………. SAVE THE DATE ………. Bridges of Poplar Creek Course ……….SAVE THE DATE……….

LOCAL LODGE 1487 GOLF OUTINGAugust 24th, 2017
31 days to go.

Today in History

July 30

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965, establishing Medicare and Medicaid – 1965
 
Former Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa disappears. Declared legally dead in 1982, his body has never been found – 1975
 
United Airlines agrees to offer domestic-partner benefits to employees and retirees worldwide – 1999

July 29

The Coast Seamen’s Union merges with the Steamship Sailors’ Union to form the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific – 1891
 
A preliminary delegation from Mother Jones’ March of the Mill Children from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, publicizing the harsh conditions of child labor, arrives today. They are not allowed through the gates – 1903
(The Autobiography of Mother Jones: Mary Harris Jones—“Mother Jones”—was the most dynamic woman ever to grace the American labor movement. Employers and politicians called her “the most dangerous woman in America” and rebellious working men and women loved her as they never loved anyone else.)

Nineteen firefighters die while responding to a blaze at the Shamrock Oil and Gas Corp. refinery in Sun Ray, Texas – 1956
 
Following a 5-year table grape boycott, Delano-area growers file into the United Farm Workers union hall in Delano, Calif., to sign their first union contracts – 1970

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 28

Women shoemakers in Lynn, Mass., create Daughters of St. Crispin, demand pay equal to that of men – 1869
 
Harry Bridges is born in Australia. He came to America as a sailor at age 19 and went on to help form and lead the militant Int’l Longshore and Warehouse Union for more than 40 years – 1901
 
A strike by Paterson, N.J., silk workers for an 8-hour day, improved working conditions ends after six months, with the workers’ demands unmet. During the course of the strike, approximately 1,800 strikers were arrested, including Wobbly leaders Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn – 1913
 
Federal troops burn the shantytown built near the U.S. Capitol by thousands of unemployed WWI veterans, camping there to demand a bonus they had been promised but never received – 1932
 
Nine miners are rescued in Sommerset, Pa., after being trapped for 77 hours 240 feet underground in the flooded Quecreek Mine – 2002

July 27

William Sylvis, founder of the National Labor Union, died – 1869

July 26

In Chicago, 30 workers are killed by federal troops, more than 100 wounded at the “Battle of the Viaduct” during the Great Railroad Strike – 1877
 
President Grover Cleveland appoints a United States Strike Committee to investigate the causes of the Pullman strike and the subsequent strike by the American Railway Union. Later that year the commission issues its report, absolving the strikers and blaming Pullman and the railroads for the conflict – 1894
 
Battle of Mucklow, W.Va., in coal strike. An estimated 100,000 shots were fired; 12 miners and four guards were killed – 1912
 
President Truman issues Executive Order 9981, directing equality of opportunity in armed forces – 1948
 
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect today. It requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities and bans discrimination against such workers – 1992

 

 


 

July 25

Workers stage a general strike—believed to be the nation’s first—in St. Louis, in support of striking railroad workers. The successful strike was ended when some 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized special police killed at least eighteen people in skirmishes around the city – 1877
 
New York garment workers win closed shop and firing of scabs after 7-month strike – 1890
(No Contract, No Peace: A Legal Guide to Contract Campaigns, Strikes, and Lockouts: This book is a must-have for any union or activist considering aggressive action to combat management’s growing economic war against workers. No Contract, No Peace! references recent union activities and NLRB decisions that have affected the labor relations environment. Schwartz’s familiarity with labor and employment law combines with his activist spirit to provide innovative yet practical tips for mounting and maintaining meaningful campaigns designed to build union and workers’ power.)

 


Fifteen “living dead women” testify before the Illinois Industrial Commission.  They were “Radium Girls,” women who died prematurely after working at clock and watch factories, where they were told to wet small paintbrushes in their mouths so they could dip them in radium to paint dials.  A Geiger counter passed over graves in a cemetery near Ottawa, Illinois still registers the presence of radium – 1937
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Teamsters and Service Employees unions break from the AFL-CIO during the federation’s 50th convention to begin the Change to Win coalition, ultimately comprised of seven unions (4 by 2011: SEIU, Teamsters, UFCW and the UFW). They say they want more emphasis on organizing and less on electoral politics – 2005

July 24

The United Auto Workers and the Teamsters form the Alliance for Labor Action (ALA), later to be joined by several smaller unions. The ALA’s agenda included support of the civil rights movement and opposition to the war in Vietnam. It disbanded after four years following the death of UAW President Walter Reuther – 1968
(All Labor Has Dignity: People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform.)
 

 

 

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $6.55 per hour today. The original minimum, set in 1938 by the Fair Labor Standards Act, was 25¢ per hour – 2008
 
U.S. minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour, up from $6.55 – 2009

July 23

Anarchist Alexander Berkman shoots and stabs but fails to kill steel magnate Henry Clay Frick in an effort to avenge the Homestead massacre 18 days earlier, in which nine strikers were killed. Berkman also tried to use what was, in effect, a suicide bomb, but it didn’t detonate – 1892
 
Northern Michigan copper miners strike for union recognition, higher wages and 8-hour day. By the time they threw in the towel the following April, 1,100 had been arrested on various charges and Western Federation of Miners President Charles Moyer had been shot, beaten and forced out of town – 1913
 
Aluminum Workers Int’l Union merges with The United Brick & Clay Workers of America to form Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers – 1981

July 22

Newly unionized brewery workers in San Francisco, mostly German socialists, declare victory after the city’s breweries give in to their demands for free beer, the closed shop, freedom to live anywhere (they had typically been required to live in the breweries), a 10-hour day, 6-day week, and a board of arbitration – 1886
(From First Contact to First Contract: A Union Organizer’s Handbook is a no-nonsense tool from veteran labor organizer and educator Bill Barry. He looks to his own vast experience to document and help organizers through all the stages of a unionization campaign, from how to get it off the ground to how to bring it home with a signed contract and a strong bargaining unit.)
 
A bomb was set off during a “Preparedness Day” parade in San Francisco, killing 10 and injuring 40 more. Tom Mooney, a labor organizer, and Warren Billings, a shoe worker, were convicted of the crime, but both were pardoned 23 years later – 1916

 

July 21

Local militiamen are called out against striking railroad workers in Pittsburgh. The head of the Pennsylvania Railroad advises giving the strikers “a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.” – 1877
 
Compressed air explosion kills 20 workers constructing railroad tunnel under the Hudson River – 1880
 
IWW leads a strike at Hodgeman’s Blueberry Farm in Grand Junction, Mich. – 1964
 
Radio station WCFL, owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor, takes to the airwaves with two hours of music. The first and only labor-owned radio station in the country, WCFL was sold in 1979 – 1926
 
A die-cast operator in Jackson, Mich., is pinned by a hydraulic Unimate robot, dies five days later. Incident is the first documented case in the U.S. of a robot killing a human – 1984

July 20

New York City newsboys, many so poor that they were sleeping in the streets, begin a 2-week strike. Several rallies drew more than 5,000 newsboys, complete with charismatic speeches by strike leader Kid Blink, who was blind in one eye. The boys had to pay publishers up front for the newspapers; they were successful in forcing the publishers to buy back unsold papers – 1899
(Kids at Work: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)
 
Two killed, 67 wounded in Minneapolis truckers’ strike—”Bloody Friday” – 1934
 
Postal unions, Postal Service sign first labor contract in the history of the federal government—the year following an unauthorized strike by 200,000 postal workers – 1971

July 19

Women’s Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, N.Y.  Delegates adopt a Declaration of Women’s Rights and call for women’s suffrage – 1848
 
An amendment to the 1939 Hatch Act, a federal law whose main provision prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity, is amended to also cover state and local employees whose salaries include any federal funds – 1940 

 

 

July 18

The Brotherhood of Telegraphers begins an unsuccessful 3-week strike against the Western Union Telegraph Co. – 1883
 
Some 35,000 Chicago stockyard workers strike – 1919
 
Hospital workers win 113-day union recognition strike in Charleston, S.C. – 1969

July 17

Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny – 1944

 

 

 

July 16

Ten thousand workers strike Chicago’s Int’l Harvester operations – 1919
 
Martial law declared in strike by longshoremen in Galveston, Texas – 1920
 
San Francisco Longshoremen’s strike spreads, becomes 4-day general strike – 1934

 

July 15

Some 50,000 lumberjacks strike for 8-hour day – 1917
 
Ralph Gray, an African-American sharecropper and leader of the Share Croppers Union, is murdered in Camp Hill, Ala. – 1931
 
A half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees – 1959
(There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America: This sympathetic, thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s to organized labor’s decline in the 1980s and struggle for survival and growth today.)
  

 

 

July 14

The Great Uprising nationwide railway strike begins in Martinsburg, W.Va., after railroad workers are hit with their second pay cut in a year. In the following days, strike riots spread through 17 states. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the strike – 1877
 
Woody Guthrie, writer of “This Land is Your Land” and “Union Maid,” born in Okemah, Okla. – 1912
(Woody Guthrie: A Life: Folksinger and political activist Woody Guthrie contributed much to the American labor movement, not the least of which are his classic anthems “Union Maid” and “This Land Is Your Land.” This is perhaps his best-ever biography, written by bestselling author Joe Klein (Primary Colors, The Running Mate). It is an easy-to-read, honest description of Guthrie’s life, from a childhood of poverty to a youth spent “bummin’ around” to an adulthood of music and organizing—and a life cut short by incurable disease.)
 
Italian immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murder and payroll robbery—unfairly, most historians agree—after a 2-month trial, and are eventually executed. Fifty years after their deaths the state’s governor issued a proclamation saying they had been treated unfairly and that “any disgrace should be forever removed from their names.” – 1921

July 13

Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union organized in Tyronza, Ark. – 1934
 
Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder. The strike was to become a lockout, which lasted four years more – 1995
  

 

 

 

 

July 12

Bisbee, Ariz., deports Wobblies; 1,186 miners sent into desert in manure-laden boxcars. They had been fighting for improved safety and working conditions – 1917
 
The Screen Actors Guild holds its first meeting. Among those attending: future horror movie star (Frankenstein’s Monster) and union activist Boris Karloff – 1933
  

 

 

July 11

Striking coal miners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, dynamite barracks housing Pinkerton management thugs – 1892
 
After seven years of labor by as many as 2,800 construction workers, the Triborough Bridge opens in New York.  Actually a complex of three bridges, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.  Construction began on Black Friday, 1929, and New Deal money turned it into one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression – 1936
 
A nine-year strike begins at the Ohio Crankshaft Division of Park-Ohio Industries in Cleveland. Overcoming scabs, arrests and firings, UAW Local 91 members hung on and approved a contract in 1992 with the company—now under new management—that included company-funded health and retirement benefits, as well as pay increases – 1983

 

July 10

Mary McLeod Bethune, educator and civil rights activist, born – 1875
 
Some 14,000 federal and state troops finally succeed in putting down the strike against the Pullman Palace Car Co., which had been peaceful until July 5, when federal troops intervened in Chicago, against the repeated protests of the governor and Chicago’s mayor. A total of 34 American Railway Union members were killed by troops over the course of the strike – 1894
 
A powerful explosion rips through the Rolling Mill coal mine in Johnstown, Pa., killing 112 miners, 83 of whom were immigrants from Poland and Slovakia – 1902
 
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce holds a mass meeting of more than 2,000 merchants to organize what was to become a frontal assault on union strength and the closed shop. The failure of wages to keep up with inflation after the 1906 earthquake had spurred multiple strikes in the city – 1916
 
Sidney Hillman dies at age 59. He led the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, was a key figure in the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and was a close advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt – 1946

 

 

 

 

 

July 9

The worst rail accident in U.S. history occurs when two trains pulled by 80-ton locomotives collided head-on at Dutchman’s curve in west Nashville, Tenn. 101 people died, another 171 were injured – 1918
 
New England Telephone “girls” strike for 7-hour workday, $27 weekly pay after four years’ service – 1923
 
New York City subway system managers in the Bronx attempt to make cleaning crews on the IRT line work faster by forcing the use of a 14-inch squeegee instead of the customary 10-inch tool. Six workers are fired for insubordination; a 2-day walkout by the Transport Workers Union wins reversal of the directive and the workers’ reinstatement – 1935

Fourteen volunteer firefighters and one Forest Service employee die fighting the Rattlesnake wildfire in California’s Mendocino National Forest.  The blaze was set by an arsonist – 1953
 
United Packinghouse, Food & Allied Workers merge with Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen – 1968
 
Five thousand demonstrators rally at the state capitol in Columbia, S.C., in support of the “Charleston Five,” labor activists charged with felony rioting during a police attack on a 2000 longshoremen’s picket of a non-union crew unloading a ship – 2001

July 8

 
Labor organizer Ella Reeve “Mother” Bloor born on Staten Island, N.Y. Among her activities: investigating child labor in glass factories and mines, and working undercover in meat packing plants to verify for federal investigators the nightmarish working conditions that author Upton Sinclair had revealed in
The Jungle – 1862
 
The Pacific Mail Steamship Co. fires all employees who had been working an 8-hour day, then joins with other owners to form the “Ten-Hour League Society” for the purpose of uniting all mechanics “willing to work at the old rates, neither unjust to the laborers nor ruinous to the capital and enterprise of the city and state.” The effort failed – 1867
 
Founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W., or Wobblies) concludes in Chicago. Charles O. Sherman, a former American Federation of Labor organizer, is elected president – 1905
 
Some 35,000 members of the Machinists union begin what is to become a 43-day strike that shuts down five major U.S. airlines, about three-fifths of domestic air traffic.  The airlines were thriving, and wages were a key issue in the fight – 1966

July 7

Striking New York longshoremen meet to discuss ways to keep new immigrants from scabbing. They were successful, at least for a time. On July 14, 500 newly arrived Jews marched straight from their ship to the union hall. On July 15, 250 Italian immigrants stopped scabbing on the railroad and joined the union – 1882
 
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones begins “The March of the Mill Children,” when, accompanied part of the way by children, she walked from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s home on Long Island to protest the plight of child laborers. One of her demands: reduce the children’s work week to 55 hours – 1903
 
Cloak makers begin what is to be a 2-month strike against New York City sweatshops – 1910
 
Workers begin construction on the Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam) on the Colorado River, during the Great Depression.  Wages and conditions were horrible—16 workers and work camp residents died of the heat over just a single 30-day period—and two strikes over the four years of construction led to only nominal improvements in pay and conditions – 1931
 
Some 500,000 people participate when a two-day general strike is called in Puerto Rico by more than 60 trade unions and many other organizations. They are protesting privatization of the island’s telephone company – 1998

July 6

Two strikers and a bystander are killed, 30 seriously wounded by police in Duluth, Minn. The workers, mostly immigrants building the city’s streets and sewers, struck after contractors reneged on a promise to pay $1.75 a day – 1889
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism: Are immigrant workers themselves responsible for low wages and shoddy working conditions? Should unions expend valuable time and energy organizing undocumented workers? Unions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken various approaches to confront the challenges of this significant segment of the workforce. As U.S. immigration policy is debated, readers will gain insight into how all workers benefit when wages and working conditions for immigrant workers are improved.)
 
Two barges, loaded with Pinkerton thugs hired by the Carnegie Steel Co., land on the south bank of the Monongahela River in Homestead, Pa., seeking to occupy Carnegie Steel Works and put down a strike by members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron & Steel Workers – 1892
 
Rail union leader Eugene V. Debs is arrested during the Pullman strike, described by the
New York Times as “a struggle between the greatest and most important labor organization and the entire railroad capital” that involved some 250,000 workers in 27 states at its peak – 1894
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)
 
Transit workers in New York begin what is to be an unsuccessful 3-week strike against the then-privately owned IRT subway. Most transit workers labored seven days a week, up to 11.5 hours a day – 1926
 
Explosions and fires destroy the Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea, killing 167 oil workers—the worst loss of life ever in an offshore oil disaster.  The operator, Occidental, was found guilty of having inadequate maintenance and safety procedures, but no criminal charges were ever brought – 1988

July 5

During a strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company, which had drastically reduced wages, buildings constructed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago’s Jackson Park were set ablaze, reducing seven to ashes – 1894
(In this expanded edition of Strike! you can read about labor-management conflicts that have occurred over the past 140 years. Here you’ll learn much about workers’ struggle to win a degree of justice, from the workers’ point of view. Brecher also examines the ever-shifting roles and configurations of unions, from the Knights of Labor of the 1800s to the AFL-CIO of the 1990s. A new chapter, “Beyond One-Sided Class War,” looks at how modern protest movements, such as the Battle of Seattle and Occupy Wall Street, were ignited and considers the similarities between these challenges to authority and those of labor’s past.)
 
West Coast Longshoremen’s Strike, Battle of Rincon Hill, San Francisco. Some 5,000 strikers fought 1,000 police, scabs and national guardsmen.  Two strikers were killed, 109 people injured. The incident, forever known as “Bloody Thursday,” led to a general strike – 1934

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act – 1935
 
Three firefighters, a state policeman and an employee of Doxol Gas in Kingman, Arizona are killed in a propane gas explosion. Eight more firefighters were to die of burns suffered in the event – 1973

Fourteen firefighters are killed battling the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain in Glenwood Springs, Colo. – 1994

July 4

Albert Parsons joins the Knights of Labor. He later became an anarchist and was one of the Haymarket martyrs – 1876
 
AFL dedicates its new Washington, D.C., headquarters building at 9th St. and Massachusetts Ave. NW. The building, still standing, later became headquarters for the Plumbers and Pipefitters – 1916
 
Five newspaper boys from the
Baltimore Evening Sun died when the steamer they were on, the Three Rivers, caught fire near Baltimore, Md. They are remembered every year at a West Baltimore cemetery, toasted by former staffers of the now-closed newspaper – 1924
 
With the Great Depression underway, some 1,320 delegates attended the founding convention of the Unemployed Councils of the U.S.A., organized by the U.S. Communist Party. They demanded passage of unemployment insurance and maternity benefit laws and opposed discrimination by race or sex – 1930
 
Two primary conventions of the United Nations’ Int’l Labor Organization come into force: Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize – 1950
 
Building trades workers lay the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.  The WTC had been leveled by a terrorist attack three years earlier.  Nearly 3,000 died at the WTC and in other attacks in the eastern U.S. on the same day – 2004

July 3

Children, employed in the silk mills in Paterson, N.J., go on strike for 11-hour day and 6-day week. A compromise settlement resulted in a 69-hour work week – 1835
 
Feminist and labor activist Charlotte Perkins Gilman born in Hartford, Conn. Her landmark study, “Women and Economics,” was radical: it called for the financial independence of women and urged a network of child care centers – 1860

July 2

The first Walmart store opens in Rogers, Ark.  By 2014 the company had 10,000 stores in 27 countries, under 71 different names, employing more than 2 million people.  It is known in the U.S. and most of the other countries in which it operates for low wages and extreme anti-unionism – 1962
(Why Unions Matter: In Why Unions Matter, the author explains why unions still matter in language you can use if you happen to talk with someone who shops or works at Walmart. Unions mean better pay, benefits, and working conditions for their members; they force employers to treat employees with dignity and respect; and at their best, they provide a way for workers to make society both more democratic and more egalitarian. Yates uses simple language, clear data, and engaging examples to show why workers need unions, how unions are formed, how they operate, how collective bargaining works, the role of unions in politics, and what unions have done to bring workers together across the divides of race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.)
 
President Johnson signs Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbidding employers and unions from discriminating on the basis of race, color, gender, nationality, or religion – 1964
 
The Labor Dept. reports that U.S. employers cut 467,000 jobs over the prior month, driving the nation’s unemployment rate up to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent – 2009

July 1

The American Flint Glass workers union is formed, headquartered in Pittsburgh.  It was to merge into the Steelworkers 140 years later, in 2003 – 1873

Steel workers in Cleveland begin what was to be an 88-week strike against wage cuts – 1885
 
Homestead, Pa., steel strike. Seven strikers and three Pinkertons killed as Andrew Carnegie hires armed thugs to protect strikebreakers – 1892
 
The Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers stages what is to become an unsuccessful 3-month strike against U.S. Steel Corp. Subsidiaries – 1901
 
One million railway shopmen strike – 1922
 
Some 1,100 streetcar workers strike in New Orleans, spurring the creation of the po’ boy sandwich by a local sandwich shop owner and one-time streetcar man. “Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming,” Bennie Martin later recalled, “one of us would say, ‘Here comes another poor boy.’” Martin and his wife fed any striker who showed up – 1929

In what was to be a month-long strike, 650,000 steelworkers shut down the industry while demanding a number of wage and working condition improvements.  They won all their demands, including a union shop – 1956
 
National Association of Post Office & General Service Maintenance Employees, United Federation of Postal Clerks, National Federation of Post Office Motor Vehicle Employees & National Association of Special Delivery Messengers merge to become American Postal Workers Union – 1971
 
Int’l Jewelry Workers Union merges with Service Employees Int’l Union – 1980
 
Graphic Arts Int’l Union merges with Int’l Printing & Graphic Communications Union to become Graphic Communications Int’l Union, now a conference of the Teamsters – 1983
 
Copper miners begin a years-long, bitter strike against Phelps-Dodge in Clifton, Ariz. Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt repeatedly deployed state police and National Guardsmen to assist the company over the course of the strike, which broke the union – 1983
(Strikes Around the World draws on the experience of fifteen countries around the world – The United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Covering the high and low points of strike activity over the period 1968–2005, the study shows continuing evidence of the durability, adaptability and necessity of the strike.)
 
Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union merges with Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union to form Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees – 1995
 
Int’l Chemical Workers Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union – 1996
 
The Newspaper Guild merges with Communications Workers of America – 1997
 
United American Nurses affiliate with the AFL-CIO – 2001

June 30

Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to mine coal, a practice that had been in place since 1848. In 1898, 73 percent of the state’s total revenue came from this source. 25 percent of all Black leased convicts died – 1928
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Walsh-Healey Act took effect today. It requires companies that supply goods to the government to pay wages according to a schedule set by the Secretary of Labor – 1936
 
The storied Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, a union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America – 1967
 

 

 

 

 

 

Up to 40,000 New York construction workers demonstrated in midtown Manhattan, protesting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s awarding of a $33 million contract to a nonunion company. Eighteen police and three demonstrators were injured. “There were some scattered incidents and some minor violence,” Police Commissioner Howard Safir told the New York Post. “Generally, it was a pretty well-behaved crowd.” – 1998

Nineteen firefighters die when they are overtaken by a wildfire they are battling in a forest northwest of Phoenix, Ariz.  It was the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. in at least 30 years – 2013

 

June 29

What is to be a 7-day streetcar strike begins in Chicago after several workers are unfairly fired. Wrote the police chief at the time, describing the strikers’ response to scabs: “One of my men said he was at the corner of Halsted and Madison Streets, and although he could see fifty stones in the air, he couldn’t tell where they were coming from.” The strike was settled to the workers’ satisfaction – 1885
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National Labor Relations Board.  A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, established by the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, had been struck down by the Supreme Court – 1934
 
IWW strikes Weyerhauser and other Idaho lumber camps – 1936 

Jesus Pallares, founder of the 8,000-member coal miners union, Liga Obrera de Habla Espanola, is deported as an “undesirable alien.” The union operated in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado – 1936
 
The Boilermaker and Blacksmith unions merge to become Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers – 1954
 
The newly-formed Jobs With Justice stages its first big support action, backing 3,000 picketing Eastern Airlines mechanics at Miami Airport – 1987
 
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in CWA v. Beck that, in a union security agreement, a union can collect as dues from non-members only that money necessary to perform its duties as a collective bargaining representative – 1988

 

 

June 28

Birthday of machinist Matthew Maguire, who many believe first suggested Labor Day. Others believe it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter – 1850
 
President Grover Cleveland signs legislation declaring Labor Day an official U.S. holiday – 1894
 
The federal government sues the Teamsters to force reforms on the union, the nation’s largest. The following March, the government and the union sign a consent decree requiring direct election of the union’s president and creation of an Independent Review Board – 1988

June 27


 

Emma Goldman, women’s rights activist and radical, born in Lithuania. She came to the U.S. at age 17 – 1869
 
The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies,” is founded at a 12-day-long convention in Chicago. The Wobbly motto: “An injury to one is an injury to all.” – 1905
 
Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act, creating the structure for collective bargaining in the United States – 1935
(The Labor Law Source Book: Texts of 20 Federal Labor Laws: A very handy collection that puts the full texts of all the major U.S. labor laws into one book. Includes the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Family and Medical Leave Act and 15 more. The full, actual language of each law is presented—without elaboration by the editor—and a helpful topic finder at the back of the book tells you which laws apply to basic concerns and classes of workers.)
 
A 26-day strike of New York City hotels by 26,000 workers—the first such walkout in 50 years—ends with a 5-year contract calling for big wage and benefit gains – 1985
 
A.E. Staley locks out 763 workers in Decatur, Ill. The lockout was to last two and one-half years – 1993

June 26

Members of the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, refuse to handle Pullman cars, in solidarity with Pullman strikers. Two dozen strikers were killed over the course of the strike – 1894
 
The 189-mile-long St. Lawrence Seaway opens, making the Great Lakes accessible to Atlantic shipping.  Thousands of laborers toiled for decades to make it happen; indirectly and directly, the Seaway today supports 75,000 jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. – 1959

 

                                                       June 25

More than 8,000 people attend the dedication ceremony for The Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Chicago, honoring those framed and executed for the bombing at Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886 – 1893
(A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present: If your last serious read of American history was in high school—or even in a standard college course—you’ll want to read this amazing account of America as seen through the eyes of its working people, women and minorities. Zinn, a widely respected Boston University professor, turns history on its head with his carefully researched and dramatic recounting of America and its people—not just its bankers, industrialists, generals and politicians.)
 
Fair Labor Standards Act passes Congress, banning child labor and setting the 40-hour work week – 1938
 
At the urging of Black labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, Franklin Roosevelt issues an executive order barring discrimination in defense industries – 1941
 
Congress passes the Smith-Connally War Labor Disputes Act over President Franklin Roosevelt’s veto. It allows the federal government to seize and operate industries threatened by strikes that would interfere with war production. It was hurriedly created after the third coal strike in seven weeks – 1943
 
A total of 21 workers are killed when a fireworks factory near Hallett, Okla., explodes – 1985
 
Decatur, Ill., police pepper-gas workers at A.E. Staley plant gate one year into the company’s two-and-a-half-year lockout of Paperworkers Local 7837 – 1994
 

June 24

Birth of Agnes Nestor, president of the Int’l Glove Workers Union and longtime leader of the Chicago Women’s Trade Union League. She began work in a glove factory at age 14 – 1880
 
Seventeen workers are killed as methane explodes in a water tunnel under construction in Sylmar, Calif. – 1971

June 23

Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, goes to Butte, Mont. in an attempt to mediate a conflict between factions of the miner’s local there. It didn’t go well. Gunfight in the union hall killed one man; Moyer and other union officers left the building, which was then leveled in a dynamite blast – 1914

 


 
Congress overrides President Harry Truman’s veto of the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act. The law weakened unions and let states exempt themselves from union requirements. Twenty states immediately enacted open shop laws and more followed – 1947
 
OSHA issues standard on cotton dust to protect 600,000 workers from byssinosis, also known as “brown lung” – 1978
 
A majority of the 5,000 textile workers at six Fieldcrest Cannon textile plants in Kannapolis, N.C., vote for union representation after an historic 25-year fight – 1999

 

June 22

A total of 86 passengers on a train carrying members of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus are killed, another 127 injured in a wreck near Hammond, Indiana.  Five days later the dead are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Ill., in an area set aside as Showmen’s Rest, purchased only a few months earlier by the Showmen’s League of America – 1918
 
Violence erupted during a coal mine strike at Herrin, Ill. A total of 36 were killed, 21 of them non-union miners – 1922

 

 

 

June 21

In England, a compassionate parliament declares that children can’t be required to work more than 12 hours a day. And they must have an hour’s instruction in the Christian Religion every Sunday and not be required to sleep more than two in a bed – 1802
(Kids at Work: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)
 
Ten miners accused of being militant “Molly Maguires” are hanged in Pennsylvania. A private corporation initiated the investigation of the 10 through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. “The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows,” a judge said many years later – 1877
 
The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the right of unions to publish statements urging members to vote for a specific congressional candidate, ruling that such advocacy is not a violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act – 1948
 
An estimated 100,000 unionists and other supporters march in solidarity with striking
Detroit News and Detroit Free Press newspaper workers – 1997
 
June 22
A total of 86 passengers on a train carrying members of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus are killed, another 127 injured in a wreck near Hammond, Indiana.  Five days later the dead are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Ill., in an area set aside as Showmen’s Rest, purchased only a few months earlier by the Showmen’s League of America – 1918
 
Violence erupted during a coal mine strike at Herrin, Ill. A total of 36 were killed, 21 of them non-union miners – 1922

June 20


Birth of Albert Parsons, Haymarket martyr – 1848
 

 
The American Railway Union, headed by Eugene Debs, is founded in Chicago. In the Pullman strike a year later, the union was defeated by federal injunctions and troops, and Debs was imprisoned for violating the injunctions – 1893
 
Henry Ford recognizes the United Auto Workers, signs contract for workers at River Rouge plant – 1941
 
Striking African-American auto workers are attacked by KKK, National Workers League, and armed White workers at Belle Isle amusement park in Detroit. Two days of riots follow, 34 people are killed, more than 1,300 arrested – 1943
(All Labor Has Dignity: Dr. Martin Luther  King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform. As we struggle with the growing inequality between the nation’s wealthy and working classes, this collection of King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice underscore his relevance for today. They help us imagine King anew: as a human rights leader whose commitment to unions and an end to poverty was a crucial part of his civil rights agenda.)
 
The Taft-Hartley Labor Management Relations Act, curbing strikes, is vetoed by President Harry S. Truman. The veto was overridden three days later by a Republican-controlled Congress – 1947
 
Oil began traveling through the Alaska pipeline. Seventy thousand people worked on building the pipeline, history’s largest privately-financed construction project – 1977
 
Evelyn Dubrow, described by the
New York Times as organized labor’s most prominent lobbyist at the time of its greatest power, dies at age 95. The Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union lobbyist once told the Times that “she trudged so many miles around Capitol Hill that she wore out 24 pairs of her size 4 shoes each year.” She retired at age 86 – 2006
 

June 19

Eight-hour work day adopted for federal employees – 1912
 
AFL President Sam Gompers and Secretary of War Newton Baker sign an agreement establishing a three-member board of adjustment to control wages, hours and working conditions for construction workers employed on government projects.  The agreement protected union wage and hour standards for the duration of World War I – 1917
 
A pioneering sit-down strike is conducted by workers at a General Tire Co. factory in Akron, Ohio. The United Rubber Workers union was founded a year later.  The tactic launched a wave of similar efforts in the auto and other industries over the next several years – 1934
(In this expanded edition of Strike! you can read about the General Tire Co. strike as well as other labor-management conflicts that have occurred over the past 140 years.  Here you’ll learn much about workers’ struggle to win a degree of justice, from the workers’ point of view.)
 
The Women’s Day Massacre in Youngstown, Ohio, when police use tear gas on women and children, including at least one infant in his mother’s arms, during a strike at Republic Steel. One union organizer later recalled, “When I got there I thought the Great War had started over again. Gas was flying all over the place and shots flying and flares going up and it was the first time I had ever seen anything like it in my life…” – 1937
 
ILWU begins a 4-day general strike in sugar, pineapple, and longshore to protest convictions under the anti-communist Smith Act of seven activists, “the Hawaii Seven.” The convictions were later overturned by a federal appeals court – 1953

June 18
 Union and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph and others meet with President Roosevelt about a proposed July 1 March on Washington to protest discrimination in war industries. A week later, Roosevelt orders that the industries desegregate – 1941

June 17

Twenty-one young women and girls making cartridges for the Union Army at the Washington, D.C. arsenal during the Civil War are killed in an accidental explosion. Most of the victims were Irish immigrants. A monument was erected in the Congressional Cemetery, where 17 of the workers were buried – 1864

Susan B. Anthony goes on trial in Canandaigua, N.Y., for casting her ballot in a federal election the previous November, in violation of existing statutes barring women from the vote – 1873
 
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones leads a rally in Philadelphia to focus public attention on children mutilated in the state’s textile mills. Three weeks later the 73-year-old will lead a march to New York City to plead with President Theodore Roosevelt to help improve conditions for the children – 1903
(The Autobiography of Mother Jones: Mary Harris Jones—“Mother Jones”—was the most dynamic woman ever to grace the American labor movement.  Employers and politicians around the turn of the century called her “the most dangerous woman in America” and rebellious working men and women loved her as they never loved anyone else.)
 
Twelve trade unionists meet in Pittsburgh to launch a drive to organize all steelworkers. It was the birth of the United Steelworkers of America (then called the Steel Workers Organizing Committee). By the end of the year 125,000 workers joined the union in support of its $5-a-day wage demand – 1936

 Nine firefighters are killed, eight more injured when a large section of Boston’s Hotel Vendom collapses on them.  The firefighters were performing cleanup when the collapse occurred, having successfully fought a fire at the luxury hotel earlier in the day – 1972

June 16

Eight local unions organize the Int’l Fur Workers Union of U.S. and Canada. The union later merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen – 1913
 
Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relation between capitalism and war. Ten days later he is arrested under the Espionage Act, eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail – 1918
 
The National Industrial Recovery Act became law, but was later to be declared unconstitutional. It established the right to unionize, set maximum hours and minimum wages for every major industry, abolished sweatshops and child labor. The Wagner Act, in effect today, was approved two years later to legalize unionization – 1933
 
Inacom Corp., once the world’s largest computer dealer, sends most of its 5,100 employees an email instructing them to call a toll-free phone number; when they call, a recorded message announces they have been fired – 2000

June 15

The Congress of Industrial Organizations expels the Fur and Leather Workers union and the American Communications Association for what it describes as communist activities – 1947
 
Battle of Century City, as police in Los Angeles attack some 500 janitors and their supporters during a peaceful Service Employees Int’l Union demonstration against cleaning contractor ISS. The event generated public outrage that resulted in recognition of the workers’ union and spurred the creation of an annual June 15 Justice for Janitors Day – 1990

June 14

Unions legalized in Canada – 1872

The first commercial computer, UNIVAC I, is installed at the U.S. Census Bureau – 1951

June 13

Congress creates a Bureau of Labor, under the Interior Department.  It later became independent as a Department of Labor without executive status in the Department of Commerce and Labor; in 1913 it became the Department of Labor we know today – 1884
 
Tony Mazzocchi born in Brooklyn, N.Y. An activist and officer in the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union, he was a mentor to Karen Silkwood, a founder of the Labor Party, and a prime mover behind the 1970 passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act – 1926

June 12
 Fifty thousand members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen employed in meatpacking plants walk off their jobs; demands include equalization of wages and conditions throughout U.S. plants – 1904
(No Contract, No Peace: A Legal Guide to Contract Campaigns, Strikes and Lockouts: This book is a must-have for any union or activist considering aggressive action to combat management’s growing economic war against workers. No Contract, No Peace! updates information contained in the first edition, entitled Strikes, Picketing and Inside Campaigns, to include reference to recent union activities and NLRB decisions that have affected the labor relations environment. Schwartz’s familiarity with labor and employment law combines with his activist spirit to provide innovative yet practical tips for mounting and maintaining meaningful campaigns designed to build union and workers’ power.)

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidates two sections of a Florida law: one required state licensing of paid union business agents, the other required registration with the state of all unions and their officers – 1945

June 11

Representatives from the AFL, Knights of Labor, populists, railroad brotherhoods and other trade unions hold a unity conference in St. Louis but fail to overcome their differences – 1894
(Welcome to the Union: Don’t let management’s voice be the only one heard by new employees who hire on in your unionized workplace. Welcome them to the job with this easy-to-read, solidarity-building introduction to unionism. It comes in two versions—public sector and private sector.)

