediments to black voting and empower Attorney General to supervise federal elections in 7 southern states where whites kept blacks off voting rolls.


1965 LN
1965-1967:  Race riots in Watts, Newark, Detroit and 19 other cities.


1965 LN
February 1965: Bullard hikes profit 46%.

June 14, 1965: One million dollar renovation of Bryant Electric plant.

American Chain and Cable will build $2 million Shelton Plant.

Singer Company's Metrics Division in Bridgeport ends sewing machine production, where 400 were employed; continues in electronics and instrument production (800 are employed in those divisions).


1966 LN
Vietnam War brings Sikorsky more than $209 million worth of business in this year.

July 21, 1966. Dresser Industries drops name of Manning, Maxwell and Moore after 85 years.


1966 LNH
Skilled GE workers walk out for one day return to plant after 1 day walkout over companys failure to recognize grievances on pay scales and fringe benefits.

Roofers of Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties in Local 12, United Slate, Tile and Composition Roofers, Damp and Waterproof Workers, strike for 52 days.

January 28: 1 day strike after Avco suspends union steward, then 4 union officers resign, one saying he is conflicted between loyalty to union members and to servicemen in Vietnam.

August 12:  Wildcat strike; 14 suspended for week.

1000 UI workers in Bridgeport and New Haven, members of the Federation of Utility Employees, an affiliate of the Utility Workers Union of America, strike for 4 weeks, resulting in improved wages and benefits.

1500 workers at Bridgeport Brass walk off job for 2 days in dispute with company over interpretation of an arbitration ruling.


1967 LNH
April 16: Avco strike begins by both locals 1010 and 376; Federal judge issues restraining order to stop strike; on April 25 he grants request of government for Taft Hartley injunction 80 day cooling off period.

July 2: new contract approved; average hourly wages increase of 53 cents an hour over a 3 year period. Presently, $2.29 an hour minimum and $3.63 an hour maximum. Negotiations shifted to Washington and in final days Walter Reuther UAW President and James Kerr, Avco President entered the talks. 6%, 5.5%, and 5.5% (wage increases over each of the 3 years). 4 months later, one day walkout at Avco.


1967 LN
March 17:  Brassco ending use of East Main Street plant; will consolidate some of the operations there in its Housatonic Avenue complex.

299 employees will be terminated over next 3-4 months as some of Tire Valve operations are phased out at Bridgeport and moved to a new plant in Virginia.

Record profits for Bridgeport Brass this year.

May 6:  Bridgeport Brass has laid off about 200 production workers and Sikorsky Aircraft is planning 100-200 layoffs by June 1.


1968 LN
A peak year of employment.

Dictaphone will expand Railroad Avenue plant.

Remington buys land in Little Rock, Arkansas to build plant.

October 13: Bassick announces it will expand in Spring Valley, Illinois because of high taxes and shortage of skilled labor in Bridgeport over past three years.

Warners changes name to Warnaco.

Carpenter Steel changes name to Carpenter Technology.


1968 LN
Assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

United Auto Workers union leaves AFL-CIO, charging it adheres blindly to cold war politics.

Richard M. Nixon is elected President of the U.S.


1968 LNH
June 22: Avco; a rash of unauthorized walkouts on second and third shifts Thursday night by about 2,000 members of Local 1010 UAW; over the use of time clocks not being synchronized with the master clock, and being docked if ending work according to master clock.

After Bullard recorded its highest profits in 10 years in 1967, it is acquired in 1968 by White Consolidated Industries. Although five previous efforts in the past ten years to unionize Bullard failed, when the new owners engage in extensive firing, for the first time in the Bullard Companys 88 year history workers vote to unionize. The majority of the 880 foundry, production and maintenance workers vote to be represented by the United Steel Workers.

657 members of United Steel Workers Local 2215 strike at Carpenter Steel for six weeks, with a compromise result on the key issue of seniority.

November 25,1968:  617 Bassick employees go on strike. Issues include pension improvements.

The responsibility of labor leaders in ending discrimination and poverty was underscored at a forum on labor's role in the war on poverty sponsored by the Greater Bridgeport Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Vincent J. Sirabella, president of the New Haven Central Labor Council and a staff member Community Progress, Inc., New Haven's anti-poverty agency, was the main speaker.


1969 LNH
26-day strike by 1100 carpenters, members of Locals 115, 647, 1013, 1520, and 1580 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, against the Associated General Contractors of Bridgeport. The 5 locals are represented by the Carpenters District Council of Bridgeport and Vicinity. The resulting contract raises their pay from $5.30 an hour to $8.15 an hour by 1971.

September 8-16: Strike of 70 drivers in Teamsters Local 1040 halts deliveries of 4 Bridgeport area wholesale liquor firms.

July 10: Walkout by 250 skilled workers at GE.

Teamsters Local 1150, representing about 5,000 Sikorsky production and maintenance employees (out of total workforce of 10,000), ratifies contract with average wage increase of $1 an hour by 1972.

Racial discrimination suit filed by James Hyatt of New Haven against against Sikorsky.
Bridgeport Federation of Teachers forms. (Bridgeport Education Association represents teachers, principals, and school administrators).

1969-1970
3-month GE strike by production and maintenance workers, IUE Local 203, and UE power plant employees, joining nation-wide strike for higher wages and cost of living protection.


1969 LN
Apollo 11 moon landing


1969 LN
United Illuminating is the number 1 tax payer in Bridgeport.

Greater Bridgeport Labor Council opposes proposal for a Bridgeport city payroll tax because it hurts poorest the most and leaves the rich alone. GBLC also supports strikes by GE workers.

August 5:  Avco Lycoming says will probably lower total work force from its present peak level of 9,000 in the next year. 1,000 already left by attrition. Reason: Army requirements have already been fulfilled.

September 19:  Members of American Independent Movement distribute Jobs in Danger leaflets at Avco. Will organize workers to back the UAW Teamsters "Project Cutback;" union representatives will go to Washington to talk with CT congress people about cutbacks.

Navy awards 3 contracts to Sikorsky for $30 million.


1969 LN
Sikorsky lays off 4,000 workers, decreasing workforce from 10,500 to 6,500.


1970 LN
January 13:  Avco gets order for 1.4 million.
January 15: 380 will be laid off at Avco Lycoming in next 3 weeks.

Labor leaders meet in Hartford to offer legislative committee ideas as to how economic conversion from wartime to peacetime production can be accomplished without loss of jobs; one plan is for CO's to set aside 25% of profits after taxes for retraining workers and to aid their families in case of a layoff.

March 11:  Avco Lycoming to cut work force by 550 in next 3 weeks. Will bring to 930 the number of laid off hourly, engineering, and salaried workers since first of the year. On January 1 the plan employed 8500 workers. Layoffs have reduced this total to 7,700. Declining business and lessening of military need for gas turbine engines.

October 23:  Some 175 production and support employees will be laid off at Avco Lycoming division in Stratford by the end of November and a 10% reduction in the work force at the Bullard Company (total now is 1,300 workers) has taken place within the past 3 months, it was learned today.

Singer closes its Bridgeport manufacturing division, ending 250 jobs.

December 18: Three more Bridgeport area manufacturing plants will furlough 1,123 workers for varying lengths of time; Remington Rand Shaver division; Dictaphone; Warnaco Packaging; Locke Manufacturing, Bridgeport Machines division of Textron and GE.


1970 LN
February 6, 1971. 300 laid off at Remington since Christmas. Military ammo section has been phased out, and moved to government owned plant in Missouri.

Bullard Company closes foundry, laying off 150 workers.


1970 LNH
3 week strike of 650 production and maintenance employees at Dictaphone, Local 24760, Federal Labor Union, AFL-CIO. First strike in 15 years at Dictaphone results in wage increases and benefits.

3,800 members of Local 1010 UAW, strike at Avco Lycoming for 9 weeks (and 500 technicians in local 376 for 8 weeks). They gain 17% pay increase over 3 years, improved benefits.

Bridgeport has the highest number of idle "man-days" due to work stoppage during 1970 of any Connecticut city. The city lost 239,800 man-days during 16 labor disputes involving 7,100 workers.

Greater Bridgeport Labor Council supports grape boycott of the United Farm Workers. Mrs. Michael Vasquez is, with her husband, directing the boycott drive here in Bridgeport. The Vasquez's came here after organizing a boycott effort in Hartford. Both took part in original strike organized by Chavez.

10 week strike or lockout of 179 drivers, salesmen and merchandising employees of Local 1040 Teamsters at 4 major Bridgeport area soda bottling firms.


1970 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 156,542


1970 LN
President Nixon sends Army and Navy troops into NY Post Office to handle the mail during postal workers strike.

Congress passes the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

U.S. invades Cambodia.


1971 LNH
State mediation board decides company has a right to require its drivers to be beardless.

February 26, 1971. John J. Driscoll of Bridgeport, president of the State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, urges labor to reject Governor Thomas Meskill's proposal for a 7% sales tax, and instead to back enactment of a graduated state personal income tax and reduction of sales tax to 4%.

Fred J. Roberto of Bridgeport, the head of Fairfield county over-the-road Teamsters, is one of four union officials indicted by a Federal grand jury in connection with embezzlement of union funds. Top officers of 3 other Bridgeport based Teamsters locals were among 22 past or present officers of teamster Join Council No. 64 who were named as co-conspirators but no co-defendants.

Most city trade workers accept wage freeze. City workers will remain frozen while workers on the outside move up on the basis of new contracts in coming years. City pay will become unfrozen after it represents 85% of outside scale.

December 1. Constantine Pietrini, secretary treasurer of Local 1398 of the International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO: 90 longshoremen at the Bridgeport and New Haven docks. ILA, AFL-CIO from Maine to Texas is under Taft-Hartley back to work orders obtained by President Nixon pending the outcome of government requests for an 80 days cooling off injunction.


1972 LNH
9 week strike of 1,700 American Chain and Cable workers in Bridgeport and plants in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Carpenters District Council 9 week strike against Bridgeport Contractor's Association leads to wage boost of 30 cents an hour to $8.45 plus improved benefits amounting to 44 cents an hour.

70 anti-war demonstrators, including some laid off Sikorsky employees, try to make citizen arrests of top executives of United Aircraft, whom they charge with crimes against humanity. Some protestors are fined $25.00 while others are given suspended 10 day jail sentences.


1972 LN
After having laid off workers in 1971, Avco gets a $5.6 million in contracts from Navy and Air Force. Sikorsky receives $27 million contracts from the government.

Dictaphone Corporation closes its Scully Recording Division on Bunnell Street and moves 121 jobs from Bridgeport to Mountain view, California.

Bassick invests $1.5 million in upgrading Bridgeport facilities.

October 15. The manufacturing industry, chief source of jobs in Bridgeport, accounted for 42.5% of the 63,350 persons employed in 1970.

GE announces that it is closing 2 of its 3 housewares lines. GE also announces that its hair dryer division would end in 1974 and production move to Ashboro, North Carolina.

Mr. Santoianni, president of Local 203, IUE took exception to GE's statement that all of the 400 persons laid off last March with the phasing out of fans and heaters divisions have been absorbed by the plant. "We still have at least 250 people affected by that layoff, who have never been returned to work in any division of GE-and it might be more than that."

May 1, 1972. 100 laid off at Remington.

Other reported layoffs:

  • Singer Metrics employed more than 600 persons before it closed shop.
     
  • Heppenstall Company announced closing of its plant, 200 employees discharged with 100 to be terminated in future.
     
  • Sikorsky employment dropped from 1968 peak of 10,500 to 6,500.
     
  • Remington Arms: job total from 3,000 in late 60's to 1,800, including those switched to the Arkansas Plant.
     
July 12. Bridgeport has been hard hit by unemployment because of the many defense-related factories in the area.

Cutbacks in military spending resulting from the winding down of the Vietnam war hurt both Avco Lycoming and Sikorsky Aircraft. (link)


1972 LN
President Nixon is re-elected. Visits China.


1973 LN
United Farm Workers, led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, is chartered by the AFL-CIO.

Arab oil embargo.


1973 LNH
25 day strike at ASCO Wire and Cable Company by United Steel Workers of America Local 14469 leads to wage increase and improved fringe benefits.

May 12, 1973. 50 workers at Dee-Vee Footwear Manufacturing Company are negotiating for first labor contract. Local 209 of United, Electrical Radio and Machine Workers.

Almost 350 members of Local 173, Plumbers and Steamfitters union, strike over contract language.

400 Teamster milk drivers and dairy workers (Locals 145 and 677) in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Waterbury, and Danbury strike for 3 days, resulting in wage increases and contract language changes.

1970 in Local 1010 UAW strike at Avco, joined by 200 office, technical and professional workers one week later. Result after 6 week strike; 5% raise each of 3 years and fringe benefits.


1974 LNH
1,000 out of 1,200 teachers, members of Bridgeport Education Association, walk out and picket schools for one day moratorium in protests over recommended 1974-75 school budget; it would not provide expanded educational services. 12 teachers, members of the BEA executive board, suspended for 2 weeks by Board of Education, and fined $100 each and given 30 day suspended jail sentences by Superior Court judge for violating a court order. Parents joined in protesting their suspension.

Holiday Inn strike, Local 217, H.E.R.E. (Hotel and Restaurant Employees).

May 17. Black employee sues Avco Lycoming and Local 1010 for not fighting company's racially discriminatory policy in hiring and job promotions. John M. Fernandez, was a 20-year employee of Avco-Lycoming, and civil rights organizer of the now defunct Negro American Labor Council.

November 7. Members of Local 209 ( Bryant Electric ) rally at Federal Courthouse for federal government to save jobs and curb inflation.


1974 LN
1,100 in Bridgeport Brass union. Business dips, 200 at Bridgeport Brass placed on 4-day work week. The GE company also reports layoffs and furloughs for workers. Bryant Electric and Harvey Hubbell also have laid off substantial numbers of workers.

Remington's earnings slip.

