An Intense Timeline of Unions

We work in Nez Perce County just outside Lewiston, Idaho along the Clearwater River.  Roughly 1,000 Union Sisters and Brothers work side-by-side to produce.......Paper board, Paper Pulp, Extruded Paper Board, Consumer Tissue Products such as Picnic Napkins, Dinner/Lunch Napkins, Paper Towels, Facial Tissue and Bathroom Tissue.  

We do it all here, from making the pulp for the various paper lines to turning it into paper boards and tissue papers, then into marketable products you might see every day.  Most Items carry the customers name on it.   From Milk and Frozen food carton stock to cigarette carton and drink box stock for many US and International producers.  Brand name Tissue Paper products for many large and small grocery and variety store chains across this great nation of ours.

We currently are in agreement with our employers with a labor contract that is binding through 2016.



DESCRIPTION OF WHAT OCCURRED ON THIS DATE IN UNION HISTORY

1440

Opening of the African slave trade markets

1608

Polish glassmakers open first New World factory – Same immigrants lead first New World strike demanding right to vote.

1619

Slavery introduced into Virginia

1636

Maine indentured servants and fishermen mutiny

1648

Boston shoemakers and coopers form guilds to protect their interests

1661

Virginia indentured servants plot

1663

Ma ryland Indentured Servants' Strike

1675

Boston ship carpenter’s protest

1676

Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia and farmers’ revolt

1677

New York City carters’ strike

1684

New York City Carters' Strike

1712

Carolina slave code enacted to regulate slave life

1724

Carpenter’s Company of Philadelphia created to assist in life quality

1739

Stone Rebellion by slaves in South Carolina

1741

New York City Bakers' Strike

1765

First women workers organization formed -Daughters of Liberty

1766

Green Mountain uprising to protest inequality of political power

1768

Florida Indentured Servants' Revolt, New York City Tailor's Strike

1770

Boston Massacre precipitated by conflict between rope workers and British soldiers

1773

Carpenters lead Boston Tea Party

1774

Hibernia , New Jersey , Ironworks Strike

1778

New York City printers unite to win wage increases

1778

Journeymen printers in New York combine to increase their wages

1778

Printers take concerted action to win a wage increase.

1785

New York City shoemakers strike for three weeks

1786

Shay's Rebellion in western Massachusetts .  Philadelphia printers walk out to gain $6 a week minimum wage

1787

US Constitution counts five slaves as three people for representation

1790

Cabinet and chair makers fight attempt by employers to blacklist unionist. First textile industry opens with every worker under the age of twelve

1791

First building trades strike:  Philly carpenters strike unsuccessfully for 10-hour day.

1792

Philly shoemakers form first union local for collective bargaining

1794

Typographic Society organizes NY printers and strike for higher pay with shorter hours. Shoemakers organize in Philly again and become the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers and push for equal pay for equal hours, Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania

1796

Cabinetmakers go on strike

1797

Philly carpenters go on strike

1799

Cordwainers (shoemakers) go on strike.

 

1800

G. Prosser organizes and leads unsuccessful slave revolt in Richmond . VA

1801

Thomas Jefferson becomes the third president. Because Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr received the same number of electoral votes, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, where Jefferson was elected after six days of balloting and 36 ballots.
January 20: John Marshall is appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court. Under his leadership, the court established the judiciary's right to declare federal and state laws unconstitutional.
March 4: In his inaugural address, Jefferson attempts to allay Federalist fears of a Republican reign of terror by declaring "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists." He pledges a frugal government and subsequently repealed all internal taxes.
April 30: Jefferson purchases Louisiana Territory from Napoleon, acquiring 800,000 square miles for $15 million.

1802

The first hotel in the U.S. opens in Saratoga Springs , N.Y.

1803

February 24: The Supreme Court establishes the principle of judicial review in the case of Marbury v. Madison . For the first time, the court rules a federal law unconstitutional.

1804

January 1: Jean Jacques Dessalines proclaims Haiti 's independence.
May 14: The Lewis and Clark Expedition sets out from St. Louis . The party will explore 8000 miles along the Missouri and Columbia Rivers as far as the Pacific, returning in 1806.
July 11: Federalist Alexander Hamilton is killed in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. Indicted by New Jersey for murder, Burr flees to South Carolina and Georgia until the indictment is quashed.

1805

Journeymen Cordwainers' union in New York City include closed shop provision in its constitution

1805

April 27: "To the Shores of Tripoli ." William Eaton and a small force of Marines and Arab mercenaries march 500 miles from Egypt to capture Tripoli 's port of Derna . Tripoli , which had enslaved American seamen, ended its demands for tribute.

1806

Philly Cordwainers (shoemakers tried for criminal conspiracy while striking for higher wages

1806

Aaron Burr is charged with treason for plotting to set up a separate nation on lands claimed by the United States and Spain . At a trial presided over by John Marshall, Burr is acquitted.
July 15: While exploring the southern portion of the Louisiana Purchase , Zebulon Pike sees the famous peak that now bears his name.

1807

June 22: The British frigate Leopard fires on the American warship Chesapeake , killing three Americans and forcibly removing four alleged British navy deserters.

September 4: Robert Fulton sails his steamship the Clermont on the Hudson River , inaugurating a new era of steam-powered transportation.
December 22: The Embargo of 1807 prohibits U.S. exports to Britain and France to protest interference with American shipping. In effect for 18 months, it produced smuggling and unemployment.

1808

Federal law passed to prohibit importation of slaves

1808

January 1: Congress prohibits the African slave trade.
March 1: The Non-Intercourse Act prohibits imports from Britain and France and bans their ships from U.S. ports.

1810

U.S. population: 7,239,881.
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, originally founded by the Congregationalist Church, begins to send Protestant missionaries to foreign countries and Indian tribes.May 1: Macon's Bill No. 2, which replaces the Non-Intercourse Act, reopens trade with Britain and France, but provides that if either country agrees to respect American shipping, the U.S. will cut off trade with the other.
October 27: Following a revolt by American settlers in West Florida in September, the U.S. annexes the region.

1811

January: A slave insurrection in Louisiana results in the deaths of some 75 slaves.
November 7: William Henry Harrison and 800 soldiers defeat Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee prophet, and destroy Prophetstown.

1812

The word "gerrymander" enters the politics after the Massachusetts Republicans reapportion the state's Senate districts. One district resembles a salamander, or, as a Federalist put it, a gerrymander (after Gov. Elbridge Gerry).
June 18: By a vote of 79-49 in the House and 19-13 in the Senate, the United States declares war against Britain over interference with American shipping and impressments of American seamen. Two days earlier, the British had repealed trade restrictions, but news of the British action did not reach the United States until August 12.

1813

September 10: Lieut. Oliver Hazzard Perry announces his naval victory at the battle of Lake Erie with the famous words: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."
October 5: The Indian leader Tecumseh is killed at the battle of the Thames in Canada , ending his hopes for an Indian confederation resisting American expansion.

1814

Power loom invented which makes weaving a factory operation

1814

Francis Cabot Lowell opens the first U.S. factory able to convert raw cotton into cloth using power machinery.
May 27: The Creek Chief Red Eagle surrenders to General Andrew Jackson after the battle of Horse Shoe Bend, opening southern and western Alabama to white settlement.
August 24: The British avenge an American raid on York , Ontario (now Toronto ), the capital of Upper Canada , by setting fire to the White House and the Capitol.
September 14: Lawyer Francis Scott Key, detained on a British warship, writes "The Star-Spangled Banner," which was destined to become the country's national anthem.
December 15-January 1815: Hartford Convention. Federalists call for the repeal of the Three-Fifths compromise; requiring a two-thirds vote for admission of new states and declarations of war; limiting presidents to one term; and forbidding successive presidents to come from the same state.
December 24: A peace treaty ending the War of 1812 is signed at Ghent , Belgium .

1815

January 8: Unaware of a peace treaty signed two weeks earlier, General Andrew Jackson stops a British attack at the Battle of New Orleans. British forces suffer 2036 casualties; U.S. forces suffer 8 killed and 13 wounded.
July 3: Algiers releases American captives and agrees to end its demand for tribute payments.

1816

Richard Allen forms the African Methodist Episcopal Church
The American Bible Society is founded.
April 10: Congress charters the Second Bank of the United States .
December: The American Colonization Society was established to transport free blacks to Africa .

1817

NY legislates law-freeing slaves born before 4 July 1799

1817

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet founds a free public school for the deaf in Hartford , Conn.
April 28-29: The Rush-Bagot Convention begins the process of disarmament along the U.S. Canadian boundary.
July 4: Construction of the Erie Canal begins. The canal, designed to connect the Great Lakes to Albany , officially opened in 1825.
December 27: Andrew Jackson marches into Florida in order to stop raids by Indians, fugitive slaves, and white outlaws on American territory.

1819

Panic causes six-year depression. Tariffs imposed

1819

U.S. population: 9,638,453.
The financial Panic of 1819, the country's first major economic depression, produces political division and calls for the democratization of state constitutions and an end to imprisonment for debt.
McCulloch v. Maryland . The Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States and rules that a state cannot tax an agency authorized by the federal government.
Dartmouth v. Woodward. The Supreme Court bars states from unilaterally altering contracts.
William Ellery Channing's "Unitarian Christianity" sermon lays out the principles of liberal Protestantism.
February 13: A Firebell in the Night. A political crisis arises when Rep. James Tallmadge of N.Y. proposes an amendment to a bill granting statehood to Missouri . He proposes that all slave children be freed when they reach their 25th birthday and that any further introduction of slaves be barred.

1820

Mass begins industrial organization. Missouri compromise legislated

1820

U.S. population: 9,638,453. English writer Sydney Smith asks: "In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue?" March 3: The Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery north of 36 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude. Missouri is admitted as a slave state, and Maine (up to then a part of Massachusetts ) is admitted as a free state . April 24: The Land Act of 1820 reduces the price of land to $1.25 an acre for a minimum of 80 acres (down from $1.64 per acre for a minimum of 160 acres).

1821

Emma Hart Willard opens the Troy Female Seminary, the first institution in the United States to offer a high school education for girls. Benjamin Lundy publishes an early antislavery newspaper, The Genius of Universal Emancipation.

1822

Denmark Vesey leads a slave rebellion in South Carolina

1822

Stephen F. Austin establishes an American colony in Texas .
The American Colonization Society founds Liberia as a colony for free blacks from the United States .
May-June: Denmark Vesey, a former slave who had purchased his freedom after winning a lottery, organizes an insurrection in Charleston , S.C. After several slaves informed their masters of the plot, 131 blacks were arrested and 35 were hanged.

1823

Hatters in NYC tried & convicted of conspiracy

1823

December 2: Responding to a fear that Russia would seize control of the Pacific Coast and that European powers would assist Spain in reclaiming its New World colonies, President James Monroe announces what has become known as the Monroe Doctrine. He declares that the Western Hemisphere is closed to further European colonization and threatens to use force to stop further European interventions in the Americas .

