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Capital Region Scrapbook

ALCO workers achieve raise with 37-day strike in '51 (with photos)

Monday, January 27, 2014
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Capital Region Scrapbook


ALCO employees gather for a group shot during a group demonstration against the company on Jan. 24.
ALCO employees gather for a group shot during a group demonstration against the company on Jan. 24.

All Lobby DiLorenzo, Joe Maiorielli and thousands of their pals wanted was an extra 16 cents an hour.

The administration at the American Locomotive Co. in Schenectady decided against the raise. That’s when Lobby, Joe and thousands of other ALCO employees decided to go on strike.

The labor trouble began for real on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 1951, when management laid off 2,850 workers. One thousand other employees left their jobs in protest; 600 office workers joined the group and took unexpected time off.

Wage issues were at the heart of the disagreements. Production and office workers in Locals 2054 and 3180, United Steelworkers of America, voted to strike at midnight on Jan. 31 if ALCO refused larger paychecks.

That’s what happened. About 4,000 people stayed off their job until March 9 — the day union members voted to ratify new wage agreements.

The new pay rates were retroactive to Jan. 15, and gave production workers an average guaranteed raise of 16 cents and hour and office workers a general increase of 11.4 percent.

 
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