Police shoot at maritime workers striking United Fruit Co. in New Orleans; one killed, two wounded – 1913

John L. Lewis dies. A legendary figure, he was president of the United Mine Workers from 1920 to 1960 and a driving force behind the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations – 1969

June 10

Unions legalized in Canada – 1872

The mayor of Monroe, Mich. organizes a vigilante mob of 1,400 armed with baseball bats and teargas to break the  organizing picket line of 200 striking workers at Newton Steel.  The line is broken; eight are injured and hospitalized. Sixteen workers’ cars were vandalized, five cars overturned, and eight more were dumped into the River Raisin – 1937

U.S. Supreme Court rules in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. that preliminary work activities, where controlled by the employer and performed entirely for the employer’s benefit, are properly included as working time. The decision is known as the “portal to portal case” – 1946

President Kennedy signs a law mandating equal pay to women who are performing the same jobs as men (Equal Pay Act) – 1963

 

 

 

June 9

 

Helen Marot is born in Philadelphia to a wealthy family.  She went on to organize the Bookkeepers, Stenographers and Accountants Union in New York,

and to organize and lead the city’s 1909-1910 Shirtwaist Strike.  In 1912, she was a member of a commission investigating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire – 1865

 

 

June 8

The earliest recorded strike by Chinese immigrants to the U.S. occurred when stonemasons, who were brought to San Francisco to build the three-story Parrott granite building—made from Chinese prefabricated blocks—struck for higher pay – 1852

A battle between the Militia and striking miners at Dunnville, Colo., ended with six union members dead and 15 taken prisoner.  Seventy-nine of the strikers were deported to Kansas two days later – 1904

Spectator mine disaster kills 168, Butte, Mont. – 1917

Some 35,000 members of the Machinists union begin what is to become a 43-day strike—the largest in airline history—against five carriers. The mechanics and other ground service workers wanted to share in the airlines’ substantial profits – 1966

New York City drawbridge tenders, in a dispute with the state over pension issues, leave a dozen bridges open, snarling traffic in what the Daily News described as “the biggest traffic snafu in the city’s history” – 1971

June 7

Militia sent to Cripple Creek, Colo., to suppress Western Federation of Miners strike – 1904

Sole performance of Pageant of the Paterson (N.J.) Strike, created and performed by 1,000 mill workers from the silk industry strike, New York City – 1913

Striking textile workers battle police in Gastonia, N.C.  Police Chief O.F. Aderholt is accidentally killed by one of his own officers. Six strike leaders are convicted of “conspiracy to murder” and are sentenced to jail for from five to 20 years – 1929

Founding convention of the United Food and Commercial Workers. The merger brought together the Retail Clerks Int’l Union and the Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butcher Workmen of North America – 1979
(Parliamentary Procedure and Effective Union Meetings: You couldn’t have an effective convention if no one knew how to conduct a meeting. This is a very helpful guide for how to run or participate in a union meeting—not just the formal procedures, but the realities, like how to set an agenda, how to deal with people who just love to hear themselves speak and how to boost attendance, for example.)

The United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club announce the formation of a strategic alliance to pursue a joint public policy agenda under the banner of Good Jobs, A Clean Environment, and A Safer World – 2006

June 6

The U.S. Employment Service was created – 1933

A general strike by some 12,000 autoworkers and others in Lansing, Mich., shuts down the city for a month in what was to become known as the city’s “Labor Holiday.” The strike was precipitated by the arrest of nine workers, including the wife of the auto workers local union president: The arrest left three children in the couple’s home unattended – 1937

U.S. President Harry S. Truman and American Federation of Musicians President James Petrillo perform a piano duet at the union’s convention in Asbury Park, N.J. – 1948

Labor Party founding convention opens in Cleveland, Ohio – 1996

 

June 5

Thirty-five members of the Teamsters, concerned about the infiltration of organized crime in the union and other issues, meet in Cleveland to form Teamsters for a Democratic Union – 1976
(Auditing Local Union Financial Records: Financial misdeeds can be avoided when proper procedures are in place. This easy-to-understand little book is a must-have for every local union trustee and auditor. In the author’s words, it will “provide local union trustees and auditors with the know-how and confidence they need to spot problems so they can be promptly reported and corrected.”)

A strike begins at a General Motors Corp. parts factory in Flint, Mich., that spreads and ultimately forces the closure of GM plants across the country for seven weeks.  The Flint workers were protesting the removal of key dies from their plant and feared their jobs would be lost. The company ended the dispute by assuring the plant would remain open until at least the year 2000 – 1998
Thirty-five members of the Teamsters, concerned about the infiltration of organized crime in the union and other issues, meet in Cleveland to form Teamsters for a Democratic Union – 1976
(Auditing Local Union Financial Records: Financial misdeeds can be avoided when proper procedures are in place. This easy-to-understand little book is a must-have for every local union trustee and auditor. In the author’s words, it will “provide local union trustees and auditors with the know-how and confidence they need to spot problems so they can be promptly reported and corrected.”)

A strike begins at a General Motors Corp. parts factory in Flint, Mich., that spreads and ultimately forces the closure of GM plants across the country for seven weeks.  The Flint workers were protesting the removal of key dies from their plant and feared their jobs would be lost. The company ended the dispute by assuring the plant would remain open until at least the year 2000 – 1998

Thirty-five members of the Teamsters, concerned about the infiltration of organized crime in the union and other issues, meet in Cleveland to form Teamsters for a Democratic Union – 1976
(Auditing Local Union Financial Records: Financial misdeeds can be avoided when proper procedures are in place. This easy-to-understand little book is a must-have for every local union trustee and auditor. In the author’s words, it will “provide local union trustees and auditors with the know-how and confidence they need to spot problems so they can be promptly reported and corrected.”)

A strike begins at a General Motors Corp. parts factory in Flint, Mich., that spreads and ultimately forces the closure of GM plants across the country for seven weeks.  The Flint workers were protesting the removal of key dies from their plant and feared their jobs would be lost. The company ended the dispute by assuring the plant would remain open until at least the year 2000 – 1998

June 4

Massachusetts becomes the first state to establish a minimum wage – 1912

The House of Representatives approves the Taft-Hartley Act. The legislation allows the president of the United States to intervene in labor disputes. President Truman vetoed the law but was overridden by Congress – 1947

Today in labor history for the week of May 29, 2017

The AFL-CIO opens its new headquarters building, in view of the White House – 1956

Gov. Jerry Brown signs the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law in the U.S. giving farmworkers collective bargaining rights. The legislation came after years of effort by the United Farm Workers union – 1975

June 3

Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union founded – 1900

A federal child labor law, enacted two years earlier, was declared unconstitutional – 1918

Today in labor history for the week of May 29, 2017

(The Essential Guide To Federal Employment Laws, 4th edition: Find out what federal laws are on the books in this well-indexed book, updated in 2013, which offers the full text of 20 federal laws affecting workers’ lives, along with plain-English explanations of each. An entire chapter is devoted to each law, explaining what is allowed and prohibited and what businesses must comply.)

 

More than 1,000 Canadian men, working at “Royal Twenty Centers” established by the Canadian government to provide work for single, unemployed homeless males during the Great Depression, begin an “On to Ottawa Trek” to protest conditions at the camps. They were being paid 20 cents a day plus food and shelter to build roads, plant trees and construct public buildings – 1935

June 2

Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia stage the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay – 1786.

Today in labor history for the week of May 29, 2017

A constitutional amendment declaring that “Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age” was approved by the Senate today, following the lead of the House five weeks earlier. But only 28 state legislatures ever ratified the amendment—the last three in 1937—so it has never taken effect – 1924

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President Harry Truman acted illegally when he ordered the Army to seize the nation’s steel mills to avert a strike – 1952

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and Textile Workers Union of America merge to form Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union – 1976

June 1

The Ladies Federal Labor Union Number 2703, based in Illinois, was granted a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Women from a wide range of occupations were among the members, who ultimately were successful in coalescing women’s groups interested in suffrage, temperance, health, housing and child labor reform to win state legislation in these areas – 1888

Union Carpenters win a 25¢-per-day raise, bringing wages for a 9-hour day to $2.50 – 1898

Congress passes the Erdman Act, providing for voluntary mediation or arbitration of railroad disputes and prohibiting contracts that discriminate against union labor or release employers from legal liability for on-the-job injuries – 1898

Nearly 3,500 immigrant miners begin Clifton-Morenci, Ariz., copper strike – 1903

Some 12,500 longshoremen strike the Pacific coast, from San Diego to Bellingham, Wash. Demands included a closed shop and a wage increase to 55¢ an hour for handling general cargo – 1916

As many as 60,000 railroad shopmen strike to protest cuts in wages – 1922

Today in labor history for the week of May 29, 2017

Extinguishing the light of hope in the hearts and aspirations of workers around the world, the Mexican government abolishes siestas—a mid-afternoon nap and work break which lengthened the work day but got people through brutally hot summer days – 1944

Farm workers under the banner of the new United Farm Workers Organizing Committee strike at Texas’s La Casita Farms, demand $1.25 as a minimum hourly wage – 1966

Dakota Beef meatpackers win 7-hour sit-down strike over speed-ups, St. Paul, Minn. – 2000

General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing made the automaker the largest U.S. industrial company to enter bankruptcy protection. It went on to recover thanks to massive help from the UAW and the federal government – 2009

May 31

The Johnstown Flood.  More than 2,200 die when a dam holding back a private resort lake burst upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  The resort was owned by wealthy industrialists including Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick.  Neither they nor any other members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club were found guilty of fault, despite the fact the group had created the lake out of an abandoned reservoir – 1889

Some 25,000 white autoworkers walk off the job at a Detroit Packard Motor Car Co. plant, heavily involved in wartime production, when three black workers are promoted to work on a previously all-white assembly line.  The black workers were relocated and the whites returned – 1943

Today in labor history for the week of May 29, 2017

Rose Will Monroe, popularly known as Rosie the Riveter, dies in Clarksville, Ind.  During WWII she helped bring women into the labor force – 1997

 

 

 

 

May 30

The Ford Motor Company signs a “Technical Assistance” contract to produce cars in the Soviet Union, and Ford workers were sent to the Soviet Union to train the labor force in the use of its parts. Many American workers who made the trip, including Walter Reuther, a tool and die maker who later was to become the UAW’s president,  returned home with a different view of the duties and privileges of the industrial laborer – 1929

 

Today in labor history for the week of May 29, 2017

(Bye, America: The transfer of work to other countries has escalated since Reuther’s day. In this book, young readers learn that their contemporary, Brady, is proud of his dad and wants to be just like him, working at the factory and making useful things. But that dream dies when his dad goes to work one day and is told that the factory is closing and the work is being sent to China.)

In what became known as the Memorial Day Massacre, police open fire on striking steelworkers at Republic Steel in South Chicago, killing ten and wounding more than 160 – 1937

Today in labor history for the week of May 29, 2017

The Ground Zero cleanup at the site of the World Trade Center is completed three months ahead of schedule due to the heroic efforts of more than 3,000 building tradesmen and women who had worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the previous eight months – 2002

 

May 29

Animators working for Walt Disney begin what was to become a successful 5-week strike for recognition of their union, the Screen Cartoonists’ Guild. The animated feature Dumbo was being created at the time and, according to Wikipedia, a number of strikers are caricatured in the feature as clowns who go to “hit the big 

May 28

The Ladies Shoe Binders Society formed in New York – 1835
 
Fifteen women were dismissed from their jobs at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia for dancing the Turkey Trot. They were on their lunch break, but management thought the dance too racy – 1912
 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 30,000 workers in Rochester, N.Y., participate in a general strike in support of municipal workers who had been fired for forming a union – 1946
 
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

 

 

May 27

The U.S. Supreme Court declares the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional, about a month before it was set to expire – 1935

The CIO-affiliated Insurance Workers of America merges with its AFL counterpart, the Insurance Agents International Union to form the Insurance Workers International Union.  The union later became part of the United Food and Commercial Workers – 1959

May 26

Men and women weavers in Pawtucket, R.I., stage nation’s first “co-ed” strike – 1824
 
Western Federation of Miners members strike for 8-hour day, Cripple Creek, Colo. – 1894
 
Actors’ Equity Assn. is founded by 112 actors at a meeting in New York City’s Pabst Grand Circle Hotel.  Producer George M. Cohan responds: “I will drive an elevator for a living before I will do business with any actors’ union.”  Later a sign will appear in Times Square reading: “Elevator operator wanted.  George M. Cohan need not apply” – 1913

(Coping with Difficult People: Bosses, supervisors, co-workers, friends, family members… difficult people can make your life hell, but you can do something about it. Based on fourteen years of research and observation, Coping with Difficult People offers proven, effective techniques guaranteed to help you right the balance in bad relationships and take charge of your life.)

IWW Marine Transport Workers strike, Philadelphia – 1920
 
Some 100,000 steel workers and miners in mines owned by steel companies strike in seven states.  The Memorial Day Massacre, in which ten strikers were killed by police at Republic Steel in Chicago, took place four days later, on May 30 – 1937
 
Ford Motor Co. security guards attack union organizers and supporters attempting to distribute literature outside the plant in Dearborn, Mich., in an event that was to become known as the “Battle of the Overpass.” The guards tried to destroy any photos showing the attack, but some survived—and inspired the Pulitzer committee to establish a prize for photography – 1937

 

 

 

 

 

May 25

Striking shoemakers in Philadelphia are arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy for violating an English common law that bars schemes aimed at forcing wage increases. The strike was broken – 1805
 
Philip Murray is born in Scotland. He went on to emigrate to the U.S., become founder and first president of the United Steelworkers of America, and head of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) from 1940 until his death in 1952 – 1886
 
Two company houses occupied by non-union coal miners are blown up and destroyed during a strike against the Glendale Gas & Coal Co. in Wheeling, W. Va. – 1925
 
Thousands of unemployed WWI veterans arrive in Washington, D.C., to demand early payment of a bonus they had been told they would get, but not until 1945. They built a shantytown near the U.S. Capitol but were burned out by U.S. troops after two months – 1932
 
The notorious 11-month Remington Rand strike begins. The strike spawned the “Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) formula,” described by investigators as a corporate plan to discredit union leaders, frighten the public with the threat of violence, employ thugs to beat up strikers, and other tactics. The National Labor Relations Board termed the formula “a battle plan for industrial war” – 1936

May 24

After 14 years of construction and the deaths of 27 workers, the Brooklyn Bridge over New York’s East River opens. Newspapers call it “the eighth wonder of the world” – 1883

  
Some 2,300 members of the United Rubber Workers, on strike for 10 months against five Bridgestone-Firestone plants, agree to return to work without a contract. They had been fighting demands for 12-hour shifts and wage increases tied to productivity gains – 1995  

 

May 23

An estimated 100,000 textile workers, including more than 10,000 children, strike in the Philadelphia area. Among the issues: 60-hour workweeks, including night hours, for the children – 1903
 
The Battle of Toledo begins today: a five-day running battle between roughly 6,000 strikers at the Electric Auto-Lite company of Toledo, Ohio, and 1,300 members of the Ohio National Guard. Two strikers died and more than 200 were injured. The battle began in the sixth week of what ultimately became a successful two-month fight for union recognition and higher pay. One guardsman told a Toledo Blade reporter: “Our high school graduation is… tonight and we were supposed to be getting our diplomas” – 1934

 

 

 

U.S. railroad strike starts, later crushed when President Truman threatens to draft strikers – 1946
 
The Granite Cutters Int’l Association of America merges with Tile, Marble, Terrazzo, Finishers & Shopmen, which five years later merged into the Carpenters – 1983

May 22

Eugene V. Debs imprisoned in Woodstock, Ill., for role in Pullman strike – 1895
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World — the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)
 
While white locomotive firemen on the Georgia Railroad strike, Blacks who are hired as replacements are whipped and stoned—not by the union men, but by white citizens outraged that Blacks are being hired over Whites.  The Engineers union threatens to stop work because their members are being affected by the violence – 1909
 
Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 gives federal workers a pension – 1920
 
President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the goals of his Great Society social reforms: to bring “an end to poverty and racial injustice” in America – 1964

May 21

The “Little Wagner Act” is signed in Hawaii, guaranteeing pineapple and sugar workers the right to bargain collectively.  After negotiations failed, a successful 79-day strike shut down 33 of the territory’s 34 plantations and brought higher wages and a 40-hour week – 1945
 
Nearly 100,000 unionized SBC Communications Inc. workers begin a 4-day strike to protest the local phone giant’s latest contract offer – 2004
 

 

 

May 20

The Railway Labor Act takes effect today. It is the first federal legislation protecting workers’ rights to form unions – 1926  

Some 9,000 rubber workers strike in Akron, Ohio – 1933

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 19

Two hundred sixteen miners die from an explosion and its aftermath at the Fraterville Mine in Anderson County, Tenn.  All but three of Fraterville’s adult males were killed.  The mine had a reputation for fair contracts and pay—miners were represented by the United Mine Workers—and was considered safe; methane may have leaked in from a nearby mine – 1902

The Steel Workers Organizing Committee, formed by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, formally becomes the United Steelworkers of America – 1942
 
A total of 31 dockworkers are killed, 350 workers and others are injured when four barges carrying 467 tons of ammunition blow up at South Amboy, N.J. They were loading mines that had been deemed unsafe by the Army and were being shipped to the Asian market for sale – 1950

May 18

In what may have been baseball’s first labor strike, the Detroit Tigers refuse to play after team leader Ty Cobb is suspended: he went into the stands and beat a fan who had been heckling him.  Cobb was reinstated and the Tigers went back to work after the team manager’s failed attempt to replace the players with a local college team: their pitcher gave up 24 runs – 1912
 
Amalgamated Meat Cutters union organizers launch a campaign in the nation’s packinghouses, an effort that was to bring representation to 100,000 workers over the following two years – 1917

Jerry Wurf, who was to serve as president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) from 1964 to his death in 1981, born in New York City. The union grew from about 220,000 members to more than 1 million during his presidency – 1919
 
Big Bill Haywood, a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies), dies in exile in the Soviet Union – 1928
 
Atlanta transit workers, objecting to a new city requirement that they be fingerprinted as part of the employment process, go on strike. They relented and returned to work six months later – 1950
 
Insurance Agents Int’l Union and Insurance Workers of America merge to become Insurance Workers Int’l Union (later to merge into the UFCW) – 1959
 
Oklahoma jury finds for the estate of atomic worker Karen Silkwood, orders Kerr-McGee Nuclear Co. to pay $505,000 in actual damages, $10 million in punitive damages for negligence leading to Silkwood’s plutonium contamination – 1979

 

May 17

Supreme Court outlaws segregation in public schools – 1954
 
Twelve Starbucks baristas in a midtown Manhattan store, declaring they couldn’t live on $7.75 an hour, signed cards demanding representation by the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies – 2004
 

 

 

 

May 16

 

Minneapolis general strike backs Teamsters, who are striking most of the city’s trucking companies – 1934
 
U.S. Supreme Court issues Mackay decision, which permits the permanent replacement of striking workers. The decision had little impact until Ronald Reagan’s replacement of striking air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1981, a move that signaled anti-union private sector employers that it was OK to do likewise – 1938
 
Black labor leader and peace activist A. Philip Randolph dies. He was president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and first Black on the AFL-CIO executive board, and a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington – 1979

May 15

U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samuel Gompers and other union leaders for supporting a boycott at the Buck Stove and Range Co. in St. Louis, where workers were striking for a 9-hour day. A lower court had forbidden the boycott and sentenced the unionists to prison for refusing to obey the judge’s anti-boycott injunction – 1906
 
The Library Employees’ Union is founded in New York City, the first union of public library workers in the United States. A major focus of the union was the inferior status of women library workers and their low salaries – 1917
 
The first labor bank opens in Washington, D.C., launched by officers of the Machinists. The Locomotive Engineers opened a bank in Cleveland later that year – 1920
 
Death of IWW songwriter T-Bone Slim, New York City – 1942

May 14

Milwaukee brewery workers begin 10-week strike, demanding contracts comparable to East and West Coast workers. The strike was won because Blatz Brewery accepted their demands, but Blatz was ousted from the Brewers Association for “unethical” business methods – 1953
(Offensive Bargaining: Negotiating Aggressively In Contract Campaigns: Union negotiators are offered techniques to meet particularly harsh or outrageous employer proposals and tactics, use information requests in ways you never thought of, prevent impasse and force employers to withdraw concessionary demands, bargain for a first contract, and much, much more. If you ever face negotiations with a difficult employer, you need this book.)

May 13 

Western Federation of Miners formed in Butte, Mont. – 1893
 
The Canadian government establishes the Department of Labour. It took the U.S. another four years – 1909
 
Some 10,000 IWW dock workers strike in Philadelphia – 1913
 
UAW President Douglas A. Fraser is named to the Chrysler Corp. board of directors, becoming the first union representative ever to sit on the board of a major U.S. corporation – 1980
 
Thousands of yellow cab drivers in New York City go on a 1-day strike in protest of proposed new regulations. “City officials were stunned by the (strike’s) success,” The New York Times reported – 1998
 

May 12

Laundry & Dry Cleaning Int’l Union granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1958
 
Int’l Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots merges with Longshoremen’s Association – 1971

May 11

 

 

Nationwide railway strike begins at Pullman, Ill. Nearly 260,000 railroad workers ultimately joined the strike to protest wage cuts by the Pullman Palace Car Co. – 1894

Seventeen crewmen on the iron ore freighter Henry Steinbrenner die when the ship, carrying nearly 7,000 tons of ore, sinks during a violent storm on Lake Erie. Another 16 crewmen survived – 1953

 

May 10

Thanks to an army of thousands of Chinese and Irish immigrants, who laid 2,000 miles of track, the nation’s first transcontinental railway line was finished by the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines at Promontory Point, Utah – 1869
 
U.S. & Canadian workers form Western Labor Union. It favors industrial organization and independent labor party politics – 1898
 
A federal bankruptcy judge permits United Airlines to legally abandon responsibility for pensions covering 120,000 employees – 2005

 May 9

The first Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women was held on this date in New York City. Attendees included women of color, the wives and daughters of slaveholders, and women of low economic status – 1837

Japanese workers strike at Oahu, Hawaii’s Aiea Plantation, demanding the same pay as Portuguese and Puerto Rican workers. Ultimately 7,000 workers and their families remained out until August, when the strike was broken – 1909
 
Legendary Western Federation of Miners leader William “Big Bill” Haywood goes on trial for murder in the bombing death of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg, who had brutally suppressed the state’s miners. Haywood ultimately was declared innocent – 1907
 
Longshoremen’s strike to gain control of hiring leads to general work stoppage, San Francisco Bay area – 1934
 
Hollywood studio mogul Louis B. Mayer recognizes the Screen Actors Guild. SAG leaders reportedly were bluffing when they told Mayer that 99 percent of all actors would walk out the next morning unless he dealt with the union. Some 5,000 actors attended a victory gathering the following day at Hollywood Legion Stadium; a day later, SAG membership increased 400 percent – 1937
 
United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther and his wife May die in a plane crash as they travel to oversee construction of the union’s education and training facility at Black Lake, Mich. – 1971
 
Four thousand garment workers, mostly Hispanic, strike for union recognition at the Farah Manufacturing Co. in El Paso, Texas – 1972
(The Union Steward’s Guide, Spanish 3rd edition: This bound, 169-page compilation contains more than 130 articles from the Spanish language edition of Steward Update newsletter, read today by more than 80,000 stewards across North America. Chapter headings include A Union Steward’s Rules & Tools, Grievance Handling, Health and Safety Issues, Building Unity and Strength, and more—every article will develop skills and build confidence!)

 

May 8

The constitution of the Brotherhood of the Footboard was ratified by engineers in Detroit, Mich. Later became the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers – 1863
 
About 200 construction workers in New York City attack a crowd of Vietnam war protesters four days after the Kent State killings. More than 70 people were injured, including four police officers. Peter Brennan, head of the New York building trades, was honored at the Nixon White House two weeks later, eventually named Secretary of Labor – 1970
 

 

 

 

 

Some 12,000 Steelworker-represented workers at Goodyear Tire & Rubber win an 18-day strike for improved wages and job security – 1997

May 7

 The Knights of St. Crispin union is formed at a secret meeting in Milwaukee. It grew to 50,000 members before being crushed by employers later that year – 1867
 
Two die, 20 are injured in “Bloody Tuesday” as strikebreakers attempt to run San Francisco streetcars during a strike by operators. The strike was declared lost in 1908 after many more deaths, including several in scab-operated streetcar accidents – 1907 


 
Philadelphia’s longest transit strike ends after 44 days. A key issue in the fight was the hiring and use of part-timers – 1977

May 6

Works Progress Administration (WPA) established at a cost of $4.8 billion—more than $80 billion in 2015 dollars—to provide work opportunities for millions during the Great Depression – 1935
 
Four hundred Black women working as tobacco stemmers walk off the job in a spontaneous revolt against poor working conditions and a $3 weekly wage at the Vaughan Co. in Richmond, Va. – 1937

May 5

National Typographical Union founded, Cincinnati, Ohio. It was renamed the Int’l Typographical Union in 1869, in acknowledgment of Canadian members. When the ITU merged into CWA in 1986 it was the oldest existing union in the U.S. – 1852
 
On Chicago’s West Side, police attack Jewish workers as they try to march into the Loop to protest slum conditions – 1886
 
Some 14,000 building trades workers and laborers, demanding an 8-hour work day, gather at the Milwaukee Iron Co. rolling mill in Bay View, Wisc. When they approach the mill they are fired on by 250 National Guardsmen under orders from the governor to shoot to kill. Seven die, including a 13-year-old boy – 1886

(Unions for Beginners: It is a time when unions have returned to the front pages of newspapers and blogs and demonstrators are in the streets of America every day. It is a time when the right wing has tried to strike the final blow against what remains of the right to collective bargaining. It is a time when millions of members of the middle class are falling through the cracks in a downward economic trend that parallels the decline of unions. It is this time when people are turning again to the history of unions. Unions for Beginners provides an introduction to that essential history.)
 
Nineteen machinists working for the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad gather in a locomotive pit to decide what to do about a wage cut. They vote to form a union, which later became the Int’l Association of Machinists – 1888

Heavily armed deputies and other mine owner hirelings attack striking miners in Harlan County, Ky., starting the Battle of Harlan County – 1931
 
John J. Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Int’l Union from 1980 to 1995, then president of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009, born in the Bronx, N.Y. – 1934
 
Lumber strike begins in Pacific Northwest, will involve 40,000 workers by the time victory is achieved after 13 weeks: union recognition, a 50¢-per-hour minimum wage and an 8-hour day – 1937
 
The U.S. unemployment rate drops to a 30-year low of 3.9 percent; the rate for Blacks and Hispanics is the lowest ever since the government started tracking such data – 2000

May 4

  

Haymarket massacre. A bomb is thrown as Chicago police start to break up a rally for strikers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. A riot erupts, 11 police and strikers die, mostly from gunfire, and scores more are injured – 1886

May 3

Four striking workers are killed, at least 200 wounded, when police attack a demonstration on Chicago’s south side at the McCormick Harvesting Machine plant. The Haymarket Massacre is to take place the following day – 1886

(Attacks against strikers and the very existence of organized labor persist to this day).  From Blackjacks to Briefcases is the first book to document the systematic and extensive use by American corporations of professional unionbusters, an ugly profession that surfaced after the Civil War and has grown bolder and more sophisticated with the passage of time.)
 
Eugene V. Debs and other leaders of the American Railway Union are jailed for six months for contempt of court in connection with Pullman railroad car strike – 1895
 
Pete Seeger, folksinger and union activist, born in Patterson, N.Y. Among his songs: “If I Had A Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” – 1919

May 2

First Workers’ Compensation law in U.S. enacted, in Wisconsin – 1911

Birth of Richard Trevellick, a ship carpenter, founder of American National Labor Union and later head of the National Labor Congress, America’s first national labor organization – 1830

President Herbert Hoover declares that the stock market crash six months earlier was just a “temporary setback” and the economy would soon bounce back. In fact, the Great Depression was to continue and worsen for several more years – 1930
 
German police units occupied all trade unions headquarters in the country, arresting union officials and leaders. Their treasuries were confiscated and the unions abolished. Hitler announced that the German Labour Front, headed by his appointee, would replace all unions and look after the working class – 1933

A fire at the Sunshine silver mine in Kellogg, Idaho, caused the death of 91 workers who died from carbon monoxide poisoning, likely caused by toxic fumes emitted by burning polyurethane foam, used as a fire retardant – 1972

May 1

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones born in County Cork, Ireland – 1830
(Mother Jones Speaks: Speeches and Writings: Admirers and students of Mother Jones will want this comprehensive collection of her speeches, letters, articles, interviews and testimony before Congressional committees. In her own words, this brave and determined heroine to millions of workers, active from the end of the Civil War until shortly before her death in 1930, explains her life, her mission, her passion on behalf of working people.)

Cigar makers in Cincinnati warn there could be a strike in the fall if factory owners continue to insist that they pay 30¢ per month for gas heat provided at work during mornings and evenings – 1883
 
Eight-hour day demonstration in Chicago and other cities begins tradition of May Day as international labor holiday – 1886
 
The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union strikes in San Francisco, demanding one day of rest per week, a 10-hour work day and a union shop for all restaurants in the city – 1901
 
Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebrated at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. She died six months later – 1930
 
New York City’s Empire State Building officially opens. Construction involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, and hundreds of Mohawk iron workers. Five workers died during construction – 1931
 
Congress enacts amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments—protections which didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges and regulation-writing problems – 1974
 
The federal minimum wage rises to $2 per hour – 1974
 
Int’l Molders & Allied Workers Union merges with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int’l Union – 1988
 
Woodworkers of America Int’l merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1994

April 30

An explosion at the Everettville mine in Everettville, W. Va., kills 109 miners, many of whom lie in unmarked graves to this day – 1927


 
The Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board implements new rules to speed up unionization elections. The new rules are largely seen as a counter to employer manipulation of the law to prevent workers from unionizing – 2012

April  29 

An estimated one thousand silver miners, angry over low wages, the firing of union members and the planting of spies in their ranks by mine owners, seize a train, load it with 3,000 pounds of dynamite, and blow up the mill at the Bunker Hill mine in Wardner, Idaho – 1899
 
The special representative of the National War Labor Board issues a report, “Retroactive Date for Women’s Pay Adjustments,” setting forth provisions for wage rates for women working in war industries who were asking for equal pay.  Women a year earlier had demanded equal pay for comparable work as that done by men – 1943

April  28

Coal mine collapses at Eccles, W.Va., killing 181 workers – 1914
 
A total of 119 die in Benwood, W.Va., coal mine disaster – 1924
 
United Wallpaper Craftsmen & Workers of North America merges with Pulp, Sulfite & Paper Mill Workers – 1958
 
American Federation of Hosiery Workers merges with Textile Workers Union of America – 1965
 
Congress creates OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The AFL-CIO sets April 28 as “Workers Memorial Day” to honor all workers killed or injured on the job every year – 1971
 
First “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” promoted by the Ms. Foundation, to boost self-esteem of girls with invitations to a parent’s workplace – 1993

April  27

President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements for Government Employment. The order listed “sexual perversion” as a condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment to potential applicants – 1953

A cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapses, killing 51 construction workers in what is thought to be the largest construction accident in U.S. history.  OSHA cited contractors for 20 violations, including failures to field test concrete.  The cases were settled for $85,000—about $1,700 per worker killed – 1978

April  26

On the orders of President Roosevelt, the U.S. Army seizes the Chicago headquarters of the unionized Montgomery Ward & Co. after management defies the National Labor Relations Board – 1944

The U.S. House of Representatives passes House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending – 1924

Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)

April  25

The New York Times declares the struggle for an 8-hour workday to be “un-American” and calls public demonstrations for the shorter hours “labor disturbances brought about by foreigners.” Other publications declare that an eight-hour workday would bring about “loafing and gambling, rioting, debauchery and drunkenness” – 1886

Supreme Court rules that employers may not require female employees to make larger contributions to pension plans in order to obtain the same monthly benefits as men – 1978

The Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and 100 others are arrested while picketing a Charleston, S.C., hospital in a demand for union recognition – 1969

April  24

An eight-story building housing garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapses, killing 1,129 workers and injuring 2,515.  A day earlier cracks had been found in the structure, but factory officials, who had contracts with Benneton and other major U.S. labels, insisted the workers return to the job the next day – 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April  23

Death of Ida Mae Stull, nationally recognized as the country’s first woman coal miner – 1980

United Farm Workers of America founder Cesar Chavez dies in San Luis, Ariz., at age 66 – 1993

April  22

Songwriter, musician and activist Hazel Dickens dies at age 75. Among her songs: “They’ll Never Keep Us Down” and “Working Girl Blues.” Cultural blogger John Pietaro: “Dickens didn’t just sing the anthems of labor, she lived them. Her place on many a picket line, staring down gunfire and goon squads, embedded her into the cause” – 2011

April  21

New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signs Taylor Law, permitting union organization and bargaining by public employees, but outlawing the right to strike – 1967

Mary Doyle Keefe, who in 1943 posed as “Rosie the Riveter” for famed painter Norman Rockwell, dies at age 92 in Simsbury, Connecticut. Published on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May 1943, Rosie came to symbolize women factory workers during World War II. (The Rockwell painting is sometimes conjoined in peoples’ memories with a similarly-themed poster by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller, “We Can Do It!” created the year before.) – 2015

April  20

United Auto Workers members end a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester, protesting management demands for new work rules and mandatory overtime provisions – 1980

(They’re Bankrupting Us! And 20 Other Myths about Unions: How familiar do these phrases ring? Unions are responsible for budget deficits; they’ve outlived their usefulness; their members are overpaid and enjoy cushy benefits. The only way to save the American economy, many say, is to weaken the labor movement, strip workers of collective bargaining rights, and champion private industry. In They’re Bankrupting Us! And 20 Other Myths about Unions, longtime labor activist and educator Bill Fletcher Jr. makes sense of this debate as he unpacks the 21 myths most often cited by anti-union propagandists.)

April  19

Grand Rapids, Michigan, the nation’s “Furniture City,” more than 6,000 immigrant workers—Germans, Dutch, Lithuanians and Poles—put down their tools and struck 59 factories for four months in what was to become known as the Great Furniture Strike – 1911
(Mobilizing Against Inequality:Are immigrant workers themselves responsible for low wages and shoddy working conditions? Should unions expend valuable time and energy organizing undocumented workers? Unions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken various approaches to confront the challenges of this significant segment of the workforce. As U.S. immigration policy is debated, readers will gain insight into how all workers benefit when wages and working conditions for immigrant workers are improved.)