General Electric moves corporate headquarters from New York to Fairfield, Connecticut. G.E. also lays off 150, gives furloughs to 1,250 workers.

Layoffs occur at Bridgeport Brass, Harvey Hubbell, Bryant Electric, General Electric, and other companies.


1974 LN
President Nixon resigns after Watergate Scandal. Vice President Ford takes over as President.

Congress passes the Employment Retirement Income Security Act regulating all private pension plans.


1975 LN

Bridgeport Brass lays off 400 employees, gives furloughs to other employees.

Carpenter Steel lays off 70, with furloughs workers.

November 21, 1975. Albert Cioffari, president of local 209, UE, charges that the Westinghouse Corporation is expanding manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico instead of hiring laid off Bryant Electric Workers.

November 15, 1975. Remington 1975 earnings rise 75% from last year's second quarter to this year's.

Avco Lycoming gets contract for helicopter engines for Iran. Earnings in sharp upturn.

United Aircraft changes its name to United Technologies. Subsidiaries include Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, Norden and Hamilton-Standard in Connecticut.


1975 LNH
Albert Cioffari, president of Local 209, UE at Bryant Electric, says his 700 member union will take their fight for no increase in gas rates to the public. Southern Connecticut Gas Company seeking 28% rate hike. Last year he started a campaign against United Illuminating fuel cost adjustment-members distributed leaflets and petitioned the public at area shopping centers.

800 members of USWA local 7428 at Bullard strike for 6 weeks, unsuccessfully trying to get a cost of living escalator. They figured they lost 72 cents in wages in the last 3 years through the rise in the cost of living. This is the first strike in the 95 year history of Bullard in Bridgeport.

540 striking Jenkins Brothers employees, members of USW Local 5623, began June 16; in its 25th day on July 10. They are seeking better wages and fringe benefits, and cost-of-living protection.

One day job action at GE by members of IUE; cause: arbitrary management practices such as unjustified discharges, threatening and abusive language by supervisors, discriminatory practices in the worker's locker area and harassment.

May 1. 15 teachers laid off. Parents and students picket in front of Black Rock School. The laid off teachers sit in School Board's city hall offices for 5 days, and then file charges against the Board of Education in Bridgeport Superior Court. January 30, 1976: judge rules against teachers.

March 25. Dictaphone employees Federal Labor Union votes to work a 4-day week rather than have 20% of its members laid off. 365 member Local 24760.

3,500 Sikorsky hourly employees get cost of living adjustment of 17 cents an hour; now earn an average of $5.45/hour.

Federal court awards former Avco employee Michael Holodnak back pay and $20,000 in legal fees. Avco had fired Holodnak in 1969 after he wrote an article on labor-management relations and the decline of union militancy at Avco for the New Haven newsletter of the American Independent Movement. The decision supports an employee's freedom of speech to publicly criticize an employer.


1976 LNH
April 16. Avco workers agree on 3 year contract. Averting what might have been the fifth strike to hit Avco Lycoming division since 1964. Contract provides for 21% wage increase over the 3 years.

The National Association of Government Employees is created out of a split in the General City Employee Local 1522, union of Bridgeport's city government employees.

700 Bryant Electric employees represented by Local 209 of UE join nationwide strike against Westinghouse by IBEW, IUE and UE, over pay and contract wording; lasts two days.

Suit charges that Sikorsky discriminates against older employees.
 
1976-1977
18 week strike by food service workers, members of Local 217, Hotel and Restaurant workers, against 3030 Park Avenue retirement home and the Stouffer Good Service Corporation.


1976 LN
Bryant Electric hiring 78 as construction builds up.


1976 LN
President Jimmy Carter is elected.


1977 LN
Despite record sales in the Dictaphone Corporations dictation equipment division which is based in Bridgeport, the company says that manufacturing costs in Bridgeport are still too high.

Dictaphone rejects joint aid proposal by the City of Bridgeport and the Connecticut Commerce Department, and announces its dictation equipment manufacturing over the next several months will move from Howard Avenue to a new plant site in Melbourne, Florida.

Bridgeport Brass has begun a realignment of its manufacturing in brass mills in Bridgeport, Seymour and Indianapolis.

August 1, 1977. Bridgeport Brass says it may shut down its mill.


1977 LNH
January 13, 1977. Nearly 90 percent of the 400 Bassick hourly employees stay off their jobs for one day protesting suspension of the president of union, Joseph Carvalko, president of Local 229, IUE for 12 years, for not wearing safety glasses.

Greater Bridgeport Labor Council's 6 week job development course places 150 in first year, many of them previously unemployed, in area machine shops and manufacturing firms. Bridgeport Manpower Consortium will continue funding with a grant from CETA.

September 28, 1977. Striking carpenters have been offered a new wage agreement with a 40 hour week by the Associated General Contractors of Bridgeport. 

June 13. Unionized Dictaphone workers yesterday stepped up their campaign to save the jobs of American workers threatened by foreign competition by voting to ask state and national AFL-CIO labor leaders to lobby for higher tariffs on foreign imports, and urging the repeal of tax credits for American companies doing business overseas.

September 12. Union O.K.'s survival package to keep Bridgeport Brass from closing; 3 year moratorium on wage increases; and other concessions.


1978 LNH
Bridgeport teachers strike for 19 days; 270 Bridgeport teachers are jailed. The issue was pay and whether specialists such as art and music teachers should be hired for elementary schools.

435 members of Local 5623, USWA at Jenkins Valves strike for 173 days, the longest in the company's 114 year history.

Teachers,-150dpi.jpg


1978 LNH
1978-1985:  Wave of plant closings and concessions bargaining.


1979 LN
Strike by Independent Truckers.


1979 LN
October:  Sikorsky lays off 140 workers.


1980 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 142,546


1980 LN
The 37 acre Bridgeport Brass plant closes down in October 1980 and 650 employees are fired. National Distillers says the plant closed because of the high cost of utilities, rising and uncontrollable costs of supplies and services, and an old insufficient plant.


1980 LN
Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States of America.


1981 LN
Air traffic controller's strike; President Reagan fires most of the nations air traffic controllers for striking illegally.


1981 LN
1981-1982:  Unemployment rises to 9.5 percent, the highest unemployment since before World War II.


1982 LNH
Local 1010 UAW at Avco settled before a strike deadline but honored picket lines in a one-day walkout by Local 367, UAW, the Avco technical and clerical workers.
 


1984 LN
December 3:  Avco agrees to a merger with Textron. Textron is also the parent of Bridgeport Machines and Sprague Meter.

June 28. Three top executives of Jenkins Brothers will take over and operate the 120-year-old company, under an 8.9 million leveraged buy-out approved by shareholders. Reduced the company's workforce from 570 to 270 in June 1983.

July 22, 1984. In 1933, DuPont bought 70% of Remington Arms' stock. In 1980, DuPont bought the remaining 30%. In middle of next year, Remington Arms corporate headquarters will move from Stratford to Wilmington, Delaware. Remington's 700-750 employees both in corporate positions and in the plant will be reduced to 300 in 1985. Some people will be transferred to plants in Ark


1985 LN
January 29. National Distillers and Chemical Corporation wrote off Bridgeport Brass; took a fourth quarter of 1984 write-off of $2.5 million for the disposal of Bridgeport Brass and the petroleum refining and marketing operations of the Suburban Propane Gas division. All that remains locally of the former gas makers is the Seymour plant.

November 11, 1985. Frank Bisogno, president of the Machine and Office Workers Union, said in 1983 that Remington employed about 1100 workers in Bridgeport; now it is down to 250. In 1984 shotgun shell manufacturing division moved to Lonoke, AK, and last September management staff moved to Wilmington, Del. Remington Arms said Monday it will sell its abrasive products division on Barnum Avenue. Bisogno said about 90 jobs are at stake, but the company said the number is 30.


1985 LN
1985-1986:  October 9, 1985, Bullard says it will close over the next year, through June. The least modern of its facilities, and a slump in the domestic machine tool industry because of pressure from imports. Bullard also has plants in Illinois, Cincinnati, Maine, and Birmingham, England.


1985 LNH
May 31, one of two UAW locals that struck at Avco Lycoming Corporation reached a tentative contract agreement. Joseph Cuici, president of UAW Local 1010 which represents 2100 production workers. UAW Local. 376 represents 250 technical and clerical employees at the gas turbine engine plant, still on strike.


1986 LNH
April 13, 1986. More than 400 workers, union leaders, politicians, and others march for jobs, to call attention to the threat of Bryant Electric closing and protest hiring practices at the city's only major hotel; Days Inn took over the former Sheraton Bridgeport and has since hired 25 of the 140 former Sheraton workers. The march, sponsored by Coalition for Bridgeport Jobs, "had all the markings of a 1930's style union rally. July 8: Local 1150 of the Teamsters is trying to organize the hourly workforce at Bridgeport Machines. Election scheduled Thursday.


1986 LN
Warnaco bought out by Andrew Galef and Linda J. Wachner of WAC, W. Acquisition Corp., established for purposes of acquiring Warnaco.

July 8. Textron sold Bridgeport Machines last week, after 18 years of ownership. Bridgeport Machines went independent. Bridgeport machines also laid off 60 workers last Thursday. Bridgeport Machines has 2,500 employees worldwide, including plants in Singapore and Great Britain.

June 7. Since 1982, Jenkins Brothers work force has declined from 800 people to less than 200 people.


1986 LN
In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Supreme Court finds that sexual harassment in the workplace which leads to a hostile work environment or loss of employment, may constitute discrimination.


1987 LNH
April 23: Building construction site for L'Ambiance Plaza building collapses. Twenty-eight construction workers are killed.


1988 LN
August 10:  Jenkins Brothers, the industrial valve manufacturer based in the city for the past 123 years, will close its 510 Main in the city by early 1988, but about 30 executive office employees will remain in Bridgeport. At its peak in the early 1980's, Jenkins had about 700 employees. There have been periodic layoffs over the past five years, which the company said reflected the effects of foreign competition and years of insufficient investment in plant modernization.

Carpenter Steel Company, based in Reading, Pa. announced that the Bridgeport plant would close in 18 months due to a demand for its steel products and the effects of foreign competition.

April 17:  Dictaphone moved one step closer to merging its Bridgeport, Milford and Rye, NY offices into a new corporate headquarters in Stratford by applying for a local tax abatement. About 330 company employees, including 165 from the accounting and data processing facility in Bridgeport, will move into the new facility.

An estimated 6,858 jobs were lost in the southwestern Connecticut area during 1987 and more are expected to be lost.

The decline of manufacturing locally is being attributed to a shortage of skilled labor, high energy prices, high taxes and the spiraling cost of real estate, according to a survey conducted by the Southwestern Area Commerce and Industry Association of Connecticut, Inc.


1988 LN
Bryant Electric, located in Bridgeport for 97 years, announced last January that it will close its plant later this year, putting 450 people out of work.

Sprague Meter moved its gas meter manufacturing operations out of Bridgeport last year, putting 130 people out of work, although it kept 40 employees who hold sales, marketing and engineering jobs.

Westinghouse Electric Corporation closes Bryant Electric in Bridgeport. Local 209 of UE represented 400 employees in April 1987, and there were 50 non-union employees. Will move to North Carolina, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

May 25. Bassick, with 275 employees in Bridgeport, will close within a year, due to foreign competition and high costs in the Northeast. Most of the company will move to El Paso, Texas (casters in the El Paso plant will be assembled in Mexico).

William H. Taft, Jr. president of the Manufacturer's Association of Southern Connecticut, said the closing of the Bassick plant in Bridgeport parallels the departure of other manufacturing firms such as Carpenter Technology, Bryant Electric and Bridgeport Brass, that faced high taxes, energy costs and financial difficulties.

January 17. Sikorsky announces the lay off of 66 last week, with possibly 1000 more this year. Last year, Sikorsky laid off 85 in February after 400 left through early retirement, attrition and layoff.


1989 LN
November 9, 1989:  Opening of the Berlin Wall.


1989 LNH
July 10: Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford Central Labor Councils merge into Fairfield County Labor Council. Brian Petronella becomes president of the council.


1990 LN
Population of Bridgeport: 141,686


1990 LN
1990-1991: Economic Recession


1991 LN
June 6, 1991:  Bridgeport, Connecticut becomes the first large city in the United States to file for municipal bankruptcy filing under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In a statement, Mayor Mary C. Moran said, "This action should assure long-term stability and fiscal restructuring that will afford much needed tax relief and provide the services our residents deserve."

The filing occurred the day before a Connecticut financial review board was to set a budget requiring an 18 percent property tax increase.

Mayor Mary Moran said she hoped to avoid the tax increase by using bankruptcy court to reorganize the city bureaucracy and break "onerous and economically burdensome" union contracts.

August 1, 1991:  Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Alan H. W. Shiff declared that the City of Bridgeport could not declare bankruptcy since it was not insolvent. Judge Shiff said that Bridgeport, the State's largest city, has no choice but to continue with the budget and the collective bargaining process.


1992 LN
January 1992, Democratic Mayor Joseph Ganim is sworn in as Mayor of the City of Bridgeport.

February 4, 1992, In a 15 to 3 vote, Bridgeport Common Council authorized Mayor Joseph P. Ganim to withdraw an appeal for City bankruptcy.


1992 LN
Bill Clinton is elected President of the United States


1993 LN
Congress passes the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which gives workers in companies with 50 or more employees to have up to 12 weeks a year unpaid leave for family and medical purposes.


1996 LN
Demolition of Bryant Electric building, West End of City.


1997 LN
May 30, 1997 Demolition of Jenkins Valve facility to make way for new baseball stadium to be built on the site.

West End Community Development Corporation demolishes the three-story Ives Toy Factory on Holland Avenue. Ives Manufacturing Company manufactured toys in Bridgeport from 1870 to 1932. Ives was best known for manufacturing toy trains. The factory was demolished so that the Bodine Corporation could expand its adjacent plant on Mountain Grove Street, part of the expansion of the West End Industrial Park.


