Events In Labor History

1975 to Present


In 2003...                                                                

  1. A dozen eggs cost about $1.20

  2. A loaf of bread cost about $1.05

  3. A pound of coffee cost $2.90

  4. A 1.55 oz Hersey bar was 80 cents.                                                                                                    

  5. A gallon of milk cost cost just approximately $2.70 and a 12 oz.

    box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (8 oz.) was $3.

  1. A gallon of gasoline cost around $1.65 per gallon.

  1. The average cost of a new house in Rhode Island in 2000 was $133,000. 

The average hourly wage $ cents and the federal minimum hourly wage

was $5.15.  Minimum wage earners lost ground.  $5.15 had the purchasing

power of $4.39 in 1996 dollars.

In 1990, $56.10 had the same purchasing power as $100 in 2013.


The Disparity of Wealth in America

Between 2003 and 2004, workers saw their earnings increase by an average of 2.2%, while CEO pay increased on average, 15%.

2004 pay

Retail clerk  $22,930

Doctor  $138,490

CEO  $9,6000,000

The Fight Continues
August 1997  UPS workers strike to protect pension benefits and create full-time jobs with higher pay and benefits from existing part-time jobs.,0,2657343,full.storyshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2
2007  United Workers (stadium cleaners at Baltimore’s Camden Yards) win their three year fight for living wage, increasing poverty wages of $7 per hour to $11.30 in 2008.,0,2657343,full.story,0,2657343,full.story,0,2657343,full.story,0,2657343,full.story,0,2657343,full.story,0,2657343,full.story,0,2657343,full.storyshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2shapeimage_4_link_3shapeimage_4_link_4shapeimage_4_link_5

November 2007  Casino workers at Foxwoods in Connecticut vote to join the United Auto Workers.  It is the first such successful unionization of its kind.

September 11, 1992  Judge sends 18 striking Warwick School teachers to prison.  Teachers later continued negotiations in handcuffs.

October 2008  

Union members from throughout the state join Providence Firefighters, Teachers, and Police protesting Providence Mayor Cicilline’s  unilateral change in employee and retiree healthcare.

October 2008

Kent Hospital nurses vote to Unionize.

600 nurses join United Nurses and Allied Professions.

click on image to read the Providence Journal article.

February 2011, Rhode Island workers come out in support of Wisconsin public employees after the Wisconsin governor launched an attack on the bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public employees.

click here to see NEARI President Larry Purtill speaking at the rally.
click here to see RI AFL-CIO President George Nee speaking at the rally.

Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison exercises his stock options making over $700 million.

Meanwhile the company’s value drops 57% and lays off 1,300 workers.

But not everybody is hurting...

April 2011 Journal article on attack on worker rights

August 2012.  North Kingstown School employees protest the firing of 26 janitors and the outsourcing of those jobs.

Though their jobs were secure, they fought for their Union Brothers and Sisters.

1994  The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) becomes law.   Intended to create jobs by reducing tariffs, the law results in a net loss of nearly 700,000 jobs (jobs loss vs. jobs created) for U.S. workers.

RILHS Board Member Rich Rupp protested early on to then-President Bill Clinton.

click on image to read Rich’s letter