An American domestic terrorist’s bomb destroys the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 99 of whom were government employees – 1995

April  18

After a four-week boycott led by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., bus companies in New York City agree to hire 200 Black drivers and mechanics – 1941

April  17

The Supreme Court holds that a maximum-hours law for New York bakery workers is unconstitutional under the due process clause of the 14th amendment – 1905

An explosion at a West Texas fertilizer plant kills 15 people and injures nearly 300 when 30 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate—stored in sheds without sprinkler systems—caught fire.  Of those killed, ten were emergency responders – 2013

April  16

25,000 garment workers in New York City were locked out by employers in a dispute over hiring practices. A General Strike was called by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union that ended in 14 weeks, with the 60,000 striking workers winning union recognition and the contractual right to strike. – 1916

2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate on board a ship docked in the port of Texas City detonated, setting off a chain reaction of explosions and fires on other ships and nearby oil storage facilities. At least 581 people were killed and thousands more were seriously injured in the deadliest industrial disaster in U.S. history. As a result, changes in chemical manufacturing and new regulations for the bagging, handling, and shipping of chemicals were enacted. – 1947

 

April  15

The American Federation of Teachers was founded in Chicago. In its first four years, the union chartered 174 locals. Today, the AFT has more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide and more than 1.6 million members. – 1916

A successful six-day strike began across New England by what has been described as the first women-led American union, the Telephone Operators Department of IBEW. – 1919

April  14

John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath is published. It was the story of a family of Oklahoma sharecroppers who migrate to California looking for relief from the economic devastation caused by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. – 1939

The United Steelworkers and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers unions merged to form the largest industrial union in North America. – 2005

April  13

The Great Northern rail strike began in Helena, Montana, spreading to St. Paul within a few days. The strike was led by Eugene V. Debs, president of the American Railway Union, and succeeded in shutting down critical rail links, resulting in a settlement giving in to nearly all of the union’s demands. The successful strike led to thousands of rail workers joining the new union. – 1894

The International Hod Carriers & Building Laborers’ Union (today’s Laborers’ Int’l Union) was founded, as 25 delegates from 23 Local Unions in 17 cities representing 8,186 Laborers, met in Washington DC. – 1903

A 17-year-old Jimmy Hoffa led his co-workers at a Kroger warehouse in Clinton, Indiana in a successful job action. By refusing to unload a shipment of perishable strawberries, they forced the company to give in to their demands. The “strawberry boys” had to report to work at 4:30 a.m., stay on the job for 12 hours, and were paid 32¢ an hour only if growers arrived with berries to unload. Plus, they were required to spend three-fourths of any earnings buying goods from Kroger. – 1930

April  12

A group of “puddlers”,  craftsmen who manipulate pig iron to create steel, met in a Pittsburgh bar and formed The Iron City Forge of the Sons of Vulcan. It was the strongest union in the U.S. in the 1870s, later merging with two other unions to form what was to be the forerunner of the United Steel Workers. – 1858

Florence Reece, an activist in the Harlan County, Kentucky coal strikes, and author of the song Which Side Are You On? was born on this date. The song was written in 1931 during a UMW strike in which sheriff Blair led a gang of thugs in a rampage, beating and murdering union leaders. Florence wrote the song on an old wall calendar while her home was being ransacked by Blair’s goons. – 1900

labor history april 12

The Union Label and Service Trades Department was founded by the American Federation of Labor. Its mission was to promote the products and services of union members. – 1909

Attempting to relieve striking pickets at the Garfield, New Jersey mill of Forstmann and Huffmann, twenty “girl millworkers were beaten when they did not move fast enough to suit” thirty special deputies who ordered them off the site, according to a news report. – 1912

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the Wagner Act in a series of decisions involving five separate cases. The most significant was probably the case involving Jones & Laughlin Steel Company, in which Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote the majority decision approving the Wagner Act as falling under the Congress’ constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. The Wagner Act, also known as the National Labor Relations Act, created the structure for collective bargaining in the United States. – 1937

April  11

Frank Norman, who had the gall to organize all citrus workers regardless of their race, was kidnapped from his home in Florida and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. – 1934

Ford Motor Company signed its first contract with United Auto Workers. – 1941

Jackie Robinson, the first black ballplayer hired by a major league team, played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. – 1947

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law barring racial discrimination in housing and other areas. The Act also made it a crime to cross state lines with the intent to incite a riot, giving the government a new tool to prosecute labor and other protest organizers. – 1968

An eleven-day strike by 34,000 New York City Transit Authority workers for higher wages ended with management agreeing to a 9% raise in the first year and 8% in the second year. During this same year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibited sexual harassment of workers by supervisors in the workplace. – 1980

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations prohibiting sexual harassment of workers by supervisors in the workplace. – 1980

Seventeen were arrested on felony riot charges after police tear-gassed striking Hormel meatpacking workers in Austin, Minnesota. The following day, 6,000 people demonstrated against Hormel and the police (nearly one-third of the city’s entire population). The strike was eventually suppressed by Hormel, with the collaboration of the state, and the workers’ own union. – 1986

Some 25,000 marchers in Watsonville, California showed support for the United Farm Workers organizing campaign among strawberry workers. – 1997

April 10

This was the birth date of Frances Perkins, the “Saint of Labor Day”, named Secretary of Labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, becoming the first woman to hold a cabinet-level office. – 1880

133 people, mostly women and girls, were killed when an explosion in the loading room tore apart the Eddystone Ammunition Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, near Chester. Fifty-five of the dead were never identified. – 1917

Labor leader, community organizer, civil rights activist, and feminist Dolores Huerta was born on this date. With Cesar Chavez, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become the United Farm Workers. “Walk the street with us into history”, Huerta said. “Get off the sidewalk.” – 1930

Seattle’s Hooverville was burnt to the ground. Set up by people impoverished in the Great Depression to protest the policies of President Hoover, Seattle’s Hooverville encompassed 25 city blocks by 1941. – 1941

Dancers from the Lusty Lady Club in San Francisco’s North Beach ratified their first-ever union contract by a vote of 57-15, having won representation by SEIU Local 790 the previous summer. The club later became a worker-owned cooperative. – 1997

Tens of thousands of immigrants demonstrated in 100 U.S. cities in a national day of action billed as a campaign for immigrants’ dignity. Some 200,000 gathered in Washington, D.C. – 2006

April  9

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Bunting v. Oregon, upholding Oregon’s 1913 state law that prescribed a ten-hour workday for both men and women and the state’s requirement that businesses in the state pay time-and-a-half for overtime up to three hours a day. The case was one of the first that upheld wage regulations in addition to hours regulations.- 1917

The IWW organized the 1,700 member crew of the Leviathan, then the world’s largest vessel. – 1930

Public school teachers went on strike in Minneapolis, violating court orders not to walk out. The members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers sought pay raises and the right to collectively bargain. Local Union President Norm Moen said, “As an English teacher, I remember the example of Thoreau. We are taking a courageous action against an oppressive and repressive law”. With support from AFL-CIO unions and despite the opposition of groups such as the American Legion (which evicted the union from its building), the teachers reached a reasonable settlement, including amnesty for the strikers. A year later, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA), strengthening collective bargaining rights for public employees. – 1970

April  8

President Wilson established the War Labor Board, composed of representatives from business and labor, to arbitrate disputes between workers and employers during World War I. – 1918

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was approved by Congress. President Franklin Roosevelt proposed the WPA during the Great Depression of the 1930s when almost 25 percent of Americans were unemployed. It created low-paying federal jobs that provided immediate relief, putting 8.5 million jobless to work on projects ranging from construction of bridges, highways and public buildings to arts programs like the Federal Writers’ Project. – 1935

The UAW struck a GM plant in Ontario to win union recognition. – 1937

The day before a nationwide steelworkers’ strike was set to begin, President Harry S. Truman ordered his Secretary of Commerce to seize control of the nation’s steel mills to keep them in production for the Korean War effort. On June 2, the Supreme Court ruled against the president. – 1952

April  7

Prohibition ended, allowing unions to once again freely organize workers in the bars and workers to once again drink freely. As Oscar Wilde said, “Work is the curse of the drinking class”. – 1933

The National Federation of Telephone Workers (NFTW) launched the first nationwide strike against AT&T and Bell. As many as 300,000 telephone workers walked off the job. By mid-May, 37 of the 39 member unions had won new contracts with raises. NFTW became the Communications Workers of America later that year. – 1947

15,000 SEIU Local 1877 union janitors went on strike in Los Angeles, California. – 2000

April  6

Rose Schneiderman, prominent member of the New York Women’s Trade Union League, was born on this date. She was an active participant in the Uprising of the 20,000, the massive strike of shirtwaist workers in New York City led by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in 1909, and famous for an angry speech about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.  “Every week I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers…Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement”. – 1882

Teamsters in Chicago began a sympathy strike in support of locked out Montgomery Ward & Co. workers who were on strike to protest the company’s use of nonunion subcontractors. When other businesses rallied to the company’s defense, the dispute spread quickly. Workers battled strikebreakers, police and scabs for 105 days; 21 people died. – 1905

April  5

The longest strike in U.S. history began as workers at the Kohler Company in Sheboygen, Wisconsin went out on strike when the company failed to negotiate in good faith with their union, the United Auto Workers. More than six years later, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in the workers’ favor. It wasn’t until 1964 that Kohler agreed to pay 4.5 million dollars in back wages and pension contributions. – 1954

When the Board of Trustees at Boston University refused to approve the faculty’s negotiated contract, the faculty union called a strike. Professors were joined on the picket line by clerical staff and librarians who also demanded union recognition. After several weeks, the strike ended when the workers’ central demands were met. – 1979

The United Mine Workers launched their strike against the Pittston Coal Company, eventually winning concessions by Pittston on February 20, 1990. The strike started in response to Pittston’s termination of health care for widows, retirees and disabled veteran miners. During the strike, there were 2,000 miners camped out daily at Camp Solidarity, and up to 40,000 total engaging in wildcat strikes, civil disobedience, picketing, occupations and sabotage. The strike reduced Pittston’s production by two-thirds, while over 4,000 strikers were arrested during the strike. – 1989

14,000 teachers went on strike at Hawaii schools and colleges. – 2001

April  4

The first issue of The Labor Review, a “weekly magazine for organized workers”, was published in Minneapolis. Edna George, a cigar packer in Minneapolis, won $10 in gold for suggesting the name “Labor Review”, The Labor Review has been published continuously since then, currently as a monthly newspaper. – 1907

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he has been supporting a sanitation workers’ strike.  In the wake of this tragedy, riots broke out in many cities, including Washington, DC. – 1968

April  3

Martin Luther King Jr. returned to Memphis to stand with striking AFSCME sanitation workers. That evening, he delivered his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in a church packed with union members and others. He was assassinated the following day. – 1968

April  2

The Union Label Trades Department was chartered by the American Federation of Labor.  Its mission was to promote the products and services produced in America by union members, especially those products identified by a union label, shop card, store card, and service button. – 1909

Canadian and American trade unionists rallied at the international border between British Columbia and Washington to show their solidarity with public sector workers in Wisconsin facing attacks by that state’s government. The action was organized in conjunction with hundreds of other We Are One rallies that took place throughout North America. – 2011

April  1

On this day, many believe that Cincinnati became the first U.S. city to pay firefighters a regular salary. Others say no, it was Boston in 1678, exact date unknown. – 1853

The United Mine Workers of America won eight-hour day. – 1898

San Francisco laundry workers went on strike for wage increases and an eight-hour day. – 1907

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $3.80 per hour. – 1990

An eleven-day strike by 34,000 New York City transit workers began, halting bus and subway service in all five boroughs before strikers returned to work with a 17 percent raise over two years plus a cost-of-living adjustment. – 1980

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $4.25 per hour. – 1991

March 31

U.S. President Martin Van Buren issued an Executive Order, “finding that different rules prevail at different places as well in respect to the hours of labor by persons employed on the public works under the immediate authority of himself and the Departments as also in relation to the different classes of workmen…hereby directs that all such persons, whether laborers or mechanics, be required to work only the number of hours prescribed by the ten-hour system.” – 1840

300+ cowboys went on strike at five large ranches in Texas.  The new closed-range cattle ranching industry that became dominant after the Civil War denied cowboys the right to be paid in cattle, start their own herds, or have access to open land.  Ranchers insisted that cowboys work exclusively for wages (which averaged only $40/month), and the cowboys responded by going on strike. – 1883

Cesar Chavez was born on this day in Yuma, Arizona.- 1927

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps to help alleviate suffering during the Depression. By the time the program ended after the start of World War II, it had provided jobs for more than six million men and boys. The average enrollee gained 11 pounds in his first three months. – 1933

Wisconsin state troopers failed to get scabs across the picket line to break a 76-day Allis-Chalmers strike in Milwaukee led by UAW Local 248. The plant remained closed until the government negotiated a compromise. – 1941

Today Cesar Chavez Day was celebrated as an official state holiday in California, Colorado, and Texas and unofficially throughout the United States. The day honors the life and work of farm workers’ advocate, union activist, and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez. – 2013

March 30

Chicago stockyard workers won an 8-hour day. – 1918

30,000 unemployed people marched in New York City. At the time, there was virtually no formal or institutional aid available for the unemployed or poor. Even the AFL did not support unemployment insurance, as it saw itself as the representative of skilled workers only, and could care less about the unskilled and factory workers. Another reason for the lack of government support for the unemployed was that working conditions were so terrible the ruling elite feared that workers would choose the dole over work if given the choice. In New York, police attacked the marchers. – 1930

Construction began on the Hawks Nest Tunnel. 3,000 mostly African-American migrant workers were hired to complete the project. To save time and money, they were not provided with proper safety equipment to work on cutting rock that had been discovered to have a high silica content. The official death toll from silicosis was 476, with estimates as high as 700 to 1,000. It was considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in U.S. history. – 1930

The federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act was enacted. – 1970

The United Farm Workers signed the first table grape contract with two growers. – 1970

Harry Bridges, Australian-born dock union leader, died at age 88. He helped form and lead the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for 40 years. A Bridges quote: “The most important word in the language of the working class is ‘solidarity’”. – 1990

March 29

 Ohio made it illegal for children under 18 and women to work more than 10 hours a day. – 1852

The U.S. Supreme Court, in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, upheld the constitutionality of minimum wage legislation enacted by the State of Washington, overturning a decision in 1923 that held that federal minimum wage legislation for women was an unconstitutional infringement of liberty of contract. The case was brought by Elsie Parrish, a hotel housekeeper who lost her job and did not receive back wages in line with the state’s minimum wage for women law. – 1937

March 28

Members of the Gas House Workers’ Union Local 18799 began what was to become a four-month recognition strike against the Laclede Gas Light Company in St. Louis. The union later said the strike was the first ever against a public utility in the U.S. – 1935

Martin Luther King led a march of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Police attacked the workers with mace and sticks. A 16-year old boy was shot and 280 workers were arrested. He was assassinated a few days later after speaking to the striking workers. The sanitation workers were mostly black. They worked for starvation wages under plantation like conditions, generally under racist white bosses. Workers could be fired for being one minute late or for talking back and they got no breaks. Organizing escalated in the early 1960s and reached its peak in February 1968, when two workers were crushed to death in the back of a garbage truck. – 1968

March 27

Mother Jones was ordered to leave Colorado, where state authorities accused her of “stirring up” striking coal miners. – 1904

This day marked the start of the 8-month Northern railway strike in Canada by the IWW. Wobblies picketed employment offices in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Tacoma and Minneapolis in order to block the hiring of scabs. – 1912

March 26

San Francisco brewery workers began a 9-month strike as local employers followed the union-busting lead of the National Brewer’s Association and fired their unionized workers, replacing them with scabs. Two unionized brewers refused to go along, kept producing beer, prospered wildly and induced the Association to capitulate. A contract benefit since having unionized two years earlier, certainly worth defending: free beer. – 1868

March 25

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed 146 people, mostly women and young girls who were working in sweatshop conditions. As tragic as this fire was for poor, working class women, it is estimated that over 100 workers died on the job each day in the U.S. in 1911. What was most significant was that this tragedy became a flashpoint for worker safety and public awareness of sweatshop conditions.

The Triangle workers had to work from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm, seven days a week. The work was almost non-stop. They got one break per day (30 minutes for lunch). For this they were paid only $6.00 per week. In some cases, they had to provide their own needles and thread. Furthermore, the women were locked inside the building to minimize time lost to bathroom breaks.

A year prior to the fire, 20,000 garment workers walked off the job at 500 clothing factories in New York to protest the deplorable working conditions. They demanded a 20% raise, a 52-hour work week and overtime pay. Over 70 smaller companies conceded to the union’s demands within the first 48 hours of the strike. However, the bosses at Triangle formed an employers’ association with the owners of the other large factories. Soon after, strike leaders were arrested. Some were fined. Others were sent to labor camps. Armed thugs were also enlisted to beat up and intimidate strikers. By the end of the month, almost all of the smaller factories had conceded to the union. By February, 1910, the strike was finally settled. – 1911

 March 24

Groundbreaking occurred on the first section of the New York City subway system, from City Hall to the Bronx. The New York subway workers would go on to found the TWU (Transport Workers Union) in 1934. The TWU established a reputation for left-wing politics and was one of the first unions to join the CIO. – 1900

March 23

The Norris-La Guardia Act was passed, restricting injunctions against unions and banning yellow dog contracts, which require newly-hired workers to declare they are not union members and will not join one. – 1932

President Nixon declared a national emergency and ordered 30,000 troops to New York City to break the postal workers strike. The troops didn’t have a clue how to sort and deliver mail; a settlement came a few days later. – 1970

The Coalition of Labor Union Women was founded in Chicago by some 3,000 delegates from 58 unions and other organizations. – 1974

March 22

Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, gave a speech entitled, Knights of Labor: The New Dynasty. In the speech, he commended the Knights’ commitment to fair treatment of all workers, regardless of race or gender. “When all the bricklayers, and all the machinists, and all the miners, and blacksmiths, and printers, and stevedores, and house painters, and brakemen, and engineers . . . and factory hands, and all the shop girls, and all the sewing machine women, and all the telegraph operators, in a word, all the myriads of toilers in whom is slumbering the reality of that thing which you call Power, …when these rise, call the vast spectacle by any deluding name that will please your ear, but the fact remains that a Nation has risen.” Clemens was a lifelong member of the International Typographical Union (now part of the Communications Workers of America). – 1886

The Grand Coulee Dam on Washington state’s Columbia River began operation after a decade of construction. Eight thousand workers labored on the project; 77 died. – 1941

State and local police in Rhode Island used tear gas on some 800 IAM picketers striking the Browne & Sharp machine tool manufacturing company in North Kingstown. Governor J. Joseph Garrahy later publicly apologized for the actions of police. – 1982

March 21

3,200 people began the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to protest racial violence. Earlier efforts to hold the march had failed when police attacked demonstrators and a white minister was fatally beaten by a group of Selma whites. The five-day walk ended March 26, when 20,000 people joined the marchers in front of the Alabama state Capitol in Montgomery. Soon after, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. – 1965

Women’s rights advocate and labor activist Alice Henry was born in Melbourne, Australia. Henry came to the U.S. in 1905 and worked for twenty years for the National Women’s Trade Union League of America in Chicago, lecturing, organizing, directing the education department, writing two books on women in the labor movement, and editing the League’s official journal. – 1857

March 20

Michigan authorized the formation of workers’ cooperatives. Thirteen were formed in the state over a 25-year period. Labor reform organizations advocated for  “cooperation” over “competitive” capitalism following the Civil War and several thousand cooperatives opened for business across the country during this era. Participants envisioned a world free from conflict where workers would receive the full value of their labor and freely exercise democratic citizenship in the political and economic realms. – 1865

Members of the International Union of Electrical Workers reached agreement with Westinghouse Electric Corp., ending a 156-day strike. – 1956

March 19

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Adamson Act, a federal law that established an 8-hour workday, with overtime pay, for interstate railway workers. Congress passed the law in 1916 to avert a nationwide rail strike. – 1917

March 18

Police evicted retail clerks occupying New York Woolworths in a fight for the 40-hour week. – 1937

The Los Angeles City Council passed the first living wage ordinance in California. The ordinance required almost all city contractors to pay a minimum wage of $8.50 an hour, or $7.25 if the employer was contributing at least $1.25 toward health benefits, with annual adjustments for inflation. – 1997

Wal-Mart agreed to pay a record $11 million to settle a civil immigration case for using illegal immigrants to do overnight cleaning at stores in 21 states. – 2005

March 17

Nearly 100 striking Mexican and Filipino farm workers began a march from Delano to Sacramento, California. By April 11, when they reached the steps of the state capitol, 10,000 supporters had joined them. A few months later, the two organizations representing the workers, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and the National Farm Workers Association, joined to form a single union, out of which the United Farm Workers was born. – 1966

March 16

Refusing to accept a 9-cent wage increase, the United Packinghouse Workers of America initiated a nationwide strike against meatpacking companies Swift, Armour, Cudahy, Wilson, Morrell, and others. Packinghouse workers shut down 140 plants around the country. – 1948

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) was formed in New York to represent New York City public school teachers and later, other education workers in the city. – 1960

March 15

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades was founded on this date. Today they represent more than 140,000 members in the construction industry, such as Painters, Drywall Finishers, Glaziers, Floor Coverers, and Sign and Display workers. – 1887

The Supreme Court approved the 8-Hour Act under threat of a national railway strike. – 1917

Bituminous coal miners began a nationwide strike, demanding adoption of a pension plan. – 1948

March 14

The film Salt of the Earth, which tells the story of the 1951 strike by members of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers at the Empire Zinc mine in New Mexico, premiered on this date. Of the 13,000 movie theaters in the U.S. at the time of its release, only 13 showed the film. “This film is a new weapon for Russia”, said HUAC member and U.S. Representative Donald L. Jackson. – 1954

March 13

Civil rights activist and suffragist Susan B. Anthony died at the age of 86. “Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.” – 1906

A four-month UAW strike at General Motors ended with a new contract. The strikers were trying to make up for the lack of wage hikes during World War II. – 1946

Labor Local 260 Houston negotiated its first contract with Pioneer Bus, ending dual pay scales for black and white drivers. – 1963

United Farm Workers (UFW) won a contract with the Christian Brothers Winery. – 1967

March 12

The first tunnel under the Hudson River is completed after 30 years of drilling, connecting Jersey City and Manhattan. Twenty workers died on a single day in 1880 when the tunnel flooded – 1904

Greedy industrialist turned benevolent philanthropist Andrew Carnegie pledges $5.2 million for the construction of 65 branch libraries in New York City—barely 1 percent of his net worth at the time. He established more than 2,500 libraries between 1900 and 1919. Carnegie made $500 million when he sold out to J.P. Morgan, becoming the world’s richest man – 1901

March 11

Transport Workers Union members at American Airlines win 11-day national strike, gaining what the union says was the first severance pay clause in industry – 1950

March 10

New York City bus drivers, members of the Transport Workers Union, go on strike. After 12 days of no buses—and a large show of force by Irish-American strikers at the St. Patrick’s Day parade—Mayor Fiorello La Guardia orders arbitration – 1941

 

 

 

March 9

Work begins on the $8 billion, 800-mile-long Alaska Oil pipeline connecting oil fields in northern Alaska to the sea port at Valdez. Tens of thousands of people worked on the pipeline. At least 32 died on the job – 1974

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the U.S. Congress begins its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.  Just one of many programs established to help Americans survive the Great Depression: The Civilian Conservation Corps, which put 2.5 million young men on the government payroll to help in national conservation and infrastructure projects – 1933

 

March 8

The Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injunction Act took effect on this day. It limits the ability of federal judges to issue injunctions against workers and unions involved in labor disputes – 1932

César Chávez leads 5,000 striking farmworkers on a march through the streets of Salinas, Calif. – 1979
(The Fight in the Fields: No man in this century has had more of an impact on the lives of Hispanic Americans, and especially farmworkers, than the legendary Cesar Chavez. This book tells of Chavez and his union’s struggles: to raise farmworker pay from .40 an hour; to win union recognition from savagely resistant grape and lettuce growers; to stop the use of deadly pesticides that were killing children in the fields.

Thousands of New York needle trades workers demonstrate for higher wages, shorter workday, and end to child labor. The demonstration became the basis for International Women’s Day – 1908

 March 7

Some 6,000 shoemakers, joined by about 20,000 other workers, strike in Lynn, Mass. – 1860

United Steel Workers—signs its first-ever contract, with Carnegie-Illinois, for $5 a day in wages, benefits – 1937

Three thousand unemployed auto workers, braved the cold in Dearborn, Mich., to demand jobs and relief from Henry Ford. The marchers got too close to the gate and were gassed. They were also sprayed with water and shot at. Four men died immediately; 60 were wounded – 1932

March 6

1860 – While campaigning for the presidency, Abraham Lincoln makes a speech defending the right to strike

During the Great Depression , hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers demonstrated in cities and towns; close to 100,000 filled Union Square in New York City and were attacked by mounted police – 1930

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the nation’s unemployment rate soared to 8.1 percent in February, 2009

Cost-cutting employers slashed 651,000 jobs amid a deepening recession – 2009

 

Predominantly young workers at a Lordstown, Ohio, GM assembly plant stage a wildcat strike, largely in objection to the grueling work pace: at 101.6 cars per hour 1972
 

 

 

March 3

 

 

 

The local lumber workers’ union in Humboldt County, Calif., founded the Union Labor Hospital Association to establish a hospital for union workers in the county. The hospital became an important community facility that was financed and run by the local labor movement – 1906

Congress approves the Seamen’s Act, providing the merchant marine with rights similar to those gained by factory workers. Action was prompted by the sinking of the Titanic three years earlier……. – 1915

March 2

This is a highly readable history of U.S. labor  will be welcomed by anyone interested in learning more about the struggle of American working people to better their lives through collective action. This surveys the historic efforts and sacrifices that working people made to win the rights we take for granted today, from minimum wage and overtime protections to health and safety guarantees …….

March 1

After five years of labor by 21,000 workers, 112 of whom were killed on the job, the Hoover Dam (Boulder Dam) is completed and turned over to the government. Citizens were so mad at President Herbert Hoover, for whom the dam had been named, that it was later changed to Boulder Dam, being located near Boulder City, Nev. – 1936

Sailors aboard the S.S. California, docked in San Pedro, Calif., refuse to cast off the lines and allow the ship to sail until their wages are increased and overtime paid. The job action lasts three days before the secretary of labor intervenes and an agreement is reached. The leaders were fined two days’ pay, fired and blacklisted, although charges of mutiny were dropped. The action marked the beginnings of the National Maritime Union – 1936

The federal minimum wage increases to $1 per hour – 1956

CIO president John L. Lewis and U.S. Steel President Myron Taylor sign a landmark contract in which the bitterly anti-union company officially recognized the CIO as sole negotiator for the company’s unionized workers. Addressed: overtime pay, the 40-hour work week, and a big pay hike – 1937

February 29

Screen Actors Guild member Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African-American to win an Academy Award, honored for her portrayal of “Mammy” in “Gone with the Wind” – 1940Stores factory and three retail

 

 

 

 

The minimum age allowed by law for workers in mills, factories, and mines in South Carolina is raised from 12 to 14 – 1915

February 28

(Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work…….. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)

Members of the Chinese Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in San Francisco’s Chinatown begin what is to be a successful four-month strike for better wages and conditions at the National Dollar Stores factory …– 1938

February 27

Birth of John Steinbeck in Salinas, Calif.  Steinbeck is best known for writing The Grapes of Wrath, which exposed the mistreatment of migrant farm workers during the Depression – 1902

Four hundred fifty Woolworth’s workers and patrons occupy store for 8 days , Detroit – 1937
 

February 26

Congress OKs the Contract Labor Law, designed to clamp down on “business agents” who contracted abroad for immigrant labor. One of the reasons unions supported the measure: employers were using foreign workers to fight against the growing U.S. labor movement, primarily by deploying immigrant labor to break strikes – 1885

A coal slag heap doubling as a dam in West Virginia’s Buffalo Creek Valley collapsed, flooding the 17-mile long valley. 118 died, 5,000 were left homeless. The Pittston Coal Co. said it was “an act of God” – 1972

Bethlehem Steel workers strike for union recognition, Bethlehem, Pa. – 1941

February 25

A crowd estimated to be 100,000 strong rallied at the Wisconsin state Capitol in protest of what was ultimately was to become a successful push by the state’s Republican majority to cripple public employee bargaining rights – 2011
 

February 24

Women and children textile strikers beaten by Lawrence, Mass., police during a 63-day walkout protesting low wages and work speedups – 1912

 

February 23

Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” following a frigid trip—partially by hitchhiking, partially by rail—from California to Manhattan. The Great Depression was still raging. Guthrie had heard Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” and resolved to himself: “We can’t just bless America, we’ve got to change it” – 1940
(Woody Guthrie: A Life: Folksinger and political activist Woody Guthrie contributed much to the American labor movement, not the least of which are his classic anthems “Union Maid” and “This Land Is Your Land.” This is an easy-to-read, honest description of Guthrie’s life, from a childhood of poverty to an adulthood of music and organizing—and a life cut short by incurable disease. Guthrie’s life and work inspired millions while he lived and continues to do so through musicians such as his son Arlo, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few. Guthrie is portrayed as he was—an imperfect being but one with a gift that helped millions as they struggled toward better lives.)

Association of Flight Attendants granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1984

Following voter approval for the measure in 2003, San Francisco’s minimum wage rises to $8.50, up from $6.75 – 2004
 

February 22



 
Albert Shanker dies at age 68. He served as president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1984 and of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997 – 1997

 

February 21

A state law was enacted in California providing the 8-hour day for most workers, but it was not effectively enforced – 1868

February 20

Rally for unemployed becomes major confrontation in Philadelphia, 18 arrested for demanding jobs – 1908

Thousands of women march to New York’s City Hall demanding relief from exorbitant wartime food prices. Inflation had wiped out any wage gains made by workers, leading to a high level of working class protest during World War I – 1917

 

February 12

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass born into slavery near Easton, Md. – 1818       
 
John L. Lewis, president of United Mine Workers of America and founding president of the CIO, born near Lucas, Iowa – 1880

February 11

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones is arrested while leading a protest of conditions in West Virginia mines. She was 83 years old at the time – 1913

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announces he will call out the National Guard, if necessary, to deal with any “unrest” among state employees in the wake of his decision to unilaterally end nearly all collective bargaining rights for the workers – 2011

Some 1,300 sanitation workers begin what is to become a 64-day strike in Memphis, ultimately winning union recognition and wage increases. The April 4 assassination in Memphis of Martin Luther King Jr., who had been taking an active role in mass meetings and street actions, brought pressure on the city to settle the strike – 1968
(People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform. All Labor Has Dignity is a collection of King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice that underscore his relevance for today.

February 10

Eleven members of the Carpenters’ union in Reesor Siding, Northern Ontario are shot, three fatally, by independent local farmer-settlers who were supplying wood to a Spruce Falls Power and Paper Co. plant. Some 400 union members were attempting to block an outbound shipment from the plant. The action came as the company was insisting on a pay freeze and two months of seven-day-a-week work – 1963

Forty workers are killed on Staten Island, N.Y., when a huge storage tank filled with liquefied gas explodes – 1973

February 9

President Kennedy asks Congress to approve creation of the Medicare program, financed by an increase in Social Security taxes, to aid 14.2 million Americans aged 65 or older – 1961

Congress approves legislation allowing for a total of $940 million to be used for Depression-era relief projects. $790 million of this money was intended to be used to fund work relief and flood recovery programs – 1937

February 7

It took 1,231 firefighters 30 hours to put down The Great Baltimore Fire, which started on this day and destroyed 1,500 buildings over an area of some 140 acres – 1904

Union miners in Cripple Creek, Colo., begin a five-month strike when mine owners cut wages to $2.50 a day, from $3.  The state militia was called out in support of the strikers—the only time in U.S. history that a militia was directed to side with the workers.  The strike ended in victory for the union – 1894

February 6

 

February 5

President Bill Clinton signs the Family and Medical Leave Act.  The law requires most employers of 50 or more workers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a family or medical emergency – 1993

In what turns out to be a bad business decision, Circuit City fires 3,900 experienced sales people because they’re making too much in commissions. Sales plummet. Six years later it declares bankruptcy – 2003

February 4

Thirty-seven thousand maritime workers on the West Coast strike for wage increases – 1937

Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a White man launched the 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and the birth of the civil rights movement, is born in Tuskeege, Ala. – 1913

February 3

U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Wages and Hours (later Fair Labor Standards) Act banning child labor and establishing the 40-hour work week – 1941

 

An explosion at a Thiokol chemical plant near Woodbine, Georgia kills 29 workers, seriously injures 50.  An investigation found that contributing factors to the explosion were mislabeled chemicals, poor storage procedures and insufficient fire protection – 1971

February 2

Three hundred newsboys organize to protest a cut in pay by the Minneapolis Tribune – 1917
 

The 170-day lockout (although management called it a strike) of 22,000 steelworkers by USX Corp. ends with a pay cut but greater job security.  It was the longest work stoppage in the history of the U.S. steel industry – 1987
 

February 1

The federal minimum wage increases to $1.60 per hour – 1968

Led by 23-year-old Kate Mullany, the Collar Laundry Union forms in Troy, N.Y., and raises earnings for female laundry workers from $2 to $14 a week – 1864
 
Bricklayers begin working 8-hour days – 1867

January 31

Ida M. Fuller is the first retiree to receive an old-age monthly benefit check under the new Social Security law. She paid in $24.75 between 1937 and 1939 on an income of $2,484; her first check was for $22.54 – 1940

Some 12,000 pecan shellers in San Antonio, Texas—mostly Latino women—walk off their jobs at 400 factories in what was to become a three-month strike against wage cuts.   

After scoring successes with representation elections conducted under the protective oversight of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the United Farm Workers of America officially ends its historic table grape, lettuce and wine boycotts – 1978

January 30

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born in Hyde Park, N.Y. He was elected president of the United States four times starting in 1932. His New Deal programs helped America survive the Great Depression. His legislative achievements included the creation of the National Labor Relations Act, which allows workers to organize unions, bargain collectively, and strike – 1882

January 29

Six thousand railway workers strike for a union and the end of 18-hour day – 1889

American Train Dispatchers Department granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1957

Dolly Parton hits number one on the record charts with “9 to 5,” her anthem to the daily grind – 1981

 January 28

First U.S. unemployment compensation law enacted, in Wisconsin – 1932

January 27
There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor   in America is the sympathetic, thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s ……

A 3¢ postage stamp is issued, honoring AFL founder Samuel Gompers – 1950

January 26

YoHoHo,  In what could be considered the first workers’ compensation agreement in America, pirate Henry Morgan pledges his underlings 600 pieces of eight or six slaves to compensate for a lost arm or leg. Also part of the pirate’s code, reports Roger Newell: shares of the booty were equal regardless of race or sex, and shipboard decisions were made collectively – 1695

Workers win a two-day sit-down strike at the Brooklyn electric plant that powers the city’s entire subway system – 1937

January 25

(The novel Sixteen Tons carries the reader down into the dark and dangerous coal mines of the early 1900s, as Italian immigrant Antonio Vacca and his sons encounter cave-ins and fires deep below the earth’s surface. Above ground, miners battle gun thugs and corrupt sheriffs at Virden, Matewan and Ludlow in an epic struggle to form a union and make the mines a safer place to work. Historian Kevin Corley’s depiction of miners’ lives is based on his own interviews with mining families.)