1997 LNH
180,000 Teamsters, drivers for United Parcel Service strike, winning less part-time work and higher pay for part-timer.


1998 LN
May 21, 1998 First baseball game, Harbor Yard stadium.

Allied Signal holds auction of plant when the company decides to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona.

Harbour Place, a development plan for Steelpointe area of Bridgeport causes marina owners, a major oyster fishing operation, homes and businesses to be relocated or demolished to build a large shopping and entertainment center.


1999 LN
Building Chavez Bakery on former site of Bryant Electric. Warnaco moves out of South End location. Warnaco had been located in the South End of Bridgeport for 122 years, since 1877.

Funding commitment from Tennessee developer to assist developer Alex Conroy in building Harbour Place shopping and entertainment center.


1999 LN
Nature and Goals of Work:

The Voices of the Twentieth Century project interviewed men and women of varying backgrounds, ages, and vocations. Despite the differences in their stories, it became clear that these people often shared common experiences through work. On some level, the experience of working, whether as an entrepreneur, a volunteer, or an assembly line laborer, is a universal. Our interviewees often spoke of a general philosophy of work. They told us what working meant to them, how they approached it, what they had learned from it, and what they hoped to get out of it. These are just a few of their impressions of the working experience.


1999 LNH
Health care workers at Bridgeport nursing home facilities go on strike. Workers at Mariner Health and the Grant Street Health and Rehabilitation Center walked off their jobs to protest management's intention to cut salaries and benefits.


1900 LNH
Italian laborers working on railroad improvements in the western part of Bridgeport protested being forced to live in an old carriage shop considered crowded and unhealthy, with $1.25 per month being taken out of their pay for the accommodations.

The protest lead to an investigation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which together with an anonymous burning of the barracks leads to reform.


1903 LNH
May 1903. Trolley workers at the Connecticut Railway and Lighting Company went on strike, asking for a $2.25 per ten-hour day. On June 26, 1903, a mass meeting took place in Washington Park to support the strikers.

Building trades employers try to force workers to present a reference card from former employers in order to be hired. 415 carpenters, joiners, painters, and plumbers strike for 30 to 98 days, successfully opposing the use of reference cards as requirements for employment. Strikers believed that the contractors would use the reference cards to discriminate against union activists.


1905 LNH
Female Cartridge inspectors at Union Metallic Cartridge Company strike for 5 days, demanding increasing wages. They are fired from their jobs.

George Tillyou, manager of Steeplechase Island, refused to permit inspection by agent of the union for journeymen carpenters. The journeymen carpenters go on strike; they are fired and replaced.


1906 LNH
Theatrical stage employees at S.Z. Poli strike for increased wage rate of $2.00 per week. They are unsuccessful.

Building trades strike: May 1, 1906. 220 bricklayers, plasterers and stone masons, and 180 hod carriers, strike building contractors, demand higher wages, and for the 220, half holiday Saturdays. The strikes are unsettled after six months; the hod carriers find employment elsewhere.


1907 LNH
Skilled and unskilled workers at the American Tube and Stamping Company during two strikes bring workers together in solidarity. On May 18, 75 machinists, supported by 17 unskilled workers, strike for ½ day, successfully demanding a shorter work day (9 hours) with no decrease in wages. On July 16, 900 iron and steel workers, joined initially by at least 80 machinists, strike for a month, demand increased wages and the return of an alternating schedule. The unskilled workers are members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and a majority are Hungarian. After a month, the workers return with the alternating shift schedule restored but no wage increase. Bridgeport City Council raises wages for unskilled laborers and mechanics employed by the city to $1.75 per day from $1.50 per day. (Skilled labor employed by the City is paid $l5 to $18 per week). 1500 laborers on New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Co. in various parts of Connecticut strike for 20 days. They demand a pay increase from $1.50 per day to $1.75. Most workers in the State, including Bridgeport win 10 cents per day. NOTE: Bridgeport strike graphic


1909 LNH
Iron Molders at Bridgeport Malleable Iron Company strike for 4 days, demanding restoration of former piece prices and that helpers be supplied; unsuccessful.


1911 LNH
Bridgeport Teachers Association forms.


1913 LNH
Weavers at Salts Textile Manufacturing Company strike.


1917 LNH
3,404 workers strike in Bridgeport in 23 strikes. The largest strike involves 2,500 polishers and grinders at Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge who strike for 30 days, unsuccessfully objecting to women being employed at the same work and being paid less.

Due mostly to increased industrial demand, women took on jobs that were formerly considered only for men in war production, as well as other production and services.


1917 LNH
Bassick Company is formed from the consolidation of three companies; Burns and Bassick Company, Universal Caster Company, and M.B. Schenck Company, manufacturers of auto hardware, casters and furniture trimmings.

Bullard Machine Tool Co.

World War I: produced recoil mechanisms, .75 mm field guns, and aircraft parts for the French.

World War I: Albert and Henkels Lace Company is sold through the Alien Property Custodian American Fabrics Company.

World War I: Bridgeport Projectile Company, built and owned by Germany, is taken over by the U.S. government to produce shells and shrapnel for the U.S. war effort, renamed Liberty Ordnance Company.


1918 LNH
10,740 Bridgeport workers strike.

700 machinists and tool makers at Union Metallic Company, Remington and other shops strike for 5 days, seeking a wage increase; they get an award from the U.S. War Department. When Bridgeport employers refuse to abide by War Departments decision, 7,000 shop employees at munitions factories strike to implement that wage award, returning to work when the National War Labor Board (NWLB) promises to hear the case. In August, the NWLB orders a basic 8-hour day, higher wages for all war workers, with the smallest increase (5 cents) going to the skilled craftsmen, and the creation of employee shop committees in 63 Bridgeport metal working companies. Dubbing their 5 cent increase a Feast, 5000 skilled machinists at munitions factories walk out on August 30 until September 13 when U.S. President Wilson threatens to draft them if they do not return to work.

100 Remington-UMC women form IAM Womens Lodge 1196, angry that the company is not paying them the 32 cents an hour ordered by the NWLB.

November 11th,: Armistice cuts short progress made with NWLB award.

December 1918 - March 1919: Increased Unemployment as result of war de-mobilization.


1919 LNH
Estimated 10,000 factory workers strike for increased wages and 44-hour work week from Remington Typewriter, International Silver, Cornwall and Patterson, Monumental Bronze, Sprague Meter, Challenge Cutlery, Connecticut Electric Manufacturing, Acme Shear, and H.O. Canfield Rubber Company. Most of these strikes are unsuccessful, in the context of the national IAM crushing the Bridgeport locals efforts to enroll all machine shop strikers in the IAM, whether machinists or not.

3,000 members of the Corset Workers Union strike at Warner Brothers, George C. Batcheller and Co., La Resista Corset Company, and Crown Corset Company for 6-8 days demanding a 44 hour week and increased wages. They are largely successful.

500 members of Local 223, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, strike Wolf and Abraham for 7 days for increased wages, 44 hour week, and a closed shop. These 500 members, mostly immigrant clothing operators, are successful in their strike.

Pressmen from the American Graphophone strike for 30 days for increased wages; compromises result.
U.S. Department of Labor Womens Bureau writes a report on homework in Bridgeport.
November 17th: Government raids on immigrant halls in Bridgeport, Ansonia, Waterbury, Hartford, Rockville; New Britain.

60 Bridgeport residents arrested at Union of Russian Workers Hall and other sites on East Side.
January 2, 1920: 72 Russian and Lithuanian immigrants arrested in Connecticut, accused of being members of Communist Party or Communist Labor Party.

Note: Many cases dismissed by April 1920, due to court ruling that Department of Justice agents violated the civil liberties of the immigrants. Total of 59 Connecticut aliens deported to Russia.


1920 LNH
As part of nationwide Palmer raids, U.S. Department of Justice agents and local police arrest at least 60 non-citizens, alleged members of the Union of Russian Workers from Bridgeport. Statewide, Federal agents arrest at least 336 "aliens" for suspected radical activities. Rules of evidence, legal procedure, and rights of defendants are trampled on. Many spend months in jail and 53 from Connecticut are deported. Part of anti-radical, anti-labor, and anti-immigrant hysteria.

1920-1922: General assault on labor in early 1920's (national economic depression 1920-1922). Workers are forced to accept pay cuts, in spite of strikes.


1921 LNH
"A noticeable feature of the year 1921 is the gradual dropping of women from industrial employment." Report of the Department of Labor on the Condition of Wage-Earners in the State (CT: Hartford, 1922), p. 11.


1922 LNH
73 Bridgeport repair men and laborers strike the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad as part of the strike on the whole line involving 2246 others, over pay cuts of 5 to 6 cents per hour. This is part of a national strike by 400,000 railway repair workers. United States Attorney General Harry Daugherty wins a sweeping injunction in federal court prohibiting any activity encouraging the strike.

40 women and girls in Warner's brassiere binding department, members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) strike successfully against a wage cut, and are supported by women in the corset departments, who refuse to take over their jobs. A half-year later at Warner, the local negotiates an agreement for a wage increase, union recognition, and the equal distribution of work in slack times.



1923 LNH
Weeklong strike by Local 223, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA), at Wolf & Abraham over wage cuts and discharge of union members; settled with help of local Board of Arbitrators.


1925 LNH
600 garment workers at Wolf & Abraham out for 6 weeks over wages. A compromise of an increase of $1.00 a week arbitrated by Mayor Behrens and federal mediators.

June 2, 1925. 225 weavers at Salts Textile Company out for 6 days because of dissatisfaction with new pay systems; resulted in compromise.

July 31, 1925. 200 hod carriers employed by building firms, out for 12 days, wanted wage increase and recognition of union; wage increase of 5 cents per hour granted. Union not recognized.


1926 LNH
When Warner Company lays off two-thirds of its 700 workers, the 26 cutters strike unsuccessfully; Warner Company goes through a non-union period until the early 1930's.

300 garment workers at Wolf and Abraham strike when firm announces it is opening a new shop in New Jersey; after 2 months, firm closes in Bridgeport and moves to New Jersey shop.

May 3, 350 carpenters and hod carriers strike different firms for a wage increase. After 2 days, carpenters are ordered back to work by their national union and hod carriers gain increase after one day.


1928 LNH
July 1, 1926 to July 1, 1928
500 Trade weavers at Salts Textile Works, out 21 days because of dissatisfaction with piecework pay; returned at old wages.

80 upholsterers at S.G. Krupka Company demanded discharge of foreman, out for 21 days, no concession.

1928:600 hod carriers and laborers struck for the eight-hour day (5 days plus half day on Saturday, a 44 hour week) and $7.50 per day. After two weeks they won a partial settlement.

1000 Carpenters struck for a month for a 40-hour week and $11 per day; gained a partial settlement.


1929 LNH
400 Salts Textile workers win wage increase when Shelton Weavers Club at Shelton Looms (owned by same company that just bought Salts Textile) threatens a sympathy strike.


1932 LNH
November 29, 1932. More than 200 hunger marchers enroute to Washington to petition Congress for relief leave from Bridgeport after picking up around 35 local followers. The local Communist leader, William Sacher, greeted the marchers in Bridgeport.
 
1932-1933
 
Governor Wilbur Cross appoints former labor organizer Joseph Tone as Labor Commissioner, and State Labor Department embarks on an anti-sweatshop campaign, arresting a number of managers of clothing manufacturing companies. Women worked as many as 84 hours a week and seven days a week when the law limits the hours to 55, and minors were working up to 66 hours a week when the law limited their employment to 48 hours. This provided support for labor organizing campaigns in garment shops.


1933 LNH
8/4/33   Labor was reported to have secured its first and precedent setting victory today in its statewide drive to improve wages and working hours. John J. Egan, Secretary of Connecticut Federation of Labor and Fred Cederholm, state organizer for the International Pocketbook Workers Union, said the Stylecraft Leather Goods Company, which has been closed down by a strike, will probably reopen as a union shop.

1500 garment workers strike for 12 days in Bridgeport, closing 21 dress manufacturing companies, part of a strike of 60,000 workers in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. After mediation by the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the strike ends when garment manufacturers, including the CT Dress Manufacturer Association, sign an agreement with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and its dress makers branch, the Joint Board of Dress and Waist Makers Union of Greater New York, for a guaranteed minimum wage for a 35 hour week; the right of collective bargaining; and placing responsibility on the jobbers for payment of minimum wage scales and maintenance of the code for the industry when it is adopted in Washington. (The Dress and Waist Makers Union had about 20,000 members at the start of the strike; it tripled its strength during the strike.)

74 Bridgeport shoe repair shop employees affiliate with the Boot and Shoe Workers International Union, AFL.


1934 LNH
2,000 Dress workers in Connecticut, including workers from three Bridgeport plants, all members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, strike for one week. They gain union recognition, 37 and 1/2 working hours per week, a minimum wage of $l4.50 weekly for machine operators and $l3 weekly for unskilled workers.

As a result of a strike by former FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) men for cash instead of scrip relief, as well as complaints that storekeepers and scrip-workers discriminated against scrip-users, the Welfare board decides to substitute a check-cash system instead of the scrip-coupon system for persons on relief.

At least 420 textile workers (weavers and warpers), members of United Textile Workers, at Bridgeport Coach Lace, American Fabrics, Bridgeport Web, and Lownds, strike for three weeks in Bridgeport. They are among 20,000 striking textile workers in Connecticut, and 171,000 throughout New England. The issue in the strike is whether or not the NRA textile code is to be upheld. The code prohibits what are known as "stretch-outs," that is, compelling employees to attend more than two looms. The doubling up of looms will mean the discharge of textile workers. Under the code, workers are not permitted to attend more than a specified number of looms.