1824

Women join men in strike in Pawtucket , RI for Textile weaver’s issues

1824

"The Red Harlot of Infidelity," Frances Wright, arrives from Scotland , and lectures publicly on birth control, women's rights, and abolition.

1825

United Tailoresses organize in NY- first all female trade union organization strike

1825

January 3: In Indiana , Robert Owen establishes New Harmony , the first secular utopian community.

1826

The Anti-Masonic Party was founded after William Morgan of Batavia , N.Y. , was kidnapped and presumably murdered after he threatened to publish a book revealing the secrets of the Masonic Order.
July 4: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

1827

Mechanic’s Union of Trade Associations, made up of skilled craftsmen in different trades - first city central federation.  Formed in PA. Philly. Tailors tried for conspiracy and Philadelphia Carpenters' Strike

1827

Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm publish the first African American newspapers, Freedom's Journal.
Massachusetts enacts the first law requiring every community with 500 or more families to establish a high school.

1828

Depression begins.  Workingman’s Party, the world's first labor party, put up slates for city and state officers and political platforms (opposition to banks, abolition of imprisonment for debt, right to sue for wages owed, abolition of sweatshops, 10 hour day, restrictions on child labor, free and equal public education and abolition of prison labor) was formed in Philly. First all women factory strike in NH (mill workers). Philly Mechanic’s Union of Trade Associations looses strike for 10-hour workday.  Paterson , New Jersey , Textile Strike

1829

NY forms Workingman’s Party.  Carpenter Ebenezer Ford becomes the first trade unionist elected to public office in New York

 

David Walker, a free black living in Boston , issues his militant Appeal, demanding the abolition of slavery and an end to racial discrimination.
April 6: Mexico forbids further U.S. immigration into Texas and reconfirms its constitutional prohibition on slavery.

1830’s

Children under 16 make up 1/3 of New England workforce

 

U.S. population: 12,866,020.
January 27: " Liberty and Union , now and forever, one and inseparable!" In his celebrated debate with Sen. Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina over federal land policy, Sen. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts rejected the idea that the states could nullify federal laws.
April 6: Joseph Smith founds the Mormon Church.
April 13: At a Jefferson day dinner, Jackson expresses his opposition to the doctrine of nullification, proposing a toast: "Our Union : It must be preserved." Vice President John C. Calhoun responded: "The Union , next to our liberty, most dear!"
May 28: President Jackson signs the Indian Removal Acts, which promises financial compensation to Indian tribes that agree to resettle on lands west of the Mississippi River .
September 25: The first national Negro convention is held in Philadelphia .

1831

New England Association of Farmers, Mechanics and other Workingmen formed.  Nat Turner leads slave revolt in Virginia . 1600 taloresses strike for two months.

 

January 1: A 25-year-old Bostonian, William Lloyd Garrison, publishes the first issue of the Liberator, the first publication dedicated to immediate emancipation of slaves without compensation to their owners. He promises: "I will not equivocate--I will not excuse--I will not retreat a single inch--AND I WILL BE HEARD." August: William Miller predicts that the second coming of Christ was imminent and that "cleansing by fire" would occur between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. August 21: Nat Turner, a Baptist preacher, leads a slave insurrection in southern Virginia , which provokes a debate in the Virginia legislature about whether slavery should be abolished.

1832

Boston Ship Carpenters' Ten Hour Strike

 

John Kaspar Spurzheim of Vienna introduces phrenology into America . Phrenology, an early example of the science of human behavior, taught that a person's character could be determined by studying the shape of a person's skull.

January 21: Sen. William Marcy of New York defends the Spoils System of party patronage with the phrase, "To the victor belong the spoils."

April 6: The Black Hawk War begins when Black Hawk, chief of the Sauk Indians, crosses the Mississippi River to plant corn on the tribe's old fields in Illinois . The Sauks had ceded their lands in exchange for new land in Iowa , but were unable to support themselves there. Capt. Abraham Lincoln and Lieut. Jefferson Davis took part in the conflict. The Sauk surrendered in August, after many older men, women, and children were massacred in Wisconsin while carrying white flags.

August: The United States 's first school for the blind opens under the direction of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe.

November 24: South Carolina declares the federal tariff null and void.

December 28: John C. Calhoun becomes the first Vice President after to resign, after he is elected as a Senator from South Carolina .

1833

Workingwomen’s Ticket formed. NY Carpenter’s strike.  Shoebinders' Protest begins in Lynn , Massachusetts .  Manayunk , Pennsylvania , Textile Strike.  New York City Carpenters' Strike

 

Samuel Colt introduces the "six-shooter," the first handgun with a revolving barrel.  Massachusetts becomes the last state to end tax support for churches.  

March 2: President Andrew Jackson signs Henry Clay's compromise Tariff of 1833, which reduces duties on imported goods, and the Force Act, authorizing him to use military force enforce the federal tariff.
March 15: South Carolina revokes its Ordinance of Nullification. Three days later, it nullifies the Force Act.
September 23: Andrew Jackson fires his Secretary of the Treasury for refusing to withdraw government deposits from the Second Bank of the United States and place them in state banks.
December 3: The first coeducational college in the United States , Oberlin, opens, with a class of 29 men and 15 women. In 1835, Oberlin became the first college to admit African Americans.
December 4: The American Anti-Slavery Society is founded in Philadelphia .

1834

National Trades Union formed by workers in 5 cities in NYC; but it was dissolved during the financial decline in 1837.  Factory Girl's Association formed. 800 women strike in NH.  Lowell , Massachusetts , Mill Women's Strike.  Manayunk , Pennsylvania , Textile Strike

 

Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overthrows Mexico 's constitutional government.
March 28: The U.S. Senate votes to censure Andrew Jackson for removing government deposits from the Bank of the United States , accusing the President of having "assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws." The Senate expunged the censure in 1837.

1835

Shoemakers tried and convicted of treason. Paterson , NJ children strike silk mills.  Ten-Hour (workday) Movement among skilled workers is formed.   10,000 workers in Philadelphia went on strike for the 10 hour day and won it for municipal employees.

 

American colonists in Texas revolt against Mexican rule.
January: For the only time in American history, the United States was free from debt; the Treasury had a surplus of $400,000.
January 30: The first attempt on the life of a president occurs. In the U.S. Capitol, Richard Lawrence fired two pistols at the president at point blank range. Miraculously, both pistols misfire. Lawrence was later found to be insane.
July 8: The Liberty Bell cracks as it tolls the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.
October 21: A Boston crowd mobs William Lloyd Garrison and almost lynches him. He is placed in a jail for his own safety.

1836

Equal Rights Party formed. 1st national union formed for a specific trade - National Cooperative Association of Cordwainers unions is formed in New York City . NY Tailor’s strike.  Philadelphia Bookbinders' Strike.  Lowell , Massachusetts , Mill Women's Strike.  Unions show growth since 1827.

 

The viciously anti-Catholic novel appears, Awful Disclosure of Maria Monk, as Exhibited in a Narrative of Her Suffering during a Residence of Five Years as a Novice, and Two Years as a Black Nun, in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery at Montreal .
March 2: Texas declares its independence from Mexico .
March 6: Mexican troops storm the Texans at the Alamo, a former San Antonio mission defended by 182 Texans, including the frontier heroes David Crockett and James Bowie. The Alamo 's defenders included a number of Tejanos.
March 27: Santa Anna orders 330 Texas prisoners executed at Goliad.
April 21: East of present-day Houston , Gen. Sam Houston's troops defeat the Mexican Army and capture Santa Anna, forcing him to recognize Texas independence.
May 25: The House of Representatives adopts the Gag Rule, voting to table all antislavery petitions without discussion.
July 4: Marcus and Narcissa Prentiss Whitman and Henry H. and Eliza Hart Spalding establish a mission near present-day Walla Walla , Washington .
July 11: The Treasury Department issues the Species Circular, requiring payment in gold or silver for public lands. President Jackson's critics blamed the Species Circular for the Panic of 1837.

1837

Most union’s buckle in panic over conspiracy trials. Depression begins. 

 

John Deere introduces a plow with a steel blade.
March: The Panic of 1837 begins and lasts until 1843.
August 31: Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers his "American Scholar" address, in which he calls for a distinctive national literature rooted in American experience.
November 7: Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy becomes the abolitionist movement's first martyr when he is murdered by a proslavery mob in Alton , Illinois , across from slaveholding St. Louis .
November: Mary Lyon opens the first woman's college, Mount Holyoke , in South Hadley , Massachusetts .

1838

1/3 of nation’s workers unemployed. 

 

Samuel F.B. Mores develops an alphabet of dots and dashes, making communication with the telegraph possible.
December: 14,000 Cherokees are forcibly removed from western Georgia and southeastern Tennessee and marched down the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma . Some 4,000 died en route.

1839

Enslaved Africans aboard the Spanish ship L'Amistad revolt. After their capture off Long Island, the Van Buren administration tried to have the captives returned to Spain . In 1841, the Supreme Court ruled that the Amistad captives had been illegally enslaved and set them free.

 

1840

President Martin Van Buren institutes 10-hour workday for federal workers. 

 

U.S. population: 17,069,453.
March 31: President Martin Van Buren institutes a 10-hour work day for federal employees.

1841

The first wagon train arrives in California .
March: Dorothea Dix is shocked when she enters the East Cambridge , Mass. , House of Correction and observes the ill-treatment of the mentally ill. After a two-year investigation, she submits a Memorial to the Massachusetts legislation, describing the mentally ill confined "in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens--chained naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience."
April 1: Brook Farm, a utopian community near Boston inspired by American Transcendentalism, seeks to combine manual labor and intellectual pursuits.
April 4: President William Henry Harrison dies after 30 days in office.
October 27: Creole Affair. Slaves on the brig Creole revolt and sail to the Bahamas . Britain refused to return the slaves but the U.S. won financial compensation.

1842

MA Supreme court, in Commonwealth v. Hunt, rules labor unions, as such,  are not illegal conspiracies. CT & MA pass laws prohibiting children for working longer than 10 hours per day. Anthracite Coal miners strike. 

 

The Massachusetts Supreme Court upholds the right of workers to organize in the case of Commonwealth v. Hunt. May: The Dorr War. To protest Rhode Island 's outdated charter of 1663 which restricted voting rights to property holders and their oldest sons, Thomas Dorr and his supporters unsuccessfully attempted to capture the armory at Providence . A new Constitution was subsequently adopted that granted the vote to citizens who paid a $1 poll tax or owned at least $134 in real estate.

1843

August 23: Mexico warns that American annexation of Texas would be "equivalent to a declaration of war against the Mexican government."

1844

Lowell Female Labor Reform Association formed. 

 

May 3: Rioting erupts in Philadelphia when anti-Catholic "Native Americans" try to hold a street meeting in the heavily Irish Kensington district. May 24: Samuel F.B. Morse sends the first message by telegraph: "What hath God wrought." He sent the message from Washington to Baltimore . June 27: A mob storms a Carthage , Ill. , jail, and murders Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and his brother. Smith was being held for destroying the printing press of a dissident who had attacked the practice of polygamy. December 3: The House of Representatives lifts the Gag Rule.