 

 

Two hundred miners are killed in a horrific explosion at the Harwick mine in Cheswick, Pa., Allegheny County. Many of the dead lie entombed in the sealed mine to this day – 1904

The federal minimum wage rate rises to 75 cents an hour – 1950

The Sheet Metal Workers Int’l Association (SMWIA) is founded in Toledo, Ohio, as the Tin, Sheet Iron and Cornice Workers’ Int’l Association – 1888

January 24

Krueger’s Cream Ale, the first canned beer, goes on sale in Richmond, Va.  Pabst was the second brewer in the same year to sell beer in cans, which came with opening instructions and the suggestion: “cool before serving” – 1935

January 23 

In Allegany County, MD, workers with the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal era public works program employing unmarried men aged 18-25, are snowbound at Fifteen Mile Creek Camp S-53 when they receive a distress call about a woman in labor who needs to get to a hospital.  20 courageous CCC volunteers dig through miles of snow drifts until the woman is successfully able to be transported – 1936

January 22

Indian field hands at San Juan Capistrano mission refused to work, engaging in what was probably the first farm worker strike in California – 1826 

***************************

Farmworker’s Friend: The story of Cesar Chavez

A thoughtful and moving book about the inspiring life of American hero Cesar Chavez, founder and long-time leader of the United Farm Workers of America. This sympathetic portrayal of Chavez and his life’s work begins with his childhood, starting from the time his family’s store in Arizona failed during the Great Depression and his entire family was forced into the fields to harvest vegetables for a few cents an hour.
***************************************************************************************************
Birth of Terence V. Powderly, leader of the Knights of Labor – 1849
 
The United Mine Workers of America is founded in Columbus, Ohio, with the merger of the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union – 1890
 
Five hundred New York City tenants battle police to prevent evictions – 1932

January 21

Some 750,000 steel workers walk out in 30 states, largest strike in U.S. history to that time – 1946
 
Postal workers begin four-day strike at the Jersey City, N.J., bulk and foreign mail center, protesting an involuntary shift change.  The wildcat was led by a group of young workers who identified themselves as “The Outlaws”- 1974
 
Six hundred police attack picketing longshoremen in Charleston, S.C. – 2000

January 20

Chicago Crib Disaster—A fire breaks out during construction of a water tunnel for the city of Chicago, burning the wooden dormitory housing the tunnel workers.  While 46 survive the fire by jumping into the frigid lake and climbing onto ice floes, approximately 60 men die, 29 burned beyond recognition and the others drowned – 1909

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) founded – 1920

Hardworking Mickey Mantle signs a new contract with the New York Yankees making him the highest paid player in baseball:  $75,000 for the entire 1961 season – 1961
 
Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown,” a eulogy for dying industrial cities, is the country’s most listened-to song. The lyrics, in part: “Now Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores / Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more / They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks / Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back to your hometown / Your hometown / Your hometown / Your hometown…” – 1986

January 19

Twenty strikers at the American Agricultural Chemical Co. in Roosevelt, N.J., were shot, two fatally, by factory guards. They and other strikers had stopped an incoming train in search of scabs when the guards opened fire – 1915
 
Some 3,000 members of the Filipino Federation of Labor strike the plantations of Oahu, Hawaii. Their ranks swell to 8,300 as they are joined by members of the Japanese Federation of Labor – 1920
 
Yuba City, Calif., labor contractor Juan V. Corona found guilty of murdering 25 itinerant farm workers he employed during 1970 and 1971 – 1973
 
Bruce Springsteen makes an unannounced appearance at a benefit for laid-off 3M workers, Asbury Park, N.J. – 1986

January 18

U.S. Supreme Court rules in Moyer v. Peabody that a governor and officers of a state National Guard may imprison anyone—in the case at hand, striking miners in Colorado—without probable cause “in a time of insurrection” and deny the person the right of appeal – 1909
 
“Take This Job and Shove It,” by Johnny Paycheck, is listed by Billboard magazine as the most popular song in the U.S. – 1978

 

January 17
Radical labor organizer and anarchist Lucy Parsons leads hunger march in Chicago; IWW songwriter Ralph Chaplin wrote “Solidarity Forever” for the march – 1915
 
President John F. Kennedy signs Executive Order 10988, guaranteeing federal workers the right to join unions and bargain collectively – 1962

January 16

The United States Civil Service Commission was established as the Pendleton Act went into effect – 1883
 
Thousands of Palmer Raids detainees win right to meet with lawyers and attorney representation at deportation hearings. “Palmer” was Alexander Mitchell Palmer, U.S. attorney general under Woodrow Wilson. Palmer believed Communism was “eating its way into the homes of the American workman,” and Socialists were causing most of the country’s social problems – 1920
 
Former UAW President Leonard Woodcock dies in Ann Arbor, Mich., at age 89. He had succeeded Walter Reuther and led the union from 1970 to 1977 – 2001

January 15

Wobbly Ralph Chaplin, in Chicago for a demonstration against hunger, completes the writing of the labor anthem “Solidarity Forever” on this date in 1915. He’d begun writing it in 1914 during a miners’ strike in Huntington, W. Va. The first verse:
When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong! – 1915

Seventeen workers in the area die when a large molasses storage tank in Boston’s North End neighborhood bursts, sending a 40-foot wave of molasses surging through the streets at an estimated 35 miles per hour.  In all, 21 people died and 150 were injured.  The incident is variously known as the Boston Molasses Disaster, the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy.  Some residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses – 1919
 
Martin Luther King Jr. born – 1929

The CIO miners’ union in the Grass Valley area of California strikes for higher wages, union recognition, and the 8-hour day. The strike was defeated when vigilantes and law enforcement officials expelled 400 miners and their families from the area – 1938

The Pentagon, to this day the largest office building in the world, is dedicated just 16 months after groundbreaking. At times of peak employment 13,000 workers labored on the project – 1943

Some 174,000 members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers union (UE) struck General Electric and Westinghouse after the power companies, with record-setting profits, offered just a half-cent per hour increase. After nine weeks, the strike was settled with an 18.5 cents hourly wage improvement – 1946

January 14

Clinton-era OSHA issues confined spaces standard to prevent more than 50 deaths and 5,000 serious injuries annually for workers who enter confined spaces – 1993
 
Pennsylvania Superior Court rules bosses can fire workers for being gay – 1995
 
Some 14,000 General Electric employees strike for two days to protest the company’s mid-contract decision to shift an average of $400 in additional health care co-payments onto each worker – 2003

A 15-month lockout by the Minnesota Orchestra against members of the Twin Cities Musicians’ Union, Local 30-73 ends when the musicians agree to a 15 percent pay cut (management wanted up to 40 percent) and increased health care cost sharing. They did win a revenue-sharing deal based on performance of the Orchestra’s endowments. It was the nation’s longest-running contract dispute for a concert orchestra – 2014
 
January 13
The original Tompkins Square Riot. As unemployed workers demonstrated in New York’s Tompkins Square Park, a detachment of mounted police charged into the crowd, beating men, women and children with billy clubs. Declared Abram Duryee, the Commissioner of Police: “It was the most glorious sight I ever saw…” – 1874
 
Latino citrus workers strike in Covina, Calif. – 1919
 
(Exact date uncertain) As the nation debates a constitutional amendment to rein in the widespread practice of brutally overworking children in factories and fields, U.S. District Judge G.W. McClintic expresses concern, instead, about child idleness – 1924

 
January 12

Novelist Jack London is born. His classic definition of a scab—someone who would cross a picket line and take a striker’s job: “After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles” – 1876
 
Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson orders police to raid an open-air mass meeting of shipyard workers in an attempt to prevent a general strike. Workers were brutally beaten. The strike began the following month, with 60,000 workers walking out in solidarity with some 25,000 metal tradesmen – 1919
 
President Roosevelt creates the National War Labor Board to mediate labor disputes during World War II. Despite the fact that 12 million of the nation’s workers were women—to rise to 18 million by war’s end—the panel consisted entirely of men – 1942
 
January 11

The IWW-organized “Bread & Roses” textile strike of 32,000 women and children begins in Lawrence, Mass. It lasted 10 weeks and ended in victory. The first millworkers to walk out were Polish women, who, upon collecting their pay, exclaimed that they had been cheated and promptly abandoned their looms – 1912

(Notice in the Minneapolis Labor Review) “Minneapolis Ice Wagon Drivers’ Union will hold an exceptionally interesting meeting Sunday, at 16 South 5th St.  A Jazz Band, dancing, boxing and good speaking are among the attractions.” – 1918
 
Nearly two weeks into a sit-down strike at GM’s Fisher Body Plant No. 2 in Flint, Mich., workers battle police when they try to prevent the strikers from receiving food deliveries from thousands of supporters on the outside.  Sixteen strikers and spectators and 11 police were injured.  Most of the strikers were hit by buckshot fired by police riot guns; the police were injured principally by thrown nuts, bolts, door hinges and other auto parts. The incident became known as the “Battle of the Running Bulls” – 1936
 
National Hockey League owners end a player lockout that had gone for three months and ten days.  A key issue was owner insistence on a salary cap, which they won – 1995
 
Ford Motor Co. announces it will eliminate 35,000 jobs while discontinuing four models and closing five plants – 2002
 

January 10
In what is described as the worst industrial disaster in state history, the Pemberton Mill in Lawrence, Mass., collapses, trapping 900 workers, mostly Irish women. More than 100 die, scores more injured in the collapse and ensuing fire. Too much machinery had been crammed into the building – 1860
 
Wobbly organizer and singer Joe Hill allegedly kills two men during a grocery store hold-up in Utah. He ultimately is executed by firing squad (His last word was “Fire!”) for the crime despite much speculation that he was framed – 1914
 
Former AFL-CIO President George Meany dies at age 85. The one-time plumber led the labor federation from the time of the AFL and CIO merger in 1955 until shortly before his death – 1980
 
The Supreme Court lets stand implementation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) despite the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement – 2004

January 09
A Mediation Commission appointed by President Woodrow Wilson finds that “industry’s failure to deal with unions” is the prime reason for labor strife in war industries – 1918
 
Eighty thousand Chicago construction workers strike – 1922
 
Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union leads Missouri Highway sit-down of 1,700 families. They had been evicted from their homes so landowners wouldn’t have to share government crop subsidy payments with them – 1939
 
Former Hawaii Territorial Gov. Ingram Steinbeck opposes statehood for Hawaii, saying left wing unions have an “economic stranglehold” on the islands. Hawaii was to be granted statehood five years later – 1954
 
The administration of George W. Bush declares federal airport security screeners will not be allowed to unionize so as not to “complicate” the war on terrorism. The decision was challenged and eventually overturned after Bush left office – 2003
 

January 01

Emancipation Proclamation signed – 1863

Women weavers form union, Fall River, Mass. – 1875
 
John L. Lewis is elected president of the United Mine Workers. Fifteen years later he is to be a leader in the formation of what was to become the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) – 1920
 
With the Great Depression in full force, the year 1932 opens with 14 million unemployed, national income down by 50 percent, breadlines that include former shopkeepers, businessmen and middle-class housewives. Charity is overwhelmed: only one-quarter of America’s unemployed are receiving any help at all – 1932
 
Workers begin to acquire credits toward Social Security pension benefits. Employers and employees became subject to a tax of one percent of wages on up to $3,000 a year – 1937
 
Adolph Strasser, head of the Cigar Maker’s Union and one of the founders of the AFL in 1886, died on this day in Forest Park, Ill. – 1939
 
Members of the Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union working for the New York transit system begin what is to be a successful 12-day strike. Fiery TWU leader Mike Quill, jailed for several days during the strike, then hospitalized, died three days after his release from the hospital – 1966
 
The federal minimum wage rises to $2.65 an hour – 1978
 
Int’l Typographical Union, the nation’s oldest union, merges with Communications Workers of America – 1987
 
United Furniture Workers of America merges with Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Technical, Salaried & Machine Workers to become Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers, now a division of CWA – 1987
 
National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians merges with Communications Workers of America – 1994
 
Int’l Union of Allied & Industrial Workers of America merges with United Paperworkers Int’l. Later merged into the Steelworkers – 1994
 
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) takes effect, despite objections by labor – 1994
 
Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers Int’l Union merges with American Federation of Grain Millers to form Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Int’l Union – 1999

December 31

Sixty thousand unemployed workers rally at a Pittsburgh stadium – 1931
 
United Mine Workers reformer Joseph “Jock” Yablonski, his wife and daughter are murdered by hit men hired by union president Tony Boyle, who was to be convicted of the crime and eventually die in prison – 1969
 
OSHA adopts a grain handling facilities standard to protect 155,000 workers at nearly 24,000 grain elevators from the risk of fire and explosion from highly combustible grain dust – 1987

December 30

Gathering in the back room of Behrens’ cigar shop in Sedalia, Mo., 33 railroad clerks form Local Lodge Number 1 of a union they named the Order of the Railroad Clerks of America – 1899
 
Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg, who had brutally suppressed the state’s miners, is killed by an assassin’s bomb. Legendary Western Federation of Miners and IWW leader William “Big Bill” Haywood and two other men were put on trial for the death but were ultimately declared innocent – 1905
 
GM sit-down strike spreads to Flint, Mich., will last 44 days before ending in union victory – 1936
 

December 29

After years of intensive lobbying by the labor movement, a comprehensive national safety law is enacted as President Nixon signs the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970, creating the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – 1970
 
More than 15,000 United Steel Workers members at 16 Goodyear Tire & Rubber plants end an 86-day strike, ratify 3-year contract – 2006

December 28

The coffee percolator is patented by James H. Mason of Franklin, Mass., placing himself forever in the debt of millions of caffeine-dependent working people – 1865

Auto workers begin sit-down strike for union recognition at GM’s Fisher Body plant in Cleveland – 1936
 
Country music legend Hank Williams attends what is to be his last musicians’ union meeting, at the Elite (pronounced E-light) café in Montgomery, Ala.  He died of apparent heart failure three days later in the back seat of a car driving north.  He was 29 – 1952

December 27

President Roosevelt seizes the railroads to avert a nationwide strike. His decision to temporarily place the railroads under the “supervision” of the War Department prompts the five railroad brotherhoods to agree to his offer to arbitrate the wage dispute – 1943

December 26 

Knights of Labor founded. Constitution bars from membership “parasites,” including stockbrokers and lawyers – 1869
 
Workingmen’s Party is reorganized as the Socialist Labor Party – 1877
  

December 18

General Motors announces it is closing 21 North American plants over the following four years and slashing tens of thousands of jobs – 1991dec-18-1991

December 17

Int’l Union of Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers merges with United Steelworkers of America – 1996

December 16

The National Civic Federation is formed by business and labor leaders, most prominently AFL president Sam Gompers, as a vehicle to resolve conflicts between management and labor. Not all unionists agreed with the alliance. The group turned increasingly conservative and labor withdrew after Gompers’ 1924 death – 1900
 
New York City’s Majestic Theater becomes first in the U.S. to employ women ushers – 1902dec-16-1902
 
The Bagel Bakers of America union is continuing a work slowdown at 32 of New York’s 34 bagel bakeries in a dispute over health and welfare fund payments and workplace sanitation, the New York Times reports.  Coincidentally—or not—lox sales were down 30 percent to 50 percent as well.  The effect on the cream cheese market was not reported – 1951
 
Four railway unions merge to become the United Transportation Union: Trainmen, Firemen & Enginemen, Switchmen, and Conductors and Brakemen – 1968

Eight female bank tellers in Willmar, Minn., begin the first strike against a bank in U.S. history. At issue: they were paid little more than half what male tellers were paid. The strike ended in moral victory but economic defeat two years later – 1977dec-16-1977

December 15

AFL convention passes a 1¢ per capita assessment to aid the organization of women workers (Exact date uncertain) – 1913
 
The Kansas National Guard is called out to subdue from 2,000 to 6,000 protesting women who were going from mine to mine attacking non-striking miners in the Pittsburg coal fields. The women made headlines across the state and the nation: they were christened the “Amazon Army” by the New York Times – 1921dec-15-1921
 
Eight days after the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, the AFL pledges that there will be no strikes in defense-related plants for the duration of World War II – 1941
 
Meeting in its biennial convention, the AFL-CIO declares “unstinting support” for “measures the Administration might deem necessary to halt Communist aggression and secure a just and lasting peace” in Vietnam – 1967dec-15-1967
 
The U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act becomes law. It bars employment discrimination against anyone aged 40 or older – 1967

California’s longest nurses’ strike ended after workers at Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo and Pinole approved a new contract with Tenet Healthcare Corp., ending a 13-month walkout – 2003dec-15-2003
 
Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers union organizer Clinton Jencks, who led New Mexico zinc miners in the strike depicted in the classic 1954 movie Salt of the Earth, dies of natural causes in San Diego at age 87 – 2005

December 14

Some 33,000 striking members of the Machinists end a 69-day walkout at Boeing after winning pay and benefit increases and protections against subcontracting some of their work overseas – 1995

December 13

Death in San Antonio, Texas, of Samuel Gompers, president and founder of the American Federation of Labor – 1924

December 12

A U.S. immigration sweep of six Swift meat plants results in arrests of nearly 1,300 undocumented workers – 2006dec-12-2006

December 4

President Roosevelt announces the end of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), concluding the four-year run of one of the American government’s most ambitious public works programs. It helped create jobs for roughly 8.5 million people during the Great Depression and left a legacy of highways and public buildings, among other public gains – 1943
 
UAW President Walter Reuther elected president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations – 1952
 
Cesar Chavez jailed for 20 days for refusing to end United Farm Workers’ grape boycott – 1970dec-4-1970

December 3

Textile strikers win 10-hour day, Fall River, Mass. – 1866
 
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes an ordinance setting an 8-hour workday for all city employees – 1867
 
IWW union Brotherhood of Timber Workers organized – 1910
 
Canada’s Quebec Bridge, spanning the St. Lawrence River, opens to traffic on this day after the deaths of 89 construction workers in the course of the job.  A flawed design was blamed for a 1907 collapse that killed 75; another 13 died in 1916 when a hoisting device failed as the central span was being lifted – 1919dec-3-1919
 
General strike begins in Oakland, Calif., started by female department store clerks – 1946
 
The express passenger train “20th Century Limited” ends more than 60 years of service when it takes its last run from New York City to Chicago – 1967
 
Some 5,000 union construction workers in Oahu, Hawaii, march to City Hall in protest of a proposed construction moratorium by the city council – 1976dec-3-1976

At least four thousand people die, and as many as 20,000, in one of the largest industrial disasters on record.  It happened in Bhopal, India, when poisonous methyl isocyante was released into the atmosphere at a Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant.  The results of investigations by Union Carbide and the government were never released to the public; one authoritative independent study laid blame at the feet of Union Carbide for its failures on training, staffing, safety and other issues – 1984
 
Arrests began today in Middleton, N.J., of teachers striking in violation of a no-strike law. Ultimately 228 educators were jailed for up to seven days before they were released following the Middleton Township Education Association’s agreement to take the dispute to mediation – 2001 
 

 

 

December 2

A Chicago “slugger,” paid $50 by labor unions for every scab he “discouraged,” described his job in an interview: “Oh, there ain’t nothing to it. I gets my fifty, then I goes out and finds the guy they wanna have slugged, then I gives it to ‘im” – 1911
 
The U.S. Senate votes 65-22 to condemn Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisc.) for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”  McCarthy was a rabid anti-Communist who falsely accused thousands of Americans, mostly people who supported labor, civil rights and other progressive causes, of being traitors – 1954

 
Court documents filed in Boston say Walmart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $40 million to 87,500 Massachusetts employees who claimed the retailer denied them rest and meal breaks, manipulated time cards and refused to pay overtime – 2009
 

December 1

The Ford Motor Co. introduces the continuous moving assembly line which can produce a complete car every two-and-a-half minutes – 1913
 
Kellogg cereal adopts 6-hour day – 1930
 
African-American Rosa Parks refuses to go to the back of a Montgomery, Ala., bus, fueling the growing civil rights movement’s campaign to win desegregation and end the deep South’s “Jim Crow” laws – 1955dec-1-1955
 
United Garment Workers of America merge with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union – 1994
 
Metal Polishers, Buffers, Platers & Allied Workers Int’l Union & United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum & Plastics Workers of America merge with Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers – 1996
 

 

November 30

“Fighting Mary” Eliza McDowell, also known as the “Angel of the Stockyards,” born in Chicago. As a social worker she helped organize the first women’s local of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union in 1902 – 1854
 
Mother Jones died at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md.; “I’m not a lady, I’m a hell-raiser!” – 1930nov-30-1930
 
More than 12,000 members of the Insurance Agents Union strike in 35 states and Washington, D.C., against the Prudential Insurance Co. – 1951
 
Unionists and activists shut down World Trade Organization meeting, Seattle, Wash. – 1999nov-30-1999

November 29

Clerks, teamsters and building service workers at Boston Stores in Milwaukee strike at the beginning of the Christmas rush. The strike won widespread support—at one point 10,000 pickets jammed the sidewalks around the main store—but ultimately was lost. Workers returned to the job in mid-January with a small pay raise and no union recognition – 1934
 
The SS Daniel J. Morrell, a 603-foot freighter, breaks in two during a strong storm on Lake Huron. Twenty-eight of its 29 crewmen died; survivor Dennis Hale was found the next day, near frozen and floating in a life raft with the bodies of three of his crew mates. He had survived for nearly 40 hours in frigid temperatures wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, a life jacket, and a pea coat – 1966nov-29-1966

National Labor Relations Board rules that medical interns can unionize and negotiate wages and hours – 1999

 

November 28

William Sylvis, founder of the National Labor Union, born – 1828
 
National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, precursor to IBEW, founded – 1891
 
A total of 154 men die in a coal mine explosion at Marianna, Pa.  Engineer and General Superintendent A.C. Beeson tells the local newspaper he had been in the mine a few minutes before the blast and had found it to be in perfect condition – 1908
 
Some 400 New York City photoengravers working for the city’s newspapers, supported by 20,000 other newspaper unionists, begin what is to become an 11-day strike, shutting down the papers – 1953nov-28-1953
 

 

November 27

Some 1,200 workers sit down at Midland Steel, forcing recognition of the United Auto Workers, Detroit – 1936
 
The pro-labor musical revue, “Pins & Needles,” opens on Broadway with a cast of Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union members. The show ran on Friday and Saturday nights only, because of the cast’s regular jobs. It ran for 1,108 performances before closing – 1937nov-27-1937

 

November 26

Six young women burn to death and 19 more die when they leap from the fourth-story windows of a blazing factory in Newark, N.J. The floors and stairs were wooden; the only door through which the women could flee was locked – 1910

November 25

Some 10,000 New Orleans workers, Black and White, participate in a solidarity parade of unions comprising the Central Trades and Labor Assembly. The parade was so successful it was repeated the following two years – 1883
 
Teachers strike in St. Paul, Minn., the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers—and principals—led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated – 1946
and workers’ power.)
 
Nearly 1,550 typesetters begin what is to become a victorious 22-month strike against Chicago newspapers – 1947
 
George Meany becomes president of the American Federation of Labor following the death four days earlier of William Green – 1952nov-25-1952

Canadian postal workers, protesting a Post Office decision to offer discounts to businesses but not individuals, announce that for one week they will unilaterally reduce postage costs by about two-thirds.  Declared the Canadian Union of Postal Workers: “(M)embers of the general public, not businesses, can mail letters with 10 cents postage and postal workers will process them without taxing them for insufficient postage” – 1983

 

 

November 24

Led by Samuel Gompers, who would later found the American Federation of Labor, Cigarmakers’ Int’l Union Local 144 is chartered in New York City – 1875
 nov-24-1875


November 23

History’s first recorded (on papyrus) strike, by Egyptians working on public works projects for King Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings. They were protesting having gone 20 days without pay—portions of grain—and put down their tools. Exact date estimated, described as within “the sixth month of the 29th year” of Ramses’ reign—1170BC—in The Spirit of Ancient Egypt, by Ana Ruiz. Scholar John Romer adds inAncient Lives: The Story of the Pharaoh’s Tombmakers that the strike so terrified the authorities they gave in and raised wages. Romer believes it happened a few years later, on Nov. 14, 1152 B.C.
 
Troops are dispatched to Cripple Creek, Colo., to control protests by striking coal miners – 1903nov-23-03
 
Mine Workers President John L. Lewis walks away from the American Federation of Labor to lead the newly-formed Committee for Industrial Organization. The CIO and the unions created under its banner organized six million industrial workers over the following decade – 1935

The first meeting between members of the newly-formed National Football League Players Association and team owners takes place in New York. Union founders included Frank Gifford, Norm Van Brocklin, Don Shula and Kyle Rote. They were asking for a minimum $5,000 salary, a requirement that their teams pay for their equipment, and a provision for the continued payment of salary to injured players. The players’ initial demands were ignored – 1956

 

November 22

“The Uprising of the 20,000.” Some 20,000 female garment workers are on strike in New York; Judge tells arrested pickets: “You are on strike against God.” The walkout, believed to be the first major successful strike by female workers in American history, ended the following February with union contracts bringing better pay and working conditions – 1909nov-22-09

The district president of the American Federation of Labor and two other Caucasians are shot and killed in Bogalusa, La., as they attempt to assist an African-American organizer working to unionize African-American workers at the Great Southern Lumber Co. – 1919

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Generally considered a friend of labor, Kennedy a year earlier had issued Executive Order 10988, which authorized unionization and a limited form of collective bargaining rights for most federal workers (excluding the Department of Defense). Many states followed the example set by Kennedy – 1963

 

 

November 21

Six miners striking for better working conditions under the IWW banner are killed and many wounded in the Columbine Massacre at Lafayette, Colo. Out of this struggle Colorado coal miners gained lasting union contracts – 1927
 
The 1,700-mile Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed, built during World War II on the order of President Roosevelt.  Some 11,000 troops, about one-third of them African-Americans, worked on the project, which claimed the lives of an estimated 30 men. Memorials for the veterans are scattered in spots throughout the highway, including the Black Veterans Memorial Bridge, dedicated in 1993.  It wasn’t until 1948 that the military was desegregated – 1942112142
 
The United Auto Workers Union strikes 92 General Motors plants in 50 cities to back up worker demands for a 30-percent raise. An estimated 200,000 workers are out – 1945
 
Staten Island and Brooklyn are linked by the new Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time and still the longest in the U.S.  Joseph Farrell, an apprentice Ironworker on the project, told radio station WNYC: “The way the wind blows over this water it would blow you right off the iron. That was to me and still is the most treacherous part of this business. When the wind grabs you on the open iron, it can be very dangerous.” Three workers died over the course of the 5-year project – 1964 112164
The promise of telecommuting arrives when the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network—ARPANET, the beginnings of the global internet—is established when a permanent link is created between the University of California at Los Angeles and the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, Calif. – 1969
 
A fire at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas kills 85 hotel employees and guests and sends 650 injured persons, including 14 firefighters, to the hospital. Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by smoke inhalation – 1980
 
Flight attendants celebrate the signing into law a smoking ban on all U.S. domestic flights – 1989
 
Congress approves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to take effect Jan. 1 of the following year – 1993112193
 
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act takes effect in the nation’s workplaces. It prohibits employers from requesting genetic testing or considering someone’s genetic background in hiring, firing or promotions – 2009

 

November 06

French transport worker and socialist Eugene Pottier dies in Paris at age 71. In 1871 he authored “L’Internationale,” the anthem to international labor solidarity, the first verse of which begins: “Stand up, damned of the Earth; Stand up, prisoners of starvation” – 1887nov-6-1887

A coal mine explosion in Spangler, Pa., kills 79. The mine had been rated gaseous in 1918, but at the insistence of new operators it was rated as non-gaseous even though miners had been burned by gas on at least four occasions – 1922

November 05

Eugene V. Debs, labor leader, socialist, three-time candidate for president and first president of the American Railway Union, born – 1855nov-5-1855
 
Everett, Wash., massacre, at least seven Wobblies killed, 50 wounded and an indeterminate number missing – 1916
 
Some 12,000 television and movie writers begin what was to become a 3-month strike against producers over demands for an increase in pay for movies and television shows released on DVD and for a bigger share of the revenue from work delivered over the Internet – 2007nov-5-2007

November 04

Populist humorist Will Rogers was born on this day near Oologah, Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). One of his many memorable quotes: “I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.” – 1879nov-4-1879
 
Some 3,000 dairy farmers demonstrate in Neillsville, Wisc., ultimately leading to the freeing of jailed leaders of a milk

November 03

Striking milk drivers dump thousands of gallons of milk on New York City streets – 1921nov-3-1921
 
Some 5,000 Philadelphia-area public transit workers begin what was to be a 6-day strike centered on wages and pension benefits – 2009
 
strike over low prices set by large dairy plants. Tons of fresh milk were dumped on public roads, trains carrying milk were

November 02

Police arrest 150 in IWW free speech fight, Spokane, Wash. – 1909
 
Railroad union leader & socialist Eugene V. Debs receives nearly a million votes for president while imprisoned for opposing World War I – 1920
 
President Reagan signs a bill designating a federal holiday honoring the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to be observed on the third Monday of January – 1983 
Carmen Fasanella retired after 68 years and 243 days of taxicab service in Princeton, N.J., earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.  He started driving at age 17 and, reportedly, chauffeured Princeton Professor Albert Einstein around town – 1989nov-2-1989
 
stopped, some cheese plants were bombed during the fight – 1933
 
After a struggle lasting more than two years, 6,000 Steelworkers members at Bridgestone/Firestone win a settlement in which strikers displaced by scabs got their original jobs back. The fight started when management demanded that the workers accept 12-hour shifts – 1996

November 01

In the nation’s first general strike for a 10-hour day, 300 armed Irish longshoremen marched through the streets of Philadelphia calling on other workers to join them.  Some 20,000 did, from clerks to bricklayers to city employees and other occupations.  The city announced a 10-hour workday within the week; private employers followed suit three weeks later – 1835nov-1-1835
Thirty-seven Black striking Louisiana sugar workers are murdered when Louisiana militia, aided by bands of “prominent citizens,” shoot unarmed workers trying to get a dollar-per-day wage. Two strike leaders are lynched – 1887
 
Malbone tunnel disaster in New York City; inexperienced scab motorman crashes five-car train during strike, 97 killed, 255 injured – 1918nov-1-1918
 
Some 400,000 soft coal miners strike for higher wages and shorter hours – 1919
 
United Stone & Allied Products Workers of America merge with United Steelworkers of America – 1972
 
The UAW begins what was to become a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester. The union turned back company demands for weakened work rules, mandatory overtime – 1979
 
Honda assembles the first-ever Japanese car manufactured in a U.S. plant, in Marysville, Ohio – 1982

October 31

George Henry Evans publishes the first issue of the Working Man’s Advocate, “edited by a Mechanic” for the “useful and industrious classes” in New York City. He focused on the inequities between the “portion of society living in luxury and idleness” and those “groaning under the oppressions and miseries imposed on them.” – 1829oct-31-1829
 
Tennessee sends in leased convict laborers to break a coal miners strike in Anderson County. The miners revolted, burned the stockades, and sent the captured convicts by train back to Knoxville – 1891
 
After 14 years of labor by 400 stone masons, the Mt. Rushmore sculpture is completed in Keystone, S.D.- 1941oct-31-1941
 
Int’l Alliance of Bill Posters, Billers & Distributors of the United States & Canada surrenders its AFL-CIO charter and is disbanded – 1971

October 30

Ed Meese, attorney general in the Ronald Reagan administration, urges employers to begin spying on workers “in locker rooms, parking lots, shipping and mail room areas and even the nearby taverns” to try to catch them using drugs – 1986

The fishing boat Andrea Gail, out of Gloucester, Mass., is caught in ferocious storm and lost at sea with her crew of six. The event inspired the book, “The Perfect Storm,” by Sebastian Junger, and a film by the same name. The city of Gloucester has lost more than 10,000 whalers and fishermen to the sea over its 350-year history – 1991oct-30-1991

October 29

Japanese immigrant and labor advocate Katsu Goto is strangled to death, his body then strung from an electric pole, on the Big Island of Hawaii by thugs hired by plantation owners.  They were outraged over Goto’s work on behalf of agricultural workers and because he opened a general store that competed with the owners’ own company store – 1889

Wall Street crashes—”Black Tuesday”—throwing the world’s economy into a years-long crisis including an unemployment rate in the U.S. that by 1933 hit nearly 25 percent – 1929oct-29-1889

October 28

Union organizer and anarchist Luisa Capetillo is born in Ariecibo, Puerto Rico.  She organized tobacco and other agricultural workers in Puerto Rico and later in New York and Florida. In 1916 she led a successful sugar cane strike of more than 40,000 workers on the island.  She demanded that her union endorse voting rights for women.  In 1919, three years before her death, she was arrested for wearing pants in public, the first woman in Puerto Rico to do so.  The charges were dropped – 1879oct-28-1879

The St. Louis Gateway Arch is completed after two and one-half years. Originally sold as a jobs program for thousands of African Americans in St. Louis suffering from the Depression, the 630-foot high arch of stainless steel marks the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Mo. Although it was predicted 13 lives would be lost in construction, not a single worker died – 1965

October 27

The New York City subway, the first rapid-transit system in America, opens. More than 100 workers died during the construction of the first 13 miles of tunnels and track – 1904

oct-27-1904
Three strikes on works-relief projects in Maryland were underway today, with charges that Depression-era Works Projects Administration jobs were paying only about 28 cents an hour—far less than was possible on direct relief.  Civic officials in Cumberland, where authorities had established a 50-cent-per-hour minimum wage, supported the strikers – 1935
 
The National Labor Council is formed in Cincinnati to unite Black workers in the struggle for full economic, political and social equality. The group was to function for five years before disbanding, having forced many AFL and CIO unions to adopt non-discrimination policies – 1951

October 26

After eight years and at least 1,000 worker deaths—mostly Irish immigrants—the 350-mile Erie Canal opens, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Father John Raho wrote to his bishop that “so many die that there is hardly any time to give Extreme Unction (last rites) to everybody. We run night and day to assist the sick.” – 1825oct-26-1825

October 25

What many believe to be the first formal training on first aid in American history took place at the Windsor Hotel in Jermyn, Penn., when Dr. Matthew J. Shields instructed 25 coal miners on ways to help their fellow miners. Upon completion of the course each of the miners was prepared and able to render first aid. The training led to marked decreases in serious mining injuries and fatalities – 1899

Some 25,000 silk dye workers strike in Paterson, N.J. – 1934
 
In what becomes known as the Great Hawaiian Dock Strike, a 6-month struggle to win wage parity with mainland dock workers, ends in victory – 1949oct-25-1949
 
The Tribune Co. begins a brutal 5-month-long lockout at the New York Daily News, part of an effort to bust the newspaper’s unions – 1990
 
John Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Int’l Union, elected president of AFL-CIO – 1995

After a two-year fight, workers at the Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, Calif., win a union contract calling for pay increases, better breaks and other gains.  “They didn’t treat us like people,” nine-year employee Oliverio Gomez told the Los Angeles Times – 2011

 
October 24

The 40-hour work week goes into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by President Roosevelt two years earlier – 1940oct-24-1940
 
U.S. minimum wage increases to 40¢ an hour – 1945

October 16

Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, is beheaded during the French Revolution.   When alerted that the peasants were suffering due to widespread bread shortages, lore has it that she replied, “Let them eat cake.”  In fact she never said that, but workers were, justifiably, ready to believe anything bad about their cold-hearted royalty – 1793
 
Abolitionist John Brown leads 18 men, including five free blacks, in an attack on the Harper’s Ferry ammunition depot, the beginning of guerilla warfare against slavery – 1859  oct-16-1859

October 15

President Woodrow Wilson signs the Clayton Antitrust Act—often referred to as “Labor’s Magna Carta”—establishing that unions are not “conspiracies” under the law. It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law – 1914oct-15-1914

October 14

Int’l Working People’s Association founded in Pittsburgh, Pa. – 1883
 
The Seafarers Int’l Union (SIU) is founded as an AFL alternative to what was then the CIO’s National Maritime Union.  SIU is an umbrella organization of 12 autonomous unions of mariners, fishermen and boatmen working on U.S.-flagged vessels – 1938

Formal construction began today on what is expected to be a five-year, $3.9 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.  It’s estimated the project would be employing 8,000 building trades workers over the span of the job – 2013oct-14-2013

October 13

American Federation of Labor votes to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi antagonism to organized labor within Germany – 1934oct-13-1934
More than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases – 1985
 
National Basketball Association cancels regular season games for the first time in its 51-year history, during a player lockout.  Player salaries and pay caps are the primary issue.  The lockout lasts 204 days – 1998
 
Hundreds of San Jose Mercury News newspaper carriers end 4-day walkout with victory – 2000

October 12

Company guards kill at least eight miners who are attempting to stop scabs, Virden, Ill. Six guards are also killed, and 30 persons wounded – 1898
 
Fourteen miners killed, 22 wounded at Pana, Ill. – 1902
 
Some 2,000 workers demanding union recognition close down dress manufacturing, Los Angeles – 1933
 
More than one million Canadian workers demonstrate against wage controls – 1976oct-12-1976

October 11

The Miners’ National Association is formed in Youngstown, Ohio, with the goal of uniting all miners, regardless of skill or ethnic background – 1873
 
Nearly 1,500 plantation workers strike Olaa Sugar, on Hawaii’s Big Island – 1948

October 10

Six days into a cotton field strike by 18,000 Mexican and Mexican-American workers in Pixley, Calif., four strikers are killed and six wounded; eight growers were indicted and charged with murder – 1933oct-10-1933
  

October 09

United Hebrew Trades is organized in New York by shirt maker Morris Hillquit and others. Hillquit would later would become leader of the Socialist Party – 1888oct-9-1888
 
Retail stock brokerage Smith Barney reaches a tentative sexual harassment settlement with a group of female employees. The suit charged, among other things, that branch managers asked female workers to remove their tops in exchange for money and one office featured a “boom boom room” where women workers were encouraged to “entertain clients.” The settlement was never finalized: a U.S. District Court judge refused to approve the deal because it failed to adequately redress the plaintiff’s grievances – 1997

October 08

Thirty of the city’s 185 firefighters are injured battling the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for three days – 1871oct-8-1871
 
Structural Building Trades Alliance organizes in Indianapolis with goal of eliminating jurisdictional strikes that were seriously disrupting the industry and shoring up the power of international unions over local building trades councils. Conflicts between large and small unions doomed the group and it disbanded six years later – 1903
 
In Poland, the union Solidarity and all other labor organizations are banned by the government – 1982
 
Upholsterers’ Int’l Union of North America merges with United Steelworkers of America – 1985
 

October 07

Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, born in Gavle, Sweden – 1879
 
The Structural Building Trades Alliance (SBTA) is founded, becomes the AFL’s Building Trades Dept. five years later. SBTA’s mission: to provide a form to work out jurisdictional conflicts – 1903 oct-7-1903
Hollywood’s “Battle of the Mirrors.” Picketing members of the Conference of Studio Unions disrupted an outdoor shoot by holding up large reflectors that filled camera lenses with blinding sunlight. Members of the competing IATSE union retaliated by using the reflectors to shoot sunlight back across the street. The battle went on all day, writes Tom Sito in Drawing the Line – 1946

October 06

First National Conference of Trade Union Women – 1918

The first “talkie” movie, The Jazz Singer, premiers in New York City.  Within three years, according to the American Federation of Musicians, theater jobs for some 22,000 musicians who accompanied silent movies were lost, while only a few hundred jobs for musicians performing on soundtracks were created by the new technology – 1927oct-6-1927
 
Some 1,700 female flight attendants win 18-year, $37 million suit against United Airlines. They had been fired for getting married – 1986
 
Thirty-two thousand machinists begin what is to be a successful 69-day strike against the Boeing Co. The eventual settlement brought improvements that averaged an estimated $19,200 in wages and benefits over four years and safeguards against job cutbacks – 1995

October 05

A strike by set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Calif., when scabs try to cross the picket line. The incident is still identified as “Hollywood Black Friday” and “The Battle of Burbank” – 1945oct-5-1945
 
The UAW ends a 3-week strike against Ford Motor Co. when the company agrees to a contract that includes more vacation days and better retirement and unemployment benefits – 1976
 
Polish Solidarity union founder Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize – 1983
 
Some 2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, win a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years – 2004 oct-5-2004