1935 LNH
April 24, 1935: Stylecraft Votes on Union Today. Connecticut's first instance of workers determining by secret ballot whether they favor jurisdiction by the American Federation of Labor or by a company union over their collective affairs will occur today in City Hall. Employees of the Stylecraft Leather Goods Company voted at the Common Council Chambers at Bridgeport City Hall that they favored the company union in preference to the AFL. The vote was 160 to 15.

Although the executive committee of the Bridgeport Teacher's Association votes 4 to 1 against affiliating with the American Federation of Teachers (part of the American Federation of Labor), some local teachers form the Bridgeport Teacher's Union and affiliate with the AFT.


1936 LNH
Local 203 of the United Electrical and Radio Workers of America (CIO) at General Electric is chartered.


1937 LNH
August 20: Local 320 of International Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (CIO) wins election at Bridgeport Brass, defeating "an independent plant union."

800 pocketbook workers at four Bridgeport factories (Stylecraft Leather Goods, Beacon Leather Goods, Cameo Handbag, and Lorraine Leather Goods) strike for a week and gain a 40 hour week instead of 44 hours, and an increase of $1 a week. The one year "protocol" agreement did not include another goal of the workers, full recognition of their union: the International Ladies Handbag, Pocketbook and Novelties Workers Union, affiliated with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers (CIO).

60 Bridgeport garbage and ash collectors, organized in the Municipal Industrial Employees union, strike unsuccessfully for sole bargaining rights for the union, closed shop, seniority rights, and 4 helpers instead of 3 to every garbage truck. After 6 days, the city hires replacements; 11 days later, only 15 strikers are reinstated.

800 employees of the Casco Products Company , members of Local 210, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), CIO strike for 24 days, gaining wage increases of 8 to 10 percent. The strike included a 12 hour sit down strike. This was Bridgeport's first sit down strike, by 50 workers on April 6, 1937.

Employees of bookbinding division of the Braunworth Company voted for bookbinders union affiliated with AFL (International Brotherhood of Bookbinders) as their collective bargaining agent. They had been organized as a CIO union, but the switch was recommended by the CIO because the CIO is mainly interested in organizing mass production plants. This is an example of cooperation between CIO and AFL.

May 21-28, 71 bus drivers in the newly organized bus driver's union strike for one week, demanding higher wages and working conditions. Members of Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway and Motor Coach Operators of America, an AF of L affiliate. Compromise agreement: 6 day, 48-hour week with time and a half for beginners with an increase to 56 cents after six months, recognition of seniority rights and arbitration. Workers had sought minimum wage of 70 cents an hour and the other working conditions, which they got.

March 14, 1937. "Jennings Employees Return to Work Monday." About 65 strikers at Jennings Brothers went on strike last Thursday to demand a minimum wage of 50 cents an hour and a 40 hour week. They will return to work on Monday and settle their differences with management by conferences. Company will not recognize them as members of a CIO union. However, the company restored a 10% cut in wages made for a part of the workers in 1931.

May-June: 100 Jennings employees, members of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, CIO, strike for 3 weeks, ending by accepting a 5 cents an hour wage increase for a 40-hour week.

June 2, 1937: Newly organized Bridgeport local of the Retail Clerks International Protective Association receives its charter.

350 "girl" employees of the Commercial Shirt Company, members of the Connecticut Shirt Makers Union, No. 125, an affiliate of the ACWA-CIO, walk out protesting against the installation of new machinery that lowers the amount of piecework they can turn out.


1938 LNH
Feb. 21: Bridgeport CIO rallies in Central High school auditorium, attended by nearly 500 persons.


1939 LNH
23 day tri-state truck strike includes 200 employees of three local terminals; members of Truck Drivers Local 443.

400 members of the Corset Workers Union, AF of L, strike at Warner plant for a week. Vast majority of the strikers are girls and women. They demand a closed shop and increase in pay for the men in the shipping department. The strike, which ended on August 24, results in the institution of a 45 cent hourly wage for the "slower" class of workers; establishment of a higher wage scale in the shipping room; and election of grievance committees in each department.

7 week strike against the Dollar Dry Cleaners by Local 45 of the Laundry Workers, Cleaners and Dyers union of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, ends September 4.

October 10: Organized shirt workers from Commercial Shirt, Parkley Shirt, and Rivoli Shirt receive a pay increase of 7 ½ percent. 3500 other workers in New Hampshire, Bridgeport, Derby, Shelton, Wallingford, Branford and New Britain and 40,000 other shirt workers in Connecticut and other states will also receive the increase, which was worked out through the union and several groups of manufacturers with headquarters in New York.

Metropolitan Body Company has 130 members of Local 505, United Auto Workers (UAW), CIO, strike for two and a half weeks and gain closed shop. Six months later, 200 employees of the Metropolitan Body Company strike again, saying that management is violating their contract by not substituting piece-work pay rates for day rates. Nine and a half weeks later, 82 employees had returned to work, but at ten weeks (Feb. 1, 1940) there were still workers on strike.


1941 LNH
1941
Bridgeport Building Trades Council, AFL, announces raises signed with contractors, in climate of greatly increased volume of building. Bricklayers, masons and plasters, electricians, and latherers get increases from $1.37 and ½ to $1.50 per day. Laborers scale goes from 85 to 95 cents per day.

650 steel workers at Stanley plant strike for two days for wage increases and recognition of Local 2215 of the CIO-Steel Workers Organizing Committee as bargaining agent for its 800 members among the 1100 employees, and a 10 percent increase in pay.

Spurning organizers of both the CIO and AFL, 200 employees of the American Chain and Cable strike for two days and win pay increases of 10 cents per hour for 850 employees.

May 22, 1941. Strike at Warner Corset Company.

Logan Brothers Stores and the AFL-Retail Sales People's union sign a contract, providing for wage increases and reduced hours.

Bridgeport Times Star reports on September 4, 1941 that AFL longshoremen (Longshoremen International) continued striking at Cilco Terminal and the yard of the City Lumber Company. Union demands a closed shop and a contract covering both the yard and the terminal.

UE CIO wins an NLRB election at Remtico plant of Remington-Rand. 150 voted.

Producto Machine Company and UE CIO sign a contract covering more than 250 employees.

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers CIO wins bargaining election at the east plant of the Bassick Company. Earlier, UE won an election at the west plant of the Bassick Company. The contract, the first ever to be negotiated with an affiliate of the Stewart-Warner Corporation covers 850 workers.

Negro Musicians Local No. 549 forms.


1942 LNH
Workers at Vought - Sikorsky choose United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers Union of America, CIO, as their bargaining agent in NLRB election and achieve a contract three months later.

War industries in Bridgeport hire more women workers.        

Blast at Remington Arms Factory injures 80 and kills seven people.

Employees of the Stanley Works plants on Howard and Seaview Avenues choose the United Steel Workers of America (USWA), CIO as their collective bargaining agent in an NLRB election.

Painters Union 190 gains increase of $1 per day to $11 for an eight-hour day (resulting rate is $1.37 per hour).

August 21. Workers of Bridgeport will purchase a Vought - Sikorsky Corsair fighting plane and present it to the US Navy on Labor Day.


1943 LNH
As part of war production drive, labor-management committees organized at plants, including RemingtonBridgeport Brass, and Bridgeport Gas Light.


1944 LNH
GE white collar group joins CIO; majority of the tool designers, tool developers, and draughtsmen employed at the Bridgeport Works of the GE, about 120 in all, vote to be represented by UE Local 203 CIO.


1946 LNH
National strike wave as post-war reconversion begins. (Only the 1919 strike wave had a higher percentage of workers striking.)

January 15, 1946. Bridgeport UE workers at General Electric (6,600 workers) and Bryant Hemco (1,600) strike, demanding $2.00 a day increase. 

Jobs that were assigned to women during the war are again being assigned to men.




1947 LNH
GE Local 203

Josephine Willard - Letter from Lloyd Willard - Mob Incident Josephine Willard - Union Steward at G.E. - 1940's Local 203 UE-CIO at GE drops 26 members for being alleged communists, and requires that all stewards sign an affidavit that they are not Communists.

2,350 to 2,500 building trades workers in Bridgeport area strike for increased wages.

At Bridgeport Brass, some workers secede from the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (MMSW) and form the Progressive Metalworkers' Council (PMC), which then affiliates with the Industrial Marine and Shipbuilders of America. Both unions are CIO affiliates. This is part of Connecticut CIO official John J. Driscoll's revolt against the top leadership of MMSW, which the PMC charges is "communist infiltrated." In a May 22 NLRB-supervised election, workers at Bridgeport Brass vote by 55% to retain MMSW as their bargaining agent. (Note that PMC defeats MMSW in several Waterbury brass mills.) A month later, MMSW Local 320 officers are seeking a court injunction to force PMC members to turn the union office and records back to the certified MMSW officers.


1949 LNH
Local 203 UE-CIO at GE drops 26 members for being alleged communists, and requires that all stewards sign an affidavit that they are not Communists.

2,350 to 2,500 building trades workers in Bridgeport area strike for increased wages.

At Bridgeport Brass, some workers secede from the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (MMSW) and form the Progressive Metalworkers' Council (PMC), which then affiliates with the Industrial Marine and Shipbuilders of America. Both unions are CIO affiliates. This is part of Connecticut CIO official John J. Driscoll's revolt against the top leadership of MMSW, which the PMC charges is "communist infiltrated." In a May 22 NLRB-supervised election, workers at Bridgeport Brass vote by 55% to retain MMSW as their bargaining agent. (Note that PMC defeats MMSW in several Waterbury brass mills.) A month later, MMSW Local 320 officers are seeking a court injunction to force PMC members to turn the union office and records back to the certified MMSW officers.


1950 LNH
May 26: IUE Local 203 wins an election among General Electric workers against UE.

By 1950, 1,600 workers at Singer are represented by IUE (Local 227) instead of UE as previously.

August 7. Local 24411, Federal Brass Workers union, AFL is representing Bridgeport Brass Workers. 700 union members unanimously reject companys contract offer.

September. IUE members at General Electric vote against a nationwide strike order.

Workers at Columbia Records, members of Local 237, UE, walk out twice; in September, for two days, over a disagreement in pay rates for certain piece workers in new jobs in the press room; and in December, for 26 hours as a show of strength to press demands for a 10 to 15 cent an hour wage boost. Employees of Decca Records, members of Local 258, UE, walk out for one day in conjunction with Columbia workers, to obtain pay increases before a national wage freeze is invoked.

Dictaphone Employees Federal Union, AFL, Local 24760, defeats the UE and the CIO IUE in a National Labor Relations Board election. UE held bargaining rights at Dictaphone from 1946-1950.

October 17. Walter Reuther, national president of the CIO UAW union, speaks to 500 at Klein Memorial Auditorium.


1951 LNH
UAW (CIO) has narrow victory in election to determine the bargaining agent for the production workers at AVCO.


1952 LNH
Work stoppages at Singer on 3 days including a sit-down strike on one day, over taking of time studies on jobs where standards have been established.

June 3, 1952. 850 Steel Workers at the Stanley Works start walking off their jobs following Philip Murrays order for a nationwide steel strike after the Supreme Court ruled President Trumans April seizure of the steel industry was illegal.


1952 LNH
Manning, Maxwell and Moore moves to Stratford, after nearly 75 years as a Bridgeport industrial operation (executive offices moved to Stratford from New York.)

3,500 workers at Bullard.

Bridgeport Sunday Herald exposure on the unacceptable living conditions for many members of Bridgeports Puerto Rican Community continues. Tenements on State Street, East Main Street, and Courtland Street are cited: 2,700 Puerto Ricans are packed into sub-standard, dilapidated Bridgeport tenements.


1953 LNH
October 18. Barring a last minute move, 750 Dictaphone employees will strike tomorrow. John G. Charters, president of Local 24760, Dictaphone Employees Federal union, AFL. Unresolved issues; wages, pensions, arbitration, group insurance, and seniority.

800 workers, members of Local 210, International Jewelry Workers, AFL, strike at Manning, Maxwell and Moore) for 51 days over contract language referring to time-study and grievance procedures.

8 cents an hour wage increase to 700 members of Local 665, Laborers and Hod Carriers union, AFL, ends a 6-week strike which halts work on major construction projects here. Almost 1500 carpenters, electricians and painters refuse to cross picket lines.


1955 LNH
Four sit-downs in Singer departments by members of Local 227 IUE-CIO, over company "policing of jobs.

Merger of AFL & CIO.

1955-1956
1100 members of Bryant Electric Company, Local 209, UE, strike for 154 days, the longest major strike in the citys history. It is part of national strike against Westinghouse over wages by IUE (at 30 plants) and UE (at 10 plants).


1956 LNH
4 day walkout at Bassick Company.

Singer fires Bert D. Gilden after he invokes the Fifth Amendment during a hearing on communism before a sub-committee of the House Un-American Activities committee in New Haven in 1956.

Two years later, an arbitrator rules in favor of Gilden, ordering Singer to pay him back pay up to the time he would have been laid off (3 months), and to rehire him when those laid off are called back. Bert and Katya Gilden later wrote BETWEEN THE HILLS AND THE SEA, about labor and politics in Bridgeport 1946-1956.


1958 LNH
New contract signed at Bridgeport Brass; union gets little of what it wanted; company says it would be forced to close its 2 Bridgeport plants if accedes to union demands.

Nearly 1000 union employees of Avco Lycoming walk off their jobs for a half day in protest of companys action against 2 stewards.


1959 LNH
April 9-May 3; Local 227, IUE strikes for 3 weeks at Singer.

October 2. Nearly 2000 production workers strike at Bridgeport Brass.

720 Bassick workers, members of Local 229, International Union of Electrical Workers, strike (beginning September 28).


1960 LNH
UAW Local 877 strikes for 3 months at Sikorsky, part of a strike of 2 unions against 7 plants of the United Aircraft Corporation. Local 877 returns to work after many skilled workers return to their jobs, and threat of decertification. Two months later, workers oust UAW as bargaining agent at Sikorsky plants.