1845

The Baptist Church splits over the slavery issue. July: John L. O'Sullivan, the editor of the U.S. Magazine and Democratic Review, declares that the United States has a "manifest destiny" to occupy the North American continent. Manifest destiny became one of the most influential slogans in American history. August: A blight devastates the Irish potato crop. Over 1 million people died and 2 million emigrated, 1.3 million to the United States . December 29: Texas is admitted to the Union as a slave state.

1846

January: President James K. Polk orders Gen. Zachary Taylor to march southward from Corpus Christi and occupy position near the Rio Grande River , 150 miles south of the Texas border as defined by the Spanish and Mexican authorities. May 4: Michigan becomes the first state to abolish capital punishment. May 13: President Polk tells Congress that Mexico has "invaded our territory and shed American blood on American soil." Congress then declares war on Mexico . June 15: The United States accepts the 49th parallel as the boundary between the United States and Canada west of the Great Lakes . July 23: Henry David Thoreau, living in a cabin at Walden Pond, near Concord , Mass. , was arrested for refusing to pay a $1 poll tax, his protest against slavery and the Mexican War.
This incident that inspired him to write the essay Civil Disobedience, in which he argued in behalf of
non-violent protest against unjust government policies. He wrote: "Any man more right than his neighbor constitutes a majority of one." August: Rep. David Wilmot submits an amendment to a military appropriations bill prohibiting slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico . The proviso passes the house twice but is defeated in the Senate. October: A party of pioneers headed by George Donner is trapped in the Sierras by early snows. In April 1847, 47 survivors of the original party of 82 finally reached California .

1847

New Hampshire passes first state law fixing ten hours as the legal workday. 

 

July 24: The first Mormons reach the Great Salt Lake .
September 13-14: Mexico City falls to a U.S. army under Gen. Winfield Scott.

1848

PA enacts child labor law-making 12 the youngest legal age for commercial work. PA passes law mandating 10-hour day. Women mill workers riot for enforcement of laws

 

Alexander T. Stewart opens the first department store on Broadway in New York .  The Free Soil party is formed, opposing the expansion of slavery into the western territories.   New York State grants married women the right to own property apart from their husbands.    January 24: James Marshall discovers gold at John Sutter's sawmill near Sacramento , Calif. February 2: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexico War. The American negotiator, Nicholas Trist, had been ordered home four months earlier, but had continued the negotiations. The United States acquired California , Nevada , Utah , New Mexico , and parts of Arizona , Colorado , Kansas and Wyoming for $15 million and assumption of $3.25 million in debts owned by Mexico to Americans. July 19-20: The first Woman's Rights Convention in history is held in Seneca Falls , New York . The convention called for women's suffrage. Only two participants lived to see the 19th amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.

1849

80,000 people migrate to California ; about 55,000 overland and 25,000 by sea. Only about 700 are women.  Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the United States ' first women to receive a medical degree.

1850

Compromise of 1850 perpetuates slavery.  New York City Tailors' Strike

 

U.S. population: 23,191,876.
The U.S. navy and merchant marine outlaw flogging.
August: Congress adopts the Compromise of 1850, which admits California to the Union as a free state , but does not forbid slavery in other territories acquired from Mexico . It also prohibits the sale of slaves in Washington , D.C. and includes a strict law requiring the return of runaway slaves to their masters.
October 23-24: The first national women's rights convention, held in Worcester , Mass. , attracts delegates from nine states.

1851

Feb. 18: A Boston crowd rescues Shadrack, a fugitive slave, from court custody.
June 2: Maine adopts a law prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, leading future prohibition statutes to be called Maine laws.

1852

Typographical union founded - first national workers’ union still present today (one source says:  the organization was destroyed during the depression of 1873). 1st state law in Ohio limits workingwomen to 10-hour days.

 

Mar. 20: Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin, which sells 300,000 copies in a year and a million copies in 16 months. When Stowe met President Lincoln at the White House, he reportedly asked her: "Is this the little woman whose book made such a great war?"

1853

Dec. 30: Gadsden Purchase . Mexico sells the United States 29,640 square miles of territory south of the Gila River (in what is now southern Arizona and New Mexico ) for $10 million.

1854

Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison publicly burns a copy of the Constitution, calling it "a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell."  Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden, which is based on his experiences living beside Walden Pond near Concord , Mass. From July 1845 to September 1847. "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation," he writes.
Jan. 23: Sen. Stephen Douglas introduces the Kansas Nebraska Act, which repeals the Missouri Compromises and opens Kansas and Nebraska to white settlement.
Feb. 4: Alvan Bovay, a Ripon, Wisc., attorney, proposes that opponents of slavery organize a new political party, the Republican party.
Mar. 31: Commodore Matthew C. Perry negotiates the Treaty of Kanagawa, opening up Japan to the West.
Apr. 26: Eli Thayer founds the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society to encourage opponents of slavery to move to Kansas .
June 2: In Boston , the U.S. government returns Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave, to slavery.
Oct. 18: Ostend Manifesto. American ministers James Buchanan, John Y. Mason, and Pierre Soule, meeting in Belgium , urge the United States to seize Cuba militarily if Spain refuses to sell the island. Many Northerners regarded this as a plot to extend slavery.

1855

US Labor Leader, Eugene V. Debs, was born. 

 

Walt Whitman publishes Leaves of Grass.
Abraham Lincoln writes: "Our progress in degeneracy appears to me pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal except Negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty to Russia , for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."
Mar. 30: Pro-slavery forces win the territorial elections in Kansas . Some 6000 votes are cast even though only 2000 voters are registered, many by pro-slavery "border ruffians" from Missouri . The pro-slavery government passes laws imposing the death penalty for aiding a fugitive slave and two years hard labor for questioning the legality of slavery. Antislavery forces respond by setting up an opposing government in Topeka .

1856

May 19: Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts denounces "The Crime Against Kansas," which he describes as the rape of a virgin territory by pro-slavery forces. In his speech, Sumner accuses a South Carolina Senator of taking "the harlot Slavery" for his mistress."
May 21: The "Sack of Lawrence ." Pro-slavery forces in Kansas burn a hotel and other buildings in Lawrence , Kansas .
May 22: Sen. Butler's nephew, Representative Preston Brooks, beats Sen. Sumner with a cane, leaving him disabled for three years.
May 25: In reprisal for the "Sack of Lawrence" and the attack on Sumner, John Brown and six companions murder five pro-slavery men at Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas . A war of reprisals left 200 dead in "Bleeding Kansas."

1957

Mar. 6: In the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford , the Supreme Court rules that the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights were not intended to apply to African Americans and that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. The decision also denied Congress and territorial legislatures the right to exclude slavery from the western territories.
Mar. 23: Elisha Otis installs the first passenger elevator in a New York department store.
Aug. 24: The Financial Panic of 1857 begins; 4,932 businesses fail by year's end.

1858

June 16: Abraham Lincoln accepts the Republican nomination for US Senate with the famous phrase, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Aug. 21 to Oct. 15: Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, candidates for the US Senate from Illinois , hold seven debates. The Democratic majority in the Illinois legislature reelected Douglas to the Senate.
Oct. 25: Senator William Seward of New York declares that there is an "irrepressible conflict" between the free North and the slave South.

1859

Iron Molder’s International union formed. 

 

Daniel Decatur Emmett, a Northerner from Ohio , composes Dixie for a New York minstrel show.
May 12: A commercial convention in Vicksburg , Miss. , calls for the African slave trade to be reopened.
Aug. 27: "Colonel" Edwin L. Drake strikes oil at Titusville , Pa. This was the first deliberate attempt to drill for oil underground.
Oct. 16: John Brown and some 21 followers seize the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry , Va. He is taken prisoner two days later, US Marines, led by Col. Robert E. Lee.
Oct. 31: Refusing to plead insanity as a defense, John Brown is put on trial and is convicted of treason, criminal conspiracy, and murder. He is hanged Dec. 2. Ralph Waldo Emerson hails Brown as a "new saint" who "will make the gallows glorious like the cross."

1860

Successful New England shoemaker’s strike (20000 involved).  The Pemberton Mill collapsed, burying 670 workers with hundreds killed and many more injured.   2 million union members.

 

US population: 31,443,321.
Publisher Erastus Beadle issues the first dime novels, which actually sell for a nickel.
Apr. 3: The Pony Express inaugurates overland mail service between St. Joseph , Mo. , and Sacramento , Calif.
Apr. 23: Southern delegates walk out of the Democratic National Convention in Charleston , S.C. The convention adjourns without nominating a presidential candidate.
June 18-23: Northern Democrats, convening in Baltimore , nominate Stephen Douglas for the presidency. On June 28, Southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckinridge as their presidential candidate.
Nov. 6: Abraham Lincoln tops a four-candidate field to be elected president. Although he received less than 40 percent of the vote, and no votes in the South, he won an overwhelming Electoral College victory.
Dec. 20: South Carolina , voting 169-0, secedes from the Union .

1861

Civil War begins. American Miner’s Association (First national coal miner’s union) formed in St. Louis , MO.  

 

Yale University confers the U.S. 's first Ph.D.
Jan. 9: South Carolina blocks a federal ship, the Star of the West, from resupplying Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor.
Feb. 4: Representatives from six seceding states adopt a Confederate constitution in Montgomery , Ala. Five days later, they elect Jefferson Davis, a former US Senator from Mississippi , the president of the Confederate States of America .
Apr. 12: At 4:30 a.m., Confederate guns fire on Fort Sumter , a federal installation in South Carolina 's Charleston harbor. The fort surrendered after 34 hours of bombardment.
Apr. 19: President Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports.
July 18: At the first battle of Bull Run, near Manassass , Va. , Confederate forces rout a Union army.
Aug. 5: To help finance the Civil War, Congress enacts taxes on real estate and personal income.
Oct. 24: President Abraham Lincoln receives the first transcontinental telegraph message.
Nov. 7: Union forces capture Port Royal Island on the South Carolina coast

1862

Homestead Act passed in Congress

 

The Morrill Land Grant Act gives each state 30,000 acres per member of Congress to be used to create colleges of agriculture and mechanical arts. 69 land grant colleges were established on 13 million acres.
Mar. 9: The first battle between ironclad warships takes place off Hampton Roads, Va. , where the Union 's Monitor and the Confederate's Merrimac fight to a draw.
May 1: Capt. David G. Farragut captures New Orleans .
May 20: President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, giving settlers title to 160 acres if they worked the land for five years. By 1890, 375,000 homesteaders received 48 million acres.
June 1: Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is appointed commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.
July: General David Hunter organizes the first black regiment, the First Carolina.
July 22: President Lincoln tells his cabinet that he intends to issue an emancipation proclamation, but agrees to wait for a military victory so that this will not appear to be an act of desperation.
Aug. 18: A Sioux uprising begins in Minnesota after the government fails to pay cash annuities agreed to under treaty. About a thousand white settlers die before the Sioux are defeated in September.
Sept. 17: Union troops under Gen. George McClellan halt Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North at the battle of Antietam in western Maryland .
Sept. 22: President Lincoln issues his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that on Jan. 1, 1863 slaves in areas still in rebellion would be declared free.
Dec. 17: Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issues his notorious Gen. Order #11, which expels Jews from his department. The order was immediately rescinded by Pres. Lincoln.