October 04

Work begins on the carving of Mt. Rushmore, a task 400 craftsmen would eventually complete in 1941.  Despite the dangerous nature of the project, not one worker died – 1927
 oct-4-1927
President Truman orders the U.S. Navy to seize oil refineries, breaking a 20-state post-war strike – 1945
 
The United Mine Workers of America votes to re-affiliate with the AFL-CIO after years of on-and-off conflict with the federation. In 2009 the union’s leader, Richard Trumka, becomes AFL-CIO President – 1961
 
Distillery, Wine & Allied Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union – 1995 October 03
The state militia is called in after 164 high school students in Kincaid, Ill., go on strike when the school board buys coal from the scab Peabody Coal Co. – 1932
 
The Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America is founded in Camden, N.J. It eventually merged with the Int’l Association of Machinists, in 1988 – 1933
 
Pacific Greyhound Lines bus drivers in seven western states begin what is to become a 3-week strike, eventually settling for a 10.5-percent raise – 1945
 
The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) is formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO’s Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which in turn merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979, forming the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) – 1943
 
The United Auto Workers calls for a company-wide strike against Ford Motor Co., the first since Ford’s initial contract with the union 20 years earlier – 1961
 
Folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie (“This Land is Your Land”, “Union Maid” and hundreds of others) dies of Huntington’s disease in New York at the age of 55 – 1967
 
Baseball umpires strike for recognition of their newly-formed Major League Umpires Association, win after one day – 1970 

October 03

The state militia is called in after 164 high school students in Kincaid, Ill., go on strike when the school board buys coal from the scab Peabody Coal Co. – 1932oct-3-1932
 
The Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America is founded in Camden, N.J. It eventually merged with the Int’l Association of Machinists, in 1988 – 1933
 
Pacific Greyhound Lines bus drivers in seven western states begin what is to become a 3-week strike, eventually settling for a 10.5-percent raise – 1945
 
The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) is formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO’s Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which in turn merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979, forming the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) – 1943
 
The United Auto Workers calls for a company-wide strike against Ford Motor Co., the first since Ford’s initial contract with the union 20 years earlier – 1961ocy-3-1961
 
Folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie (“This Land is Your Land”, “Union Maid” and hundreds of others) dies of Huntington’s disease in New York at the age of 55 – 1967
 
Baseball umpires strike for recognition of their newly-formed Major League Umpires Association, win after one day – 1970
 

September 25

American photographer Lewis Hine born in Oshkosh, Wisc. – 18749-25-1874

 
Two African-American sharecroppers are killed during an ultimately unsuccessful cotton-pickers’ strike in Lee County, Ark.  By the time the strike had been suppressed, 15 African-Americans had died and another six had been imprisoned.  A white plantation manager was killed as well – 1891

September 24

Canada declares the Wobblies illegal – 1918

September 23
The Workingman’s Advocate of Chicago publishes the first installment of The Other Side, by Martin A. Foran, president of the Coopers’ Int’l Union. Believed to be the first novel by a trade union leader and some say the first working-class novel ever published in the U.S. – 1868
 
A coalition of Knights of Labor and trade unionists in Chicago launch the United Labor party, calling for an 8-hour day, government ownership of telegraph and telephone companies, and monetary and land reform. The party elects seven state assembly men and one senator – 18869-23-1886
 
A 42-month strike by Steelworkers at Bayou Steel in Louisiana ends in a new contract and the ousting of scabs – 1996
 
California Gov. Gray Davis (D) signs legislation making the state the first to offer workers paid family leave – 2002
  
September 22
Emancipation Proclamation signed – 1862
 
Eighteen-year-old Hannah (Annie) Shapiro leads a spontaneous walkout of 17 women at a Hart Schaffner & Marx garment factory in Chicago. It grows into a months-long mass strike involving 40,000 garment workers across the city, protesting 10-hour days, bullying bosses and cuts in already-low wages – 19109-22-1910
 
Great Steel Strike begins; 350,000 workers demand union recognition. The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee calls off the strike, their goal unmet, 108 days later – 1919
 
Martial law rescinded in Mingo County, W. Va., after police, U.S. troops and hired goons finally quell coal miners’ strike – 1922
 
U.S. Steel announces it will cut the wages of 220,000 workers by 10 percent – 1931
 
United Textile Workers strike committee orders strikers back to work after 22 days out, ending what was at that point the greatest single industrial conflict in the history of American organized labor. The strike involved some 400,000 workers in New England, the mid-Atlantic states and the South – 1934
 
Some 400,000 coal miners strike for higher wages in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois and Ohio – 1935
 
The AFL expels the Int’l Longshoremen’s Association for racketeering; six years later the AFL-CIO accepted them back into the house of labor – 1953
 
OSHA reaches its largest ever settlement agreement, $21 million, with BP Products North America following an explosion at BP’s Texas City, Texas, plant earlier in the year that killed 15 and injured 170 – 20059-22-2005
 
Eleven Domino’s employees in Pensacola, Fla., form the nation’s first union of pizza delivery drivers – 2006
 
San Francisco hotel workers end a 2-year contract fight, ratify a new 5-year pact with their employers – 2006
 

September 21

Militia sent to Leadville, Colo., to break miners’ strike – 1896
 
Mother Jones leads a march of miners’ children through the streets of Charleston, W. Va. – 19129-21-1921

National Football League Players Association members begin what is to become a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout ever – 1982 
 
Members of five unions at the Frontier Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas begin what was to become the longest successful hotel strike in U.S. history. All 550 workers honored the picket line for the entirety of the 6-year, 4-month, 10-day fight against management’s insistence on cutting wages and eliminating pensions – 19919-21-1991

September 20

Upton Sinclair, socialist and author of The Jungle—published on this day in 1906—born in Baltimore, Md. – 1878
 
According to folklorist John Garst, steel-drivin’ man John Henry, born a slave, outperformed a steam hammer on this date at the Coosa Mountain Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway (now part of the Norfolk Southern) near Leeds, Ala. Other researchers place the contest near Talcott, W. Va. – 18879-20-1887
 
Int’l Hod Carriers, Building & Common Laborers Union of America changes name to Laborers’ Int’l Union – 1965

 
September 19
Chinese coal miners forced out of Black Diamond, Wash. – 1885
 
Between 400,000 and 500,000 unionists converge on Washington D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally protesting Republican policies – 1981

Musician and labor educator Joe Glazer, often referred to as “Labor’s Troubadour,” died today at age 88.  Some of his more acclaimed songs include “The Mill Was Made of Marble,” “Too Old To Work” and “Automaton.” In 1979 he and labor folklorist Archie Green convened a meeting of 14 other labor musicians to begin what was to become the annual Great Labor Arts Exchange and, soon thereafter, the Labor Heritage Foundation – 20069-19-2006

September 11

Some 75,000 coal miners in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia end a 10-week strike after winning an 8-hour day, semi-monthly pay, and the abolition of overpriced company-owned stores, where they had been forced to shop. (Remember the song, “Sixteen Tons,” by coal miner’s son Merle Travis, in which there’s this line: “I owe my soul to the company store.”) – 1897
 
More than 3,000 people died when suicide highjackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.  Among the dead in New York were 634 union members, the majority of them New York City firefighters and police on the scene when the towers fell – 2001
 
Crystal Lee Sutton, the real-life Norma Rae of the movies, dies at age 68. She worked at a J.P. Stevens textile plant in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., when low pay and poor working conditions led her to become a union activist – 2009

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

 

September 10

In Pennsylvania, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovak miners are gunned down by the Lattimer Mine’s sheriff deputies—19 dead, more than 50 wounded—during a peaceful march from Hazelton to Lattimer.   Some 3,000 were marching for collective bargaining and civil liberty.  The shooters were tried for murder but the jury failed to convict – 18979-10-1897
  
More than 3,000 people died when suicide highjackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.  Among the dead in New York were 634 union members, the majority of them New York City firefighters and police on the scene when the towers fell – 2001
 
Crystal Lee Sutton, the real-life Norma Rae of the movies, dies at age 68. She worked at a J.P. Stevens textile plant in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., when low pay and poor working conditions led her to become a union activist – 2009

 September 09

In convention at Topeka, Kan., delegates create the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America. The men who repaired the nation’s rail cars were paid 10 or 15¢ an hour, working 12 hours a day, often seven days a week – 1890
 
More than a thousand Boston police officers strike after 19 union leaders are fired for organizing activities. Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge announced that none of the strikers would be rehired, mobilized the state police, and recruited an entirely new police force from among unemployed veterans of the Great War (World War I) – 1919
 
Sixteen striking Filipino sugar workers on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are killed by police; four police died as well. Many of the surviving strikers were jailed, then deported – 19249-9-1924

United Auto Workers President Leonard Woodcock is named in Pres. Richard Nixon’s “Enemy’s List,” a White House compilation of Americans Nixon regarded as major political opponents.  Another dozen union presidents were added later.  The existence of the list was revealed during Senate Watergate Committee hearings – 1973

September 08

Employers give in to the demands of striking miners in McKees Rocks, Pa., agree to improved working conditions, 15-percent hike in wages and elimination of a “pool system” that gave foremen control over each worker’s pay – 19099-8-1909
 
Workers give up their Labor Day weekend holidays to keep the munitions factories working to aid in the war effort. Most Labor Day parades are canceled in respect for members of the Armed Services – 1942
 
United Farm Workers union begins historic national grape boycott and strike, Delano, Calif. – 1965
 
Some 2,600 Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers begin what is to be a successful 6-day strike for higher pay and against a two-tier wage system – 1997

September 07

Federal employees win the right to receive Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage – 1916

September 06

One of the worst disasters in the history of U.S. anthracite mining occurred at the Avondale Mine, near Scranton, Pa., when a fire originating from a furnace at the bottom of a 237-foot shaft roared up the shaft, killing 110 miners – 1869
 
Tony Boyle, former president of the United Mine Workers, is charged with murder in the 1969 deaths of former UMW rival Joseph A. Yablonski and his wife and daughter – 19739-6-1973

September 05

Between 20,000 and 30,000 marchers participate in New York’s first Labor Day parade, demanding the 8-hour day – 1882
 
“Palmer raids” on all Wobbly halls and offices in 48 cities in U.S.  Alexander Palmer, U.S. Attorney General, was rounding up radicals and leftists – 19179-5-1917
 
Ten thousand angry textile strikers, fighting for better wages and working conditions, besiege a factory in Fall River, Mass., where 300 strikebreakers are working. The scabs are rescued by police using tear gas and pistols on the strikers – 1934
 
General strike begins across U.S. maritime industry, stopping all shipping. The strikers were objecting to the government’s post-war National Wage Stabilization Board order that reduced pay increases negotiated by maritime unions – 1946

September 04

Twelve thousand New York tailors strike over sweatshop conditions – 1894

 
More than 140 attendees at a benefit for a civil rights group are injured in the “Peekskill Riots” in Peekskill, N.Y.  The victims were among the 20,000 people leaving a concert featuring African-American Paul Robeson, well-known for his strong pro-unionism, civil rights activism and left-wing affiliations.  The departing concert-goers had to drive through a miles-long gauntlet of rock-throwing racists and others chanting “go on back to Russia, you niggers” and “white niggers” – 1949Sept 4 1949
 
Int’l Brotherhood of Bookbinders merged with Graphic Arts Int’l Union – 1972
 
In what many believe was to become the longest strike in U.S. history, 600 Teamster-represented workers walk out at the Diamond Walnut processing plant in Stockton, Calif., after the company refused to restore a 30-percent pay cut they had earlier taken to help out the company.  The two sides ultimately agreed to a new contract after 14 years – 1991

 

September 03

African-American cotton pickers organize and strike in Lee County, Texas, against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations.  Over the course of September a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process – 1891Sept 3  1891
 
Some 300 musicians working in Chicago movie houses strike to protest their impending replacement by talking movies – 1928
 
Twenty-five workers die, unable to escape a fire at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, N.C. Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection – 1991
 

September 02

White and Chinese immigrants battle in Rock Springs, Wyo., fueled by racial tensions and the practice of Union Pacific Railroad of hiring lower-paid Chinese over whites. At least 25 Chinese died and 15 more were injured. Rioters burned 75 Chinese homes – 1885Sept 2 1885
 
Operating railway employees win 8-hour day – 1916
 
Mineowners bomb West Virginia strikers by plane, using homemade bombs filled with nails and metal fragments. The bombs missed their targets or failed to explode – 1921
 
President Eisenhower signs legislation expanding Social Security by providing much wider coverage and including 10 million additional Americans, most of them self-employed farmers, with additional benefits – 1954
 
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed by President Ford, regulating and insuring pensions and other benefits, and increasing protections for workers – 1974Sept 2 1974 

September 01

 

The Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers is founded at a meeting in Chicago, the product of two separate brotherhoods created over the previous 13 years – 1893
 
Congress declares Labor Day a national holiday – 1894
(From the Folks Who Brought You The Weekend is a sweeping, highly readable history of U.S. labor that will be welcomed by anyone interested in learning more about the struggle of American working people to better their lives through collective action.)Sept 1 1894
 
Some 30,000 women from 26 trades marched in Chicago’s Labor Day parade – 1903
 
Walter Reuther is born. He went on to become a founder of the United Auto Workers and was president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations when it merged with the AFL in 1955 – 1907
 
A 3-week strike in Woonsocket, R.I., part of a national movement to obtain a minimum wage for textile workers, resulted in the deaths of three workers. Ultimately more than 420,000 workers struck nationally – 1934
 
In Hawaii, some 26,000 sugar workers represented by the Longshoremen’s union begin what is to become a successful 79-day strike that shuts down 33 of the 34 sugar plantations on the islands. The strike brought an end to Hawaii’s paternalistic labor relations and impacted political and social institutions throughout the then-territory – 1946Sept 1 1946
 
Int’l Metal Engravers & Marking Device Workers Union changed its name to Int’l Association of Machinists – 1956
 
Some 20,000 Pennsylvania Railroad shop workers effectively halt operations in 13 states for 12 days. It was the first shutdown in the company’s 114-year history – 1960
 
Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union merged with Retail Clerks Int’l Union – 1977
 
The Journeymen Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists’ Int’l Union of America merged with United Food & Commercial Workers – 1980
 
Glass Bottle Blowers’ Association of the United States & Canada merged with Int’l Brotherhood of Pottery & Allied Workers to become Glass, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers – 1982
 
Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers Int’l Union merged with United Glass & Ceramic Workers of North America to form Int’l Union of Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers – 1982Sept 1 1982
 
Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees changed name to Transportation-Communications Union – 1987
 
Coopers Int’l Union of North America merged with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int’l Union – 1992
 
The federal minimum wage is increased to $5.15 per hour – 1997
 
The AFL-CIO creates Working America, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization designed to build alliances among non-union working people – 2003

August 31

 

John Reed forms the Communist Labor Party in Chicago. The Party’s motto: “Workers of the world, unite!” – 1919
 
Some 10,000 striking miners began a fight at Blair Mountain, W.Va., for recognition of their union, the United Mine Workers of America. Federal troops were sent in and miners were forced to withdraw five days later, after 16 deaths – 1921August 31 1921
 
The Trade Union Unity League is founded as an alternative to the American Federation of Labor, with the goal of organizing along industrial rather than craft lines. An arm of the American Communist Party, the League claimed 125,000 members before it dissolved in the late 1930s – 1929
 
“Solidarity” workers movement founded as a strike coordination committee at Lenin Shipyards, Gdansk, Poland. The strike launched a wave of unrest in the Soviet Union that ultimately led to its dissolution in 1991 – 1980August 31, 1980
 
An estimated 325,000 unionists gathered in Washington, D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally for workplace fairness and healthcare reform – 1991
 
Detroit teachers begin what is to become a 9-day strike, winning smaller class sizes and raises of up to 4 percent – 1999
 

August 30

Delegates from several East Coast cities meet in convention to form the National Trades’ Union, uniting craft unions to oppose “the most unequal and unjustifiable distribution of the wealth of society in the hands of a few individuals.”  The union faded after a few years – 1834
 
President Franklin Roosevelt’s Wealth Tax Act increases taxes on rich citizens and big business, lowers taxes for small businesses – 1935
 
OSHA publishes scaffold safety standard, designed to protect 2.3 million construction workers and prevent 50 deaths and 4,500 injuries annually – 1996

August 29

Sixty letter carriers from 18 states meet in a room above Schaefer’s Saloon on Plankinton Avenue in Milwaukee. They unanimously adopt a resolution to form a National Association of Letter Carriers – 1889

Seventy-five workers die when the lower St. Lawrence River’s Quebec Bridge collapses while under construction.  A flawed design was found to be the cause.  Thirteen more workers were killed nine years later when the reconstructed bridge’s central span was being raised and fell into the river because of a problem with hoisting devices – 1907
 
Dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club vote 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790. Their first union contract, ratified eight months later, guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and termination, automatic hourly wage increases, sick days, a grievance procedure, and removal of one-way mirrors from peep show booths – 1996August 29 1996
 
Northwest Airlines pilots, after years of concessions to help the airline, begin what is to become a 2-week strike for higher pay – 1998
 
Delegates to the  Minnesota AFL-CIO convention approve the launching of workdayminnesota.org, now in its fourteenth year.  It was the first web-based daily labor news service by a state labor federation – 2000August 30 1996

 

August 28

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech march—is held in Washington, D.C., with 250,000 participating.  The AFL-CIO did not endorse the march, but several affiliated unions did – 1963

Aug 28 1963

         

August 27

Some 14,000 Chicago teachers who have gone without pay for several months finally collect about $1,400 each – 1934

Aug 27 1934
 
President Truman orders the U.S. Army to seize all the nation’s railroads to prevent a general strike.  The railroads were not returned to their owners until two years later – 1950

August 26

Fannie Sellins and Joseph Starzeleski are murdered by coal company guards on a picket line in Brackenridge, Pa. Sellins was a United Mine Workers of America organizer and Starzeleski was a miner – 1919Aug 26 1919
(Sixteen Tons carries the reader down into the dark and dangerous coal mines of the early 1900s, as Italian immigrant Antonio Vacca and his sons encounter cave-ins and fires deep below the earth’s surface.)
 
After three-quarters of the states had ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, women win their long struggle for the vote – 1920
 
With America in the depths of the Great Depression, the Comptroller of the Currency announces a temporary halt on foreclosures of first mortgages – 1932
 
In what some may consider one of the many management decisions that was to help cripple the American auto industry over the following decades, Ford Motor Co. produces its first Edsel. Ford dropped the project two years later after losing approximately $350 million – 1957
 
The Women’s Strike for Equality is staged in cities across the U.S., marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, under which women won the right to vote.  A key focus of the strike—in fact, more accurately a series of marches and demonstrations—was equality in the workplace.  An estimated 20,000 women participated, some carrying signs with the iconic slogan, “Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot.”  Another sign: “Hardhats for Soft Broads” – 1970Aug 26 1970
 
More than 1,300 bus drivers on Oahu, Hawaii, begin what is to become a 5-week strike – 2003

August 25

Birth of Allan Pinkerton, whose strike-breaking detectives (“Pinks”) gave us the word “fink” – 1819Aug 25 1819
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters founded at a meeting in New York City.  A. Philip Randolph became the union’s first organizer – 1925

August 24

The Gatling Gun Co.—manufacturers of an early machine gun—writes to B&O Railroad Co. President John W. Garrett during a strike, urging their product be purchased to deal with the “recent riotous disturbances around the country.” Says the company: “Four or five men only are required to operate (a gun), and one Gatling … can clear a street or block and keep it clear” – 1877Aug 24 1877
 
United Farm Workers Union begins lettuce strike – 1970

 August 23

The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations is formed by Congress, during a period of great labor and social unrest. After three years, and hearing witnesses ranging from Wobblies to capitalists, it issued an 11-volume report frequently critical of capitalism. The New York Herald characterized the Commission’s president, Frank P. Walsh, as “a Mother Jones in trousers” – 1912
 
Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, accused of murder and tried unfairly, were executed on this day. The case became an international cause and sparked demonstrations and strikes throughout the world – 1927August 23 1927
 
Seven merchant seamen crewing the SS Baton Rouge Victory lost their lives when the ship was sunk by Viet Cong action en route to Saigon – 1966Aug 23 1966
 
Farm Workers Organizing Committee (to later become United Farm Workers of America) granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1966
(Farmworker’s Friend: The story of Cesar Chavez is a thoughtful and moving book about the inspiring life of American hero Cesar Chavez, founder and long-time leader of the United Farm Workers of America. This sympathetic portrayal of Chavez and his life’s work begins with his childhood, starting from the time his family’s store in Arizona failed during the Great Depression and his entire family was forced into the fields to harvest vegetables for a few cents an hour. It traces his growth as a man and as a leader, talking of his pacifism, his courage in the face of great threats and greater odds, his leadership and his view that the union was more than just a union, it was a community—una causa.)

August 22

Five flight attendants form the Air Line Stewardesses Association, the first labor union representing flight attendants. They were reacting to an industry in which women were forced to retire at the age of 32, remain single, and adhere to strict weight, height and appearance requirements. The association later became the Association of Flight Attendants, now a division of the Communications Workers of America – 1945Aug 22, 1945
 
Int’l Broom & Whisk Makers Union disbands – 1963
 
Joyce Miller, a vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers, becomes first female member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council – 1980

The Kerr-McGee Corp. agrees to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood $1.38 million, settling a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit.  She was a union activist who died in 1974 under suspicious circumstances on her way to talk to a reporter about safety concerns at her plutonium fuel plant in Oklahoma – 1986Aug 22 1986
(The Killing of Karen Silkwood: This is an updated edition of the groundbreaking book about the death of union activist Karen Silkwood, an employee of a plutonium processing plant, who was killed in a mysterious car crash on her way to deliver important documents to a newspaper reporter in 1974. Silkwood’s death at age 28 was highly suspicious: she had been working on health and safety issues at the plant, and a lot of people stood to benefit by her death.)
 
Int’l Longshore & Warehouse Union granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1988 

August 21

Slave revolt led by Nat Turner begins in Southampton County, Va. – 1831

 

August 20

The Great Fire of 1910, a wildfire that consumed about 3 million acres in Washington, Idaho and Montana—an area about the size of Connecticut—claimed the lives of 78 firefighters over two days. It is believed to be the largest, although not deadliest, fire in U.S. history – 1910

Deranged relief postal service carrier Patrick “Crazy Pat” Henry Sherrill shoots and kills 14 coworkers, and wounds another six, before killing himself at an Edmond, Okla., postal facility. Supervisors had ignored warning signs of Sherrill’s instability, investigators later found; the shootings came a day after he had been reprimanded for poor work. The incident inspired the objectionable term “going postal” – 1986Aug 20 1986

August 19


First edition of IWW Little Red Song Book published – 1909 Aug 19 1909
Some 2,000 United Railroads streetcar service workers and supporters parade down San Francisco’s Market Street in support of pay demands and against the company’s anti-union policies. The strike failed in late November in the face of more than 1,000 strikebreakers, some of them imported from Chicago – 1917
 
Founding of the Maritime Trades Dept., AFL, to give “workers employed in the maritime industry and its allied trades a voice in shaping national policy” – 1946
 
Phelps-Dodge copper miners in Morenci and Clifton, Ariz., are confronted by tanks, helicopters, 426 state troopers and 325 National Guardsmen brought in to walk strikebreakers through picket lines in what was to become a failed 3-year fight by the Steelworkers and other unions – 1983
 
Some 4,400 mechanics, cleaners and custodians, members of AMFA at Northwest Airlines, strike the carrier over job security, pay cuts and work rule changes. The 14-month strike was to fail, with most union jobs lost to replacements and outside contractors – 2005Aug 19 2005

August 18

Radio station WEVD, named for Eugene V. Debs, goes on the air in New York City, operated by The Forward Association as a memorial to the labor and socialist leader – 1927
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.  Many union activists and labor scholars see Debs as the definitive labor leader.)Aug 18 1927
 
Founding of the American Federation of Government Employees, following a decision by the National Federation of Federal Employees (later to become part of the Int’l Association of Machinists) to leave the AFL – 1932

 

August 17

IWW War Trials in Chicago, 95 go to prison for up to 20 years – 1918Aug 17 1918
 
Bakery & Confectionery Workers Int’l Union of America merges with Tobacco Workers Int’l Union to become Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers – 1978
 
Year-long Hormel meatpackers’ strike begins in Austin, Minn. – 1985

August 16

George Meany, plumber, founding AFL-CIO president, born in City Island, Bronx. In his official biography, George Meany and His Times, he said he had “never walked a picket line in his life.” He also said he took part in only one strike (against the United States Government to get higher pay for plumbers on welfare jobs). Yet he also firmly said that “You only make progress by fighting for progress.” Meany served as secretary-treasurer of the AFL from 1940 to 1952, succeeded as president of the AFL, and then continued as president of the AFL-CIO following the historic merger in 1955 until retiring in 1979 – 1894
 
Homer Martin, early United Auto Workers leader, born in Marion, Ill. – 1902Aug 16 1902
 
Congress passes the National Apprenticeship Act, establishing a national advisory committee to research and draft regulations establishing minimum standards for apprenticeship programs. It was later amended to permit the Labor Department to issue regulations protecting the health, safety and general welfare of apprentices, and to encourage the use of contracts in their hiring and employment – 1937
 
National Agricultural Workers Union merges into Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen – 1960
 
Int’l Union of Wood, Wire & Metal Lathers merges with United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners – 1979

August 15

To begin what proved to become one of the world’s longest construction projects, workers lay the foundation stone of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral, built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men.  The job was declared completed in 1880—632 years later – 1248Aug 15 1248
 
The Panama Canal opens after 33 years of construction and an estimated 22,000 worker deaths, mostly caused by malaria and yellow fever.  The 51-mile canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – 1914
 
Populist social commentator Will Rogers killed in a plane crash, Point Barrow, Alaska. One of his many classic lines: “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts” – 1935
(Workplace Jokes: Only SOME of Them Will Get You Fired!: Did you hear the one about the supervisor and the new employee who bump into each other in a bar?  Maybe, but maybe not.  In either case, you can find it and a couple hundred other great workplace jokes in this new collection, the only one of its kind.  You won’t find working people as the butt of jokes here… it’s more likely to be the boss, the banker, the yes man and the union-busting lawyer.)Aug 15 1935
 
President Richard M. Nixon announces a 90-day freeze on wages, prices and rents in an attempt to combat inflation – 1971
 
Gerry Horgan, chief steward of CWA Local 1103 and NYNEX striker in Valhalla, N.Y., is struck on the picket line by a car driven by the daughter of a plant manager and dies the following day. What was to become a 4-month strike over healthcare benefits was in its second week – 1989
 
Eight automotive department employees at a Walmart near Ottawa won an arbitrator-imposed contract after voting for UFCW representation, becoming the giant retailer’s only location in North America with a collective bargaining agreement. Two months later the company closed the department. Three years earlier Walmart had closed an entire store on the same day the government announced an arbitrator would impose a contract agreement there – 2008Aug 15 2008

August 14

President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, providing, for the first time ever, guaranteed income for retirees and creating a system of unemployment benefits – 1935
 
Members of the upstart Polish union Solidarity seize the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk. Sixteen days later the government officially recognizes the union. Many consider the event the beginning of the end for the Iron Curtain – 1980
 
Former AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland dies at age 77 – 1999
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

August 13

Striking miners at Tracy City, Tenn., capture their mines and free 300 state convict strikebreakers. The convicts had been “leased” to mineowners by officials in an effort to make prisons self-supporting and make a few bucks for the state. The practice started in 1866 and lasted for 30 years – 1892August 13
 
Newspaper Guild members begin 3-month strike of Hearst-owned Seattle Post-Intelligencer, shutting the publication down in their successful fight for union recognition – 1936
 
Civil rights leader and union president A. Philip Randolph strongly protests the AFL-CIO Executive Council’s failure to endorse the August 28 “March on Washington” – 1963
 
Five construction workers are killed, 16 injured when the uncompleted roof of the Rosemont (Ill.) Horizon arena collapses – 1979August 13 1979
 

August 12

The national Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners is founded in Chicago in a gathering of 36 carpenters from 11 cities – 1881
 
Coal company guards kill seven, wound 40 striking miners who are trying to stop scabs, Virden, Ill. – 1898
 
With the news that their boss, Florenz Ziegfeld, was joining the Producing Managers’ Association, the chorus girls in his Ziegfield Follies create their own union, the Chorus Equity Association. They were helped by a big donation from superstar and former chorus girl Lillian Russell. In 1955 the union merged with the Actor’s Equity Association – 1919August 12 1919
 
Teamsters official William Grami is kidnapped, bound and beaten near Sebastopol, Calif. He was leading a drive to organize apple plant workers in the area – 1955
(From Blackjacks to Briefcases is the first book to document the systematic and extensive use by American corporations of professional union-busters, an ugly profession that surfaced after the Civil War and has grown bolder and more sophisticated with the passage of time.  Since the 1980s, hundreds of firms—including the Detroit News, Caterpillar and Pittston Coal, to name but three—have paid out millions of dollars to hired thugs.  Some have been in uniforms and carried nightsticks and guns, others have worn three-piece suits and carried attaché cases, but all had one simple mission: to break the backs of workers struggling for decency and fair treatment on the job.)August 12 1955
 
The North American Free Trade Agreement—NAFTA—is concluded between the United States, Canada and Mexico, to take effect in January, 1994, despite protests from labor, environmental and human rights groups – 1992

What was to become a 232-day strike by major league baseball players over owners’ demands for team salary caps began on this day; 938 games were cancelled – 1994
 

 

August 11

Federal troops drive some 1,200 jobless workers from Washington D.C. Led by unemployed activist Charles “Hobo” Kelley, the group’s “soldiers” include young journalist Jack London and William Haywood, a young miner-cowboy called “Big Bill” – 1884
 
One hundred “platform men” employed by the privately owned United Railroads streetcar service in San Francisco abandon their streetcars, tying up many of the main lines in and out of the city center – 1917August 11 1917
 
Int’l Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union receives CIO charter – 1937

Maine lobster fishers form a local of the Machinists union as they face a 40-year low price for their catches, and other issues.  By October, the New York Times reported, it had 600 members, 240 of them dues-payers – 2013

 

August 10

The Air Line Pilots Association is founded at a meeting in Chicago attended by 24 activists from across the country – 1931
 
Hundreds of Transport Workers Union members descend on a New York City courthouse, offering their own money to bail out their president, Mike Quill, and four other union leaders arrested while making their way through Grand Central Station to union headquarters after picketing the Interborough Rapid Transit offices in lower Manhattan – 1935August 10 1935
 
President Roosevelt signs amendments to the 1935 Social Security Act, broadening the program to include dependents and survivors’ benefits – 1939
 
Construction on the St. Lawrence Seaway begins. Ultimately 22,000 workers spent five years building the 2,342-mile route from the Atlantic to the northernmost part of the Great Lakes – 1954
 
I.W. Abel, president of the United Steel Workers of America from 1965 to 1977, dies at age 79 – 1987
 
President Barack Obama signs a $26 billion bill designed to protect 300,000 teachers, police and others from layoffs spurred by budgetary crises in states hard-hit by the Great Recession – 2010

 

August 09

Knights of Labor strike New York Central railroad, ultimately to be defeated by scabbing – 1890
 
Nine men and one woman meet in Oakland, Calif., to form what was to become the 230,000-member California School Employees Association, representing school support staff throughout the state – 1927
 
A fire and resultant loss of oxygen when a high pressure hydraulic line was cut with a torch in a Titan missile silo near Searcy, Ark., kills 53 people, mostly civilian repairmen – 1965August 9 1965
 
United Papermakers & Paperworkers merge with Int’l Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite & Paper Mill Workers of the U.S. & Canada to become United Paperworkers Int’l Union, now a division of the Steelworkers Union – 1972
 
Some 73,000 Bell Atlantic workers end a successful two-day strike over wages and limits on contracting out of work – 1998
 
The United Steelworkers and Amicus, the largest manufacturing union in the United Kingdom, announce formation of a strategic alliance to work on a range of mutual concerns – 2005

 

August 08

Delegates to the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly elect 35-year-old Charles James, leader of the Boot and Shoe Workers local union, as their president. He was the first African-American elected to that leadership post in St. Paul, and, many believe, the first anywhere in the nation – 1902August 8 1902
 
Cripple Creek, Colo., miners strike begins – 1903
 
Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America merge with Retail Clerks Int’l Union to become United Food & Commercial Workers – 1979
 
Cesar Chavez is posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Mexican-American ever to receive the honor – 1994
(The Fight in the Fields: No man in this century has had more of an impact on the lives of Hispanic Americans, and especially farmworkers, than the legendary Cesar Chavez.  Born to migrant workers in 1927, he attended 65 elementary schools before finishing 7th grade, the end of his formal education.  Through hard work, charisma and uncommon bravery he moved on to become founder and leader of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and to win a degree of justice for tens of thousands of workers… and to set a moral example for the nation.)August 8 1994

August 07

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Wobbly organizer, born – 1890Aug 7 1890
 
Eugene Debs and three other trade unionists arrested after Pullman Strike – 1894
 
Actors Equity is recognized by producers after stagehands honor their picket lines, shutting down almost every professional stage production in the country. Before unionizing, it was common practice for actors to pay for their own costumes, rehearse long hours without pay, and be fired without notice – 1919
 
United Slate, Tile & Composition Roofers, Damp & Waterproof Workers Association change name to Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers – 1978
 
Some 675,000 employees struck ATT Corp. over wages, job security, pension plan changes and better health insurance. It was
the last time CWA negotiated at one table for all its Bell System members: divestiture came a few months later. The strike was won after 22 days – 1983
 
Television writers, members of The Writers Guild of America, end a 22-week strike with a compromise settlement – 1988
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

August 06

Cigarmakers’ Int’l Union of America merges with Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union – 1974
 
American Railway Supervisors Association merges with Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees – 1980
 
Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of the U.S. & Canada merges with Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees – 1986

Some 45,000 CWA and IBEW-represented workers at Verizon begin what is to be a two-week strike, refusing to accept more than 100 concession demands by the telecommunications giant – 2011Aug 6 2011

August 05

Using clubs, police rout 1,500 jobless men who had stormed the plant of the Fruit Growers Express Co. in Indiana Harbor, Ind., demanding jobs – 1931

Thirteen firefighters, including 12 smokejumpers who parachuted in to help their coworkers, die while battling a forest fire at Gates of the Mountain, Montana – 1949Aug 5 1949
 
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) took effect today. The first law signed by President Clinton, it allows many workers time off each year due to serious health conditions or to care for a family member – 1993
(The FMLA Handbook, 4th edition, is a thorough, highly readable handbook that will help every worker get the most out of the surprisingly comprehensive 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. It explains how unions can protect workers who are absent from work for justifiable medical or family-care reasons; block compulsory “light-duty” work programs; force employers to allow part-time schedules; obtain attendance bonuses for workers absent for medical reasons; and much more. An important tool for every union rep.)
 

August 05

Using clubs, police rout 1,500 jobless men who had stormed the plant of the Fruit Growers Express Co. in Indiana Harbor, Ind., demanding jobs – 1931

Thirteen firefighters, including 12 smokejumpers who parachuted in to help their coworkers, die while battling a forest fire at Gates of the Mountain, Montana – 1949
 
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) took effect today. The first law signed by President Clinton, it allows many workers time off each year due to serious health conditions or to care for a family member – 1993Aug 5 1993
(The FMLA Handbook, 4th edition, is a thorough, highly readable handbook that will help every worker get the most out of the surprisingly comprehensive 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. It explains how unions can protect workers who are absent from work for justifiable medical or family-care reasons; block compulsory “light-duty” work programs; force employers to allow part-time schedules; obtain attendance bonuses for workers absent for medical reasons; and much more. An important tool for every union rep.)