IUE strikes at General Electric 3 weeks, gaining 3% wage increase but no cost of living escalator clause.


1961 LNH
Teamsters win certification election at Sikorsky against Independent Aircraft Guild. It was the first time that Teamsters win a leading aircraft producer. (In 1963, the Teamsters number slightly more than 500 out of 5,000 Sikorsky workers; the United Auto Workers Local 877 once held 2,500 of the Sikorsky people as members.) September 6, 1961.

John J. Driscoll, executive secretary of Connecticut State Labor Council and sub-regional director of UAW, succeeds Mitchell Sviridoff as head of Ct. State Labor Council.

350 workers at Manning, Maxwell and Moore in Stratford, members of 210, International Jewelry Workers, AFL, strike unsuccessfully for 21 days, over pay and contract wording. Two months later, Local 210 president Peter Iannuzzi is held in contempt for failing to produce financial records of the local.


1962 LNH
Teamsters win certification at Manning, Maxwell and Moore. Teamsters Local 145 wins three-year contract at Manning Maxwell and Moore, including union shop clause, for 550 production-maintenance employees. (Greatly improved over old contract.)

UAW places Avco Local 1010 under administator after it investigates 4 officials on financial charges.


1963 LNH
24-hour wildcat strike at Avco. Union membership at Avco increased from 1970 members in 1950 to 3705 in 1963.

Columbia Records lays of employees.

2 former union officials, Peter Iannuzzi and William DeFrancesco of Local 210, International Jewelry Workers union, at Manning Maxwell and Moore in Stratford, go to prison for six months (the first case of the Landrum-Griffin labor reporting act in CT).

November 4, 1963: Local 4818 USW strikes American Chain and Cable, and USW locals strike eight other company plants in six cities in the nation. 3000 represented by USW in all nine plants. Talks collapse over issue of extended vacations.


1964 LNH
May 12: 800 production employees, members of Local 227, IUE strike at Singer Manufacturing Company-Metrics Division over downgrading of some employees, pay cutbacks, and ignoring seniority. The workers return to their jobs May 18 to comply with a court order.

Close to 400 press and machine shop employees at Bassick walk off their jobs in solidarity with an employee who refused to perform a job which he considered too dangerous, and was given a 3 day suspension. (2 men died at Bassick in a fire in the metal hardening department 5 months earlier).

More than 500 Teamsters in Local 145 at Manning, Maxwell and Moore strike to support 10 draftsmen, also members of the union, in their efforts to reach a contract with management. A day later, the production and maintenance workers return in accordance with a court order barring them from participating in the draftsmens strike; but the next day, they walk out again after 35 Teamster union members, most of them shop stewards, are fired. The following day a contract is reached between the 10 draftsmen and management, and the company agrees to reinstate those fired in 11 days.

One week strike in April at Avco; Local 1010 (4100 production workers) and Local 376 (100 hourly paid office and technical employees). 25 arrested on first day. The state totaled 85 charges of disorderly conduct against picketers April 6-9. (Workers at Avco also walk out for 24 hours in January and again in September).

1600 members of Brass Workers Federal Labor Union, Local 24411, win union shop in new 3-year agreement.

United Illuminating: 11 day strike of 840 members, 300 in Bridgeport results in improved benefits and small wage increases.


1965 LNH
Pacifists from National and New England Committee for Non-Violent Action protest at Sikorsky against the use of helicopters in Vietnam; 7 are arrested at sit-down at main gate after 28-hour vigil. Judgement is suspended against them.

December 5. Avco Lycoming gets injunction against wildcat strikes; since May 12, 1964, 8 wildcats.

14 day Bassick strike by Local 229 results in gains in wages, vacations, holidays, and medical payments.

For the first time since World War II, women are back on the production lines at the Bullard Company.


1966 LNH
Skilled GE workers walk out for one day return to plant after 1 day walkout over companys failure to recognize grievances on pay scales and fringe benefits.

Roofers of Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties in Local 12, United Slate, Tile and Composition Roofers, Damp and Waterproof Workers, strike for 52 days.

January 28: 1 day strike after Avco suspends union steward, then 4 union officers resign, one saying he is conflicted between loyalty to union members and to servicemen in Vietnam.

August 12:  Wildcat strike; 14 suspended for week.

1000 UI workers in Bridgeport and New Haven, members of the Federation of Utility Employees, an affiliate of the Utility Workers Union of America, strike for 4 weeks, resulting in improved wages and benefits.

1500 workers at Bridgeport Brass walk off job for 2 days in dispute with company over interpretation of an arbitration ruling.


1967 LNH
April 16: Avco strike begins by both locals 1010 and 376; Federal judge issues restraining order to stop strike; on April 25 he grants request of government for Taft Hartley injunction 80 day cooling off period.

July 2: new contract approved; average hourly wages increase of 53 cents an hour over a 3 year period. Presently, $2.29 an hour minimum and $3.63 an hour maximum. Negotiations shifted to Washington and in final days Walter Reuther UAW President and James Kerr, Avco President entered the talks. 6%, 5.5%, and 5.5% (wage increases over each of the 3 years). 4 months later, one day walkout at Avco.


1968 LNH
June 22: Avco; a rash of unauthorized walkouts on second and third shifts Thursday night by about 2,000 members of Local 1010 UAW; over the use of time clocks not being synchronized with the master clock, and being docked if ending work according to master clock.

After Bullard recorded its highest profits in 10 years in 1967, it is acquired in 1968 by White Consolidated Industries. Although five previous efforts in the past ten years to unionize Bullard failed, when the new owners engage in extensive firing, for the first time in the Bullard Companys 88 year history workers vote to unionize. The majority of the 880 foundry, production and maintenance workers vote to be represented by the United Steel Workers.

657 members of United Steel Workers Local 2215 strike at Carpenter Steel for six weeks, with a compromise result on the key issue of seniority.

November 25,1968:  617 Bassick employees go on strike. Issues include pension improvements.

The responsibility of labor leaders in ending discrimination and poverty was underscored at a forum on labor's role in the war on poverty sponsored by the Greater Bridgeport Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Vincent J. Sirabella, president of the New Haven Central Labor Council and a staff member Community Progress, Inc., New Haven's anti-poverty agency, was the main speaker.


1969 LNH
26-day strike by 1100 carpenters, members of Locals 115, 647, 1013, 1520, and 1580 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, against the Associated General Contractors of Bridgeport. The 5 locals are represented by the Carpenters District Council of Bridgeport and Vicinity. The resulting contract raises their pay from $5.30 an hour to $8.15 an hour by 1971.

September 8-16: Strike of 70 drivers in Teamsters Local 1040 halts deliveries of 4 Bridgeport area wholesale liquor firms.

July 10: Walkout by 250 skilled workers at GE.

Teamsters Local 1150, representing about 5,000 Sikorsky production and maintenance employees (out of total workforce of 10,000), ratifies contract with average wage increase of $1 an hour by 1972.

Racial discrimination suit filed by James Hyatt of New Haven against against Sikorsky.
Bridgeport Federation of Teachers forms. (Bridgeport Education Association represents teachers, principals, and school administrators).

1969-1970
3-month GE strike by production and maintenance workers, IUE Local 203, and UE power plant employees, joining nation-wide strike for higher wages and cost of living protection.


1970 LNH
3 week strike of 650 production and maintenance employees at Dictaphone, Local 24760, Federal Labor Union, AFL-CIO. First strike in 15 years at Dictaphone results in wage increases and benefits.

3,800 members of Local 1010 UAW, strike at Avco Lycoming for 9 weeks (and 500 technicians in local 376 for 8 weeks). They gain 17% pay increase over 3 years, improved benefits.

Bridgeport has the highest number of idle "man-days" due to work stoppage during 1970 of any Connecticut city. The city lost 239,800 man-days during 16 labor disputes involving 7,100 workers.

Greater Bridgeport Labor Council supports grape boycott of the United Farm Workers. Mrs. Michael Vasquez is, with her husband, directing the boycott drive here in Bridgeport. The Vasquez's came here after organizing a boycott effort in Hartford. Both took part in original strike organized by Chavez.

10 week strike or lockout of 179 drivers, salesmen and merchandising employees of Local 1040 Teamsters at 4 major Bridgeport area soda bottling firms.


1971 LNH
State mediation board decides company has a right to require its drivers to be beardless.

February 26, 1971. John J. Driscoll of Bridgeport, president of the State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, urges labor to reject Governor Thomas Meskill's proposal for a 7% sales tax, and instead to back enactment of a graduated state personal income tax and reduction of sales tax to 4%.

Fred J. Roberto of Bridgeport, the head of Fairfield county over-the-road Teamsters, is one of four union officials indicted by a Federal grand jury in connection with embezzlement of union funds. Top officers of 3 other Bridgeport based Teamsters locals were among 22 past or present officers of teamster Join Council No. 64 who were named as co-conspirators but no co-defendants.

Most city trade workers accept wage freeze. City workers will remain frozen while workers on the outside move up on the basis of new contracts in coming years. City pay will become unfrozen after it represents 85% of outside scale.

December 1. Constantine Pietrini, secretary treasurer of Local 1398 of the International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO: 90 longshoremen at the Bridgeport and New Haven docks. ILA, AFL-CIO from Maine to Texas is under Taft-Hartley back to work orders obtained by President Nixon pending the outcome of government requests for an 80 days cooling off injunction.


1972 LNH
9 week strike of 1,700 American Chain and Cable workers in Bridgeport and plants in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Carpenters District Council 9 week strike against Bridgeport Contractor's Association leads to wage boost of 30 cents an hour to $8.45 plus improved benefits amounting to 44 cents an hour.

70 anti-war demonstrators, including some laid off Sikorsky employees, try to make citizen arrests of top executives of United Aircraft, whom they charge with crimes against humanity. Some protestors are fined $25.00 while others are given suspended 10 day jail sentences.


1973 LNH
25 day strike at ASCO Wire and Cable Company by United Steel Workers of America Local 14469 leads to wage increase and improved fringe benefits.

May 12, 1973. 50 workers at Dee-Vee Footwear Manufacturing Company are negotiating for first labor contract. Local 209 of United, Electrical Radio and Machine Workers.

Almost 350 members of Local 173, Plumbers and Steamfitters union, strike over contract language.

400 Teamster milk drivers and dairy workers (Locals 145 and 677) in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Waterbury, and Danbury strike for 3 days, resulting in wage increases and contract language changes.

1970 in Local 1010 UAW strike at Avco, joined by 200 office, technical and professional workers one week later. Result after 6 week strike; 5% raise each of 3 years and fringe benefits.


1974 LNH
1,000 out of 1,200 teachers, members of Bridgeport Education Association, walk out and picket schools for one day moratorium in protests over recommended 1974-75 school budget; it would not provide expanded educational services. 12 teachers, members of the BEA executive board, suspended for 2 weeks by Board of Education, and fined $100 each and given 30 day suspended jail sentences by Superior Court judge for violating a court order. Parents joined in protesting their suspension.

Holiday Inn strike, Local 217, H.E.R.E. (Hotel and Restaurant Employees).

May 17. Black employee sues Avco Lycoming and Local 1010 for not fighting company's racially discriminatory policy in hiring and job promotions. John M. Fernandez, was a 20-year employee of Avco-Lycoming, and civil rights organizer of the now defunct Negro American Labor Council.

November 7. Members of Local 209 ( Bryant Electric ) rally at Federal Courthouse for federal government to save jobs and curb inflation.


1975 LNH
Albert Cioffari, president of Local 209, UE at Bryant Electric, says his 700 member union will take their fight for no increase in gas rates to the public. Southern Connecticut Gas Company seeking 28% rate hike. Last year he started a campaign against United Illuminating fuel cost adjustment-members distributed leaflets and petitioned the public at area shopping centers.

800 members of USWA local 7428 at Bullard strike for 6 weeks, unsuccessfully trying to get a cost of living escalator. They figured they lost 72 cents in wages in the last 3 years through the rise in the cost of living. This is the first strike in the 95 year history of Bullard in Bridgeport.

540 striking Jenkins Brothers employees, members of USW Local 5623, began June 16; in its 25th day on July 10. They are seeking better wages and fringe benefits, and cost-of-living protection.

One day job action at GE by members of IUE; cause: arbitrary management practices such as unjustified discharges, threatening and abusive language by supervisors, discriminatory practices in the worker's locker area and harassment.

May 1. 15 teachers laid off. Parents and students picket in front of Black Rock School. The laid off teachers sit in School Board's city hall offices for 5 days, and then file charges against the Board of Education in Bridgeport Superior Court. January 30, 1976: judge rules against teachers.

March 25. Dictaphone employees Federal Labor Union votes to work a 4-day week rather than have 20% of its members laid off. 365 member Local 24760.

3,500 Sikorsky hourly employees get cost of living adjustment of 17 cents an hour; now earn an average of $5.45/hour.

Federal court awards former Avco employee Michael Holodnak back pay and $20,000 in legal fees. Avco had fired Holodnak in 1969 after he wrote an article on labor-management relations and the decline of union militancy at Avco for the New Haven newsletter of the American Independent Movement. The decision supports an employee's freedom of speech to publicly criticize an employer.


1976 LNH
April 16. Avco workers agree on 3 year contract. Averting what might have been the fifth strike to hit Avco Lycoming division since 1964. Contract provides for 21% wage increase over the 3 years.

The National Association of Government Employees is created out of a split in the General City Employee Local 1522, union of Bridgeport's city government employees.

700 Bryant Electric employees represented by Local 209 of UE join nationwide strike against Westinghouse by IBEW, IUE and UE, over pay and contract wording; lasts two days.

Suit charges that Sikorsky discriminates against older employees.
 
1976-1977
18 week strike by food service workers, members of Local 217, Hotel and Restaurant workers, against 3030 Park Avenue retirement home and the Stouffer Good Service Corporation.


