Economy Furniture strike begins in Austin

November 27th, 1968

On this day in 1968, Local 456 of the Upholsterers International Union called a strike against Austin's Economy Furniture Company, six months after company officials refused to recognize the 252-83 vote by the workers for union representation. At the time Economy was the largest furniture manufacturer in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. Mexican Americans, almost a quarter female, comprised 90 percent of the company's 400 workers, many of whom earned only $1.75 an hour, even after more than fifteen years of service. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Economy must negotiate with the union, but owner Milton T. Smith rejected the board's order, precipitating the strike. Smith appealed the NLRB decision to the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. In January 1971 the court ordered that the NLRB ruling be enforced; two months later, workers voted to end the strike. In June two months of collective bargaining began on a new three-and-a-half-year contract which was formally approved in September.

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Economy Furniture strike begins in Austin

November 27th, 1968

On this day in 1968, Local 456 of the Upholsterers International Union called a strike against Austin's Economy Furniture Company, six months after company officials refused to recognize the 252-83 vote by the workers for union representation. At the time Economy was the largest furniture manufacturer in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. Mexican Americans, almost a quarter female, comprised 90 percent of the company's 400 workers, many of whom earned only $1.75 an hour, even after more than fifteen years of service. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Economy must negotiate with the union, but owner Milton T. Smith rejected the board's order, precipitating the strike. Smith appealed the NLRB decision to the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. In January 1971 the court ordered that the NLRB ruling be enforced; two months later, workers voted to end the strike. In June two months of collective bargaining began on a new three-and-a-half-year contract which was formally approved in September.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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