 August 04

The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers is formed. It partnered with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, CIO in 1935; both organizations disbanded in 1942 to form the new United Steelworkers – 1876
 
An estimated 15,000 silk workers strike in Paterson, N.J., for 44-hour week – 1919

Nearly 185,000 Teamsters begin what is to become a successful 15-day strike at United Parcel Service over excessive use of part-timers – 1997

August 03
Uriah Smith Stephens born in Cape May, N.J.  A tailor by trade, in 1869 he led nine Philadelphia garment workers to found the Knights of Labor – 1821
 
Fighting breaks out when sheriff’s deputies attempt to arrest Wobbly leader Richie “Blackie” Ford as he addressed striking field workers at the Durst Ranch in Wheatland, Calif.  Four persons died, including the local district attorney, a deputy and two workers.  Despite the lack of evidence against them, Ford and another strike leader were found guilty of murder by a 12-member jury that included eight farmers – 1913Aug 3 1913Florence Reece dies in Knoxville, Tenn., at 86. She was a Mine Workers union activist and author of Which Side Are You On?, written after her home was ransacked by Harlan County sheriff J.H. Blair and his thugs during a 1931 strike – 1986Aug 3 1986
 
Some 15,000 air traffic controllers strike. President Reagan threatens to fire any who do not return to work within 48 hours, saying they “have forfeited their jobs” if they do not. Most stay out, and are fired August 5 – 1981
 
August 02
The first General Strike in Canadian history is held in Vancouver, organized as a 1-day political protest against the killing of draft evader and labor activist Albert “Ginger” Goodwin, who had called for a general strike in the event that any worker was drafted against his will – 1918Aug 2 1918
 
Hatch Act is passed, limiting political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government – 1939
 

August 01
After organizing a strike of metal miners against the Anaconda Company, Wobbly organizer Frank Little is dragged by six masked men from his Butte, Mont., hotel room and hung from the Milwaukee Railroad trestle. Years later writer Dashiell Hammett would recall his early days as a Pinkerton detective agency operative and recount how a mine company representative offered him $5,000 to kill Little. Hammett says he quit the business that night – 19178 1 1917
 
Sid Hatfield, police chief of Matewan, W. Va., a longtime supporter of the United Mine Workers union, is murdered by company goons. This soon led to the Battle of Blair Mountain, a labor uprising also referred to as the Red Neck War – 1921
 
Police in Hilo, Hawaii, open fire on 200 demonstrators supporting striking waterfront workers. The attack became known as “the Hilo Massacre” – 1938Aug 1 1938
 
A 17-day, company-instigated wildcat strike in Philadelphia tries to bar eight African-American trolley operators from working. Transport Workers Union members stay on the job in support of the men – 1944
 
Government & Civic Employees Organizing Committee merges into State, County & Municipal Employees – 1956
 
Window Glass Cutters League of America merges with Glass Bottle Blowers – 1975
 
Ten-month strike against Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel wins agreement guaranteeing defined-benefit pensions for 4,500 Steelworkers – 1997Aug 1 1997
(In this expanded edition of Strike! you can read about labor-management conflicts that have occurred over the past 140 years. Here you’ll learn much about workers’ struggle to win a degree of justice, from the workers’ point of view. The author also examines the ever-shifting roles and configurations of unions, from the Knights of Labor of the 1800s to the AFL-CIO of the 1990s. A new chapter, “Beyond One-Sided Class War,” looks at how modern protest movements, such as the Battle of Seattle and Occupy Wall Street, were ignited and considers the similarities between these challenges to authority and those of labor’s past.)
 
California School Employees Association affiliates with AFL-CIO – 2001
 

 

July 31

Members of the National Football League Players Association begin what is to be a 2-day strike, their first. The issues: pay, pensions, the right to arbitration and the right to have agents – 1970July 30 1970

Fifty-day baseball strike ends – 1981

The Great Shipyard Strike of 1999 ends after Steelworkers at Newport News Shipbuilding ratify a breakthrough agreement which nearly doubles pensions, increases security, ends inequality, and provides the highest wage increases in company and industry history to nearly 10,000 workers at the yard. The strike lasted 15 weeks – 1999
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten 

July 29

The Coast Seamen’s Union merges with the Steamship Sailors’ Union to form the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific – 1891

A preliminary delegation from Mother Jones’ March of the Mill Children from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, publicizing the harsh conditions of child labor, arrives today. They are not allowed through the gates – 1903July 29 1903 (1)
(The Autobiography of Mother Jones: Mary Harris Jones—“Mother Jones”—was the most dynamic woman ever to grace the American labor movement. Employers and politicians called her “the most dangerous woman in America” and rebellious working men and women loved her as they never loved anyone else.)

Nineteen firefighters die while responding to a blaze at the Shamrock Oil and Gas Corp. refinery in Sun Ray, Texas – 1956

Following a 5-year table grape boycott, Delano-area growers file into the United Farm Workers union hall in Delano, Calif., to sign their first union contracts – 1970July 29 1970

July 28


Women shoemakers in Lynn, Mass., create Daughters of St. Crispin, demand pay equal to that of men – 1869July 29 1903 (2)
Harry Bridges is born in Australia. He came to America as a sailor at age 19 and went on to help form and lead the militant Int’l Longshore and Warehouse Union for more than 40 years – 1901
A strike by Paterson, N.J., silk workers for an 8-hour day, improved working conditions ends after six months, with the workers’ demands unmet. During the course of the strike, approximately 1,800 strikers were arrested, including Wobbly leaders Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn – 1913
Federal troops burn the shantytown built near the U.S. Capitol by thousands of unemployed WWI veterans, camping there to demand a bonus they had been promised but never received – 1932
Nine miners are rescued in Sommerset, Pa., after being trapped for 77 hours 240 feet underground in the flooded Quecreek Mine – 2002

July 27

William Sylvis, founder of the National Labor Union, died – 1869

July 26

In Chicago, 30 workers are killed by federal troops, more than 100 wounded at the “Battle of the Viaduct” during the Great Railroad Strike – 1877July 26 1877

President Grover Cleveland appoints a United States Strike Committee to investigate the causes of the Pullman strike and the subsequent strike by the American Railway Union. Later that year the commission issues its report, absolving the strikers and blaming Pullman and the railroads for the conflict – 1894

Battle of Mucklow, W.Va., in coal strike. An estimated 100,000 shots were fired; 12 miners and four guards were killed – 1912

President Truman issues Executive Order 9981, directing equality of opportunity in armed forces – 1948

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect today. It requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities and bans discrimination against such workers – 1992July 26 1992

 

July 25

Workers stage a general strike—believed to be the nation’s first—in St. Louis, in support of striking railroad workers. The successful strike was ended when some 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized special police killed at least eighteen people in skirmishes around the city – 1877

New York garment workers win closed shop and firing of scabs after 7-month strike – 1890July 25 1890 (1)
(No Contract, No Peace: A Legal Guide to Contract Campaigns, Strikes, and Lockouts: This book is a must-have for any union or activist considering aggressive action to combat management’s growing economic war against workers. No Contract, No Peace! references recent union activities and NLRB decisions that have affected the labor relations environment. Schwartz’s familiarity with labor and employment law combines with his activist spirit to provide innovative yet practical tips for mounting and maintaining meaningful campaigns designed to build union and workers’ power.)

Fifteen “living dead women” testify before the Illinois Industrial Commission.  They were “Radium Girls,” women who died prematurely after working at clock and watch factories, where they were told to wet small paintbrushes in their mouths so they could dip them in radium to paint dials.  A Geiger counter passed over graves in a cemetery near Ottawa, Illinois still registers the presence of radium – 1937

The Teamsters and Service Employees unions break from the AFL-CIO during the federation’s 50th convention to begin the Change to Win coalition, ultimately comprised of seven unions (4 by 2011: SEIU, Teamsters, UFCW and the UFW). They say they want more emphasis on organizing and less on electoral politics – 2005

July 24

The United Auto Workers and the Teamsters form the Alliance for Labor Action (ALA), later to be joined by several smaller unions. The ALA’s agenda included support of the civil rights movement and opposition to the war in Vietnam. It disbanded after four years following the death of UAW President Walter Reuther – 1968July 24 1968

(All Labor Has Dignity: People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform.)
 
The U.S. minimum wage increased to $6.55 per hour today. The original minimum, set in 1938 by the Fair Labor Standards Act, was 25¢ per hour – 2008
 
U.S. minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour, up from $6.55 – 2009

    

 

 

 

July 23

Anarchist Alexander Berkman shoots and stabs but fails to kill steel magnate Henry Clay Frick in an effort to avenge the Homestead massacre 18 days earlier, in which nine strikers were killed. Berkman also tried to use what was, in effect, a suicide bomb, but it didn’t detonate – 1892July 23 1892
 
Northern Michigan copper miners strike for union recognition, higher wages and 8-hour day. By the time they threw in the towel the following April, 1,100 had been arrested on various charges and Western Federation of Miners President Charles Moyer had been shot, beaten and forced out of town – 1913
 
Aluminum Workers Int’l Union merges with The United Brick & Clay Workers of America to form Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers – 1981

 

 
July 22

Newly unionized brewery workers in San Francisco, mostly German socialists, declare victory after the city’s breweries give in to their demands for free beer, the closed shop, freedom to live anywhere (they had typically been required to live in the breweries), a 10-hour day, 6-day week, and a board of arbitration – 1886July 22 1886

(From First Contact to First Contract: A Union Organizer’s Handbook is a no-nonsense tool from veteran labor organizer and educator Bill Barry. He looks to his own vast experience to document and help organizers through all the stages of a unionization campaign, from how to get it off the ground to how to bring it home with a signed contract and a strong bargaining unit.)
 
A bomb was set off during a “Preparedness Day” parade in San Francisco, killing 10 and injuring 40 more. Tom Mooney, a labor organizer, and Warren Billings, a shoe worker, were convicted of the crime, but both were pardoned 23 years later – 1916

July 21

Local militiamen are called out against striking railroad workers in Pittsburgh. The head of the Pennsylvania Railroad advises giving the strikers “a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.” – 1877
 
Compressed air explosion kills 20 workers constructing railroad tunnel under the Hudson River – 1880
 
IWW leads a strike at Hodgeman’s Blueberry Farm in Grand Junction, Mich. – 1964
 
Radio station WCFL, owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor, takes to the airwaves with two hours of music. The first and only labor-owned radio station in the country, WCFL was sold in 1979 – 1926July 21 1926
 
A die-cast operator in Jackson, Mich., is pinned by a hydraulic Unimate robot, dies five days later. Incident is the first documented case in the U.S. of a robot killing a human – 1984

 

July 20 

New York City newsboys, many so poor that they were sleeping in the streets, begin a 2-week strike. Several rallies drew more than 5,000 newsboys, complete with charismatic speeches by strike leader Kid Blink, who was blind in one eye. The boys had to pay publishers up front for the newspapers; they were successful in forcing the publishers to buy back unsold papers – 1899July 20 1899
(Kids at Work: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)
 
Two killed, 67 wounded in Minneapolis truckers’ strike—”Bloody Friday” – 1934July 20 1934
 
Postal unions, Postal Service sign first labor contract in the history of the federal government—the year following an unauthorized strike by 200,000 postal workers – 1971

July 19

Women’s Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, N.Y.  Delegates adopt a Declaration of Women’s Rights and call for women’s suffrage – 1848July 19 1848
 
An amendment to the 1939 Hatch Act, a federal law whose main provision prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity, is amended to also cover state and local employees whose salaries include any federal funds – 1940 

 

July 18

The Brotherhood of Telegraphers begins an unsuccessful 3-week strike against the Western Union Telegraph Co. – 1883
 
Some 35,000 Chicago stockyard workers strike – 1919July 18 1919
 
Hospital workers win 113-day union recognition strike in Charleston, S.C. – 1969

July 17

Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny – 1944
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

July 16

Ten thousand workers strike Chicago’s Int’l Harvester operations – 1919
 
Martial law declared in strike by longshoremen in Galveston, Texas – 1920
 
San Francisco Longshoremen’s strike spreads, becomes 4-day general strike – 1934July 16 1934

July 15

Some 50,000 lumberjacks strike for 8-hour day – 1917
 
Ralph Gray, an African-American sharecropper and leader of the Share Croppers Union, is murdered in Camp Hill, Ala. – 1931
 
A half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees – 1959
(There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America: This sympathetic, thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s to organized labor’s decline in the 1980s and struggle for survival and growth today.)July 15 1959

July 14 

The Great Uprising nationwide railway strike begins in Martinsburg, W.Va., after railroad workers are hit with their second pay cut in a year. In the following days, strike riots spread through 17 states. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the strike – 1877
 
Woody Guthrie, writer of “This Land is Your Land” and “Union Maid,” born in Okemah, Okla. – 1912
(Woody Guthrie: A Life: Folksinger and political activist Woody Guthrie contributed much to the American labor movement, not the least of which are his classic anthems “Union Maid” and “This Land Is Your Land.” This is perhaps his best-ever biography, written by bestselling author Joe Klein (Primary Colors, The Running Mate). It is an easy-to-read, honest description of Guthrie’s life, from a childhood of poverty to a youth spent “bummin’ around” to an adulthood of music and organizing—and a life cut short by incurable disease.)July 14 1912
 
Italian immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murder and payroll robbery—unfairly, most historians agree—after a 2-month trial, and are eventually executed. Fifty years after their deaths the state’s governor issued a proclamation saying they had been treated unfairly and that “any disgrace should be forever removed from their names.” – 1921July 14 1921

July 13 

Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union organized in Tyronza, Ark. – 1934
 
Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder. The strike was to become a lockout, which lasted four years more – 1995July 13 1995 (1)

July 12  

Bisbee, Ariz., deports Wobblies; 1,186 miners sent into desert in manure-laden boxcars. They had been fighting for improved safety and working conditions – 1917July 12 1917
 
The Screen Actors Guild holds its first meeting. Among those attending: future horror movie star (Frankenstein’s Monster) and union activist Boris Karloff – 1933

 July 11 

Striking coal miners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, dynamite barracks housing Pinkerton management thugs – 1892
 
After seven years of labor by as many as 2,800 construction workers, the Triborough Bridge opens in New York.  Actually a complex of three bridges, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.  Construction began on Black Friday, 1929, and New Deal money turned it into one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression – 1936July 11 1936
 
A nine-year strike begins at the Ohio Crankshaft Division of Park-Ohio Industries in Cleveland. Overcoming scabs, arrests and firings, UAW Local 91 members hung on and approved a contract in 1992 with the company—now under new management—that included company-funded health and retirement benefits, as well as pay increases – 1983

July 10 

Mary McLeod Bethune, educator and civil rights activist, born – 1875

Some 14,000 federal and state troops finally succeed in putting down the strike against the Pullman Palace Car Co., which had been peaceful until July 5, when federal troops intervened in Chicago, against the repeated protests of the governor and Chicago’s mayor. A total of 34 American Railway Union members were killed by troops over the course of the strike – 1894

A powerful explosion rips through the Rolling Mill coal mine in Johnstown, Pa., killing 112 miners, 83 of whom were immigrants from Poland and Slovakia – 1902

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce holds a mass meeting of more than 2,000 merchants to organize what was to become a frontal assault on union strength and the closed shop. The failure of wages to keep up with inflation after the 1906 earthquake had spurred multiple strikes in the city – 1916

Sidney Hillman dies at age 59. He led the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, was a key figure in the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and was a close advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt – 1946July 10 1946

July 09

 The worst rail accident in U.S. history occurs when two trains pulled by 80-ton locomotives collided head-on at Dutchman’s curve in west Nashville, Tenn. 101 people died, another 171 were injured – 1918July 9 1918
New England Telephone “girls” strike for 7-hour workday, $27 weekly pay after four years’ service – 1923

New York City subway system managers in the Bronx attempt to make cleaning crews on the IRT line work faster by forcing the use of a 14-inch squeegee instead of the customary 10-inch tool. Six workers are fired for insubordination; a 2-day walkout by the Transport Workers Union wins reversal of the directive and the workers’ reinstatement – 1935

Fourteen volunteer firefighters and one Forest Service employee die fighting the Rattlesnake wildfire in California’s Mendocino National Forest.  The blaze was set by an arsonist – 1953

United Packinghouse, Food & Allied Workers merge with Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen – 1968

Five thousand demonstrators rally at the state capitol in Columbia, S.C., in support of the “Charleston Five,” labor activists charged with felony rioting during a police attack on a 2000 longshoremen’s picket of a non-union crew unloading a ship – 2001July 10 2001

July 08

First anthracite coal strike in U.S. – 1842

Labor organizer Ella Reeve “Mother” Bloor born on Staten Island, N.Y. Among her activities: investigating child labor in glass factories and mines, and working undercover in meat packing plants to verify for federal investigators the nightmarish working conditions that author Upton Sinclair had revealed in The Jungle – 1862July 8 1862

The Pacific Mail Steamship Co. fires all employees who had been working an 8-hour day, then joins with other owners to form the “Ten-Hour League Society” for the purpose of uniting all mechanics “willing to work at the old rates, neither unjust to the laborers nor ruinous to the capital and enterprise of the city and state.” The effort failed – 1867

Founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W., or Wobblies) concludes in Chicago. Charles O. Sherman, a former American Federation of Labor organizer, is elected president – 1905

Some 35,000 members of the Machinists union begin what is to become a 43-day strike that shuts down five major U.S. airlines, about three-fifths of domestic air traffic.  The airlines were thriving, and wages were a key issue in the fight – 1966

July 07

Striking New York longshoremen meet to discuss ways to keep new immigrants from scabbing. They were successful, at least for a time. On July 14, 500 newly arrived Jews marched straight from their ship to the union hall. On July 15, 250 Italian immigrants stopped scabbing on the railroad and joined the union – 1882

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones begins “The March of the Mill Children,” when, accompanied part of the way by children, she walked from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s home on Long Island to protest the plight of child laborers. One of her demands: reduce the children’s work week to 55 hours – 1903July 7 1903

Cloak makers begin what is to be a 2-month strike against New York City sweatshops – 1910

Workers begin construction on the Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam) on the Colorado River, during the Great Depression.  Wages and conditions were horrible—16 workers and work camp residents died of the heat over just a single 30-day period—and two strikes over the four years of construction led to only nominal improvements in pay and conditions – 1931

Some 500,000 people participate when a two-day general strike is called in Puerto Rico by more than 60 trade unions and many other organizations. They are protesting privatization of the island’s telephone company – 1998

July 6

Two strikers and a bystander are killed, 30 seriously wounded by police in Duluth, Minn. The workers, mostly immigrants building the city’s streets and sewers, struck after contractors reneged on a promise to pay $1.75 a day – 1889
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism: Are immigrant workers themselves responsible for low wages and shoddy working conditions? Should unions expend valuable time and energy organizing undocumented workers? Unions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken various approaches to confront the challenges of this significant segment of the workforce. As U.S. immigration policy is debated, readers will gain insight into how all workers benefit when wages and working conditions for immigrant workers are improved.)

Two barges, loaded with Pinkerton thugs hired by the Carnegie Steel Co., land on the south bank of the Monongahela River in Homestead, Pa., seeking to occupy Carnegie Steel Works and put down a strike by members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron & Steel Workers – 1892July 6 1892

Rail union leader Eugene V. Debs is arrested during the Pullman strike, described by theNew York Times as “a struggle between the greatest and most important labor organization and the entire railroad capital” that involved some 250,000 workers in 27 states at its peak – 1894July 6 1894
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)

Transit workers in New York begin what is to be an unsuccessful 3-week strike against the then-privately owned IRT subway. Most transit workers labored seven days a week, up to 11.5 hours a day – 1926

Explosions and fires destroy the Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea, killing 167 oil workers—the worst loss of life ever in an offshore oil disaster.  The operator, Occidental, was found guilty of having inadequate maintenance and safety procedures, but no criminal charges were ever brought – 1988

 

July 5

During a strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company, which had drastically reduced wages, buildings constructed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago’s Jackson Park were set ablaze, reducing seven to ashes – 1894July 5 1894
(In this expanded edition of Strike! you can read about labor-management conflicts that have occurred over the past 140 years. Here you’ll learn much about workers’ struggle to win a degree of justice, from the workers’ point of view. Brecher also examines the ever-shifting roles and configurations of unions, from the Knights of Labor of the 1800s to the AFL-CIO of the 1990s. A new chapter, “Beyond One-Sided Class War,” looks at how modern protest movements, such as the Battle of Seattle and Occupy Wall Street, were ignited and considers the similarities between these challenges to authority and those of labor’s past.)

West Coast Longshoremen’s Strike, Battle of Rincon Hill, San Francisco. Some 5,000 strikers fought 1,000 police, scabs and national guardsmen.  Two strikers were killed, 109 people injured. The incident, forever known as “Bloody Thursday,” led to a general strike – 1934 July 5 1934

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act – 1935

Three firefighters, a state policeman and an employee of Doxol Gas in Kingman, Arizona are killed in a propane gas explosion. Eight more firefighters were to die of burns suffered in the event – 1973

Fourteen firefighters are killed battling the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain in Glenwood Springs, Colo. – 1994

July 04

Albert Parsons joins the Knights of Labor. He later became an anarchist and was one of the Haymarket martyrs – 1876July 4 1876

AFL dedicates its new Washington, D.C., headquarters building at 9th St. and Massachusetts Ave. NW. The building, still standing, later became headquarters for the Plumbers and Pipefitters – 1916

Five newspaper boys from the Baltimore Evening Sun died when the steamer they were on, the Three Rivers, caught fire near Baltimore, Md. They are remembered every year at a West Baltimore cemetery, toasted by former staffers of the now-closed newspaper – 1924

With the Great Depression underway, some 1,320 delegates attended the founding convention of the Unemployed Councils of the U.S.A., organized by the U.S. Communist Party. They demanded passage of unemployment insurance and maternity benefit laws and opposed discrimination by race or sex – 1930July 4 1930

Two primary conventions of the United Nations’ Int’l Labor Organization come into force: Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize – 1950

Building trades workers lay the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.  The WTC had been leveled by a terrorist attack three years earlier.  Nearly 3,000 died at the WTC and in other attacks in the eastern U.S. on the same day – 2004

                                                July 3

1835 – Children, employed in the silk mills in Paterson, N.J., go on strike for 11-hour day and 6-day week. A compromise settlement resulted in a 69-hour work week.
 
1860 – Feminist and labor activist Charlotte Perkins Gilman born in Hartford, Conn. Her landmark study, “Women and Economics,” was radical: it called for the financial independence of women and urged a network of child care centers.

—Compiled and edited by David ProstenJuly 3 1860

                                           July 02

1962 – The first Walmart store opens in Rogers, Ark.  By 2014 the company had 10,000 stores in 27 countries, under 71 different names, employing more than 2 million people.  It is known in the U.S. and most of the other countries in which it operates for low wages and extreme anti-unionism.
(Why Unions Matter: In Why Unions Matter, the author explains why unions still matter in language you can use if you happen to talk with someone who shops or works at Walmart. Unions mean better pay, benefits, and working conditions for their members; they force employers to treat employees with dignity and respect; and at their best, they provide a way for workers to make society both more democratic and more egalitarian. Yates uses simple language, clear data, and engaging examples to show why workers need unions, how unions are formed, how they operate, how collective bargaining works, the role of unions in politics, and what unions have done to bring workers together across the divides of race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.)July 2 1962
 
1964 – President Johnson signs Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbidding employers and unions from discriminating on the basis of race, color, gender, nationality, or religion.July 2 1964
 
2009 – The Labor Dept. reports that U.S. employers cut 467,000 jobs over the prior month, driving the nation’s unemployment rate up to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent.
 
                                             July 01

1873 – The American Flint Glass workers union is formed, headquartered in Pittsburgh.  It was to merge into the Steelworkers 140 years later, in 2003.

1885 – Steel workers in Cleveland begin what was to be an 88-week strike against wage cuts.
 
1892 – Homestead, Pa., steel strike. Seven strikers and three Pinkertons killed as Andrew Carnegie hires armed thugs to protect strikebreakers.JUly 1 1892
 
1901 – The Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers stages what is to become an unsuccessful 3-month strike against U.S. Steel Corp. Subsidiaries.
 
1922 – One million railway shopmen strike.
 
1929 – Some 1,100 streetcar workers strike in New Orleans, spurring the creation of the po’ boy sandwich by a local sandwich shop owner and one-time streetcar man. “Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming,” Bennie Martin later recalled, “one of us would say, ‘Here comes another poor boy.’” Martin and his wife fed any striker who showed up.July 1 1929

1956 – In what was to be a month-long strike, 650,000 steelworkers shut down the industry while demanding a number of wage and working condition improvements.  They won all their demands, including a union shop.
 
1971 – National Association of Post Office & General Service Maintenance Employees, United Federation of Postal Clerks, National Federation of Post Office Motor Vehicle Employees & National Association of Special Delivery Messengers merge to become American Postal Workers Union.
 
1980 – Int’l Jewelry Workers Union merges with Service Employees Int’l Union.
 
1983 – Graphic Arts Int’l Union merges with Int’l Printing & Graphic Communications Union to become Graphic Communications Int’l Union, now a conference of the Teamsters.July 1 1983
 
1983 – Copper miners begin a years-long, bitter strike against Phelps-Dodge in Clifton, Ariz. Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt repeatedly deployed state police and National Guardsmen to assist the company over the course of the strike, which broke the union.
(Strikes Around the World draws on the experience of fifteen countries around the world – The United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Covering the high and low points of strike activity over the period 1968–2005, the study shows continuing evidence of the durability, adaptability and necessity of the strike.)July 1 1983b
 
1995 – Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union merges with Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union to form Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees.
 
1996 – Int’l Chemical Workers Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union.
 
1997 – The Newspaper Guild merges with Communications Workers of America.
 
2001 – United American Nurses affiliate with the AFL-CIO.
 
                                          June 30

1928 – Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to mine coal, a practice that had been in place since 1848. In 1898, 73 percent of the state’s total revenue came from this source. 25 percent of all Black leased convicts died.June 30 1928
 
1936 – The Walsh-Healey Act took effect today. It requires companies that supply goods to the government to pay wages according to a schedule set by the Secretary of Labor.
 
1967 – The storied Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, a union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America.
 
1998 – Up to 40,000 New York construction workers demonstrated in midtown Manhattan, protesting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s awarding of a $33 million contract to a nonunion company. Eighteen police and three demonstrators were injured. “There were some scattered incidents and some minor violence,” Police Commissioner Howard Safir told the New York Post. “Generally, it was a pretty well-behaved crowd.”
(Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits follows the history of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO from the emergence of building trades councils to the age of the skyscraper. It takes the reader through treacherous fights over jurisdiction as new building materials and methods of work evolved and describes numerous Department campaigns to improve safety standards, work with contractors to promote unionized construction, and forge a sense of industrial unity among its fifteen (and at times nineteen) autonomous and highly diverse affiliates.)June 30 1998

2013 – Nineteen firefighters die when they are overtaken by a wildfire they are battling in a forest northwest of Phoenix, Ariz.  It was the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. in at least 30 years.
 
                                             June 29

1885 – What is to be a 7-day streetcar strike begins in Chicago after several workers are unfairly fired. Wrote the police chief at the time, describing the strikers’ response to scabs: “One of my men said he was at the corner of Halsted and Madison Streets, and although he could see fifty stones in the air, he couldn’t tell where they were coming from.” The strike was settled to the workers’ satisfaction.June 29 1885 (1)
 
1934 – An executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National Labor Relations Board.  A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, established by the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, had been struck down by the Supreme Court.
 
1936 – IWW strikes Weyerhauser and other Idaho lumber camps.
 
1936 – Jesus Pallares, founder of the 8,000-member coal miners union, Liga Obrera de Habla Espanola, is deported as an “undesirable alien.” The union operated in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
 
1954 – The Boilermaker and Blacksmith unions merge to become Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers.
 
1987 – The newly-formed Jobs With Justice stages its first big support action, backing 3,000 picketing Eastern Airlines mechanics at Miami Airport.June 29 1987
 
1988 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in CWA v. Beck that, in a union security agreement, a union can collect as dues from non-members only that money necessary to perform its duties as a collective bargaining representative.

 

June 28

1776 – American Colonists repulsed a British sea attack on Charleston, SC

1778 – Mary “Molly Pitcher” Hays McCauley, wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth and, supposedly, took her husband’s place at his gun after he was overcome with heat. 

1869 – R. W. Wood was appointed as the first Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy. 

1869 – Emma Goldman, women’s rights activist and radical, born in Lithuania. She came to the U.S. at age 17.
 

1894 – The U.S. Congress made Labor Day a U.S. national holiday. June 28 1850

1902 – The U.S. Congress passed the Spooner bill, it authorized a canal to be built across the isthmus of Panama. 

1905 – The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies,” is founded at a 12-day-long convention in Chicago. The Wobbly motto: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”


1911 – Samuel J. Battle became the first African-American policeman in New York City. 

1921 – A coal strike in Great Britain was settled after three months. 

1935 – Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act, creating the structure for collective bargaining in the United States.

1939 – Pan American Airways began the first transatlantic passenger service. 

1938 – The U.S. Congress created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure construction loans. 

1960 – In Cuba, Fidel Castro confiscated American-owned oil refineries without compensation. 

1964 – Malcolm X founded the Organization for Afro American Unity to seek independence for blacks in the Western Hemisphere. 

1965 – The first commercial satellite began communications service. It was Early Bird (Intelsat I). 

1971 – The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the draft evasion conviction of Muhammad Ali. 

1976 – The first women entered the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

1978 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the medical school at the University of California at Davis to admit Allan Bakke. Bakke, a white man, argued he had been a victim of reverse racial discrimination.
 
1985 – A 26-day strike of New York City hotels by 26,000 workers—the first such walkout in 50 years—ends with a 5-year contract calling for big wage and benefit gains.
 
1993 – A.E. Staley locks out 763 workers in Decatur, Ill. The lockout was to last two and one-half years.

1996 – The Citadel voted to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school. 

1997 – Mike Tyson was disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear after three rounds of their WBA heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas, NV

June 27

1693 – “The Ladies’ Mercury” was published by John Dunton in London. It was the first women’s magazine and contained a “question and answer” column that became known as a “problem page.” 

1847 – New York and Boston were linked by telegraph wires. 

1869 –
Emma Goldman, women’s rights activist and radical, born in Lithuania. She came to the U.S. at age 17.June 27 1869

1885 – Chichester Bell and Charles S. Tainter applied for a patent for the gramophone. It was granted on May 4, 1886. 

1893 – The New York stock market crashed. By the end of the year 600 banks and 74 railroads had gone out of business. 

1905 – The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies,” is founded at a 12-day-long convention in Chicago. The Wobbly motto: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”.


1918 – Two German pilots were saved by parachutes for the first time. 

1924 – Democrats offered Mrs. Leroy Springs for vice presidential nomination. She was the first woman considered for the job. 

1929 – Scientists at Bell Laboratories in New York revealed a system for transmitting television pictures. 

1931 – Igor Sikorsky filed U.S. Patent 1,994,488, which marked the breakthrough in helicopter technology. 

1935 – Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act, creating the structure for collective bargaining in the United States.June 27 1935

1954 – The world’s first atomic power station opened at Obninsk, near Moscow. 

1955 – The first “Wide Wide World” was broadcast on NBC-TV. 

1955 – The state of Illinois enacted the first automobile seat belt legislation. 

1964 – Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman were married. It only lasted 38 days. 

1967 – Two hundred people were arrested during a race riot in Buffalo, NY. 

1969 – Patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, clashed with police. This incident is considered to be the birth of the homosexual rights movement. 

1972 – Bobby Hull signed a 10-year hockey contract for $2,500,000. He became a player and coach of the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association. 

1973 – Former White House counsel John W. Dean told the Senate Watergate Committee about an “enemies list” that was kept by the Nixon White House. 

1984 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual colleges could make their own TV package deals. 

1984 – The Federal Communications Commission moved to deregulate U.S. commercial TV by lifting most programming requirements and ending day-part restrictions on advertising. 

1985 – A 26-day strike of New York City hotels by 26,000 workers—the first such walkout in 50 years—ends with a 5-year contract calling for big wage and benefit gains.

1985 – Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System. 

1993 – A.E. Staley locks out 763 workers in Decatur, Ill. The lockout was to last two and one-half years.


1998 – An English woman was impregnated with her dead husband’s sperm after two-year legal battle over her right to the sperm. 

1998 – In a live joint news conference in China U.S. President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin offered an uncensored airing of differences on human rights, freedom, trade and Tibet. 

2005 – In Alaska’s Denali National Park, a roughly 70-million year old dinosaur track was discovered. The track was form a three-toed Cretaceous period dinosaur.

June 26

1804 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the mouth of the Kansas River after completing a westward trek of nearly 400 river miles. 

1819 – The bicycle was patented by W.K. Clarkson, Jr. 

1844 – John Tyler took Julia Gardiner as his bride, thus becoming the first U.S. President to marry while in office. 

1894 – Members of the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, refuse to handle Pullman cars, in solidarity with Pullman strikers. Two dozen strikers were killed over the course of the strike.June 26 1894

1927 – The Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster opened in New York. 

1936 – The Focke-Wulf Fw 61 made its first flight. It is often considered the first practical helicopter. 

1942 – The Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter was flown for the first time. 

1945 – The U.N. Charter was signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, CA

1959 – The 189-mile-long St. Lawrence Seaway opens, making the Great Lakes accessible to Atlantic shipping.  Thousands of laborers toiled for decades to make it happen; indirectly and directly, the Seaway today supports 75,000 jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. June 26 1959

1971 – The U.S. Justice Department issued a warrant for Daniel Ellsberg, accusing him of giving away the Pentagon Papers. 

1974 – In Troy, Ohio, a Marsh supermarket installed the first bar code scanning equipment, made by IBM, and a product with a bar code was scanned for the first time. The product was Juicy Fruit gum. 

1979 – Muhammad Ali, at 37 years old, announced that he was retiring as world heavyweight boxing champion. 

1985 – Wilbur Snapp was ejected after playing “Three Blind Mice” during a baseball game. The incident followed a call made by umpire Keith O’Connor. 

1996 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forgo state support. 

1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that made it illegal to distribute indecent material on the Internet. 

1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld state laws that allow for a ban on doctor-assisted suicides. 

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers are always potentially liable for supervisor’s sexual misconduct toward an employee. 

2001 – Ray Bourque (Colorado Avalanche) announced his retirement just 17 days after winning his first Stanley Cup. Bouque retired after 22 years and held the NHL record for highest-scoring defenseman and playing in 19 consecutive All-Star games. 

June 25

1788 – Virginia ratified the U.S. Constitution and became the 10th state of the United States. 

1867 – Lucien B. Smith patented the first barbed wire. 

1868 – The U.S. Congress enacted legislation granting an eight-hour day to workers employed by the Federal government. 

1877 – In Philadelphia, PA, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone for Sir William Thomson (Baron Kelvin) and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil at the Centennial Exhibition. 

1886 – More than 8,000 people attend the dedication ceremony for The Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Chicago, honoring those framed and executed for the bombing at Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886 – 1893.
 

1910 – The U.S. Congress authorized the use of postal savings stamps. 

1921 – Samuel Gompers was elected head of the AFL for the 40th time. 

1938 – Fair Labor Standards Act passes Congress, banning child labor and setting the 40-hour work week.June 25 1938a

1941 – At the urging of Black labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, Franklin Roosevelt issues an executive order barring discrimination in defense industries.

1943 – Congress passes the Smith-Connally War Labor Disputes Act over President Franklin Roosevelt’s veto. It allows the federal government to seize and operate industries threatened by strikes that would interfere with war production. It was hurriedly created after the third coal strike in seven weeks.

1951 – In New York, the first regular commercial color TV transmissions were presented on CBS using the FCC-approved CBS Color System. The public did not own color TV’s at the time. 

1962 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the use of unofficial non-denominational prayer in public schools was unconstitutional. 

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson ordered 200 naval personnel to Mississippi to assist in finding three missing civil rights workers. 

1968 – Bobby Bonds (San Francisco Giants) hit a grand-slam home run in his first game with the Giants. He was the first player to debut with a grand-slam. 

1970 – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission handed down a ruling (35 FR 7732), making it illegal for radio stations to put telephone calls on the air without the permission of the person being called. 

1973 – White House Counsel John Dean admitted that U.S. President Nixon took part in the Watergate cover-up. 

1981 – The U.S. Supreme Court decided that male-only draft registration was constitutional. 

1985 – ABC’s “Monday Night Football” began with a new line-up. The trio was Frank Gifford, Joe Namath and O.J. Simpson. 

1985 – A total of 21 workers are killed when a fireworks factory near Hallett, Okla., explodes.

1986 – The U.S. Congress approved $100 million in aid to the Contras fighting in Nicaragua. 

1990 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of an individual, whose wishes are clearly made, to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. “The right to die” decision was made in the Curzan vs. Missouri case. 

1994 – Decatur, Ill., police pepper-gas workers at A.E. Staley plant gate one year into the company’s two-and-a-half-year lockout of Paperworkers Local 7837.June 25 1994b


1997 – U.S. air pollution standards were significantly tightened by U.S. President Clinton. 

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the line-item veto thereby striking down presidential power to cancel specific items in tax and spending legislation. 

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that those infected with HIV are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

1998 – Microsoft’s “Windows 98” was released to the public. 

1999 – Germany’s parliament approved a national Holocaust memorial to be built in Berlin. 
2000 – A Florida judge approved a class-action lawsuit to be filed against American Online (AOL) on behalf of hourly subscribers who were forced to view “pop-up” advertisements. 