1863

Emancipation Proclamation signed, frees the slaves. Brotherhood of Locomotive engineers founded

 

Congress authorizes a standard track width for railroads: 4' 8 1/2".
Jan. 1: President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in areas in rebellion (excluding certain parts of Louisiana and Virginia ). The Proclamation immediately freed slaves in parts of Florida , Louisiana , and South Carolina .
Feb. 25: Congress passes the National Banking Act, establishing nationally-chartered banks.
Mar. 3: Congress requires all males between 20 and 45 register for military service. Draftees could be exempted from service by paying $300 or providing a substitute.
July 3-4: The Battle of Gettysburg . In an effort to spur European intervention, Gen. Robert E. Lee and his army invade the North. By accident, Lee's forces encounter George G. Meade's troops at Gettysburg , Pa. , leading to the largest battle in the western hemisphere. Confederate forces suffered 30,000 casualties; Union troops, 25,000. On July 5, Lee's army retreated across the Potomac River , and was unable to take the offensive again.
July 5: A Confederate army at Vicksburg surrenders to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River . More than 29,000 Confederate troops surrender.
July 11-14: The New York City Draft Riots. Four days of rioting leave a thousand people dead or wounded before troops brought from Gettysburg restore order.
Aug. 21: Quantrill's Raiders, which includes Frank and Jesse James, attack Lawrence , Kansas , burning 185 buildings.
Oct.: President Lincoln proclaims the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
Nov. 19: At a ceremony marking the dedication of a battlefield cemetery delivers the Gettysburg Address.

1864

Cigar Maker’s Union formed. Contract Labor Law upheld allowing wages to be held back for importing immigrant labor used as strike breakers

 

Mar. 10: Ulysses S. Grant assumes command of the Union army.
Apr. 12: At Fort Pillow , Tenn. , Confederate Gen. Nathan Forrest's cavalry massacres African American soldiers after they had surrendered.
July 30: The Battle of the Crater. At Petersburg , Va. , Union troops dig a 586' tunnel underneath Confederate Lines and fill it with 8,000 lbs. of gunpowder.
Aug. 5: At the battle of Mobile Bay , Ala. , Union Adm. David Farragut, declaring "Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead!" defeats a Confederate fleet. The torpedoes were floating casks of gunpowder with contact fuses.
Nov. 8: Pres. Lincoln defeats Democratic candidate George B. McClellan.
Nov. 29: At dawn, some 700 Colorado volunteers led by Col. John Chivington attack a camp of 500 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians who were flying an American flag and a white flag of truce. By nightfall, at least 150 Indians, mostly women and children, had been killed and their body parts taken as trophies.

1865

16th Amendment abolishes slavery. 8 Hour League formed

 

Mar. 3: Congress establishes the Freedman's Bureau.
Mar. 13: The Confederacy decides to permit slaves to serve in the military.
Apr. 9: Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Va.
Apr. 14: On Good Friday, John Wilkes Booth shoots President Abraham Lincoln at Washington 's Ford's Theater. As he leaps to the stage (breaking a shinbone), Booth shouts, "Sic Semper Tyrannis (Thus Always to Tyrants)." Lincoln died the next morning. Andrew Johnson becomes the 17th president.
Nov. 10: Confederate Capt. Henry Wirz, commandant of Andersonville , Ga. , prison camp, is hanged for war crimes. He is accused of ordering prisoners shot on sight, of sending bloodhounds after escaped prisoners, and injecting prisoners with deadly vaccines.
Dec. 18: The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution abolishes slavery.
Dec. 24: The Ku Klux Klan is founded in Pulaski, Tenn. Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest is appointed the first Grand Wizard.

1866

The National Labor Union formed by printers, machinists and stone cutters with a goal of a cooperative society.  Dissolved during the depression of 1873. Molder’s Lockout occurs

 

The first big cattle drive takes place when cowboys drive 260,000 head from Texas to Kansans , Missouri , and Iowa .
The first Young Woman's Christian Association in the US opens in Boston .
Apr. 9: Congress passes the Civil Rights Act over President Andrew Johnson's veto, granting citizenship and civil rights to all persons born in the United States (except Indians) and providing for the punishment of those who violate those rights.

1867

Knights of St. Crispin  - a union of factory workers founded to represent shoe industry workers. General strike for 8-hour day in Chicago .  Massachusetts institutes the first factory inspections for safety hazards.

 

The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, the first organization of American farmers, is founded.
Mar. 2: The first Reconstruction Act imposes martial law on the southern states, splits them into five military districts, and provides for the restoration of civil government when they ratify the 14th Amendment.
Mar. 2: Congress passes the Tenure of Office Act, which denies the president to remove officials who had been appointed with the Senate's consent.
Mar. 23: The second Reconstruction Act, passed over President Johnson's veto, provides for the registration of all qualified voters.
Mar. 30: "Seward's Icebox." Russia sells Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million, or less than 2 cents an acre.
July 19: The third Reconstruction Act requires the southern states to ratify the 15th Amendment before they are readmitted to the Union .

1868

Anthracite Coal strike. Federal 8 hour work law passed only for government laborers, workmen, and mechanics. First state (MA) creates Labor Bureau

 

Feb. 24: The House of Representatives votes to impeach President Andrew Johnson in part for violating the Tenure of Office Act, which forbid him to dismiss a cabinet member without congressional approval. The Senate trial lasted 11 and a half weeks. On the major charges, the Senate voted 35-19 for conviction, one vote short of the 2/3s vote required for removal from office.
June 25: Congress enacts an 8-hour workday for workers employed by the government.
July 28: The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States and guarantees due process and equal protection of the laws. It serves as the basis for applying the rights specified in the US Constitution to the states.
Dec. 25: President Johnson grants amnesty to those who had participated in "insurrection or rebellion" against the United States .

1869

Colored National Labor Union formed (only open to blacks and women). Knights of Labor founded in Philly, formed to abolish the wage system through education, legislation and workers cooperation (a union of everyone except lawyers, bankers, and bartenders) 1879 - 20,000 members.. Collar Laundress strike in Troy , NY . Daughters of St. Crispin form (1st national female union).  179 workers burned to death in the Avondale Mine in Luzerne County , Pa. because the mine owners had refused to build an escape exit.

 

Jan.: When Comanche Chief Toch-a-way informs Gen. Philip H. Sheridan that he is a "good Indian," Sheridan reportedly replied: "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."
May 10: A golden spike is driven into a railroad tie at Promontory Point , Utah , completing the transcontinental railroad. Built in just over three years by 20,000 workers, it had 1,775 miles of track. The railroad's promoters received 23 million acres of land and $64 million in loans as an incentive.

1870

Coal Miners secure first written contract with coal operators.  The Pennsylvania legislature passed the first mine safety act in the country (legislation that was rejected prior to the Avondale Mine disaster). 

1871

US population: 39,818,449.
31-year-old John D. Rockefeller forms Standard Oil of Ohio.
Feb. 25: Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi becomes the first African American to serve in the US Senate. Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the first black Representative.
Mar. 30: The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to vote regardless "of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

 

P.T. Barnum opens his three-ring circus, hailing it as the "Greatest Show on Earth."
Jan.: Victoria Woodhull petitions Congress demanding that women receive the vote under the 14th Amendment.
Mar. 3: Congress declares that Indian tribes will no longer be treated as independent nations with whom the government must conduct negotiations.
Oct. 8: The Great Chicago Fire claims 250 lives and destroys 17,500 buildings.

1872

National Labor Union transforms itself into the National Labor Reform Party (disappeared in the depression of 1873).

 

Montgomery Ward begins to sell goods to rural customers by mail.
Nov. 5: Susan B. Anthony and other women's suffrage advocates are arrested for attempting to vote in Rochester , N.Y.

1873

Depression begins. Miner’s National Association formed

 

Mar. 3: The Comstock Act prohibits the mailing of obscene literature.
Sept. 18: The Financial Panic of 1873 begins. 5,183 businesses fail.

1874

Tompkins square riot in NYC. Union label 1st used by Cigar Makers International Union

 

The introduction of barbed wire provides the first economical way to fence in cattle on the Great Plains .
The discovery of gold leads thousands of prospectors to trespass on Indian lands the Black Hills in Dakota territory .
The Women's Christian Temperance Union is founded.
Mar. 11: 4-year-old Charley Brewster Ross is abducted, the country's first kidnapping for ransom. The child was never found.
Aug. 21: The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, the nation's best-known preacher, is sued by newspaper editor Theodore Tilton for alienation of his wife's affections. The trial resulted in a hung jury.

1875

Molly Mcguires convicted for coalfield murders - twenty hanged. Anthracite coal strike

 

Mar. 1: Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to guarantee equal use of public accommodations and places of public amusement. It also forbids the exclusion of African Americans from jury duty.

1876

Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers founded. Workingman’s Party founded (first Marxist party in the United States . Later becomes Socialist Labor Party). Greenback Party formed.

 

Feb. 14: 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
May: The nation celebrates its centennial by opening an International Exhibition in Philadelphia .
June 25: George A. Custer and 265 officers and enlisted men are killed by Sioux Indians led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Little Horn River in Montana .

1877

Federal and State troops crush first nationwide strike in US history when railroad workers walk off the job. Cigar maker’s strike. Anti-Chinese riots breakout in San Francisco . Pinkerton spy frames members of the Molly Mcguires (militant rank and file coal miner’s) - several hanged.  Massachusetts enacts legislation requiring guarding of hazardous parts of machinery.

 

Charles Elmer Hires introduces root beer.
Feb. 27: An electoral commission declares Rutherford Hayes the winner of the disputed presidential election.
Apr. 10: President Hayes begins to withdraw federal troops from the South, marking the official end to Reconstruction.
June to Oct.: Federal troops pursue and capture Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians of Oregon and force them to live on an Oklahoma reservation.
July 16: The Great Railroad Strikes begins in Marinsburg, W. Va. , after the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad imposes a 10 percent wage cut.
Dec. 6: 30-year-old Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.

1878

Socialist Labor party founded. Greenback Labor Party organized. International Labor Union founded

 

German engineer Karl Benz produces the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. Jan. 10: The Senate defeats a woman's suffrage amendment 34-16.

1879

Miners in Springhill , Nova Scotia , form Canada 's first labor union -  the Provincial Workingmen's Association Joe Hill, IWW organizer, songwriter and poet, born in Gavle , Sweden . 

 

Feb. 15: Congress grants woman attorneys the right to argue cases before the Supreme Court. Oct. 21: Thomas Edison invents the light bulb.

1880

US population: 50,155,783

1881

Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada founded - predecessor of the American Federation of Labor Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners founded Revolutionary Socialist Labor Party formed. The Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions (FOTLU) formed.

 

Helen Hunt Jackson's Century of Dishonor recounts the government's unjust treatment of Native Americans.
July 2: President James Garfield is shot by Charles Guiteau, a disgruntled office-seeker. He died on Sept. 19.
July 4: Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute.
July 19: Sitting Bull and other Sioux Indians return to the United States from Canada .