1977 LNH
January 13, 1977. Nearly 90 percent of the 400 Bassick hourly employees stay off their jobs for one day protesting suspension of the president of union, Joseph Carvalko, president of Local 229, IUE for 12 years, for not wearing safety glasses.

Greater Bridgeport Labor Council's 6 week job development course places 150 in first year, many of them previously unemployed, in area machine shops and manufacturing firms. Bridgeport Manpower Consortium will continue funding with a grant from CETA.

September 28, 1977. Striking carpenters have been offered a new wage agreement with a 40 hour week by the Associated General Contractors of Bridgeport. 

June 13. Unionized Dictaphone workers yesterday stepped up their campaign to save the jobs of American workers threatened by foreign competition by voting to ask state and national AFL-CIO labor leaders to lobby for higher tariffs on foreign imports, and urging the repeal of tax credits for American companies doing business overseas.

September 12. Union O.K.'s survival package to keep Bridgeport Brass from closing; 3 year moratorium on wage increases; and other concessions.


1978 LNH
Bridgeport teachers strike for 19 days; 270 Bridgeport teachers are jailed. The issue was pay and whether specialists such as art and music teachers should be hired for elementary schools.

435 members of Local 5623, USWA at Jenkins Valves strike for 173 days, the longest in the company's 114 year history.

Teachers,-150dpi.jpg


1978 LNH
1978-1985:  Wave of plant closings and concessions bargaining.


1982 LNH
Local 1010 UAW at Avco settled before a strike deadline but honored picket lines in a one-day walkout by Local 367, UAW, the Avco technical and clerical workers.
 


1985 LNH
May 31, one of two UAW locals that struck at Avco Lycoming Corporation reached a tentative contract agreement. Joseph Cuici, president of UAW Local 1010 which represents 2100 production workers. UAW Local. 376 represents 250 technical and clerical employees at the gas turbine engine plant, still on strike.


1986 LNH
April 13, 1986. More than 400 workers, union leaders, politicians, and others march for jobs, to call attention to the threat of Bryant Electric closing and protest hiring practices at the city's only major hotel; Days Inn took over the former Sheraton Bridgeport and has since hired 25 of the 140 former Sheraton workers. The march, sponsored by Coalition for Bridgeport Jobs, "had all the markings of a 1930's style union rally. July 8: Local 1150 of the Teamsters is trying to organize the hourly workforce at Bridgeport Machines. Election scheduled Thursday.


1987 LNH
April 23: Building construction site for L'Ambiance Plaza building collapses. Twenty-eight construction workers are killed.


1989 LNH
July 10: Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford Central Labor Councils merge into Fairfield County Labor Council. Brian Petronella becomes president of the council.


1997 LNH
180,000 Teamsters, drivers for United Parcel Service strike, winning less part-time work and higher pay for part-timer.


1999 LNH
Health care workers at Bridgeport nursing home facilities go on strike. Workers at Mariner Health and the Grant Street Health and Rehabilitation Center walked off their jobs to protest management's intention to cut salaries and benefits.


1900
Population of Bridgeport: 70,996.

1901
1901-1905
Dennis Mulvihill, DEMOCRAT, an Irish immigrant is elected Mayor of Bridgeport. Mulvihill was keenly aware of the trouble of local workers, since he had worked as a stoker in the Wheeler and Wilson sewing machine factory. At a time when the population of the city was growing rapidly and in need of city services such as schools, Mulvihill tried to reduce city spending and lower taxes.

Population of Bridgeport is more than one-half foreign born and overwhelmingly blue-collar.
1890: 48,866 persons
1900: 70,996 persons

Nationally based corporations acquire a number of Bridgeport's important firms; e.g. 1900:
Bryant Electric becomes subsidiary of Westinghouse; 1904: Crane Company of Chicago absorbs Eaton, Cole, and Burnham; 1907: Singer Manufacturing acquires Wheeler and Wilson Sewing Machine Co. Companies such as Raybestos (1904), Bridgeport Metal Goods (1909) are founded.

1901
Socialist Party begins in Bridgeport.

Gustave Whitehead August 14, 1901: German immigrant Gustave Whitehead, employed at the Locomobile factory flies the propeller driven craft he designed to an altitude of 200 feet, travelling one and a half miles. Whitehead's flight was reported in the Bridgeport Herald, New York Herald, and the Boston Transcript.

1903
Children worked in local factories. Employees of Buckingham and Brewer Printers.

1905
Marcus L. Reynolds, Mayor

1906
Bridgeport called the "Industrial Capital of Connecticut" by Fred Enos, president of the Bridgeport Board of Trade, based on capital invested in industries and value of products.
Theatrical stage employees at S.Z. Poli strike for increased wage rate of $2.00 per week. They are unsuccessful.

1907
1907-1909:
Henry Lee, Mayor


1910
Population of Bridgeport: 102,054.

Albert and Max Henkels of Germany set up a lace manufacturing company on 1070 Connecticut Avenue to manufacture fine lace.

1911
The Locomobile Company, makers of luxury automobiles, begin to build Army Trucks. Considered to be the sturdiest truck of the time, the trucks were later called Riker Trucks, after the designer and Chief Engineer, Andrew L. Riker.

In New York City, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146 women. The tragedy draws attention to the terrible working conditions of some factories, leading to reform.

1911
1911-1921
Clifford B. Wilson is elected Mayor. Wilson, a progressive Republican, helped the city attain new schools, a new sewage system, and many other civic improvements. He instituted the first city planning for Bridgeport. Wilson was mayor for five terms, leading the city during war years.

1912
Marcellus Hartley Dodge merges the Remington Arms Company of Ilion, New York and the Union Metallic Cartridge Company of Bridgeport into the Remington Arms Company, Inc

President Woodrow Wilson elected.

Large Expansion of Warner Brothers Company.

High point of Socialist voting in nation until 1930.

1913
Workmens Compensation Law passed.

US Department of Labor Established.

Election of Socialist Fred Cederholm as Bridgeport City Councilman

1914
The outbreak of World War I in Europe brings orders for munitions and arms for the Russian, French and British armies to Bridgeport factories.

Two thirds of all small arms and ammunition made in the United States for the Allied Cause are made in Bridgeport.

The Great Migration of blacks from the South looking for jobs in northern, industrial cities begins. The black population of many cities greatly increases over the next years.

1914
1914-1915
The number of people employed in Bridgeport increases by 48.4%; total salaries and wages by 188.6%; capital 121.9% and value of products 144.4%.

1914
Explosion of Population:
In a single year, Bridgeports population grows from 100,000 to l50,000 as workers seeking jobs in the booming factories move to Bridgeport.

1915
1915-1919​
Points of National Interest

During World War I there was a mass upsurge of labor activity and union membership.

Between the years 1915-1918 over 4 million workers went out on strike in the United States. In 1919, over 4 million workers went on strike in the United States.

1915
Remington Arms Company builds an immense factory in Bridgeport on Boston Avenue, next to the older Union Metallic Plant. The building is a half mile long!

1916
Bridgeport, due to its important role in war-related industries, is given the nickname Arsenal of Democracy.

1917
1917-1918
From Bridgeport, 8,671 persons went into the armed service. 237 Bridgeporters died overseas in the War, including 2 nurses.

1917
April: United States enters World War I. Socialist party opposes U.S. entry.

November: Bolsheviks overthrow the Kerenski government of Russia; Russian Revolution.

Socialist Party expels its left (nationally.)

Formation of Communist Party and Communist Labor Party, which unite in 1921.

1918
The Lake Torpedo Boat Company built the R-21 submarine for the U.S. Government.

1918
At the time armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, the Bassick Company was delivering 50,000 hand grenades a day to the United States.

1919
International Institute founded by the YWCA to help immigrants assimilate into American society.

1919
Prohibition. Eighteenth Amendment is ratified.

1919
Palmer Raids; arrest of 6,000 in the United States. 550 are deported.

1920
Population of Bridgeport:  143,555

1920
General Electric Company leases the huge Remington Arms plant in May 1920 and begins to manufacture wiring devices and fractional horspower motors.

After World War I, demand for munitions and machine tools shrinks, and employment in those factories goes down.


1921
Depression; loss of war orders in local factories sends Bridgeport into a mild economicslump. Nationally, by the end of this depression: militancy deflated; unions excluded form most large companies; left is isolated.

1921-1923: Fred Atwater


1922
General Electric buys plant from Remington.

Jewish Service Bureau organized to meet the demands resulting from the post World War I period.

The two largest theatres in Bridgeport, built by Sylvester Z. Poli open on Main Street,becoming the cultural center of the City. The Palace theatre seated 3,600 and the Majestic theatre seated 2,400.


1923
Casco Products Corporation is incorporated, manufacturer of auto parts.

1924
Bridgeport first radio station, WICC (Industrial Capitol of Connecticut).

U.S. Congress drastically reduces immigration to U.S.


1926
Stanley Works of New Britain, tool manufacturer, purchases American Tube and Stamping Company in Bridgeport, and updates its steel mills.

Electrical industry in Bridgeport; 2000 working at Bryant Electric; GE has 3000 in Bridgeport of 55,000 total employees. About 7000 in Bridgeport employed in making of electrical wiring devices.


1927
Elliott Fisher Company merges with Underwood Typewriter Company of Hartford and Bridgeport with executive offices in New York.

1927
Bridgeport Jewish Community Center chartered. In 1927, purchased a site at 836 Fairfield Avenue.


1930
Population of Bridgeport: 146,716

1930
1920-1933:  Edward T. Buckingham, Mayor

1930
Service in the Bridgeport telephone exchange is converted to dial operation.

1930
1930-1931:  2,300 banks fail nationwide. The Great Depression, started in 1929, continues.

1930
1930-1933: Unemployed Councils and Unemployed Leagues form In California, farm workers strikes.

1933
January. Adolph Hitler to power in Germany. Hitler crushes trade unions, and begins escalation of steps against Jews that leads to the Nazi annihilation of two-thirds of European Jewry by the time Germany is defeated in World War II in 1945.

Beginning of New Deal and revival of AFL.

June. National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), including Section 7(a), the right of workers to organize into unions "free from employer interference" and to bargain collectively.

The Twenty-First Amendment, repealing prohibition (18th Amendment) is passed.

The WPA (Works Progress Administration) starts in President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal administration. Workers hired by the project build and improve municipal schools, civic structures, parks, and other services.

1933
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company buys a controlling interest in the Remington Arms Company.

1933
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaims a New Deal policy; through centralized economic planning, including regulation of corporations and public works programs to put people to work, support the economy and worker's purchasing ability.

The 1933 National Industrial Relations Act (NIRA) sets up the National Recovery Administration (NRA), under which corporations meet together to establish codes of fair competition, including minimum wages and working conditions and maximum hours. The NRA sanctions of the rights of workers to unionize and bargain collectively through its famous Section 7(a). Workers feel the federal government is on their side, and many strikes are undertaken when companies do not live up to the NRA CODES.

Though the NRA is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935, the 1935 National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act similarly affirms worker's right to organize. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can hold elections among workers to certify which union would be able to represent workers in collective bargaining. The NLRB can also determine whether employers were engaging in unfair labor practices such as firing workers for joining a union.
Sunstrand Adding Machine of Rockford, Illinois, and the Elliott Fisher Company of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania move to Bridgeport and manufacture adding, billing and accounting machines as the Underwood Elliott Fisher Company.
June 30: 21 married teachers start involuntary leaves; chosen by the Board of Education "as not dependent on their teaching salaries for support." (reinstated in 1937).

1933
Jasper McLevy, a Socialist, was mayor of Bridgeport for twenty-four years. One of his many accomplishments was the institution of the civil service system for city jobs.

1934
December 3: Bridgeport teachers average lowest pay in state. Different wages for men and women teachers.

Blizzard of February 1934, dumping twenty-eight inches of snow on the Northeast. The City Welfare Department sent out a sleight to deliver milk to needy families. Works Progress Administration employees were used, as well as volunteers, to shovel snow.

1934
Minneapolis Teamster strikes.

San Francisco strikes of waterfront workers.

1935
Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) formed within AFL.

National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) is established, which allows labor to organize and bargain collectively. The National Labor Relations Board is begun to watch over collective bargaining.

Social Security Act is established.

Communist International endorses Popular Front policy.

1935
Employment at Bullard reaches 1929 peak, with 1100 men working 3 shifts.

At GE, there are now more than 6000 employed.

1936
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) forms as CIO affiliate.

Walsh- Healy Act is enacted, setting a minimum wage for workers at companies which have government contracts. The act also mandates an eight hour day and 40 hour work week and bans child and convict labor.

1936
1936-1937:  Unionization and strikes in auto, steel (nationally). Union membership in US increases from under 3 million in 1933 to over 8 million in 1941, with much of the increase taking place after 1936. 1937 sit-down strikes.

1936
December 1936-Febuary 1937:  Autoworkers; sit-down strike at General Motors in Flint, Michigan.

1937
U.S. Steel, General Motors, and Chrysler sign union contracts with CIO unions.

Ten strikers shot dead in "Memorial Day Massacre" at Republic Steel Company in South Chicago.

1938
Bridgeport Brass: $4.5 million rolling mill manufacturing plant completed to produce brass, copper and copper-base alloys for industrial and commercial use, at Housatonic Avenue and Grand Street.

Sikorsky gets backing from United Aircraft to develop a direct lift helicopter; first successful helicopter in Western Hemisphere flies a year later.

1938
United Aircraft merges Chance Vought Aircraft, a UA subsidiary since 1929, with, which becomes Vought-Sikorsky.

July 8, 1939. Bridgeport Brass gets $697,450 contract from U.S. Navy for cartridge casings.

April 28, 1939. Chinese government orders 2 million pounds of rod brass for $400,000 from Bridgeport Brass.

September 21, 1939. starts 6-day week as orders rise.

September 20, 1939. Vought-Sikorsky hires 800 more to mechanical staff of 1100 for Navy order.