June 24

1497 – Italian explorer John Cabot, sailing in the service of England, landed in North America on what is now Newfoundland. 

1509 – Henry VIII was crowned King of England. 

1664 – New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey, was founded. 

1844 – Charles Goodyear was granted U.S. patent #3,633 for vulcanized rubber. 

1869 – Mary Ellen “Mammy” Pleasant officially became the Vodoo Queen in San Francisco, CA. 

1880 – Birth of Agnes Nestor, president of the Int’l Glove Workers Union and longtime leader of the Chicago Women’s Trade Union League. She began work in a glove factory at age 14.June 24 2016

1896 – Booker T. Washington became the first African American to receive an honorary MA degree from Howard University. 

1922 – The American Professional Football Association took the name of The National Football League. 

1940 – TV cameras were used for the first time in a political convention as the Republicans convened in Philadelphia,PA

1947 – Kenneth Arnold reported seeing flying saucers over Mt. Rainier, Washington

1953 – John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier announced their engagement. 

1962 – The New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers, 9-7, after 22 innings. 

1964 – The Federal Trade Commission announced that starting in 1965, cigarette manufactures would be required to include warnings on their packaging about the harmful effects of smoking. 

1968 – “Resurrection City,” a shantytown constructed as part of the Poor People’s March on Washington D.C., was closed down by authorities. 

1970 – The movie “Myra Breckinridge” premiered. 

1971 – Seventeen workers are killed as methane explodes in a water tunnel under construction in Sylmar, Calif.
1971 – The National Basketball Association modified its four-year eligibility rule to allow for collegiate hardship cases. 

1982 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that no president could be sued for damages connected with actions taken while serving as President of the United States. 

1986 – The Empire State Building was designated a National Historic Landmark. 

1997 – The U.S. Air Force released a report titled “The Roswell Report, Case Closed” that dismissed the claims that an alien spacecraft had crashed in Roswell, NM, in 1947. 

1998 – AT&T Corp. struck a deal to buy cable TV giant Tele-Communications Inc. for $31.7 billion. 

2002 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juries, not judges, must make the decision to give a convicted killer the death penalty. 

2010 – Apple released the iPhone 4. 

June 23

1683 – William Penn signed a friendship treaty with Lenni Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania. 

1836 – The U.S. Congress approved the Deposit Act, which contained a provision for turning over surplus federal revenue to the states. 

1848 – A bloody insurrection of workers in Paris erupted. 

1868 – Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for an invention that he called a “Type-Writer.”

1914 – Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, goes to Butte, Mont. in an attempt to mediate a conflict between factions of the miner’s local there. It didn’t go well. Gunfight in the union hall killed one man; Moyer and other union officers left the building, which was then leveled in a dynamite blast.

June 23 1914a
1926 – The first lip reading tournament in America was held in Philadelphia, PA. 

1931 – Wiley Post and Harold Gatty took off from New York on the first round-the-world flight in a single-engine plane. 

1938 – The Civil Aeronautics Authority was established. 

1947 – Congress overrides President Harry Truman’s veto of the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act. The law weakened unions and let states exempt themselves from union requirements. Twenty states immediately enacted open shop laws and more followed.

1966 – Civil Rights marchers in Mississippi were dispersed by tear gas. 

1972 – U.S. President Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman discussed a plan to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI’s Watergate investigation. 

1978 – OSHA issues standard on cotton dust to protect 600,000 workers from byssinosis, also known as “brown lung”.

1999 – A majority of the 5,000 textile workers at six Fieldcrest Cannon textile plants in Kannapolis, N.C., vote for union representation after an historic 25-year fight.
2003 – Apple Computer Inc. unveiled the new Power Mac desktop computer. 

2005 – Roger Ebert received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

2013 – In Arizona, aerialist Nik Wallenda completed a quarter mile tightrope walk over the Little Colorado River Gorge. 

2015 – NASA’s Mars Odyssey completed its 60,000th orbit around Mars. The spacecraft entered orbit on October 23, 2001. 

2015 – Verizon announced it had completed its $4.4 billion

June 22

1772 – Slavery was outlawed in England. 

1832 – J.I. Howe patented the pin machine. 

1868 – Arkansas was re-admitted to the Union. 

1870 – The U.S. Congress created the Department of Justice. 

1909 – The first transcontinental auto race ended in Seattle, WA. 

1918 – A total of 86 passengers on a train carrying members of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus are killed, another 127 injured in a wreck near Hammond, Indiana.  Five days later the dead are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Ill., in an area set aside as Showmen’s Rest, purchased only a few months earlier by the Showmen’s League of America.

 

June 22 1918

1922 – Violence erupted during a coal mine strike at Herrin, Ill. A total of 36 were killed, 21 of them non-union miners.

1942 – A Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia River. 

1944 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the “GI Bill of Rights” to provide broad benefits for veterans of the war. 

1945 – During World War II, the battle for Okinawa officially ended after 81 days. 

1946 – Jet airplanes were used to transport mail for the first time. 

1970 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It required that the voting age in the United States to be 18. 

1974 – In Chicago, the Sears Tower Skydeck opened. (Willis Tower) 

1992 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that hate-crime laws that ban cross-burning and similar expressions of racial bias violated free-speech rights. 

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that evidence illegally obtained by authorities could be used at revocation hearings for a convicted criminal’s parole. 

1999 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that persons with remediable handicaps cannot claim discrimination in employment under the Americans with Disability Act. 

2009 – Eastman Kodak Company announced that it would discontinue sales of the Kodachrome Color Film.

June 21

1802 – In England, a compassionate parliament declares that children can’t be required to work more than 12 hours a day. And they must have an hour’s instruction in the Christian Religion every Sunday and not be required to sleep more than two in a bed.June 21 1802

1834 – Cyrus McCormick patented the first practical mechanical reaper for farming. His invention allowed farmers to more than double their crop size. 

1859 – Andrew Lanergan received the first rocket patent. 

1877 – Ten miners accused of being militant “Molly Maguires” are hanged in Pennsylvania. A private corporation initiated the investigation of the 10 through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. “The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows,” a judge said many years later.June 21 1877

1893 – The Ferris Wheel was introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL. 

1913 – Georgia Broadwick became the first woman to jump from an airplane. 

1939 – Lou Gehrig quit baseball due to illness. 

1942 – Ben Hogan recorded the lowest score (to that time) in a major golf tournament. Hogan shot a 271 for 72 holes in Chicago, IL. 

1945 – Pan Am announced an 88-hour round-the-world flight at a cost of $700. 

1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the right of unions to publish statements urging members to vote for a specific congressional candidate, ruling that such advocacy is not a violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act.

1954 – The American Cancer Society reported significantly higher death rates among cigarette smokers than among non-smokers. 

1954 – NBC radio presented the final broadcast of “The Railroad Hour.” 

1958 – In Arkansas, a federal judge let Little Rock delay school integration. 

1973 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may ban materials found to be obscene according to local standards. 

1974 – The U.S. Supreme Court decided that pregnant teachers could no longer be forced to take long leaves of absence. 
1985 – Scientists announced that skeletal remains exhumed in Brazil were those of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele. 

1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment. 

1997 – An estimated 100,000 unionists and other supporters march in solidarity with striking Detroit News and Detroit Free Press newspaper workers.

2004 – SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan and piloted by Mike Melvill, reached 328,491 feet above Earth in a 90 minute flight. The height is about 400 feet above the distance scientists consider to be the boundary of space.

June 20

1782 – The U.S. Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States

1793 – Eli Whitney applied for a cotton gin patent. He received the patent on March 14. The cotton gin initiated the American mass-production concept. 

1848 – Birth of Albert Parsons, Haymarket martyr.

1863 – West Virginia became the 35th state to join the U.S. 

1893 – The American Railway Union, headed by Eugene Debs, is founded in Chicago. In the Pullman strike a year later, the union was defeated by federal injunctions and troops, and Debs was imprisoned for violating the injunctions.

1910 – Fanny Brice debuted in the New York production of the “Ziegfeld Follies”. 

1941 – The U.S. Army Air Forces was established, replacing the Army Air Corps. The Army Air Forces were abolished with the creation of the United States Air Force in 1947. 

1941 – Henry Ford recognizes the United Auto Workers, signs contract for workers at River Rouge plant.

1943 – Race-related rioting erupted in Detroit. Federal troops were sent in two days later to end the violence that left more than 30 dead. 

1943 – Striking African-American auto workers are attacked by KKK, National Workers League, and armed White workers at Belle Isle amusement park in Detroit. Two days of riots follow, 34 people are killed, more than 1,300 arrested.

1947 – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was murdered in Beverly Hills, CA, at the order of mob associates angered over the soaring costs of his project, the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas, NV

1947 – The Taft-Hartley Labor Management Relations Act, curbing strikes, is vetoed by President Harry S. Truman. The veto was overridden three days later by a Republican-controlled Congress.

1955 – The AFL and CIO agreed to combine names and a merge into a single group. 

1967 – Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction. 

1977 – The Trans-Alaska Pipeline began operation. 

1983 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers must treat male and female workers equally in providing health benefits for their spouses. 

1997 – The tobacco industry agreed to a massive settlement in exchange for major relief from mounting lawsuits and legal bills. 

2001 – Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants) hit his 38th home run of the season. The home run broke the major league baseballrecord for homers before the midseason All-Star break. 

2002 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the execution of mentally retarded murderers was unconstitutionally cruel. The vote was 6 in favor and 3 against. 

2006 – Evelyn Dubrow, described by the New York Times as organized labor’s most prominent lobbyist at the time of its greatest power, dies at age 95. The Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union lobbyist once told the Times that “she trudged so many miles around Capitol Hill that she wore out 24 pairs of her size 4 shoes each year.” She retired at age 86.

June 19

1846 – The New York Knickerbocker Club played the New York Club in the first baseball game at the Elysian Field, Hoboken, NJ. It was the first organized baseball game. 

1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln outlined his Emancipation Proclamation, which outlawed slavery in U.S. territories. 

1865 – The emancipation of slaves was proclaimed in Texas. 

1910 – The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington

1911 – In Pennsylvania, the first motion-picture censorship board was established. 

1912 – The U.S. government established the 8-hour work day.

1917 – AFL President Sam Gompers and Secretary of War Newton Baker sign an agreement establishing a three-member board of adjustment to control wages, hours and working conditions for construction workers employed on government projects.  The agreement protected union wage and hour standards for the duration of World War I.

1934 – The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration was established. 

1934 – The U.S. Congress established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The commission was to regulate radio and TV broadcasting (later). 

1934 – A pioneering sit-down strike is conducted by workers at a General Tire Co. factory in Akron, Ohio. The United Rubber Workers union was founded a year later.  The tactic launched a wave of similar efforts in the auto and other industries over the next several years.
(In this expanded edition of 
Strike! you can read about the General Tire Co. strike as well as other labor-management conflicts that have occurred over the past 140 years.  Here you’ll learn much about workers’ struggle to win a degree of justice, from the workers’ point of view.)June 19 1934a

1937 – The Women’s Day Massacre in Youngstown, Ohio, when police use tear gas on women and children, including at least one infant in his mother’s arms, during a strike at Republic Steel. One union organizer later recalled, “When I got there I thought the Great War had started over again. Gas was flying all over the place and shots flying and flares going up and it was the first time I had ever seen anything like it in my life…”June 19 1934

1942 – Norma Jeane Mortenson (Marilyn Monroe) and her 21-year-old neighbor Jimmy Dougherty were married. They were divorced in June of 1946. 

1942 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington, DC, to discuss the invasion of North Africa with U.S. President Roosevelt

1943 – Henry Kissinger became a naturalized United States citizen. 

1943 – The National Football League approved the merger of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1953 – ILWU begins a 4-day general strike in sugar, pineapple, and longshore to protest convictions under the anti-communist Smith Act of seven activists, “the Hawaii Seven.” The convictions were later overturned by a federal appeals court.
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

1958 – In Washington, DC, nine entertainers refused to answer a congressional committee’s questions on communism. 

1961 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision in Maryland’s constitution that required state officeholders to profess a belief in God. 

1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the U.S. Senate. 

1968 – 50,000 people marched on Washington, DC. to support the Poor People’s Campaign. 

1973 – Pete Rose (Cincinnati Reds) got his 2,000th career hit. 

1973 – The stage production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” opened in London. 

1973 – Gordie Howe left the NHL to join his sons Mark and Marty in the WHA (World Hockey League). 

1978 – Garfield was in newspapers around the U.S. for the first time. 

1987 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Louisiana law that required that schools teach creationism. 

1998 – A study released said that smoking more than doubles risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

1998 – Switzerland’s three largest banks offered $600 million to settle claims they’d stolen the assets of Holocaust victims during World War II. Jewish leaders called the offer insultingly low. 

1999 – The Dallas Stars won their first NHL Stanley Cup by defeating the Buffalo Sabres in the third overtime of game six. 

2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a group prayer led by students at public-school football games violated the 1st Amendment’s principle that called for the separation of church and state. 

 

 

June 18


1812 – The War of 1812 began as the U.S. declared war against Great Britain. The conflict began over trade restrictions. 

1861 – The first American fly-casting tournament was held in Utica, NY. 

1863 – J.J. Richardson received a patent for the ratchet wrench. 

1873 – Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote for a U.S. President. 

1927 – The U.S. Post Office offered a special 10-cent postage stamp for sale. The stamp was of Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis.” 

1928 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as she completed a flight from Newfoundland to Wales. 

1936 – The first bicycle traffic court was established in Racine, WI. 

1941 – Union and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph and others meet with President Roosevelt about a proposed July 1 March on Washington to protest discrimination in war industries. A week later, Roosevelt orders that the industries desegregate.June 18 2016
 
1942 – The U.S. Navy commissioned its first black officer, Harvard University medical student Bernard Whitfield Robinson. 

1948 – The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted its International Declaration of Human Rights. 

1953 – Seventeen major league baseball records were tied or broken in a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers. 

1959 – A Federal Court annulled the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration. 

1966 – Samuel Nabrit became the first African American to serve on the Atomic Energy Commission. 

1975 – Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox hit three home runs, a triple and a single in a game against the Detroit Tigers. 

1982 – The U.S. Senate approved the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act for an additional twenty-five years. 

1983 – Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger

1998 – The Walt Disney Co. purchased a 43% stake in the Web search engine company Infoseek Corp. 

1998 – Nine commemorative U.S. postage stamps were reissued. The stamps were considered to be classically beautiful examples of stamp engraving. 

2009 – NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS probes to the Moon. It was the first American lunar mission since Lunar Prospector in 1998. 

June 17

1775 – The British took Bunker Hill outside of Boston. 
1837 – Charles Goodyear received his first patent. The patent was for a process that made rubber easier to work with. 
1856 – The Republican Party opened its first national convention in Philadelphia. 
1861 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln witnessed Dr. Thaddeus Lowe demonstrate the use of a hydrogen balloon. 
1872 – George M. Hoover began selling whiskey in Dodge City, Kansas. The town had been dry up until this point. 
1879 – Thomas Edison received an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the trustees of Rutgers College in New Brunswick, NJ. 
1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City aboard the French ship Isere
1912 – The German Zeppelin SZ 111 burned in its hanger in Friedrichshafen. 
1928 – Amelia Earhart began the flight that made her the first woman to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean. 
1950 – Dr. Richard H. Lawler performed the first kidney transplant in a 45-minute operation in Chicago, IL
1963 – The U.S. Supreme Court banned the required reading of the Lord’s prayer and Bible in public schools. 
1985 – Judy Norton-Taylor was photographed for “Playboy” magazine.  

June 16 

1858 – In a speech in Springfield, ILU.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln said the slavery issue had to be resolved. He declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” 

1884 – At Coney Island, in Brooklyn, NY, the first roller coaster in America opened. 

1890 – The second Madison Square Gardens opened. 

1883 – The New York Giants baseball team admitted all ladies for free to the ballpark. It was the first Ladies Day. 

1897 – The U.S. government signed a treaty of annexation with Hawaii

1903 – Ford Motor Company was incorporated. 

1913 – Eight local unions organize the Int’l Fur Workers Union of U.S. and Canada. The union later merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen.
 
1918 – Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relation between capitalism and war. Ten days later he is arrested under the Espionage Act, eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail.Debs 1918

1922 – Henry Berliner accomplished the first helicopter flight at College Park, MD

1933 – The National Industrial Recovery Act became law, but was later to be declared unconstitutional. It established the right to unionize, set maximum hours and minimum wages for every major industry, abolished sweatshops and child labor. The Wagner Act, in effect today, was approved two years later to legalize unionization.

1940 – Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain became the prime minister of the Vichy government of occupied France.
1963 – 26-year-old Valentina Tereshkova went into orbit aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft for three days. She was the first female space traveler. 

1980 – The movie “The Blues Brothers” opened in Chicago, IL

1981 – The “Chicago Tribune” purchased the Chicago Cubs baseball team from the P.K. Wrigley Chewing Gum Company for $20.5 million. 

1985 – Willie Banks broke the world record for the triple jump with a leap of 58 feet, 11-1/2 inches in the U.S.A. championships in Indianapolis, IN. 

1999 – The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that a 1992 federal music piracy law does not prohibit a palm-sized device that can download high-quality digital music files from the Internet and play them at home. 

2000 – Inacom Corp., once the world’s largest computer dealer, sends most of its 5,100 employees an email instructing them to call a toll-free phone number; when they call, a recorded message announces they have been fired.

2008 – California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

June 15

 
1607 – Colonists in North America completed James Fort in Jamestown, VA. 

1752 – Benjamin Franklin experimented by flying a kite during a thunderstorm. The result was a little spark that showed the relationship between lightning and electricity. 

1836 – Arkansas became the 25th U.S. state. 

1844 – Charles Goodyear was granted a patent for the process that strengthens rubber. 

1846 – The United States and Britain settled a boundary dispute concerning the boundary between the U.S. and Canada, by signing a treaty. 

1864 – An order to establish a military burial ground was signed by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The location later became known as Arlington National Cemetery. 

1877 – Henry O. Flipper became the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. 

1898 – The U.S. House of representatives approved the annexation of Hawaii. 

1908 – The Metal Trades Department of what is now the AFL-CIO is founded.

1909 – Benjamin Shibe patented the cork center baseball. 

1911 – The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. was incorporated in the state of New York. The company was later renamed International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. 

1916 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America. 

1919 – Captain John Alcock and Lt. Arthur W. Brown won $50,000 for successfully completing the first, non-stop trans-Atlantic plane flight. 

1938 – Johnny Vandemeer (Cincinnati Reds) pitched his second straight no-hitter. 

1947 – The Congress of Industrial Organizations expels the Fur and Leather Workers union and the American Communications Association for what it describes as communist activities.

1983 – The U.S. Supreme Court reinforced its position on abortion by striking down state and local restriction on abortions. 

1990 – Battle of Century City, as police in Los Angeles attack some 500 janitors and their supporters during a peaceful Service Employees Int’l Union demonstration against cleaning contractor ISS. The event generated public outrage that resulted in recognition of the workers’ union and spurred the creation of an annual June 15 Justice for Janitors Day.

1992 – It was ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court that the government could kidnap criminal suspects from foreign countries for prosecution. 

1992 – U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle instructed a student to spell “potato” with an “e” on the end during a spelling bee. He had relied on a faulty flash card that had been written by the student’s teacher. 

June 14

1775 – The Continental Army was founded by the Second Continental Congress for purposes of common defense. This event is considered to be the birth of the United States Army. On June 15, George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief. 

1777 – The Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted the “Stars and Stripes” as the national flag of the United States. The Flag Resolution stated “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” On May 20, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 “Flag Day” as a commemoration of the “Stars and Stripes.” 

1872 – Unions legalized in Canada.

1893 – Philadelphia observed the first Flag Day. 

1900 – Hawaii became a U.S. territory. 

1907 – Women in Norway won the right to vote. 

1919 – The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight began. Captain John Alcot and Lt. Arthur Brown flew from Newfoundland to Ireland. 

1922 – Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. president to be heard on radio. The event was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key memorial at Fort McHenry. 

1940 – The Nazis opened their concentration camp at Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland. 

1943 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schoolchildren could not be made to salute the U.S. flag if doing so conflicted with their religious beliefs. 

1951 – “Univac I” was unveiled. It was a computer designed for the U.S. Census Bureau and billed as the world’s first commercial computer. 

1952 – The Nautilus was dedicated. It was the first nuclear powered submarine. 

1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an order adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. 

1987 – The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title by defeating the defending Boston Celtics. 

1990 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld police checkpoints that are used to examine drivers for signs of intoxication. 

1994 – The New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Vancouver Canucks. It was the first time the Rangers had won the cup in 54 years. 

2002 – Actor Kirk Douglas received the UCLA Medal. The award is presented to people for cultural, political and humanitarian achievements.

June 13 

1866 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. It was ratified on July 9, 1868. The amendment was designed to grant citizenship to and protect the civil liberties of recently freed slaves. It did this by prohibiting states from denying or abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, depriving any person of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denying to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

1888 – The U.S. Congress created the Department of Labor. 

1920 – The U.S. Post Office Department ruled that children may not be sent by parcel post. 

1927 – For the first time, an American Flag was displayed from the right hand of the Statue of Liberty. 

1966 – The landmark “Miranda v. Arizona” decision was issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision ruled that criminal suspects had to be informed of their constitutional rights before being questioned by police. 

1967 – Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to become the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

1988 – The Liggett Group, a cigarette manufacturer, was found liable for a lung-cancer death. They were, however, found innocent by the federal jury of misrepresenting the risks of smoking. 

1989 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush exercised his first Presidential veto on a bill dealing with minimum wage. 

1992 – Future U.S. President Bill Clinton criticized rap singer Sister Souljah for making remarks “filled with hatred” towards whites. 

1994 – A jury in Anchorage, Alaska, found Exxon Corp. and Captain Joseph Hazelwood to be reckless in the Exxon Valdez oil spill. 

June 12

1839 – Abner Doubleday created the game of baseball, according to the legend. 

1897 – Carl Elsener patented his penknife. The object later became known as the Swiss army knife. 

1904 – Fifty thousand members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen employed in meatpacking plants walk off their jobs; demands include equalization of wages and conditions throughout U.S. plants – 1904bcabe806-f94a-4fa8-aa47-f99ba696f142

1918 – The first airplane bombing raid by an American unit occurred on World War I’s Western Front in France. 

1923 – Harry Houdini, while suspended upside down 40 feet above the ground, escaped from a strait jacket. 

1935 – U.S. Senator Huey Long of Louisiana made the longest speech on Senate record. The speech took 15 1/2 hours and was filled by 150,000 words. 

1939 – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was dedicated in Cooperstown, New York. 

1941 – In London, the Inter-Allied Declaration was signed. It was the first step towards the establishment of the United Nations. 

1963 – Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was fatally shot in front of his home in Jackson, MS. 

1967 – State laws which prohibited interracial marriages were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

1981 – Major league baseball players began a 49 day strike. The issue was free-agent compensation. 

ce24bcc0-6aed-4389-adef-6b4cfeb1c4ea

1985 – Wayne “The Great One” Gretsky was named winner of the NHL’s Hart Trophy. The award is given to the the league Most Valuable Player. 

1987 – U.S. President Reagan publicly challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. 

1991 – The Chicago Bulls won their first NBA championship. The Bulls beat the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one. 

1996 – In Philadelphia a panel of federal judges blocked a law against indecency on the internet. The panel said that the 1996 Communications Decency Act would infringe upon the free speech rights of adults. 

1866 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. It was ratified on July 9, 1868. The amendment was designed to grant citizenship to and protect the civil liberties of recently freed slaves. It did this by prohibiting states from denying or abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, depriving any person of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denying to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

June 11 

1509 – King Henry VIII married his first of six wives, Catherine of Aragon. 

1776 – In America, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence from Britain. 

1798 – Napoleon Bonaparte took the island of Malta. 

1880 – Jeanette Rankin was born. She became the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. 

1895 – Charles E. Duryea received the first U.S. patent granted to an American inventor for a gasoline-driven automobile. 

1910 – Jacques-Yves Cousteau was born. He was the French underwater explorer that invented the Aqua-Lung diving apparatus. 

1912 – Silas Christoferson became the first pilot to take off from the roof of a hotel. 

1936 – The Presbyterian Church of America was formed in Philadelphia, PA

1947 – The U.S. government announced an end to sugar rationing. 

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Florida for trying to integrate restaurants. 

1963 – Alabama Gov. George Wallace allowed two black students to enroll at the University of Alabama. 

1972 – Hank Aaron tied the National League record for 14 grand-slam home runs in a career. 

1973 – After a ruling by the Justice Department of the State of Pennsylvania, women were licensed to box or wrestle. 

1981 – The first major league baseball player’s strike began. It would last for two months. 

1982 – Steven Spielberg’s movie “E.T.” opened. 

1987 – Margaret Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office. 

1990 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that would prohibit the desecration of the American Flag. 

1993 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who commit “hate crimes” could be sentenced to extra punishment. The court also ruled in favor of religious groups saying that they indeed had a constitutional right to sacrifice animals during worship services. 

1998 – Mitsubishi of America agreed to pay $34 million to end the largest sexual harassment case filed by the U.S. government. The federal lawsuit claimed that hundreds of women at a plant in Normal, IL, had endured groping and crude jokes from male workers.  

June 10

1776 – The Continental Congress appointed a committee to write a Declaration of Independence. 

1854 – The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, held its first graduation. 

1898 – U.S. Marines landed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. 

1903 – Binney & Smith Company began developing a product line of wax crayons. The product was named Crayola

1909 – The SOS distress signal was used for the first time. The Cunard liner SS Slavonia used the signal when it wrecked off the Azores. 

1920 – The Republican convention in Chicago endorsed woman suffrage. 

1924 – The Republican National Convention was broadcast by NBC radio. It was the first political convention to be on radio. 

1925 – The state of Tennessee adopted a new biology text book that denied the theory of evolution. 

1933 – Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were in a car accident on a rural road in north Texas. The third-degree burns suffered by Parker resulted in a pronounced limp for the rest of her life. 

1935 – Alcoholic Anonymous was founded by William G. Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith. 

1944 – The youngest pitcher in major league baseball pitched his first game. Joe Nuxhall was 15 years old (and 10 months and 11 days). 

1954 – General Motors announced the gas turbine bus had been produced successfully. 

1967 – Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire that ended the Six-Day War. 

1970 – A fifteen-man group of special forces troops began training for Operation Kingpin. The operation was a POW rescue mission in North Vietnam. 

1983 – Johnny Bench announced his plans to retire. He was a catcher in the major leagues for 16 years. 

1984 – The U.S. Army successfully tested an antiballistic missile. 

1985 – Frank Sinatra was portrayed as a friend of organized crime in a “Doonesbury” comic strip. Over 800 newspapers carried the panel. 

1993 – It was announced by scientists that genetic material was extracted from an insect that lived when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. 

1994 – U.S. President Clinton intensified sanctions against Haiti’s military leaders. U.S. commercial air travel was suspended along with most financial transactions between Haiti and the U.S. 

1998 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that poor children in Milwaukee could attend religious schools at taxpayer expense. 

June 9

1790 – John Barry copyrighted “Philadelphia Spelling Book.” It was the first American book to be copyrighted. 

1790 – Civil war broke out in Martinique. 

1861 – Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke began working in Union hospitals. 

1931 – Robert H. Goddard patented a rocket-fueled aircraft design. 

1934 – Donald Duck made his debut in the Silly Symphonies cartoon “The Wise Little Hen.” 

1943 – The withholding tax on payrolls was authorized by the U.S. Congress. 

1978 – Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints struck down a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men from the Mormon priesthood. 

1980 – Richard Pryor was severely burned by a “free-base” mixture that exploded. He was hospitalized more than two months. 

1986 – The Rogers Commission released a report on the Challenger disaster. The report explained that the spacecraft blew up as a result of a failure in a solid rocket booster joint. 

2000 – Canada and the United States signed a border security agreement. The agreement called for the establishment of a border-enforcement team. 

2000 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal gift and estate taxes. The bill called for the taxes to be phased out over 10 years. 

2011 – The world’s first artificial organ transplant was performed. It was an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells. 

June 8

0452 – Italy was invaded by Attila the Hun. 

1786 – In New York City, commercially manufactured ice cream was advertised for the first time. 

1861 – Tennessee voted to secede from the Union and joined the Confederacy. 

1869 – Ives W. McGaffey received a U.S. patent for the suction vacuum cleaner. 

1872 – The penny postcard was authorized by the U.S. Congress. 

1934 – The Cincinnati Reds became the first Major League team to use an airplane to travel from one city to another. They flew from Cincinnati to Chicago. 

1947 – “Lassie Show” debuted on ABC radio. It was a 15-minute show. 

1948 – Milton Berle hosted “Texaco Star Theater” NBC-TV. It was the show’s debut. 

1953 – The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed segregated restaurants in Washington, DC

1969 – The New York Yankees retired Mickey Mantle’s number (7). 

1969 – It was announced that there would be a single schedule for both the NFL and AFL

1969 – U.S. President Richard Nixon met with President Thieu of South Vietnam to tell him 25,000 U.S. troops would pull out by August. 

1986 – The Boston Celtics won their 16th NBA championship. 

1991 – A victory parade was held in Washington, DC, to honor veterans of the Persian Gulf War. 

1998 – The National Rifle Association elected Charlton Heston to be its president. 

1998 – Honda agreed to pay $17.1 million for disconnecting anti-pollution devices in 1.6 million cars. 

2000 – The Dallas Stars and the New Jersey Devils played the NHL‘s longest scoreless game in Stanley Cup finals history. The fifth game of the series lasted 106 minutes and 21 seconds. The game ended with a goal by Mike Madano that allowed the Stars to play a game six back in Dallas. 

June 7 

1498 – Christopher Columbus left on his third voyage of exploration. 

1712 – The Pennsylvania Assembly banned the importation of slaves. 

1775 – The United Colonies changed their name to the United States

1776 – Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed to the Continental Congress a resolution calling for a Declaration of Independence. 

1929 – The sovereign state of Vatican City came into existence as copies of the Lateran Treaty were exchanged in Rome. 

1932 – Over 7,000 war veterans marched on Washington, DC, demanding their bonuses. 

1942 – The Battle of Midway ended. The sea and air battle lasted 4 days. Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties. 

1942 – Japan landed troops on the islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians. The U.S. invaded and recaptured the Alutians one year later. 
 
1966 – Sony Corporation unveiled its brand new consumer home videotape recorder. The black and white only unit sold for $995. 

1965 – In the U.S., the Gemini 4 mission was completed. The mission featured the first spacewalk by an American. 

1968 – Legoland Billund opend in Billund, Denmark. It was the original Legoland park. 

1976 – “The NBC Nightly News”, with John Chancellor and David Brinkley, aired for the first time. 

2000 – U.S. Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered the breakup of Microsoft Corporation. 

June 6

1833 – Andrew Jackson became the first U.S. president to ride in a train. It was a B&O passenger train. 

1844 – The Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London. 

1882 – The first electric iron was patented by H.W. Seely. 

1904 – The National Tuberculosis Association was formed in Atlantic City, NJ

1925 – Chrysler Corporation was founded by Walter Percy Chrysler. 

1932 – In the U.S., the first federal tax on gasoline went into effect. It was a penny per gallon. 

1934 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Securities Exchange Act, which established the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

1936 – The first helicopter was tested in a building in Berlin, Germany. 

1944 – The D-Day invasion of Europe took place on the beaches of Normandy, France. 400,000 Allied American, British and Canadian troops were involved. 

1946 – The Basketball Association of America was formed in New York City, NY

1968 – U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy died at 1:44am in Los Angeles after being shot by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy was was shot the evening before while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

1971 – “The Ed Sullivan Show” aired for the last time. It was canceled after 23 years on the air. Gladys Knight and the Pips were the musical guests on show. 

1978 – “20/20” debuted on ABC. 

1985 – The U.S. Senate authorized nonmilitary aid to the Contras. The vote authorized $38 million over two years. 

2005 – The United States Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities could prosecute sick people who smoke marijuana on doctor’s orders. The ruling concluded that state medical marijuana laws did not protect uses from the federal ban on the drug.

June 5, 2016

1833 – Andrew Jackson became the first U.S. president to ride in a train. It was a B&O passenger train. 

1844 – The Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London. 

1882 – The first electric iron was patented by H.W. Seely. 

1904 – The National Tuberculosis Association was formed in Atlantic City, NJ

1925 – Chrysler Corporation was founded by Walter Percy Chrysler. 

1932 – In the U.S., the first federal tax on gasoline went into effect. It was a penny per gallon. 

1934 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Securities Exchange Act, which established the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

1936 – The first helicopter was tested in a building in Berlin, Germany. 

1944 – The D-Day invasion of Europe took place on the beaches of Normandy, France. 400,000 Allied American, British and Canadian troops were involved. 

1946 – The Basketball Association of America was formed in New York City, NY

1968 – U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy died at 1:44am in Los Angeles after being shot by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy was was shot the evening before while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

1971 – “The Ed Sullivan Show” aired for the last time. It was canceled after 23 years on the air. Gladys Knight and the Pips were the musical guests on show. 

1978 – “20/20” debuted on ABC. 

1985 – The U.S. Senate authorized nonmilitary aid to the Contras. The vote authorized $38 million over two years. 

2005 – The United States Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities could prosecute sick people who smoke marijuana on doctor’s orders. The ruling concluded that state medical marijuana laws did not protect uses from the federal ban on the drug.

June 5, 2016

1752 – Benjamin Franklin flew a kite for the first time to demonstrate that lightning was a form of electricity. 

1794 – The U.S. Congress prohibited citizens from serving in any foreign armed forces. 

1851 – Harriet Beecher Stow published the first installment of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in “The National Era.” 

1884 – U.S. Civil War General William T. Sherman refused the Republican presidential nomination, saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” 

1917 – American men began registering for the World War I draft. 

1927 – Johnny Weissmuller set two world records in swimming events. Weissmuller set marks in the 100-yard, and 200-yard, free-style swimming competition. 

1956 – Premier Nikita Khrushchev denounced Josef Stalin to the Soviet Communist Party Congress. 

1967 – The Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan began. 

1975 – Egypt reopened the Suez Canal to international shipping, eight years after it was closed because of the 1967 war with Israel.

 Thirty-five members of the Teamsters, concerned about the infiltration of organized crime in the union and other issues, meet in Cleveland to form Teamsters for a Democratic Union – 1976
(
Auditing Local Union Financial Records: Financial misdeeds can be avoided when proper procedures are in place. This easy-to-understand little book is a must-have for every local union trustee and auditor. In the author’s words, it will “provide local union trustees and auditors with the know-how and confidence they need to spot problems so they can be promptly reported and corrected.”)June 5

1981 – In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that five men in Los Angeles were suffering from a rare pneumonia found in patients with weakened immune systems. They were the first recognized cases of what later became known as AIDS. 

1987 – Ted Koppel and guests discussed the topic of AIDS for four hours on ABC-TV’s “Nightline”. 

1998 – A strike began at a General Motors Corp. parts factory near Detroit, MI, that closed five assembly plants and idled workers across the U.S. for seven weeks. 

1998 – C-Span reported that Bob Hope had died. The report was false and had begun with an inaccurate obituary on the Associated Press website. 

June 4, 2016

search

2016 – Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued boxer and civil rights champion who famously proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and then spent a lifetime living up to the billing, is dead.

 

1783 – A hot-air balloon was demonstrated by Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. It reached a height of 1,500 feet. 

1784 – Marie Thible became the first woman to fly in a hot-air balloon. The flight was 45 minutes long and reached a height of 8,500 feet. 

1896 – Henry Ford made a successful test drive of his new car in Detroit, MI. He called the vehicle was called a “Quadricycle.” 

1911 – Gold was discovered in Alaska’s Indian Creek. 

1912 – Massachusetts becomes the first state to establish a minimum wage.

1919 – The U.S. Senate passed the Women’s Suffrage bill. 

1924 – An eternal light was dedicated at Madison Square in New York City in memory of all New York soldiers who died in World War I. 

1939 – The first shopping cart was introduced by Sylvan Goldman in Oklahoma City, OK. It was actually a folding chair that had been mounted on wheels. 

1947 – The House of Representatives approved the Taft-Hartley Act. The legislation allowed the President of the United States to intervene in labor disputes. 

 

d82e042e-e14a-4f20-bd10-a55d9eb598d61956 – The AFL-CIO opens its new headquarters building, in view of the White House.

1974 – Sally Murphy became the first woman to qualify as an aviator with the U.S. Army.  