1882

Sept. 5, 1882, 30,000 workers march in first Labor Day parade in NYC; It was sponsored by the New York Central Labor Union and was organized by Machinist Matthew McGuire.  Congress passes Chinese Exclusion Act. Cotton Mill Strike in Cohoes , NY .  Railroad workers strike and win demands lost in the strike of 1877.

 

In Pace v. Alabama , the Supreme Court rules that an Alabama law imposing severe punishment on illegal interracial intercourse than for illegal intercourse between parties of the same race did not violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Attorney Samuel Dodd devises the trust, under which stockholders turn over control of previously independent companies to a board of trustees.
May 6: Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act, barring Chinese immigration for ten years.

1883

International Working People’s Association (anarchist) formed. Cowboy Strike. Lynchburg , VA Tobacco Workers' Strike. Molder’s lockout begins.1884 Federation Bureau of Labor established. MA Textile Strike. UP Railroad Strike

 

Joseph Pulitzer purchases the New York World from Jay Gould. Circulation soars from 20,000 to 250,000 in four years. Jan. 16: Congress passes the Pendleton Act, establishing a Civil Service Commission and filling government positions by a merit system, including competitive examinations. Oct. 15: The Supreme Court rules that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 only forbids state-imposed discrimination, not that by individuals or corporations. Nov. 18: Railroads in the United States and Canada adopt a system of standard time.

1884

Federal Bureau of Labor established in the Department of the Interior. Fall River , Massachusetts Textile Strike. Union Pacific Railroad Strike.  18 delegates meet at FOTLU national convention and called for 8 hour day after May 1886.

 

May 1: Construction begins in Chicago on the first building with a steel skeleton, William Jenney's ten-story Home Insurance Company, marking the birth of the skyscraper.
Oct. 9: Rev. Samuel D. Burchard of New York calls the Democrats the party of "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion." With help of Irish-American voters, Democratic presidential nominee Grover Cleveland carried New York by 1,149 votes and won the election.

1885

Congress passes Foran Act forbidding contract for immigration labor. Anti-Chinese riots break out in the West. Cloakmaker’s General Strike. McCormick Harvesting Machine Company Strike. Southwest Railroad Strike. Yonkers , NY Carpet Weaver’s Strike1886 350,000 workers demonstrate in Chicago demanding 8-hour workday. May Day founded as worker’s holiday. 8-hour movement failed. Haymaker Massacre occurs in Chicago with bombing from anarchists. Police storm Labor Market intensifying demonstrations. American Federation of Labor founded and the much beloved Samuel Gompers installed as first president. GA Textile Strike.  Two railroad strike victories help increase the Knights of Labor membership to 700,000.

1886

May in Chicago, 350,000 workers (1, 200,000 Nationwide) struck for the 8 hour work day, founding May Day as an international workers' holiday.  Eight-hour-day movement fails.  "Haymarket Massacre" Police attack Haymarket Square labor rally in Chicago , sparking violence and the frame up of eight labor leaders. American Federation of Labor (formerly FOTLU) founded with Samuel Gompers as first president has 138,000 members.  Anti-Chinese riots Augusta, Georgia, Textile Strike.  Cowboy Strike.  Eight-Hour Day Strikes.  McCormick Harvesting Machine Company Strike.  When railway brotherhoods failed to support the Great Southwest Strike (which failed) membership decreased sharply in the Knights of Labor.  Troy , New York , Collar Laundresses' Strike. 

 

Dr. Stanton Coit opens the first settlement house in New York to provide social services to the poor.
May 1: Over 300,000 workers demonstrate in behalf of an eight-hour workday.
May 4: The Haymarket Square bombing in Chicago kills seven police officers and wounds sixty.
May 10: The Supreme Court holds that corporations are persons covered by the 14th Amendment, and are entitled to due process.
Oct. 28: President Grover Cleveland unveils the Statue of Liberty.
Dec. 8: The American Federation of Labor was founded, with Samuel Gompers as president. Membership was restricted to skilled craftsmen.

1887

Seven anarchists sentenced to death for Haymaker Bombing Massacre (5 eventually executed).  Port of New York Longshoreman Strike. 

 

Feb. 4: The Interstate Commerce Act requires railroads to charge reasonable rates and forbids them from offering rate reductions to preferred customers.
Feb. 8: The Dawes Severalty Act subdivides Indian reservations into individual plots of land of 160 to 320 acres. "Surplus" lands are sold to white settlers.

1888

May 5, 1888, the International Association of Machinist formed as Thomas W. Talbot and 18 other machinists meet in locomotive pit at Atlanta , GA ; vote to form a trade union, the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers of America (now the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Machinists earn 20 to 25 cents an hour for 10-hour day. Railroad labor relation’s laws enacted at federal level, first of its kind. Burlington Railroad Strike. Cincinnati Shoemaker’s Strike/Lockout (sources differ). 

 

Edward Bellamy publishes his utopian novel, Looking Backward, which predicts a cooperative commonwealth.

1889

(May 1889) 34 locals represented at the first First Grand Lodge Convention of the IAM (Machinists convention), held in Atlanta , Georgia State Senate Chamber, elect Tom Talbot as Grand Master Machinist. A monthly journal is started, 16 lodges from 11 states were represented.  Baseball Players’ revolt begins.   Fall River , MA Textile Strike. A. Philip Randolph is born (civil and labor rights leader).  2nd Grand Lodge Convention of the IAM held in Louisville .  80 lodges from 25 states represented.

 

New Jersey permits holding companies to buy up the stock of other corporations.
Apr. 22: President Benjamin Harrison opens a portion of Oklahoma to white settlement.
May 31: Johnstown flood. An abandoned reservoir breaks, flooding the city of Johnstown , Pa. , and killing 2,295 people.

1890

First Canadian local chartered at Stratford , Ont. Union is named International Association of Machinists. Headquarters set up in Richmond , VA.  IAM membership at 4,000.  United Mineworker’s of America founded in Columbus , Ohio .  Carpenter’s strike for 8-hour day.  Sherman Antitrust Act passed to combat massive abuses of industrial (wall to wall representation) instead of craft (by trade).

 

US population: 62,947,714.
The US Bureau of the Census announces that the western frontier was now closed.
July 2: Congress passes the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
Nov. 1: Mississippi Plan. Mississippi restricts black suffrage by requiring voters to demonstrate an ability to read and interpret the US Constitution.
Dec. 15: Indian police kill Sitting Bull in South Dakota .
Dec. 29: Wounded Knee Massacre.

1891

IAM Local 145 asks $3 for a 10-hour day.  People’s (Populist) Party formed.   Savannah , GA Black Laborers’ Strike.  Tennessee Miner’s Strike.  Coke oven workers unsuccessfully strike for the 8 hour day in Pennsylvania .

 

James Naismith, a physical education instructor at the YMCA Training College in Springfield , Mass. , invents basketball.
Mar. 14: A New Orleans mobs breaks into a prison and kills eleven Sicilian immigrants accused of murdering the city's police chief.
May 19: The Populist party is founded in Cincinnati , Ohio .
Sept. 22: 900,000 acres of land ceded to the Sauk, Fox, and Pottawatomi Indians is opened to white settlement.

1892

First railroad agreement signed with Atchison , Topeka & Santa Fe.  International Longshoreman's Association founded.  Seaman’s Union founded.  President Grover Cleveland was elected.  In Homestead , PA Iron and Steel worker’s unsuccessfully strike against wage cuts by Carnegie Steel Company.  This gained national attention when Carnegie sent in Federal (hired Pinkerton detectives) to intervene with the striking miners, 10 miners were shot and 1 Pinkerton died.  After the scuffle and court injunctions the work week for some doubled to 84 hours.  New Orleans General Strike.  Coeur d’Alene Miners’ Strike.  March, 1892.  Thomas Talbot was shot to death in a street scuffle in Florence , So. Carolina . 

 

The boll weevil arrives in Texas .
Jan. 1: Ellis Island opens to screen immigrants. Twenty million immigrants passed through it before it was closed in 1954.
July 2: Homestead . Henry Clay Frick, who managed Andrew Carnegie's steelworks at Homestead , Pa. , cuts wages, precipitating a strike that begins June 26. In a pitched battle with Pinkerton guards, brought in to protect the plant, ten strikers and three Pinkertons are killed. Pennsylvania 's governor then sent in the state militia to protect strikebreakers. The strike ended Nov. 20.
July 4: The Populist party nominates James Baird Weaver, a former Union general from Iowa , for president. A banner across the stage states: "We Do Not Ask for Sympathy or Pity. We Ask for Justice."
Oct. 12: The World's Columbian Exhibition opens in Chicago to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Columbus 's discovery of the New World . The first features the first Ferris Wheel.

1893

Depression begins.  American Railway Union formed.  Western Federation of Miners formed.  Federal court in LA applies Sherman Antitrust Act to unions for the first time finding that a sympathy strike to be in restraint of trade.  National Civic Federation formed.  The first federal law requiring safety equipment on railroad engines. 

 

Frederick Jackson Turner delivers his address on "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," exploring the frontier experience's role in shaping American character.
Jan. 17: Pro-American interests depose Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii .

1894

Railroads paralyzed by National Rail Strike at a Pullman Car manufacturing plant, led by the socialist Eugene V. Debs and the American Railways Union (not affiliated with the AFL) in Pullman , IL , 125,000 railroad workers go out on sympathy strike.  The federal government took action that led to the defeat of the strike.  Colorado Miner’s strike.  Coxey's ‘Army of the Unemployed’ marches on Washington , DC .  Cripple Creek , Colorado , Miners' Strike.  Great Northern Railroad strike.  Labor Day becomes official US holiday.  AFL passes a resolution that "women should be organized into trade unions to the end that they may scientifically and permanently abolish the terrible evils accompanying their weakened, unorganized state: and we demand that they receive equal compensation with men for equal services performed."  Federal Society of Journeyman Cordwainers (shoemakers) formed. 

 

May 1: Coxey's Army. Jacob Coxey leads a march on Washington by the unemployed.
May 10: Pullman Strike. Workers at the Pullman sleeping car plant in Chicago go on strike after the company cut wages without reducing rents in company-owned housing. On June 26, the American Railway Union begins to boycott trains carrying Pullman cars.
July 3: Federal troops enforce a court injunction forbidding the American Railway Union from interfering with interstate commerce and delivery of the mail.

1895

IAM joins American Federation of Labor (AFL), moves headquarters to Chicago .  Supreme Court, in Illinois verse Debs, upholds an injunction restraining the Pullman strikers based on the power of the government to regulate interstate commerce.  Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance founded.  Haverhill , Massachusetts , Shoe Strike. 

 

May 20: The Supreme Court strikes down an income tax.

1896

President William McKinley elected.  Colorado militia sent to break up miner’s strike at Leadville , Colorado . 

