Today in Labor History: Union formed, rich taxed, scaffolds made safer

On August 30, 1834, delegates from several East Coast cities met in convention to form the National Trades’ Union, uniting national craft unions and citywide trades’ unions to oppose “the most unequal and unjustifiable distribution of wealth of society in the hands of a few individuals.” But the union collapsed with the 1837 economic crisis of recession, bank failures and then record high unemployment.

On August 30, 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt’s Wealth Tax Act increased taxes on the rich and big business and lowered taxes for small businesses.

On August 30, 1996 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a first-time-ever set of scaffold safety rules designed to protect 2.3 million construction workers. The rules are generally attributed with saving the lives of at least 50 construction workers every year and preventing the injury of at least 9,500 other workers each year.

Photo: Participants work on their techniques and safety procedures during a suspended scaffolding training class at the John B. Scola Training Center, Queens, New York, which trains union bricklayers and other construction workers. Seth Wenig/AP



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