1975 – Gov. Jerry Brown signs the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law in the U.S. giving farmworkers collective bargaining rights. The legislation came after years of effort by the United Farm Workers union.

1989 – In Beijing, Chinese army troops stormed Tiananmen Square to crush the pro-democracy movement. It is believed that hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators were killed. 

1992 – The U.S. Postal Service announced that people preferred the “younger Elvis” stamp design in a nationwide vote. 

1998 – George and Ira Gershwin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

2003 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban “partial birth” abortions with a 282-139 vote. 

June 3, 2016

1800 – John Adams moved to Washington, DC. He was the first President to live in what later became the capital of the United States. 

1851 – The New York Knickerbockers became the first baseball team to wear uniforms. 

1856 – Cullen Whipple patented the screw machine. 

1900 – Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union founded.

1918 – A federal child labor law, enacted two years earlier, was declared unconstitutional – 1918
(The Essential Guide To Federal Employment Laws, 4th edition: Find out what federal laws are on the books in this well-indexed book, updated in 2013, which offers the full text of 20 federal laws affecting workers’ lives, along with plain-English explanations of each. An entire chapter is devoted to each law, explaining what is allowed and prohibited and what businesses must comply.)

1923 – In Italy, Benito Mussolini granted women the right to vote. 

1932 – Lou Gehrig set a major league baseball record when he hit four consecutive home runs. 

1935 – More than 1,000 Canadian men, working at “Royal Twenty Centers” established by the Canadian government to provide work for single, unemployed homeless males during the Great Depression, begin an “On to Ottawa Trek” to protest conditions at the camps. They were being paid 20 cents a day plus food and shelter to build roads, plant trees and construct public buildings.

1965 – Edward White became the first American astronaut to do a “space walk” when he left the Gemini 4 capsule. 

1989 – Chinese army troops positioned themselves to began a sweep of Beijing to crush student-led pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. 

2003 – Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs) broke a bat when he grounded out against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The bat he was using was a corked bat. (IllinoisFlorida

 

June 2, 2016

1786-Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia stage the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay.

1924-A constitutional amendment declaring that “Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age” was approved by the Senate today, following the lead of the House five weeks earlier. But only 28 state legislatures ever ratified the amendment—the last three in 1937—so it has never taken effect.

1924-Congress granted U.S. citizenship to all American Indians.

1941-Baseball great, Lou Gehrig died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, a rare type of paralysis now referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

1952-The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President Harry Truman acted illegally when he ordered the Army to seize the nation’s steel mills to avert a strike.

June 2

1953-Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

1976-Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and Textile Workers Union of America merge to form Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union.

1997-Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

2003- The European Space Agency launched the Mars Express probe. Contact with the lander Beagle 2 was lost in December.

June 1, 2016

1792-Kentucky became the 15th state in the United States.

1796-Tennessee became the 16th state in the United States.

1888-The Ladies Federal Labor Union Number 2703, based in Illinois, was granted a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Women from a wide range of occupations were among the members, who ultimately were successful in coalescing women’s groups interested in suffrage, temperance, health, housing and child labor reform to win state legislation in these areas.

1898-Union Carpenters win a 25¢-per-day raise, bringing wages for a 9-hour day to $2.50.

1898-Congress passes the Erdman Act, providing for voluntary mediation or arbitration of railroad disputes and prohibiting contracts that discriminate against union labor or release employers from legal liability for on-the-job injuries.

1903-Nearly 3,500 immigrant miners begin Clifton-Morenci, Ariz., copper strike.

1916-Some 12,500 longshoremen strike the Pacific coast, from San Diego to Bellingham, Wash. Demands included a closed shop and a wage increase to 55¢ an hour for handling general cargo.

1922-As many as 60,000 railroad shopmen strike to protest cuts in wages.June 1

1938-The first issue of Action Comics, featuring Superman, was publishes.

1944-Extinguishing the light of hope in the hearts and aspirations of workers around the world, the Mexican government abolishes siestas—a mid-afternoon nap and work break which lengthened the work day but got people through brutally hot summer days.

1966-Farm workers under the banner of the new United Farm Workers Organizing Committee strike at Texas’s La Casita Farms, demand $1.25 as a minimum hourly wage.

1968-Helen Keller, blind and deaf author-lecturer, died.

imgres

2000-Dakota Beef meatpackers win 7-hour sit-down strike over speed-ups, St. Paul, Minn. 

2009-General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing made the automaker the largest U.S. industrial company to enter bankruptcy protection. It went on to recover thanks to massive help from the UAW and the federal government.

May 31, 2016

1859 – In London, Big Ben went into operation. 

1870 – E.J. DeSemdt patented asphalt. 

1879 – New York’s Madison Square Garden opened. 

1880 – The first U.S. national bicycle society was formed in Newport, RI. It was known as the League of American Wheelman. 

1884 – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patented “flaked cereal.” 

1889 – The Johnstown Flood.  More than 2,200 die when a dam holding back a private resort lake burst upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  The resort was owned by wealthy industrialists including Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick.  Neither they nor any other members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club were found guilty of fault, despite the fact the group had created the lake out of an abandoned reservoir.

1907 – The first taxis arrived in New York City. They were the first in the United States

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its first conference. 

1913 – The 17th Amendment went into effect. It provided for popular election of U.S. senators. 

1943 – Some 25,000 white autoworkers walk off the job at a Detroit Packard Motor Car Co. plant, heavily involved in wartime production, when three black workers are promoted to work on a previously all-white assembly line.  The black workers were relocated and the whites returned.

1943 – “Archie” was aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System for the first time. 

1955 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that all states must end racial segregation “with all deliberate speed.” 

1962 – Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel. Eichmann was a Gestapo official and was executed for his actions in the Nazi Holocaust. 

1970 – An earthquake in Peru killed tens of thousands of people. 

1977 – The trans-Alaska oil pipeline was finished after 3 years of construction. 

1997 – Rose Will Monroe, popularly known as Rosie the Riveter, dies in Clarksville, Ind.  During WWII she helped bring women into the labor force.

May 30, 2016

1431 – Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France, at the age of 19. 

1783 – The first daily newspaper was published in the U.S. by Benjamin Towner called “The Pennsylvania Evening Post” 

1854 – The U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas were established. 

1868 – Memorial Day was observed widely for the first time in the U.S. 

1883 – Twelve people were trampled to death in New York City in a stampede when a rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge was in danger of collapsing occurred. 

1896 – The first automobile accident occurred in New York City. 

1903 – In Riverdale, NY, the first American motorcycle hill climb was held. 

1911 – Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis 500. At the time, it was known as International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race. Harroun’s average speed was 74.59 miles per hour. 

1922 – The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC

1933 – Sally Rand introduced her exotic and erotic fan dance to audiences at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition. 

1958 – Unidentified soldiers killed in World War II and the Korean conflicts were buried at Arlington National Cemetery. 

1982 – Spain became the 16th NATO member. Spain was the first country to enter the Western alliance since West Germany in 1955. 

1997 – Jesse K. Timmendequas was convicted in Trenton, NJ, of raping and strangling a 7-year-old neighbor, Megan Kanka. The 1994 murder inspired “Megan’s Law,” requiring that communities be notified when sex offenders move in. 

1998 – A powerful earthquake hit northern Afghanistan killing up to 5,000. 

2002 – In New York, a ceremony were held to officially mark the end of the clean up from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. 

May 29, 2016

1765 – Patrick Henry denounced the Stamp Act before Virginia‘s House of Burgesses. 

1790 – Rhode Island became the last of the original thirteen colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution. 

1848 – WIsconsin became the 30th state to join the United States. 

1910 – An airplane raced a train from Albany, NY, to New York City. The airplane pilot Glenn Curtiss won the $10,000 prize. 

1912 – Fifteen women were dismissed from their jobs at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, PA, for dancing the Turkey Trot while on the job.

1916 – The official flag of the president of the United States was adopted.

1922 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that organized baseball was a sport, not subject to antitrust laws. 

1932 – World War I veterans began arriving in Washington, DC. to demand cash bonuses they were not scheduled to receive for another 13 years. 

May 29

1951 – C.F. Blair became the first man to fly over the North Pole in single engine plane. 

1962 – Buck (John) O’Neil became the first black coach in major league baseball when he accepted the job with the Chicago Cubs. 

1973 – Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles. 

1974 – U.S. President Nixon agreed to turn over 1,200 pages of edited Watergate transcripts. 

1978 – In the U.S., postage stamps were raised from 13 cents to 15 cents. 

1988 – NBC aired “To Heal A Nation,” the story of Jan Scruggs’ effort to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

1999 – Space shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with the International Space Station. 

2001 – In New York, four followers of Osama bin Laden were convicted of a global conspiracy to murder Americans. The crimes included the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people. 

2001 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a cart to ride in tournaments.

2015 – The Obama administration removed Cuba from the U.S. terrorism blacklist. The two countries had severed diplomatic relations in January of 1961. 

 

May 28, 2016

585 BC – Thales Miletus predicted a solar eclipse. 

1533 – England’s Archbishop declared the marriage of King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn valid. 

1863 – The first black regiment left Boston to fight in the U.S. Civil War

May 29

1928 – Chrysler Corporation merged with Dodge Brothers, Inc. 

1835-The Ladies Shoe Binders Society formed in New York. 

1946-At least 30,000 workers in Rochester, N.Y., participate in a general strike in support of municipal workers who had been fired for forming a union.

1937 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington, DC, signaling that vehicular traffic could cross the newly opened Golden Gate Bridge in California. 

1957 – National League club owners voted to allow the Brooklyn Dodgers to move to Los Angeles and that the New York Giants could move to San Francisco. 

1961 – Amnesty International, a human rights organization, was founded. 

1976 – The Peaceful Nuclear Explosion Treaty was signed, limiting any nuclear explosion – regardless of its purpose – to a yield of 150 kilotons. 

1995 – An earthquake in the Russian town Neftegorsk killed at least 2000 people. It had a magnitude of 7.5. 

1996 – U.S. President Clinton‘s former business partners in the Whitewater land deal were convicted of fraud. 

2002 – Russia became a limited partner in NATO with the creation of the NATO-Russia Council. 

2015 – The Observatory at One World Trade Center officially opened.  

May 27, 2016

1647 – Alse Young (Achsah Young or Alice Young), a resident of Windsor, CT, was executed for being a “witch.” It was the first recorded American execution of a “witch.” 

1896 – 255 people were killed in St. Louis, MO, when a tornado struck. 

1901 – The Edison Storage Battery Company was organized. 

1907 – The Bubonic Plague broke out in San Francisco. 

1919 – A U.S. Navy seaplane completed the first transatlantic flight. 

1931 – Piccard and Knipfer made the first flight into the stratosphere, by balloon. 

1935-The U.S. Supreme Court declares the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional, about a month before it was set to expire.

May 27

1959-The CIO-affiliated Insurance Workers of America merges with its AFL counterpart, the Insurance Agents International Union to form the Insurance Workers International Union.  The union later became part of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

1933 – In the U.S., the Federal Securities Act was signed. The act required the registration of securities with the Federal Trade Commission. 

1935 – The U.S. Supreme Court declared that President Franklin Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act was unconstitutional. 

1937 – In California, the Golden Gate Bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic. The bridge connected San Francisco and Marin County. 

1968 – After 48 years as coach of the Chicago Bears, George Halas retired. 

1969 – Construction of Walt Disney World began in Florida.

1988 – The U.S. Senate ratified the INF treaty. The INF pact was the first arms-control agreement since the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) to receive Senate approval.  

1995 – In Charlottesville, VA, Christopher Reeve was paralyzed after being thrown from his horse during a jumping event. 

1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the sexual harassment suit filed by Paula Jones could continue while President Clinton was in office. 

May 26, 2016

1824-Men and women weavers in Pawtucket, R.I., stage nation’s first “co-ed” strike. 

Western Federation of Miners members strike for 8-hour day, Cripple Creek, Colo. – 1894

Actors’ Equity Assn. is founded by 112 actors at a meeting in New York City’s Pabst Grand Circle Hotel.  Producer George M. Cohan responds: “I will drive an elevator for a living before I will do business with any actors’ union.”  Later a sign will appear in Times Square reading: “Elevator operator wanted.  George M. Cohan need not apply” – 1913

Nay 26 1920(Coping with Difficult People: Bosses, supervisors, co-workers, friends, family members… difficult people can make your life hell, but you can do something about it. Based on fourteen years of research and observation, Coping with Difficult People offers proven, effective techniques guaranteed to help you right the balance in bad relationships and take charge of your life.)

1920-IWW Marine Transport Workers strike, Philadelphia.

1936- The Queen Mary left England on its maiden voyage, arriving in France four hours later.

1937-Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened.

1937- Some 100,000 steel workers and miners in mines owned by steel companies strike in seven states.  The Memorial Day Massacre, in which ten strikers were killed by police at Republic Steel in Chicago, took place four days later, on May 30th.

May 26 1937
 
1937-Ford Motor Co. security guards attack union organizers and supporters attempting to distribute literature outside the plant in Dearborn, Mich., in an event that was to become known as the “Battle of the Overpass.” The guards tried to destroy any photos showing the attack, but some survived—and inspired the Pulitzer committee to establish a prize for photography.

1996-After a year and a half of bloodshed, Russian President Boris Yeltsin met with the leader of the Chechen rebels and negotiated a cease-fire.

1999-Slobodan Milosevic was indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague for crimes against humanity.

May 25, 2016

Philip Murray is born in Scotland. He went on to emigrate to the U.S., become founder and first president of the United Steelworkers of America, and head of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) from 1940 until his death in 1952 – 1886

May 25 Phillip Murray

 1805-Striking shoemakers in Philadelphia are arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy for violating an English common law that bars schemes aimed at forcing wage increases. The strike was broken.

1868-President Andrew Johnson avoided conviction for impeachment charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” by one vote.

1925-Two company houses occupied by non-union coal miners are blown up and destroyed during a strike against the Glendale Gas & Coal Co. in Wheeling, W. Va

1932- Thousands of unemployed WWI veterans arrive in Washington, D.C., to demand early payment of a bonus they had been told they would get, but not until 1945. They built a shantytown near the U.S. Capitol but were burned out by U.S. troops after two months.may 25 1932

1936-The notorious 11-month Remington Rand strike begins. The strike spawned the “Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) formula,” described by investigators as a corporate plan to discredit union leaders, frighten the public with the threat of violence, employ thugs to beat up strikers, and other tactics. The National Labor Relations Board termed the formula “a battle plan for industrial war”.

1959 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pirates’ Harvey Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves before losing, 1–0, in the 13th

 1962-The AFL-CIO begins what is to become an unsuccessful campaign for a 35-hour workweek, with the goal of reducing unemployment. Earlier tries by organized labor for 32- or 35-hour weeks also failed.

1977- George Willig, “the human fly,” scaled the World Trade Center in New York City by attaching himself to the window washer mechanism and walking straight up until falling into police custody when he reached the top. It took Willig three and a half hours to make the climb, and $1.10 in fines—a penny per floor.

1978 The first legal casino to be operated in the United States outside of Nevada was opened in Atlantic City.

May 24, 2016

1787-The Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia under the leadership of George Washington, in order to establish a new U.S. government.

1935- American track star Jesse Owens broke three world records and tied another in a little over an hour.

1883-After 14 years of construction and the deaths of 27 workers, the Brooklyn Bridge over New York’s East River opens. Newspapers call it “the eighth wonder of the world”May 24 1883

 

1965 Muhammad Ali knocked Sonny Liston out cold in the first round, after 1 minuet and 56 seconds, for the world heavyweight title.

1968- The Gateway Arch was dedicated in St. Louis.

1979- The worst air disaster in the U.S. history (excluding the September 11 attacks) occurred when a DC-10 crashed at Chicago’s O’Hare airport killing over 270 people.

1995-Some 2,300 members of the United Rubber Workers, on strike for 10 months against five Bridgestone-Firestone plants, agree to return to work without a contract. They had been fighting demands for 12-hour shifts and wage increases tied to productivity gains.

Birthdays Today-May 24, 2016
Jane Byrne-Chicago Mayor 1979-1983

May 23, 2016

1701 – In London, Captain William Kidd was hanged after being convicted of murder and piracy. 

1785 – Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter that he had invented bifocals. 

1788 – South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify U.S. Constitution. 

1701 – In London, Captain William Kidd was hanged after being convicted of murder and piracy. 

1785 – Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter that he had invented bifocals. 

1788 – South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify U.S. Constitution. 

1900 – Civil War hero Sgt. William H. Carney became the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor, 37 years after the Battle of Fort Wagner. 

1937 – Industrialist John D. Rockefeller died. 

1962 – Joe Pepitone of the New York Yankees set a major league baseball record by hitting two home runs in one inning. 

May 22, 2016

1761 – In Philadelphia, the first life insurance policy was issued in the U.S. 

1849 – Abraham Lincoln received a patent for the floating dry dock. 

1872 – The Amnesty Act restored civil rights to Southerners. 

1891 – The first public motion picture was given in Thomas Edison’s lab. 

1895-Eugene V. Debs imprisoned in Woodstock, Ill., for role in Pullman strike.
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World — the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)

 1906 – The Wright brothers received a patent their flying machine. 

 1909-While white locomotive firemen on the Georgia Railroad strike, Blacks who are hired as replacements are whipped and stoned—not by the union men, but by white citizens outraged that Blacks are being hired over Whites.  The Engineers union threatens to stop work because their members are being affected by the violence.

1920-Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 gives federal workers a pension.

1955 – Jack Benny did his last live network radio broadcast after a run of 23 years. He devoted his time fully to TV. 

 1964-President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the goals of his Great Society social reforms: to bring “an end to poverty and racial injustice” in America.
 
 1967 – “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” premiered on PBS. 

1972 – U.S. President Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit Russia. He met with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. 

1985 – Pete Rose passed Hank Aaron as National League run scoring leader with 2,108. 

1990 – Microsoft released Windows 3.0. 

1997 – Kelly Flinn, the U.S. Air Force’s first female bomber pilot certified for combat, accepted a general discharge. She thereby avoided court-martial on charges of adultery, lying and disobeying an order. 

1998 – A federal judge said that Secret Service agents could be compelled to testify before a grand jury in Monica Lewinsky investigation concerning U.S. President Clinton

2002 – In Birmingham, AL, a jury convicted former Ku Klux Klansman Bobby Frank Cherry of murder in the 1963 church bombing that killed four girls. 

 

May 21, 2016

1819 – Bicycles were first seen in the U.S. in New York City. They were originally known as “swift walkers.” 

1832 – In the U.S., the Democratic Party held its first national convention. 

1881 – The American branch of the Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton. 

1921-Italian activists and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, widely believed to have been framed for murder, go on trial today. They eventually are executed as part of a government campaign against dissidents.

1927 – Charles A. Lindberg completed the first solo nonstop airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The trip began May 20. 

1929 – The first automatic electric stock quotation board was used by Sutro and Company of New York City. 

 1945-The “Little Wagner Act” is signed in Hawaii, guaranteeing pineapple and sugar workers the right to bargain collectively.  After negotiations failed, a successful 79-day strike shut down 33 of the territory’s 34 plantations and brought higher wages and a 40-hour week.

1947 – Joe DiMaggio and five of his New York Yankee teammates were fined $100 because they had not fulfilled contract requirements to do promotional duties for the team. 

1956 – The U.S. exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean over Bikini Atoll. 

1980 – The movie “The Empire Strikes Back” was released. 

1998 – In Miami, FL, five abortion clinics were hit by an butyric acid-attacker.

2004-Nearly 100,000 unionized SBC Communications Inc. workers begin a 4-day strike to protest the local phone giant’s latest contract offer.

May 20, 2016

1506 – In Spain, Christopher Columbus died in poverty.

1830 – The fountain pen was patented by H.D. Hyde.

1873 – Levi Strauss began marketing blue jeans with copper rivets.

1926-The Railway Labor Act takes effect today. It is the first federal legislation protecting workers’ rights to form unions.
slide_9

1926 – The U.S. Congress passed the Air Commerce Act. The act gave the Department of Commerce the right to license pilots and planes.

1927 – Charles Lindbergh took off from New York to cross the Atlantic for Paris aboard his airplane the “Spirit of St. Louis.” The trip took 33 1/2 hours.

1930 – The first airplane was catapulted from a dirigible.

1932 – Amelia Earhart took off to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She became the first woman to achieve the feat.

1933-Some 9,000 rubber workers strike in Akron, Ohio.
5 20 1926

1939 – The first regular air-passenger service across the Atlantic Ocean began with the take-off of the “Yankee Clipper” from Port Washington, New York.

1961 – A white mob attacked the Freedom Riders in Montgomery, AL. The event prompted the federal government to send U.S. marshals.

1993 – The final episode of “Cheers” was aired on NBC-TV.

May 19, 2016

1536 Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII‘s second wife, is beheaded on Tower Green.

1780 Near total darkness descends on New England at noon. No explanation is found

1858 A pro-slavery band led by Charles Hamilton executes unarmed Free State men near Marais des Cygnes on the Kansas-Missouri border

1902 Two hundred sixteen miners die from an explosion and its aftermath at the Fraterville Mine in Anderson County, Tenn. All but three of Fraterville’s adult males were killed. The mine had a reputation for fair contracts and pay—miners were represented by the United Mine Workers—and was considered safe; methane may have leaked in from a nearby mine – 1902470943d0-5dc9-4c0d-8da2-c78b6f8e871e

1920 Shootout in Matewan, W. Va., between striking union miners (led by Police Chief Sid Hatfield) and coal company agents. Ten died, including seven agents – 19200d234765-1ed0-4af2-8d09-9aba5a550af4

1921 Congress sharply curbs immigration, setting a national quota system.

1967 U.S. planes bomb Hanoi for the first time.

Born today
Malcolm X (Malcolm Little), African-American activist

May 18, 2016

In 1765, about one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.

In 1896, the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

 

tumblr_o7dn8sEBZV1rnmfrmo1_1280

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, California.

In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10 on a mission to orbit the moon.

2006-Ten years ago: Visiting one of the busiest crossing sectors between the U.S. and Mexico, President George W. Bush said in Yuma, Arizona, that it made sense to put up fencing along parts of the border but not to block off the entire 2,000-mile length to keep immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally. Prisoners with makeshift weapons battled guards trying to save a detainee pretending to commit suicide at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in what military officials said was a coordinated attack that left six prisoners injured.

 


1912-In what may have been baseball’s first labor strike, the Detroit Tigers refuse to play after team leader Ty Cobb is suspended: he went into the stands and beat a fan who had been heckling him.  Cobb was reinstated and the Tigers went back to work after the team manager’s failed attempt to replace the players with a local college team: their pitcher gave up 24 runs.
 

1979-Amalgamated Meat Cutters union organizers launch a campaign in the nation’s packinghouses, an effort that was to bring representation to 100,000 workers over the following two years – 1917Oklahoma jury finds for the estate of atomic worker Karen Silkwood, orders Kerr-McGee Nuclear Co. to pay $505,000 in actual damages, $10 million in punitive damages for negligence leading to Silkwood’s plutonium contamination.

May 17, 2016

Top Story

Brown 1954

1954 Brown v. Board of Ed is decided

 1792 – The New York Stock Exchange was founded at 70 Wall Street by 24 brokers.

1875 – The first Kentucky Derby was run at Louisville, KY.

1932 – The U.S. Congress changed the name “Porto Rico” to “Puerto Rico.”

1946 – U.S. President Truman seized control of the nation’s railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

1954 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled for school integration in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. The ruling declared that racially segregated schools were inherently unequal.

1980 – Rioting erupted in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie. Eight people were killed in the rioting.

1996 – U.S. President Clinton signed a measure requiring neighborhood notification when sex offenders move in. Megan’s Law was named for 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was raped and killed in 1994.

2004 -Twelve Starbucks baristas in a midtown Manhattan store, declaring they couldn’t live on $7.75 an hour, signed cards demanding representation by the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies – 2004

Music 2012
Donna Summer, queen of disco, dies

 *************************************************************************************************

May 16, 2016

1866 – The U.S. Congress authorized the first 5-cent piece to be minted. 

1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson was acquitted during the Senate impeachment, by one vote. 

1910 – The U.S. Bureau of Mines was authorized by the U.S. Congress. 

1929 – The first Academy Awards were held in Hollywood. 

1934 Minneapolis general strike backs Teamsters, who are striking most of the city’s trucking companies

1938 U.S. Supreme Court issues Mackay decision, which permits the permanent replacement of striking workers. The decision had little impact until Ronald Reagan’s replacement of striking air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1981, a move that signaled anti-union private sector employers that it was OK to do likewise

1948 The United Packinghouse workers of America generated a nationwide strike which the workers shut doe 140 plants around the country after refusing to accept a 9 cents wage increase. Packinghouses included Morrell, Wilson, Armour, Cudahy and others.  

1965 – Spaghetti-O’s were sold for the first time. 

1971 – U.S. postage for a one-ounce first class stamp was increased from 6 to 8 cents. 

1979 Black labor leader and peace activist A. Philip Randolph dies. He was president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and first Black on the AFL-CIO executive board, and a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington

1985 – Michael Jordan was named Rookie of the Year in the NBA

1988 – A report released by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop declared that nicotine was addictive in similar was as heroin and cocaine. 

2000 – U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated to run for U.S. Senator in New York. She was the first U.S. first lady to run for public office. images

***************************************************************************************************

 May 15, 2016

tumblr_o78euoeIDL1rnmfrmo1_1280

Pope Leo XIII issues revolutionary encyclical ‘Rerum novarum’ in defense of workers and the right to organize. Forty years later to the day, Pope Pius XI issues ‘Quadragesimo anno,’ believed by many to be even more radical than Leo XIII’s – 1891

 1906 U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samuel Gompers and other union leaders for supporting a boycott at the Buck Stove and Range Co. in St. Louis, where workers were striking for a 9-hour day. A lower court had forbidden the boycott and sentenced the unionists to prison for refusing to obey the judge’s anti-boycott injunction.
 
1917 The Library Employees’ Union is founded in New York City, the first union of public library workers in the United States. A major focus of the union was the inferior status of women library workers and their low salaries.
 
1920 The first labor bank opens in Washington, D.C., launched by officers of the Machinists. The Locomotive Engineers opened a bank in Cleveland later that year.
 
1942 Death of IWW songwriter T-Bone Slim, New York City.
 
Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitney reports that AFL-CIO President George Meany, Secretary-Treasurer Lane Kirkland and other union officials are among the 60 leading stockholders in the 15,000-acre Punta Cana, Dominican Republic resort. When the partners needed help clearing the land, the Dominican president sent troops to forcibly evict stubborn, impoverished tobacco farmers and fishermen who had lived there for generations, according to Kwitney’s expose – 1973

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

*****************************************************************************************************

 May 14, 2016

1804 The Lewis and Clark expedition set out from St. Louis.

1862 The U.S. Department of Agriculture was created by an act of Congress on this day.

1904 The Olympic Games were held in the United States for the first time, in St. Louis, Missouri.

1911 The Standard Oil Company, headed by John D. Rockefeller, was ordered dissolved by the Supreme Court, under theSherman Antitrust Act.

1930 On a Boeing Air Transport flight between Oakland and Chicago, Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess.
 
1953 Milwaukee brewery workers begin 10-week strike, demanding contracts comparable to East and West Coast workers. The strike was won because Blatz Brewery accepted their demands, but Blatz was ousted from the Brewers Association for “unethical” business methods
(Offensive Bargaining: Negotiating Aggressively In Contract Campaigns: Union negotiators are offered techniques to meet particularly harsh or outrageous employer proposals and tactics, use information requests in ways you never thought of, prevent impasse and force employers to withdraw concessionary demands, bargain for a first contract, and much, much more. If you ever face negotiations with a difficult employer, you need this book.)

abf2a8d7-da34-4fbf-a7f4-6b5a768668ce

1973 Skylab, the United States’ first space station, was launched into orbit.
 
1998 Frank Sinatra died at the age of 82.

*****************************************************************************************************

 May 13, 2016

1888 Slavery is abolished in Brazil.

1893 Western Federation of Miners formed in Butte, Mont.

1909 The Canadian government establishes the Department of Labour. It took the U.S. another four years

1913 Some 10,000 IWW dock workers strike in Philadelphia
30b86b0e-a868-468e-ac7d-4e94f64beba1

1918 The first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were issued to the public. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was inadvertently printed upside-down, making them collector’s items.)

1940 In his first speech as British prime minister, Winston Churchill told Parliament, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

1968 Peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam begin in Paris                                                               

1973 In tennis’ first so-called “Battle of the Sexes,” Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1 in Ramona, California. (Billie Jean King soundly defeated Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in September.)

1980 UAW President Douglas A. Fraser is named to the Chrysler Corp. board of directors, becoming the first union representative ever to sit on the board of a major U.S. corporation

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca (MEH’-met AH’-lee AH’-juh)

In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped a bomb onto the group’s row house; 11 people died in the resulting fire that destroyed 61 homes.

1998 Thousands of yellow cab drivers in New York City go on a 1-day strike in protest of proposed new regulations.

2015 One year ago: The House voted 338-88 to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and replace it with a system to search the data held by telephone companies on a case-by-case basis. (The measure was passed by the Senate, and signed into law by President Barack Obama.) Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final appeals to the jury that would decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as jurors began deliberating whether the Boston Marathon bomber should get life in prison or the death penalty. (The jury voted unanimously for death.)

 

May 12, 2016

1926 The Airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole

1935 Alcoholics Anonymous is founded in Akron, Ohio by “Bill W.,” a stockbroker, and “Dr. Bob S.,” a heart surgeon

May 11, 2016

1858 Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state

1884– Workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company in Illinois went on strike. 

The Pullman Strike was a nationwide railroad strike in the United States on May 11, 1894. It pitted the American Railway Union (ARU) against the Pullman Company, the main railroads, and the federal government of the United States under President Grover Cleveland. The strike and boycott shut down much of the nation’s freight and passenger traffic west of Detroit, Michigan. The conflict began in Pullman, Chicago, on May 11 when nearly 4,000 factory employees of the Pullman Company began a wildcat strike in response to recent reductions in wages.

May 10, 2016

 1869 Transcontinental railroad completed

On this day in 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. No longer would western-bound travelers need to take the long and dangerous journey by wagon train, and the West would surely lose some of its wild charm with the new connection to the civilized East.

Open link: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/transcontinental-railroad-completed

 

1872-Victoria Woodhull becomes first woman nominated for U.S. president.

1924-J. Edgar Hoover is appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

1994-Nelson Mandela is sworn in as South Africa’s first black president.

 

May 9, 2016

1502 – Christopher Columbus left Spain for his final trip to the Western Hemisphere. 

1754 – The first newspaper cartoon in America showed a divided snake “Join or die” in “The Pennsylvania Gazette.” 

1785 – Joseph Bramah patented the beer-pump handle. 

1904 – The Great Western Railway Number 3440 City of Truro became the first railway locomotive to exceed 100 miles per hour. 

1926 – Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett became the first men to fly an airplane over the North Pole. 

1960 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for sale an oral birth-control pill for the first time. 

1994 – Nelson Mandela was chosen to be South Africa’s first black president. 

1996 – In video testimony to a courtroom in Little Rock, AR, U.S. President Clinton insisted that he had nothing to do with a $300,000 loan in the criminal case against his former Whitewater partners. 

2002 – In Bahrain, people were allowed to vote for representatives for the first time in nearly 30 years. Women were allowed to vote for the first time in the country’s history.

May 8, 2016

On May 8, 1884, Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, was born in Lamar, Mo

 

President Harry S. Truman announced in a radio address that World War II had ended in Europe.

1886 Atlanta pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invented the flavor syrup for Coca-Cola.

1958 Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

1970 Construction workers broke up an anti-war protest on New York City’s Wall Street.

1987 Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

2012 Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers became the 16th major league baseball player to hit four home runs in a game.

May 7, 2016

1763 Indian chief Pontiac begins his attack on a British fort in present-day Detroit, Michigan.

1800 Congress divides the Northwest Territory into two parts. The western part will becomes the Indiana Territory and the eastern section remains the Northwest Territory.

1862 Confederate troops strike Union troops at the Battle of Eltham’s Landing in Virginia.

1915 The German submarine U-20 torpedoes the passenger ship Lusitiania, sinking her in 21 minutes with 1,978 people on board.

1942 In the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese and American navies attack each other with carrier-launched warplanes. It is the first time in the history of naval warfare where two fleets fought without seeing each other.Two crucial battles in 1942 marked the turning point of the war in the Pacific

1958 Howard Johnson sets an aircraft altitude record in F-104.

Birthdays

1919 Eva (Evita) Perón, first lady of Argentina.

May 6, 2016

1882 – The U.S. Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. The act barred Chinese immigrants from the U.S. for 10 years. 

1915 – Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run while playing for the Boston Red Sox. 

1937 – The German airship Hindenburg crashed and burned in Lakehurst, NJ. Thirty-six people (of the 97 on board) were killed. 

1941 – Bob Hope gave his first USO show at California’s March Field. 

1960 – U.S. President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960. 

1994 – Former Arkansas state worker Paula Jones filed suit against U.S. President Clinton. The case alleged that he had sexually harassed her in 1991. 

1997 – Four health-care companies agreed to a settlement of $600 million to hemophiliacs who had contracted AIDS from tainted blood between 1978-1985. 

 

 

May 5, 2016

1888
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Founded

13173786_10210022005934881_6930707299867964239_n

The IAM was founded 128 years ago today on May 5, 1888, when Thomas Talbot and 18 other earnest railroad machinists, making only 20 to 25 cents an hour for a 10-hour workday, met secretly in a locomotive pit in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s to many more successful years,better contracts, and improved working conditions for all of our members. By next year I hope that many more workers will be organized into the IAM!
*******************

1494 – Christopher Columbus sighted Jamaica on his second trip to the Western Hemisphere. He named the island Santa Gloria. 

1862 – The Battle of Puebla took place. It is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo Day. 

1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the U.S. 

1901 – The first Catholic mass for night workers was held at the Church of St. Andrew in New York City. 

1917 – Eugene Jacques Bullard becomes the first African-American aviator when he earned his flying certificate with the French Air Service. 

1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space when he made a 15 minute suborbital flight. 

1985 President Ronald Reagan attended a wreath-laying ceremony at a military cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany. The visit drew worldwide condemnation because 49 members of the Waffen SS were buried there

Birthdays

Former AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 82.

1961 The First American in Space

For full story click link below:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-first-american-in-space

May 4, 2016

 

1626 American Indians sell Manhattan Island for $24 in cloth and button.

1932 Public Enemy Number One, Al Capone, was jailed for tax evasion.

1961 13 civil rights activists, dubbed Freedom Riders, begin a bus trip through the South.

1961 Civil Rights activists, called “freedom riders”, left Washington, DC for New Orleans.

1970 Ohio National Guardsmen open fire on student protesters at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine others.

1998 the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, was sentenced to four life terms plus 30 years for his series of bombings that killed 3 and injured 23.

Crime
1886

A riot breaks out in Haymarket Square

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/a-riot-breaks-out-in-haymarket-square

May 3, 2016

1802 – Washington, DC, was incorporated as a city. 

1926 – In Britain, trade unions began a general strike. 

1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable. 

1952 – The first airplane landed at the geographic North Pole. 

1988 – The White House acknowledged that first lady Nancy Reagan had used astrological advice to help schedule her husband’s activities. 

1940

FDR addresses thousands of Democratic women

On this day in 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt welcomes approximately 4,000 women attending a women’s division meeting of the Democratic National Committee to Washington D.C. He and his wife Eleanor’s plans to host the event at the White House, however, had to be modified at the last minute, as they had originally expected only 100 guests.

Click on link below for full story:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fdr-addresses-thousands-of-democratic-women

May 2, 2016

1933 – Hitler banned trade unions in Germany. 

1970 – Student anti-war protesters at Ohio‘s Kent State University burn down the campus ROTC building. The National Guard took control of the campus. 

1974 – Former U.S. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew was disbarred by the Maryland Court of Appeals. 

1994 – Nelson Mandela claimed victory after South Africa’s first democratic elections. 

1933

Loch Ness Monster sighted

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/loch-ness-monster-sighted

May 1, 2016

1867 – Reconstruction in the South began with black voter registration. 

1884 – The construction of the first American 10-story building began in Chicago, IL.

1950 – Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry called Annie Allen. 

 2011 – U.S. President Barack Obama announced that U.S. soldiers had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

World War I
1915

International Congress of Women adopts resolutions

Click on link below for full story:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/international-congress-of-women-adopts-resolutionsJune 18June 25June 25July 2July 17July 17July 17July 17July 23

Updated: July 24, 2017 — 11:00 am
IAM Local 1487 © 2016