 

May 18: Plessy v. Ferguson . The US Supreme Court rules that segregation of blacks and whites was permitted under the Constitution so long as both races receive equal facilities.
July 7: "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." William Jennings Bryan electrified the Democratic convention with his "Cross of Gold" speech and received the party's nomination, but was defeated Nov. 3 by Republican William McKinley.

1897

Lattimer , Pennsylvania Massacre: a Sheriff and Deputies gunned down 19 striking miners & wound 40 others during a peaceful protest.  Union ranks around 447,000. 

1898

Spanish-American War begins.  Machinist in LL 52 (PA) negotiate first 9-hour workday.  14 miners killed during strike in Il.  Congress passes Erdman Act providing mediation & arbitration of Railroad labor disputes.  American Labor Union founded.  Marlboro, MA Shoe Worker’s Strike begins.  Local Lodge 52 in Pittsburgh negotiated the IAM's first 9 hour work day.  AFL membership around 250,000. 

 

Feb. 9: The de Lome letter, written by the Spanish minister to the United States , characterizes Pres. McKinley as a weakling lacking integrity. It is printed in William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal.
Feb. 15: The battleship Maine blows up and sinks while anchored in Cuba 's Havana harbor.
Apr. 25 to Aug. 12: Spanish-American War. As a result of the conflict, the United States acquires Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines .
May 1: Commodore George Dewey's flotilla defeats the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines , suffering only eight wounded.
May 28: The Supreme Court rules that a child born of Chinese parents in the United States is an American citizen and cannot be deported under the Chinese Exclusion Act.
July 7: President McKinley signs a resolution annexing Hawaii .

1899

Time-and-a-half for overtime has become prevalent.  IAM Headquarters moved to Washington , D.C.  Striking Miners blowup Coeur d'Alene ,   ID mill.  Brotherhood of Teamsters formed.  NY Grain Shoveler’s Strike.  Cleveland , Ohio , Street Railway Workers' Strike.  NYC Newsboy’s Strike. 

 

The Philippines achieved independence in 1946.
May 18-July 29: Delegates from the US and 25 other nations meet at The Hague to discuss disarmament, arbitration of international disputes, protection of noncombatants, and limitations on methods of warfare.
Oct. 14: The Literary Digest writes: "The ordinary horseless carriage is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into as common use as the bicycle."

1900

International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union founded.  Machinist Strike.  Anthracite Coal Strike. 

 

U.S. population: 75,994,575. Under a "Gentleman's Agreement" between Japan and the United States , Japan agrees to limit the emigration of laborers to the United States .

1901

Socialist Party of America formed.  United Textile Workers founded.  Machinist Strike.  National Cash Register Strike.  San Fran Restaurant Workers’ Strike.  Steel Strike. AFL helps establish National Civic Federation (business and labor leaders) whose goal was to maintain industrial peace by intervening in strikes.

 

Robert LaFollette takes office as Wisconsin 's government, and puts into effect the "Wisconsin Idea," which serves as a model for "progressive government." This provided for a direct primary in 1903 and a railroad commission in 1905.
January 10: Oil is discovered at Spindletop near Beaumont , Texas .
March 2: Under the Platt Amendment, Cuba authorizes the United States to maintain law and order and agreed to sell or lease the U.S. land to serve as naval stations.
Mar 3: U.S. Steel is organized, becoming the country's first billion dollar corporation.
September 6: President William McKinley is shot in Buffalo , N.Y. by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist. The president died on September 14, and is succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

1902

14 miners killed in Pana IL .  Chicago Teamster’s Strike.  Great Anthracite Coal Miner’s Strike, where 100,000 Anthracite coal miners in northeastern Pennsylvania walk off the job for 164 days and the federal government takes action that leads to wage increases and a shorter work week.  Unsuccessful steel strike leaves steel industry virtually free of unions.  British study of iron and steel workers showed 37% higher mortality figures than other workers.  Danbury hatters call for a national boycott of non-union companies and in 1908 the Supreme Court rules that the boycott is an illegal conspiracy.

 

The federal government files anti-trust suits against North Securities, a railroad holding company, and the beef trust in Chicago . Both suits were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
May 12: The United Mine Workers stage a strike against anthracite coal mine operators. President Roosevelt appointed a commission to mediate the settlement.
June 2: Oregon becomes the first state to institute the initiative and referendum, through which the people can initiate legislation.
July 17: Under the Newlands Reclamation Act, the federal government will build dams in sixteen western lands.

1903

Specialists admitted to membership.  Drive begins for 8-hour day.  Miners strike begins in Telluride, CO up on Cripple Creek , and troops stop the riot.  Dept of Commerce and Labor created by Congress.  National Women’s Trade Union League formed and focuses on organizing until 1913 when it focused on legislative solutions.  Sugar Beet Strike in Oxnard , CA and Utah Coal Strike begins.  Mother Jones leads march on Roosevelt ’s home to protest for child labor accident victims. 

 

November 3: Panama revolts against Colombian rule, clearing the way for construction of an American canal.
December 17: With Orville Wright on board, and lasting just 12 seconds, the Wright brother make the first successful flight by a powered aircraft at Kitty Hawk , N.C.

1904

CO militia kills 6 strikers.  NYC Inter-borough Rapid Transit Strike.  Packinghouse Worker’s Strike.  Santa Fe Railroad Shop men’s strike begins.  AFL around 1,700,000 members strong.  Total Union membership is about 2,070,000. It is estimated in the ‘Labor Press’ that 27,000 workers are killed that year. 

 

December 6: President Theodore Roosevelt announces the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.

1905

Apprentices admitted to IAM membership.  There are 769 IAM locals.  Railroad machinists earn 36 to 43 cents an hour for 9-hour day.  NY Supreme Court, in Lochner v. New York , declares maximum hours per shift law for bakers to be unconstitutional.  8-hour days become standard for printers.  Industrial Workers of the World,(IWW), was founded in Chicago , with a goal of one big union embracing all industries and working class unity.  Using direct action (not political action) its goal was worker control, abolition of the wage system through general strikes.

 

April 17: The Supreme Court strikes down a New York law that prohibited a banker from employing anyone more than 60 hours a week or 10 hours a day, ruling that it interfered with freedom of contract. June 27: Socialists and labor radicals form the International Workers of the World (the IWW or the Wobblies) in Chicago . Big Bill Haywood, a representative from the Western Federation of Miners proclaims this meeting "the Continental Congress of the working class. The aims and objects of this organization shall be to put the working class in possession of economic power...without regard to the capitalist masters." Unlike the AFL, which restricted its membership to skilled craftsmen, the IWW opened membership to any wage earner regardless of occupation, race, or sex.

1906

Eight-hour day widely installed in the printing trades.  Union membership drops below 2,000,000 due to economic slowdown and anti-union court decisions.  Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" aroused public sympathy for workers in the packing house industry where the joints in the fingers of workers might be eaten by the acid or cuts mutilated their hands. 

 

Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle, an expose of working conditions in Chicago 's meatpacking houses. Sinclair had hoped to generate sympathy for the working class, but wound up making the public concerned about adulterated food. "I aimed at the public's heart," he quipped, "but by accident hit it in the stomach."
April 18: The Great San Francisco Earthquake kills 400 people and causes $500 million worth of damage.
June 30: The Pure Food and Drug Act bars the sale of adulterated foods and drugs. That same day, to address the problems of contaminated and mislabeled meat, Congress passes the Meat Inspection Act providing for enforcement of sanitary regulations in the meat-packing industry.
September 22: An anti-black riot in Atlanta results leaves 21 people dead, including 18 African Americans.
October 11: The San Francisco school board orders the segregation of all Japanese, Chinese, and Korean children. On March 13, 1907, under pressure from the President, San Francisco rescinds the action.

1907

Goldfield, NV Miner’s Strike begins.  An explosion kills 361 miners in Monongah , West Virginia in the nation's worst mining disaster.  Bureau of Labor estimates 15-17,500 of the 26 million male workers are killed that year.( 3,200 workers in coal mines and 4, 500 railroad workers are killed).  26 states passed legislation making it easier for workers to sue employers if injured or killed on the job.

 

In his seventh annual message to Congress, President Theodore Roosevelt said: "We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so." During his presidency, 148 million acres were set aside as national forest lands and 80 million acres of mineral lands were withdrawn from public sale. December 16: "The Great White Fleet," consisting of sixteen battleships, sets sail for an around the world cruise.

1908

President William Howard Taft elected.  Metal Trades Department established within AFL with IAM President James O'Connell as president.   US Supreme Court, in Muller v. Oregon , declares an Oregon law limiting working hours for women unconstitutional.  Federal court, in US v. Adair, finds section (10) of the Erdman Act banning yellow-dog contracts unconstitutional.  US Supreme Court, in Danbury Hatters Case, holds a boycott by the United Hatters Union against a manufacturer to be a conspiracy in restraint of trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act.  IWW Free-Speech Fight in Missoula , Montana . 

 

In its decision in Muller v. Oregon , the Supreme Court acknowledged the need for facts, not just legal arguments, to establish the reasonableness of social legislation. Louis Brandeis, chief counsel for the State of Oregon , used social science data to prove the reasonableness of Oregon 's law to restrict the hours that a woman could work.
August 14-15: During two days of anti-black rioting in Springfield , Ill. , two thousand African Americans are forced out of the city, two were lynched, and six others were killed.
December 24: New York City revokes the licenses of the city's movie theaters and returns them only when the theaters agree not to show immoral films.
December 26: Black boxer Jack Johnson knocks out Canadian Tommy Burns to become the heavyweight champion. White promoters searched for a "Great White Hope" to defeat Johnson. In 1915, he was defeated by Jess Willard in a fight that many believed was fixed.

1909

Uprising of 20,000 mostly female garment workers strike in New York and won a shorter workweek and wage increases - gain preferential union hiring -board of arbitration & grievances.  National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, founded.  GA Railroad Strike.  McKee’s Rocks, PA Steel Strike.  Watertown , CT Arsenal Strike.  IWW Free-Speech Fight in Spokane , Washington .  IWW conducts a series of free speech fights by attempting to make speeches on street corners and filling the fails with Wobblies.  Canada establishes Department of Labour due to union pressure.  171 national unions (compared to 6 in the late 1880's). 

 

Henry Ford introduces his Model T. Priced originally at $850, the Model T's price had fallen to $240 by 1924. April 7: Explorers Robert Peary and Matthew Henson reportedly reach the North Pole. Henson, who was African American, trained the dog teams, build the sledges, and spoke the language of the Eskimos. May 31-June 1: The Niagara Movement. A biracial group of religious leaders and humanitarians incorporates as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The organization demanded equal civil, political, and educational rights, and enforcement of the 14th and 15th Amendments.

1910

Bethlehem , PA Steel Strike.  Cloakmaker’s Strike.  15-year-old Bessie Noramowitz leads Chicago Clothing Maker’s Strike.  General strike in Philly and LA.  Worker’s Compensation Acts passed in several states (1910-1920).  Accident rate for non-English speaking workers in Steel Factories twice the national average. 