1939
1939-1941:  With Hitler's military expansion in Europe in the late 1930's and with the start of World War II in Europe in September 1939, the U.S. gears up its military: orders from the U.S. War Department, Army and Navy to Bridgeport industry massively increase.

1939
Committee for Industrial Organization leaves AFL, becomes Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL began to expel CIO unions as early as 1936).

Fair Labor Standards Act, is enacted, which mandates a minimum wage and 40-hour work week. It also forbids child labor in any business engaged in interstate commerce.

1940
Population of Bridgeport: 147,121

1940
Bryant Electric employees 1,200.

December 17, 1940. U.S. War Department gives $3 million for Bullard to build a new factory equal in size to the present plant.

December 5, 1940. City firms get defense contracts for $4,281,626 between November 1 and 15.

1940
1940-1941: Bridgeport Brass receives orders for cartridge cases, artillery ammunition components, cartridge cups, and other items from the U.S. War Department; orders total more than three million dollars in cost.

1941
1941-1945:  U.S. in World War II. War orders pour into Bridgeport companies.

1941
August 13, 1941. Singer, which already holds several million dollars worth of contract for Army ordnance work, has started plant expansion and retooling operations for the direct manufacture of air-raid precaution equipment.

November 13, 1941. GE gets government orders for one million for giant molded rubber cords for emergency lighting purposes in conjunction with the national defense program.

Remington opens plant in Denver.

Bridgeport Post takes over Bridgeport Times-Star, buying it for $200,000. Times-Star employees were given only 30 minutes to vacate the building, and the Post sent a special wrecking crew to demolish the Times-Star presses. Ends competition among daily newspapers in Bridgeport.

1941
June. Germany invades the Soviet Union. December. Japan attacks U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. enters World War II.


March on Washington movement against racial discrimination in jobs. Fair Employment Practices Commission is established.

1941
1941-1945:  United States in World War II. No-strike pledge by unions. Major role of federal agencies in shaping union practices.

More than 110,000 Japanese Americans are interned in U.S. concentration camps.

1942
Sikorsky helicopter becomes first production helicopter in American history when Army orders 15 helicopters. To build them, United Aircraft leases a vacant plant in Bridgeport. United Aircraft also separates Chance -Vought and Sikorsky as of January 1, 1943.

New rolling mill which the Bridgeport Brass Company has built and equipped for the Defense Plant Corp at Indianapolis, Indiana in April.

1943
April 1943: Bullard plant employees (6,500 total employees) go on 60 and ½ hour week, 2 shifts.

1945
September: Bridgeport Brass announces $5-6 million reconversion program to peacetime.

1945
Germany surrenders. United States drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japan surrenders. World War II ends.

1946
National strike wave. United Electrical (UE) strikes success at shutting down every General Electric and Westinghouse plant in the United States and Canada convinces companies to change their attitudes towards unions. Boulwarism.

1947
1947-1949:  Taft Hartley Act.

June:  House Committee on Un-American Activities calls 4 UE leaders to testify about Communist influence in UE (three months before hearings on Communism in Hollywood).

Truman Doctrine.

Federal Loyalty Oath.

1947
1947-1949:  Rival unions raid more than 500 UE locals.

1948
First group of U.S. Communist leaders arrested under Smith Act on charges of organizing a conspiracy to teach and advocate the forcible overthrow of the government.

Communist coup in Czechoslovakia.

Soviet Union begins blockade of Berlin.

Congress approves Marshall Plan.

Truman orders an end to segregation in the armed forces.

1949
CIO expels United Electrical; Mine Mill and Smelters; longshoremen; and 8 smaller communist-led unions on charges of "communist domination."

CIO and AFL create ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Union).

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established.

Communist victory in China.

Soviet Union detonates atomic bomb.

1949
March 10. Production workers at Remington start 4 day week, and 6 weeks later, 550 lose jobs with Remington Arms cut in orders.

December. 15,900 unemployed in Bridgeport.

Chance Vought division of United Aircraft had shifted operations to Grand Prairie, Texas.

First Barnum Festival led by H. Steinkraus

1950
Population of Bridgeport: 158,709

Peak year of Bridgeports population count in U.S. census.

Neighborhoods of Bridgeport greatly expand; growth of northern section of the City.

1950
September 24: Recovering dramatically from a 1.2 million dollar loss sustained in 1949, Bridgeport Brass this year has every month broken all production and profit records. Bridgeport's second largest industry is today thriving on an almost entire peacetime production menu, employing 5300 in 2 giant plants operating on 3 shifts 5 days a week. The only dark cloud in the picture is that copper is becoming scarce and may hamper production. Like most other industries, a year ago Bridgeport Brass was the victim of a market which virtually collapsed as consumers spread the word that prices were about to tumble 50-60%.

August 3l: Defense procurement contracts: $188,878 for Bridgeport (includes Sikorsky) manufacturers since the outbreak of hostilities in Korea on June 24. Between November 15 and December 6, 1950, Bridgeport manufacturers got $349,111 in orders for defense procurement contracts.

June 22, 1950: Despite the 5-month long strikes in the Bridgeport and Elizabethport, New Jersey plants, the Singer Manufacturing reported earnings of $284,072 during 1949.

1950
1950-1955:  Businesses in Bridgeport including CASCO Products, Columbia Records, and the Acme Shear Company advertise in Puerto Rico for factory workers.

1950
United States enters Korean War.

McCarran Internal Security Act requires registration of the Communist Party and its members and imposes many restrictions against both, though act claims Party membership per se not unlawful.

Senator Joseph McCarthy launches anti-Communist crusade.

CIO expels nine unions for alleged Communist domination.

1951
February 7, 1951: Avco Manufacturing is taking over the former Chance Vought plant in Stratford. Avco will make aircraft engines for the Air Force. U.S. will own Avco plant.

Bullard Company employment office is kept open on Sunday due to the demand for skilled workers.

1951
1951-1952: A series of articles in the Bridgeport Sunday Herald; first appearing on the 30th of December, outlines the "shocking conditions in which 2,700 Puerto Rican immigrants are living in Bridgeport tenements. Community problems with fair housing, health, and language difficulties are cited.

1952
President Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected.

George Meany becomes president of the AFL and Walter Reuther becomes president of the CIO.

First U.S. hydrogen bomb exploded.

1953
Stalin dies.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, are executed in spite of world wide protest.

July 25. U.S. Congress gives Puerto Rico Commonwealth status.

1953
Warner Company buys factory in Puerto Rico to make bras.

1953
1953-1954: Bridgeport Brass Company builds $2.5 million dollar tube mill.

1954
November 11. Avco lays off 200 as jet order is cut.

February 14. Bridgeport Brass Company tomorrow will take over the mammoth aluminum plant in Adrian, Michigan, recently leased from the Air Force.

More unemployment in Bridgeport than a year ago. Avco, Singer, Underwood and others have laid off several hundred employees.

1954
Supreme Court prohibits racial segregation in schools in Brown v. Board of Education.

December. Senator Joe McCarthy censured by Senate.

H.O. Canfield Company has large number of Puerto Rican workers on its payroll. The Company sends 10 foreman to a special language course at the University of Bridgeport.

1955
AFL & CIO merge with George Meany as first president, UMWA.

Montgomery bus boycott begins.

1955
February 1955. Bullard income hits record high.

Sikorsky opens plant in Stratford.

5,000-7,000 Puerto Ricans are living in Bridgeport.

1956
President Dwight D. Eisenhower is reelected.

East coast Longshoremen's Strike.

1957
Civil Rights Act (first since Reconstruction).

Supreme Court's Yates decision ends Smith Act conviction. Court says "organize" means only the initial act of reconstituting the party in 1945; and to be a crime the advocator must be urging action rather than simply urging belief.

Little Rock school desegregation crisis.

Soviet Union launches Sputnik.

AFL-CIO expels Teamsters, Bakery Workers, and Laundry Workers for corruption.

1957
February 1957:  Northeastern Steel (formerly Stanley Works) files for bankruptcy. In July, citing poor market conditions, firm lays off 200 people. It is then acquired by Carpenter Steel Co. of Reading, Pa.

United Illuminating's Harbor Station is dedicated.

Connecticut changes from majority manufacturing to majority non-manufacturing economy. 10 years ago, factory workers outnumbered non-manufacturing workers by 30,000. Now there are about 70,000 more non-manufacturing than manufacturing.

Connecticut, which benefits from the highest per capita defense spending by the federal government of any state, is heavily dependent on defense contracts, particularly in aircraft, to bolster its sagging manufacturing employment levels.

November. Mayor Jasper McLevy loses election after 24 years in office. Democrat Sam Tedesco.

1958
January 9. Dictaphone receives $2 million order from Civil Aeronautics authority for recording machines.

April 1958. Bullard to work four-day week.

Connecticut Turnpike opens to traffic from Greenwich to New Haven.

1958
March 1959:  400 employees of American Chain and Cable will be laid off as a result of closing of firm's razor and razor blade manufacturing operation. Will still be 500 employed.

May 28:  Bridgeport Brass will sell its East Main Street plant and rent back space for some operations.

May 10:  Sikorsky 150 salaried laid off; 200 earlier. Production workers had dropped from 11,000 to 8,500 in the past year.

Re-employment lags as jobs vanish with spread of automation; the business recession in the U.S. may be about over, but unemployment hasn't melted fast enough in an economy once again moving into high gear.

1959
Landrum-Griffin Act follows investigations of union corruption.

Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba.

Steel strike.

1960
Population of Bridgeport: 156,748

1960
January 5: Bridgeport Brass buys plant in Ohio.

March 4: Bridgeport Brass and Avco cancel first shift for one day.

March 21: Bridgeport Brass will close Michigan plant on April 30 because of drastic cutbacks in military aircraft production for the US Air Force.

Singer gets $900,000 Navy contract for ejector bomb racks.

1960
Sit-ins against segregation begin in Greensboro, North Carolina.

President John F. Kennedy is elected.

Second Civil Rights Act.

1961
Bay of Pigs invasion.

Berlin Wall erected.

Peace Corps founded.

1961
June: Bridgeport Brass loses its independent status, becomes division of National Distillers and Chemical Corporation.

1962
Warner's opens factory in Ireland. Has 19 plants and warehouses in US., one in France, one in Puerto Rico, and one in Quebec.

March 23: United Illuminating and Connecticuts other major utilities are studying the possibility of building a nuclear electric generating plant in Connecticut.

Singer goes into electronic field; acquires Panamoric Electronics of New York and moves it to Bridgeport; changes name of Bridgeport plant to Singer Metrics.

1962
President Kennedy's Executive Order giving federal employee's unions the right to bargain with government agencies.

Cuban missile crisis.

East Coast Longshoremen's strike.

1963
Equal Pay Act prohibits wage discrimination because of sex.

Civil Rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama.
Birmingham Baptist Church bombed.

March on Washington.

Nuclear test-ban treaty between the Soviet Union and the US.

President John F. Kennedy assassinated. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President.

1963
March 24:  Connecticut Department of Labor; in February, 56,940 non-manufacturing workers in Bridgeport area (21,000 in trade businesses and 12,660 in services), only 10,000 of those in unions. Those likely to be already unionized are the 4,170 construction workers, the 2,390 communications workers, and the 3,070 transportation workers.

August 24: 200 to be laid off at Sikorsky.

October 4:   Expansion of existing firms and new industries beginning in Bridgeport. An industrial expansion program estimated at more than $30,000,000 and an industrial employment gain of 6,000 jobs during the past year.

Bridgeport Brass Company found guilty of price fixing, along with other brass and copper firms. Company officer Richard L. Allen, vice-president and assistant general manager of the company pleaded no contest.

March 7:  National Distillers etc. is shifting offices and research labs from Macedon, New York to former facilities of Bridgeport Brass on Crescent Street in Bridgeport.

1964
Called best year for profits at Warner

1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Medicare established.

1965
Voting Rights Act, after voting rights drive and Selma to Montgomery march, outlaws impediments to black voting and empower Attorney General to supervise federal elections in 7 southern states where whites kept blacks off voting rolls.

1965
1965-1967:  Race riots in Watts, Newark, Detroit and 19 other cities.

1965
February 1965: Bullard hikes profit 46%.

June 14, 1965: One million dollar renovation of Bryant Electric plant.

American Chain and Cable will build $2 million Shelton Plant.

Singer Company's Metrics Division in Bridgeport ends sewing machine production, where 400 were employed; continues in electronics and instrument production (800 are employed in those divisions).

1966
Vietnam War brings Sikorsky more than $209 million worth of business in this year.

July 21, 1966. Dresser Industries drops name of Manning, Maxwell and Moore after 85 years.

1967
March 17:  Brassco ending use of East Main Street plant; will consolidate some of the operations there in its Housatonic Avenue complex.

299 employees will be terminated over next 3-4 months as some of Tire Valve operations are phased out at Bridgeport and moved to a new plant in Virginia.

Record profits for Bridgeport Brass this year.

May 6:  Bridgeport Brass has laid off about 200 production workers and Sikorsky Aircraft is planning 100-200 layoffs by June 1.

1968
A peak year of employment.

Dictaphone will expand Railroad Avenue plant.

Remington buys land in Little Rock, Arkansas to build plant.

October 13: Bassick announces it will expand in Spring Valley, Illinois because of high taxes and shortage of skilled labor in Bridgeport over past three years.

Warners changes name to Warnaco.

Carpenter Steel changes name to Carpenter Technology.

1968
Assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

United Auto Workers union leaves AFL-CIO, charging it adheres blindly to cold war politics.

Richard M. Nixon is elected President of the U.S.

1969
Apollo 11 moon landing

1969
United Illuminating is the number 1 tax payer in Bridgeport.

Greater Bridgeport Labor Council opposes proposal for a Bridgeport city payroll tax because it hurts poorest the most and leaves the rich alone. GBLC also supports strikes by GE workers.

