Events In Labor History

1960 to 1975

The Economics


In 1970..

  1. A pound of bacon cost 95 cents                                                                 

  2. A dozen eggs cost 61 cents

  3. A loaf of bread cost about 24 cents   

  4. 5 pounds of sugar was 65 cents and a 1 3/8th oz Hersey bar was 10 cents.                                                                                                    

  5. A half-gallon of milk cost (delivered) cost just over 66 cents and a

    box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (18 oz.) was 38 cents.

  1. The average cost of a new house in Rhode Island was $9,767 and

    gasoline cost 36 cents per gallon. 

The average hourly wage for production workers was $3.93 and the federal minimum hourly wage was $1.65.

The unemployment rate was 20.1 percent and union membership was 13.8 percent and on the rise.  

$16.70 had the same purchasing power as $100 in 2013.


1960 labor cartoon

(click to get a better view)

1961  Firefighters win the right to organize and collectively bargain. (R.I.G.L. 28-9.1-1)
1963  Municipal police officers win the right to organize and collectively bargain. (R.I.G.L. 28-9.2-2)
1966  Teachers win the right to organize and collectively bargain.  (R.I.G.L. 28-9.3-1)
1967  Municipal employees win the right  to organize and collectively bargain.  (R.I.G.L. 28-9.4-1)

1962 Federal employees given the right to bargain collectively.

1962  Textile Workers of America (CIO) organize Arkwright Mill in Coventry, Rhode Island.

click here to Read RILHS member Richard Rupp’s interview with TWUA organizer and first president of Local 1554 Norman RawlinsonRupp_Interview_with_Norman_Rawlinson.html

1974  Congress passes Employee Retirement Income Security Act regulating private pension plans.

March 20, 1971  Former U.S Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg argues Curt Flood’s case in favor of free agency before the U.S. Supreme Court.

What did a senior teacher earn in South Kingstown during the 1967-1968 school year?
click here to find outTeacher_salary.html

Martin Luther King, Jr. goes to Memphis to support striking AFSCME sanitation workers, rather than travel to Washington D.C. for preparation work on the Poor People’s March.  He is assassinated on April 4, 1968, days after his arrival.

Click image above to hear King’s last speech. 

Click on image below to jump to AFSCME web page devoted to Dr. King and the sanitation workers.

listen to John Kennedy’s speech on labor

sanitation workers protest