 

U.S. population: 91,972,266. The publication The Fundamentals spells out the basic precepts of fundamentalist religious belief: the literal accuracy of Scripture and the reality of the Virgin birth, the physical resurrection of Christ, vicarious atonement, and the physical second coming of Christ. June 18: The Mann-Elkins Act extends the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission to include telegraph and telephone companies and gives it the power to suspend railroad rate increases pending investigation and court rulings. June 25: White Slavery. The Mann Act makes it illegal to transport women across state lines, or bring them into the United States for immoral purposes. Red light districts in ten cities are closed. August 10: In his New Nationalism speech, Theodore Roosevelt lays out his commitment to conservation, a graduated income tax, regulation of trusts, and the rights of labor. November: The Mexican Revolution begins when Francisco Madero leads an uprising against President Porfirio Diaz.

1911

Women admitted to IAM membership with equal rights. Supreme Court, in Gompers v. Bucks Stove and Range Company, upholds an injunction ordering the AFL to remove the company from its unfair list and cease a boycott.  147 workers(women and children) lose their lives in sweatshop fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Company in NYC - many deaths due to locked doors designed to keep “unauthorized” breaks from occurring.    Illinois Central and Harriman Lines Rail Strike.  Southern Lumber Operator’s Lockout begins.  National Safety Council formed to promote business interest over safety of workforce.   Studies indicate that due to increasing centralization and mechanization of the process that steel mills are filled with dust and intense heat.  Up till now states passed employer liability laws that modified common-law legal rules and made it easier for injured employees to recover money damages from their employers.

 

Dissident Republicans bolt the party and form the Progressive Party, which endorses anti-trust enforcement, collective bargaining, and conservation of national resources.
March 25: 146 Jewish and Italian immigrant women are killed in a fire at New York 's Triangle Shirtwaist Company.

1912

President Woodrow Wilson elected.  Railway Employees Department established in AFL with Machinist A. O. Wharton as President.  Women and children beaten by police in textile strike in Ma. National Guard called out to stop strike by WV coal miners.  2 women and 12 children machine gunned by company guards in CO mining strike.  Joe Hill executed in UT in what many believed to be trumped up murder charges in attempt to silence organizers voices across America .  MA adopts first minimum wage standard for women and minors.  Chicago Newspaper Strike. Fur worker’s Strike.  The 60-day “Bread and Roses” strike in Lawrence, MA, organized by the International workers of the world (IWW) involving 50,000 textile workers (in and around Lawrence) representing 26 different nationalities win back pay cuts and wage increases.  LA Timber Worker’s Strike.  NYC Hotel Strikes.  Pain Creek and Cabin Creek , WV Mine Strikes.  IWW Free-Speech Fight in San Diego , California .  "As many men are killed each fortnight in the ordinary course of work as went down with the Titanic".  A U.S. Steel executive, who answered complaints about the excessive hours employees in the steel industry were forced to work with the pious chant that hours were set "by the laws of nature". 

 

January: 25,000 textile workers go on strike against the American Woolen Co. of Lawrence, Mass.
April 14-15: On its maiden voyage, the Titanic sinks south of Newfoundland ; about 1,500 of 2,200 passengers and crew members drown.
October 14: Theodore Roosevelt is shot in a Milwaukee hotel during a campaign tour. Roosevelt delivered a speech before going to a hospital.

1913

International Workers of the World (IWW) leads unsuccessful textile strike to stop wage cuts.  US Department of Labor established.  Ludlow CO Massacre of union workers occurs.  Machinist Strike and boycott begins.  MI Copper Strike.  Rubber Worker’s Strike.  Studebaker Auto worker’s Strike.  Wheatland, CA Hop riot occurs.  IWW organize textile strikes in Patterson , NJ not successful in fighting wage cuts. 

 

February 17: An exhibition of avant garde, post-Impressionist art works opens at New York 's 69th Regiment Armory.
February 25: The 16th Amendment permits an income tax. The federal income tax levies a tax of 1 percent on incomes above $3,000 for single individuals and above $4,000 for married couples. A 1 percent surtax is imposed on incomes above $20,000 rising to 6 percent on those above $500,000.
Summer: Henry Ford introduces the assembly line, allowing him to produce a thousand Model T's daily. Ford also institutes a $5 work day.
August 27: "Watchful waiting." President Wilson refuses to recognize the Mexican government of Gen. Victoriano Huerta, whose agents had assassinated President Francio Madero in February.
December 23: The Federal Reserve System is established, providing central control over the nation's currency and credit.

1914

Nineteen UMWA men, women & children, living in a tent-city of striking families, killed by Colorado State Militia in “Ludlow Mining Massacre”.  Other sources say it was a company gunman.  Congress passes Clayton Antitrust Act to limit (prohibit) injunctions used in labor disputes making picketing illegal.  Amalgamated Clothing workers founded.  Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill Strike. 

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs publishes Tarzan of the Apes, the story of a baby of English nobility who is raised by a band of African apes.
April 20: Company guards and National Guard troops attack striking coal miners at John D. Rockefeller's Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. in Ludlow , Colo. When the Ludow War is over, 74 people had died, including eleven children.
April 21: After the arrest of American sailors in Tampico , Mexico , President Woodrow Wilson orders American sailors and marines to occupy Vera Cruz. In November, after Mexican President Huerta fled the country, the president withdrew the troops.
June 28: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by a Serbian nationalist, ignites a chain of events that results in World War I.
August 15: The Panama Canal officially opens.
September 26: The Federal Trade Commission is established to prevent monopolies and unfair business practices

1915

IAM wins 8-hour in many shops and factories.  IAM affiliates with International Metalworkers Federation.  Congress passes La Follette Seaman’s Act to regulate working conditions for seamen.  Oil workers (Standard Oil) in Bayonne , NJ went on strike over heat stress that reached as high as 250 degrees.  Youngstown , Ohio Steel Strike.  IWW organizer Joe Hill executed in Utah on a “trumped-up” murder charge. 

 

Margaret Sanger, who coined the term "birth control," is arrested in New York for distributing contraceptive information. In October 1916, she opened the nation's first birth control clinic in Brooklyn .

February 8: D.W. Griffith's luridly racist film Birth of a Nation provides a sympathetic treatment of the Ku Klux Klan.

February 23: Nevada grants divorces after six months' residence.

July 6: Erich Muenter, a German instructor at Cornell University , commits suicide after detonating a bomb in the U.S. Senate reception room and shooting financier J. Pierpont Morgan.

May 7: The British ship the Lusitania is torpedoed and sinks off the Irish coast; 1,198 passengers drown, including 114 Americans.

August 17: Leo Frank, a Jew, is lynched in Atlanta , for allegedly murdering an employee at the National Pencil Company.

November: Labor leader Joe Hill, who had been convicted of murdering an ex-police officer, is executed in Utah . His last words were, "Don't mourn for me, organize!"

December 4: Henry Ford charters a "Peace Ship," in an effort to end World War I.

1916

Auto mechanics admitted to IAM membership.  Congress passes Federal Child Labor Law and Adamson Act (Child Labor Law later declared unconstitutional - Adamson sets 8 hour workday for railroaders).  American Federation of Teachers founded.  AZ Copper Strike.  Everett WA Massacre.  MN Iron Range Strike.  NYC Transit Strike.  NY Cloakmaker's Strike.  SF Open Shop Campaign.  Standard Oil Strike.  Six killed and forty wounded in bombing of San Francisco preparedness parade - labor leaders arrested. 

 

March 9: Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, along with 1,500 men, crosses the U.S. border to attack Columbus , N. Mex. Pres. Wilson orders Brig. Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing to capture Villa.
July 22: A bomb explodes at a pro-war preparedness parade in San Francisco , killing ten.
September 13: To prevent a nationwide railroad strike, the Adamson Eight-Hour Act mandates an 8-hour work day in the railroad industry.

1917

US enters WWI.  Supreme Court, in Hitchman Coal and Coke v. Mitchell, upholds the legality of yellow-dog contracts.   OK Green Corn Rebellion in Oklahoma .  Tom Mooney, for his role in the San Francisco preparedness parade bombings and deaths in 1916, is sentenced to death in CA.  Brisbee , AZ Miners’ Strike ends with 1200 strikers being deported to the desert by Sheriff's Department. Butte ,  MT Miner's Strike.  East St. Louis Race Riots.   Pacific Northwest Lumber Strike.  Railroads federalized due to war.  3,000,000 Union Members. 

 

Revolution topples the Czarist government in Russia . In March, Czar Nicholas II abdicates and a provisional government follows. In November, the Bolsheviks overthrow the provisional government.
March 7: The Associated Press publishes the "Zimmermann Telegram," which proposed a German alliance with Mexico and promised Mexico recovery of lost territory in Arizona , New Mexico , and Texas .
April 2: In a speech asking Congress to declare war against Germany , President Wilson says, "The world must be made safe for democracy."
April 6: The United States declares war on the Central Powers. Six Senators and 50 Representatives vote against the declaration.
April 14: The president creates Committee on Public Information to censor newspapers and magazines.
May 18: The United States institutes a military draft. All men 21-30 are required to register.
June 15: Congress passes the Espionage Act, providing for a $10,000 fine and 20 years in prison for anyone who encourages disloyalty or interferes with the draft. Over 1,500 people were charged with violations of the law.
July 28: The War Industries Board is established to mobilize industry and ration goods to support the war effort.
September 5: Federal agents raid IWW headquarters in 24 cities. Ten leaders are arrested including "Big Bill" Haywood.
November: The British Foreign Office issues the Balfour Declaration, pledging support for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

1918

IAM membership reaches 331,000.  War Labor Board created and uses mediation, conciliation and arbitration to prevent labor disputes in essential industries by protecting the right to organize, no lockouts, prevailing wages and union security provisions protected.   WWI ends.  Women Trade Unionists’ hold first national conference.  Women in Industry division.  U. S. and Canadian insurance companies refused to sell life insurance policies to asbestos workers due to the high mortality rate. 

 

January 8: President Woodrow Wilson issues his 14 Point plan for a lasting peace. It calls for open peace treaties without secret agreements; freedom of the seas; arms reductions, and establishment of a League of Nations . French Prime Minister Clemenceau responds: "Even God Almighty has only ten."
June 3: The Supreme Court invalidates a law prohibiting the interstate shipment of goods made by under aged children.
September 14: Socialist party leader Eugene Debs is sentenced to ten years in prison for violating the Espionage Act. He was pardoned by President Warren Harding in 1921.
October: A deadly influenza epidemic reaches its height. Altogether, the epidemic killed nearly 500,000 Americans.

1919

Postwar Strike waves sweep across US.  Communist Party of America founded.  Red Scare begins.  Actors’ Strike.  Boston Police Strike (this is the first public safety workers strike in US history).  Centralia , WA Massacre.  Chicago Race Riots.  New England Telephone Strike.  Seattle General Strike.  16000 Silk workers strike in Patterson , NJ for shorter workweek.  Steel Strike.  This strike against U. S. Steel for 12 hour day failed due to employer economic power and recruitment of strikebreakers.  Winnipeg General Strike.  AFL unions have a membership of 4,000,000. 