August 5:  Avco Lycoming says will probably lower total work force from its present peak level of 9,000 in the next year. 1,000 already left by attrition. Reason: Army requirements have already been fulfilled.

September 19:  Members of American Independent Movement distribute Jobs in Danger leaflets at Avco. Will organize workers to back the UAW Teamsters "Project Cutback;" union representatives will go to Washington to talk with CT congress people about cutbacks.

Navy awards 3 contracts to Sikorsky for $30 million.

1969
Sikorsky lays off 4,000 workers, decreasing workforce from 10,500 to 6,500.

1970
January 13:  Avco gets order for 1.4 million.
January 15: 380 will be laid off at Avco Lycoming in next 3 weeks.

Labor leaders meet in Hartford to offer legislative committee ideas as to how economic conversion from wartime to peacetime production can be accomplished without loss of jobs; one plan is for CO's to set aside 25% of profits after taxes for retraining workers and to aid their families in case of a layoff.

March 11:  Avco Lycoming to cut work force by 550 in next 3 weeks. Will bring to 930 the number of laid off hourly, engineering, and salaried workers since first of the year. On January 1 the plan employed 8500 workers. Layoffs have reduced this total to 7,700. Declining business and lessening of military need for gas turbine engines.

October 23:  Some 175 production and support employees will be laid off at Avco Lycoming division in Stratford by the end of November and a 10% reduction in the work force at the Bullard Company (total now is 1,300 workers) has taken place within the past 3 months, it was learned today.

Singer closes its Bridgeport manufacturing division, ending 250 jobs.

December 18: Three more Bridgeport area manufacturing plants will furlough 1,123 workers for varying lengths of time; Remington Rand Shaver division; Dictaphone; Warnaco Packaging; Locke Manufacturing, Bridgeport Machines division of Textron and GE.

1970
February 6, 1971. 300 laid off at Remington since Christmas. Military ammo section has been phased out, and moved to government owned plant in Missouri.

Bullard Company closes foundry, laying off 150 workers.

1970
Population of Bridgeport: 156,542

1970
President Nixon sends Army and Navy troops into NY Post Office to handle the mail during postal workers strike.

Congress passes the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

U.S. invades Cambodia.

1972
President Nixon is re-elected. Visits China.

1972
After having laid off workers in 1971, Avco gets a $5.6 million in contracts from Navy and Air Force. Sikorsky receives $27 million contracts from the government.

Dictaphone Corporation closes its Scully Recording Division on Bunnell Street and moves 121 jobs from Bridgeport to Mountain view, California.

Bassick invests $1.5 million in upgrading Bridgeport facilities.

October 15. The manufacturing industry, chief source of jobs in Bridgeport, accounted for 42.5% of the 63,350 persons employed in 1970.

GE announces that it is closing 2 of its 3 housewares lines. GE also announces that its hair dryer division would end in 1974 and production move to Ashboro, North Carolina.

Mr. Santoianni, president of Local 203, IUE took exception to GE's statement that all of the 400 persons laid off last March with the phasing out of fans and heaters divisions have been absorbed by the plant. "We still have at least 250 people affected by that layoff, who have never been returned to work in any division of GE-and it might be more than that."

May 1, 1972. 100 laid off at Remington.

Other reported layoffs:

  • Singer Metrics employed more than 600 persons before it closed shop.
     
  • Heppenstall Company announced closing of its plant, 200 employees discharged with 100 to be terminated in future.
     
  • Sikorsky employment dropped from 1968 peak of 10,500 to 6,500.
     
  • Remington Arms: job total from 3,000 in late 60's to 1,800, including those switched to the Arkansas Plant.
     
July 12. Bridgeport has been hard hit by unemployment because of the many defense-related factories in the area.

Cutbacks in military spending resulting from the winding down of the Vietnam war hurt both Avco Lycoming and Sikorsky Aircraft. (link)

1973
United Farm Workers, led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, is chartered by the AFL-CIO.

Arab oil embargo.

1974
President Nixon resigns after Watergate Scandal. Vice President Ford takes over as President.

Congress passes the Employment Retirement Income Security Act regulating all private pension plans.

1974
1,100 in Bridgeport Brass union. Business dips, 200 at Bridgeport Brass placed on 4-day work week. The GE company also reports layoffs and furloughs for workers. Bryant Electric and Harvey Hubbell also have laid off substantial numbers of workers.

Remington's earnings slip.

General Electric moves corporate headquarters from New York to Fairfield, Connecticut. G.E. also lays off 150, gives furloughs to 1,250 workers.

Layoffs occur at Bridgeport Brass, Harvey Hubbell, Bryant Electric, General Electric, and other companies.

1975

Bridgeport Brass lays off 400 employees, gives furloughs to other employees.

Carpenter Steel lays off 70, with furloughs workers.

November 21, 1975. Albert Cioffari, president of local 209, UE, charges that the Westinghouse Corporation is expanding manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico instead of hiring laid off Bryant Electric Workers.

November 15, 1975. Remington 1975 earnings rise 75% from last year's second quarter to this year's.

Avco Lycoming gets contract for helicopter engines for Iran. Earnings in sharp upturn.

United Aircraft changes its name to United Technologies. Subsidiaries include Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, Norden and Hamilton-Standard in Connecticut.

1976
Bryant Electric hiring 78 as construction builds up.

1976
President Jimmy Carter is elected.

1977
Despite record sales in the Dictaphone Corporations dictation equipment division which is based in Bridgeport, the company says that manufacturing costs in Bridgeport are still too high.

Dictaphone rejects joint aid proposal by the City of Bridgeport and the Connecticut Commerce Department, and announces its dictation equipment manufacturing over the next several months will move from Howard Avenue to a new plant site in Melbourne, Florida.

Bridgeport Brass has begun a realignment of its manufacturing in brass mills in Bridgeport, Seymour and Indianapolis.

August 1, 1977. Bridgeport Brass says it may shut down its mill.

1979
October:  Sikorsky lays off 140 workers.

1979
Strike by Independent Truckers.

1980
Population of Bridgeport: 142,546

1980
The 37 acre Bridgeport Brass plant closes down in October 1980 and 650 employees are fired. National Distillers says the plant closed because of the high cost of utilities, rising and uncontrollable costs of supplies and services, and an old insufficient plant.

1980
Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States of America.

1981
Air traffic controller's strike; President Reagan fires most of the nations air traffic controllers for striking illegally.

1981
1981-1982:  Unemployment rises to 9.5 percent, the highest unemployment since before World War II.

1984
December 3:  Avco agrees to a merger with Textron. Textron is also the parent of Bridgeport Machines and Sprague Meter.

June 28. Three top executives of Jenkins Brothers will take over and operate the 120-year-old company, under an 8.9 million leveraged buy-out approved by shareholders. Reduced the company's workforce from 570 to 270 in June 1983.

July 22, 1984. In 1933, DuPont bought 70% of Remington Arms' stock. In 1980, DuPont bought the remaining 30%. In middle of next year, Remington Arms corporate headquarters will move from Stratford to Wilmington, Delaware. Remington's 700-750 employees both in corporate positions and in the plant will be reduced to 300 in 1985. Some people will be transferred to plants in Ark

1985
January 29. National Distillers and Chemical Corporation wrote off Bridgeport Brass; took a fourth quarter of 1984 write-off of $2.5 million for the disposal of Bridgeport Brass and the petroleum refining and marketing operations of the Suburban Propane Gas division. All that remains locally of the former gas makers is the Seymour plant.

November 11, 1985. Frank Bisogno, president of the Machine and Office Workers Union, said in 1983 that Remington employed about 1100 workers in Bridgeport; now it is down to 250. In 1984 shotgun shell manufacturing division moved to Lonoke, AK, and last September management staff moved to Wilmington, Del. Remington Arms said Monday it will sell its abrasive products division on Barnum Avenue. Bisogno said about 90 jobs are at stake, but the company said the number is 30.

1985
1985-1986:  October 9, 1985, Bullard says it will close over the next year, through June. The least modern of its facilities, and a slump in the domestic machine tool industry because of pressure from imports. Bullard also has plants in Illinois, Cincinnati, Maine, and Birmingham, England.

1986
Warnaco bought out by Andrew Galef and Linda J. Wachner of WAC, W. Acquisition Corp., established for purposes of acquiring Warnaco.

July 8. Textron sold Bridgeport Machines last week, after 18 years of ownership. Bridgeport Machines went independent. Bridgeport machines also laid off 60 workers last Thursday. Bridgeport Machines has 2,500 employees worldwide, including plants in Singapore and Great Britain.

June 7. Since 1982, Jenkins Brothers work force has declined from 800 people to less than 200 people.

1986
In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Supreme Court finds that sexual harassment in the workplace which leads to a hostile work environment or loss of employment, may constitute discrimination.

1988
August 10:  Jenkins Brothers, the industrial valve manufacturer based in the city for the past 123 years, will close its 510 Main in the city by early 1988, but about 30 executive office employees will remain in Bridgeport. At its peak in the early 1980's, Jenkins had about 700 employees. There have been periodic layoffs over the past five years, which the company said reflected the effects of foreign competition and years of insufficient investment in plant modernization.

Carpenter Steel Company, based in Reading, Pa. announced that the Bridgeport plant would close in 18 months due to a demand for its steel products and the effects of foreign competition.

April 17:  Dictaphone moved one step closer to merging its Bridgeport, Milford and Rye, NY offices into a new corporate headquarters in Stratford by applying for a local tax abatement. About 330 company employees, including 165 from the accounting and data processing facility in Bridgeport, will move into the new facility.

An estimated 6,858 jobs were lost in the southwestern Connecticut area during 1987 and more are expected to be lost.

The decline of manufacturing locally is being attributed to a shortage of skilled labor, high energy prices, high taxes and the spiraling cost of real estate, according to a survey conducted by the Southwestern Area Commerce and Industry Association of Connecticut, Inc.

1988
Bryant Electric, located in Bridgeport for 97 years, announced last January that it will close its plant later this year, putting 450 people out of work.

Sprague Meter moved its gas meter manufacturing operations out of Bridgeport last year, putting 130 people out of work, although it kept 40 employees who hold sales, marketing and engineering jobs.

Westinghouse Electric Corporation closes Bryant Electric in Bridgeport. Local 209 of UE represented 400 employees in April 1987, and there were 50 non-union employees. Will move to North Carolina, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

May 25. Bassick, with 275 employees in Bridgeport, will close within a year, due to foreign competition and high costs in the Northeast. Most of the company will move to El Paso, Texas (casters in the El Paso plant will be assembled in Mexico).

William H. Taft, Jr. president of the Manufacturer's Association of Southern Connecticut, said the closing of the Bassick plant in Bridgeport parallels the departure of other manufacturing firms such as Carpenter Technology, Bryant Electric and Bridgeport Brass, that faced high taxes, energy costs and financial difficulties.

January 17. Sikorsky announces the lay off of 66 last week, with possibly 1000 more this year. Last year, Sikorsky laid off 85 in February after 400 left through early retirement, attrition and layoff.

1989
November 9, 1989:  Opening of the Berlin Wall.

1990
Population of Bridgeport: 141,686

1990
1990-1991: Economic Recession

1991
June 6, 1991:  Bridgeport, Connecticut becomes the first large city in the United States to file for municipal bankruptcy filing under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In a statement, Mayor Mary C. Moran said, "This action should assure long-term stability and fiscal restructuring that will afford much needed tax relief and provide the services our residents deserve."

The filing occurred the day before a Connecticut financial review board was to set a budget requiring an 18 percent property tax increase.

Mayor Mary Moran said she hoped to avoid the tax increase by using bankruptcy court to reorganize the city bureaucracy and break "onerous and economically burdensome" union contracts.

August 1, 1991:  Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Alan H. W. Shiff declared that the City of Bridgeport could not declare bankruptcy since it was not insolvent. Judge Shiff said that Bridgeport, the State's largest city, has no choice but to continue with the budget and the collective bargaining process.

1992
January 1992, Democratic Mayor Joseph Ganim is sworn in as Mayor of the City of Bridgeport.

February 4, 1992, In a 15 to 3 vote, Bridgeport Common Council authorized Mayor Joseph P. Ganim to withdraw an appeal for City bankruptcy.

1992
Bill Clinton is elected President of the United States

1993
Congress passes the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which gives workers in companies with 50 or more employees to have up to 12 weeks a year unpaid leave for family and medical purposes.

1996
Demolition of Bryant Electric building, West End of City.

1997
May 30, 1997 Demolition of Jenkins Valve facility to make way for new baseball stadium to be built on the site.

West End Community Development Corporation demolishes the three-story Ives Toy Factory on Holland Avenue. Ives Manufacturing Company manufactured toys in Bridgeport from 1870 to 1932. Ives was best known for manufacturing toy trains. The factory was demolished so that the Bodine Corporation could expand its adjacent plant on Mountain Grove Street, part of the expansion of the West End Industrial Park.

1998
May 21, 1998 First baseball game, Harbor Yard stadium.

Allied Signal holds auction of plant when the company decides to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona.

Harbour Place, a development plan for Steelpointe area of Bridgeport causes marina owners, a major oyster fishing operation, homes and businesses to be relocated or demolished to build a large shopping and entertainment center.

1999
Building Chavez Bakery on former site of Bryant Electric. Warnaco moves out of South End location. Warnaco had been located in the South End of Bridgeport for 122 years, since 1877.

Funding commitment from Tennessee developer to assist developer Alex Conroy in building Harbour Place shopping and entertainment center.

1999
Nature and Goals of Work:

The Voices of the Twentieth Century project interviewed men and women of varying backgrounds, ages, and vocations. Despite the differences in their stories, it became clear that these people often shared common experiences through work. On some level, the experience of working, whether as an entrepreneur, a volunteer, or an assembly line laborer, is a universal. Our interviewees often spoke of a general philosophy of work. They told us what working meant to them, how they approached it, what they had learned from it, and what they hoped to get out of it. These are just a few of their impressions of the working experience.

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