 

January 18: The Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War I strips Germany of land and natural resources; mandates steep reductions in the size of the Germany army and navy; and levies punitive reparations later set at $32 billion.
January 29: The 18th Amendment to the Constitution bans "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of liquors." At the time the amendment was adopted, prohibition was already in effect in all southern and western states except California and Louisiana .
September: 350,000 steelworkers strike, following by 400,000 miners 40 days later. Altogether, 4 million workers went on strike during the year.
September 25: President Wilson collapses from a stroke.
November 7: Palmer Raids. Under orders from Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, Department of Justice agents raid the headquarters of leftist organizations in a dozen cities.
November 19: The Senate fails to ratify the Versailles Peace Treaty. The Senate voted 55-9, nine votes short of the required two-thirds majority.

1920

President Warren Harding elected.  Headquarters moved to first Machinists Building , at 9th & Mt.Vernon Pl., N.W. , Washington , D.C. British Amalgamated Engineering Union cedes its North American locals to IAM. Machinists earn 72 to 90 cents an hour for 44-hour week.  Women’s Suffrage Amendment ratified.  Transportation Act established de-federalizes railroads and creation of Railroad Labor Board.  Trade Union Educational League formed.  AL Miners’ Strike.  Clothing Workers Lockout.  Matewan , WV coal war begins, Massacre there kills 10 over the right to organize the southern Virginia coalfields.  Postwar depression and AFL unions lose about 1,000,000 members.  Leaving roughly 5.1 million union members.  By 1920 all but eight of the states had passed workman compensation laws, preventing workers from suing their employers.  Two of the biggest supporters were U. S. Steel and the National Association of Manufacturers. 

 

U.S. population: 105,710,620.
Life expectancy had risen to 54 years from 49 years in 1901.
January 2: Government agents arrest members of the IWW and Communist Party in 33 cities. 556 aliens are deported for their political beliefs.
March 19: The Senate votes 49-35 to join the League of Nations , seven votes short of the two-thirds vote necessary for ratification. Defeat became certain when President Wilson instructed his supporters to vote down a League bill with Republican amendments attached.
August 18: The Woman's Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified.
September 28: A Chicago grand jury indicts 8 players on the Chicago "Black Sox" for throwing the 1919 World Series. The players were acquitted but were later banned from baseball.

1921

Supreme Court, in Duplex Printing Press v. Deering, rules that the Clayton Act notwithstanding, federal courts could enjoin unions for actions in restraint of trade.  Clayton Act ruled unconstitutional.  Presidential Commission places unemployment responsibility on local communities.  Supreme Court rules AZ law forbidding injunctions in labor disputes and permitting picketing ruled unconstitutional.  Depression begins.  Seaman’s Strike.  Coal Mine Activist Hatfield & Chambers killed on steps of McDowell County , WV courthouse.  Blair Mt Battle in WV uses 2000 US troops to block organizers in southern West Virginia .  Congress restricts immigration to the United States and establishes the national origin quota system.  International Labor Organization sets up a safety service. 

 

May 19: Congress institutes a quota system that limits immigration to 3 percent of a nationality's number in the 1910 Census.
November 12: At the Washington Conference for Limitation of Armaments, conferees agree to restrict future construction of warships.

1922

79,000 railroad machinists pin shopmen's strike against second post-war wage cut.   Membership declines to 148,000.  UMWA wins court case holding them not responsible for local strike actions and not in violation of conspiracy laws.  Anthracite Coal Strike.  Bituminous Coal Strike.  Herrin IL massacre occurs in which miners killed 20 guards and strike breakers.  Conference for Progressive Political Action founded.  Railroad Shop men's Strike. 

1923

No entries

1924

President Calvin Coolidge elected.  IAM convention endorses Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., for President.  Samuel Gompers dies.  William Green becomes AFL president.  Amendment to restrict child labor proposed but not enough states adopt measure to pass law.  AFL endorses 3rd party candidate, Progressive Robert LaFollettee ( U. S. Senator from Wisconsin ).  He gets 17% of the vote.

 

May: Congress reduces immigration to approximately 150,000 people a year limiting each nationality to 2 percent of the number of persons in the U.S. in 1890.
May: "The Crime of the Century." Prodigies Nathan Leopold, Jr., and Richard Loeb confess to kidnapping and killing 13-year-old Bobby Franks for "the thrill of it."
November: Two states, Wyoming and Texas , elect women governors.

1925

Brotherhood of Sleeping Cars Porters founded.  Anthracite coal strike.

 

July: At the "Monkey" Trial in Dayton , Tenn. , schoolteacher John Scopes is tried for violating a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution. Scope's defense attorney Clarence Darrow called prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan to the stand, and ridiculed Bryan 's fundamentalist religious beliefs. Scopes was found guilty of violating the law and fined $100. The sentence was later overturned.

1926

Railway Labor Act passes Congress - requires employers to bargain with unions and forbids discrimination based on union activities, giving them the right to organize.  Passaic , NJ Textile strike. 

 

Henry Ford introduces the 49-hour work week in the auto industry.

1927

IAM urges ratification of Child Labor Amendments to U.S. Constitution; 2,500,000 children under 16 are working at substandard wages.  Two MA unionist – Nicolo Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti - executed for union activities.  Bituminous coal strike.  Longshoreman’s & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act passed.  Journeymen Stone Cutters found quality of interstate trade restraint in actions to prevent purchase of nonunion cut stone. 

 

May 21: 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh flies from Long Island to Paris in 33 hours and 29 minutes.
August 23: Anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed in Massachusetts for the 1920 killing of a factory guard, despite protests that they were being punished for their radical beliefs.
October 6: The Jazz Singer, the first "talkie," premieres. The first words: "You ain't heard nothing yet."

1928

President Herbert Hoover elected.  250 delegates at 18th IAM convention urge 5-day week to alleviate unemployment.  New Bedford , MA Textile strike.  AL outlaws convict labor system in coalmines. 

 

August 27: Fifteen nations sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which renounces war "as an instrument of national policy." Eventually sixty nations ratified that agreement, which lacked any enforcement mechanism.

1929

Depression layoffs cut IAM membership to 70,000.  Stock Market crashes beginning the Great Depression begins.  Trade Union League forms.  Gastonia , NC Textile strike.  Conference for Progressive Labor Action founded. Hayes-Cooper Act regulating shipment of prison goods in interstate commerce approved. NC textile strike. 

 

February 14: St. Valentine's Day Massacre. 14 members of a Chicago gang are shot to death in a Chicago warehouse on orders from Al Capone.
October 29: Black Tuesday. The bull market of the late 1920s comes to a crashing end. Between September 3 and December 1, stocks declined $26 billion in value.

1930

Supreme Court rules in union favor upholding Railway Labor Act prohibiting interference in workers choice of unions.  Union membership around 3,000,000.  National Unemployed Council formed.   Imperial Valley , CA Farm worker’s strike.  Up to 2,000 workers died between 1930-1936 while constructing a tunnel at Gauley Bridge , West Virginia . 

 

U.S. population: 123,203,000
June 17:  The Republican –controlled House of Representatives in an effort to alleviate the effects of the Great Depression, encouraged Corporations and companies who had received “Stimulus Moneys” to ‘Buy only American’ products and supplies with them, The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act raises duties on imported agricultural and manufactured goods, triggering foreign retaliation.  Sen. Reed Smoot, R-Utah, and Rep. Willis Hawley, R-Oregon, whose 1930 bill raising U.S. tariffs was designed to raise money for the government and protect American jobs.  After the Senate softened the language to don’t spend the moneys in a way that it would violate current trade agreements; it only managed to allow the country to plunge deeper into its record low depression.

1931

Davis-Beacon Act, passed by Congress, to ensure prevailing wages paid to workers involved in public works projects.  Scottsboro Boys arrested in AL for union activities.  Harlan County, KY miner’s strike.  Tampa , FL Cigar Worker’s strike. 

 

March 3: President Herbert Hoover signs an act making the "Star-Spangled Banner" the national anthem.
March 25: Nine black youths, the "Scottsboro Boys," are charged with rape. The case established the right of African Americans to serve on juries.
September: A bank panic leads 305 banks to close in September and another 522 in October.

1932

FD Roosevelt elected.  Norris-LaGuardia Act passes to prohibit federal injunctions in labor disputes and outlaws yellow dog contracts(gives workers the right to organize and bargain collectively). American Federation of Government Employees formed.  CA Pea Pickers strike. Century Airline’s Pilots strike.  Davidson-Wilder , TN Coal strike.  Ford Hunger March in Detroit - four workers killed as protesters march on Ford Rouge Plant near Detroit seeking jobs during the Great Depression.  Vacaville , CA Tree Pruner’s strike.  Wisconsin adopts first unemployment insurance act.  Nearly 30% of union members are jobless.  Bonus March of World War I veterans on Washington , DC . 

 

Jan 22: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is established to provide loans to banks, railroads, and insurance companies.
March 1: The son of aviator Charles Lindbergh is kidnapped.
July 2: Democratic presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt promises a "New Deal" for the American people.
July 28: Bonus Army. President Herbert Hoover orders the army to remove 15,000 WWI veterans who had been camped in Washington for two months demanding early payment of a bonus due in 1945.

1933

IAM backs National Recovery drive and 40-hour week.  The National Safety Council (business organization) says "safety can never be legislated and enforced into individuals.  Safety must be sold and taught into individuals".  Metropolitan Life Insurance Company identified 94 poisonous substances used in 900 different occupations up from 52 in 1922.  FOR picks IAM Vice President Robert Fechner to head new Civilian Conservative Corps.  IAM Membership sinks to 56,000.  National Industrial Recovery Act passes where section 7a guarantees the right of (union) employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employer; but was found unconstitutional in 1935.  Francis Perkins becomes the Secretary of Labor and the first female named as a presidential cabinet member.  Newspaper Guild formed.  Briggs Manufacturing strike.  Ca Farm worker’s strike.  Detroit Tool & Die strike.  Hormel, Iowa Meat packing strike.  New Mexico Miner’s strike.  Francis Perkins becomes first women elevated to Secretary of Labor.  Wagner-Peyser Act creates United States Employment Service.  Union membership at 2.6 million.

 

January 30: Adolf Hitler, leader of Germany 's Nazi party, is appointed Chancellor.
March 4: Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes President and launches the New Deal. In his inaugural address, he says: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." During his first hundred days in office, Congress enacts the AAA, which provides farmers with payments for restricting production; establishes the Civil Works Administration and the Public Works Administration; and creates the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Bank Deposit Insurance Corporation.
December 5: Prohibition is repealed.

1934

IAM establishes Research Department.  Great Uprising of Southern Millworker’s take 500,000 off the job.  US joins International Labour Organization.  First National Labor Legislation Conference held to work out national labor program.  Southern Tenant Farmer’s founded and then Struck.   Harlem , New York City, Jobs-for-Negroes Boycott.   Imperial Valley , California , Farmworkers' Strike.  MN Teamster’s Strike.  Newark Star-Ledger Newspaper Strike begins.   San Francisco Longshoreman's &General Strike.   Toledo , Ohio , Auto-Lite Strike.  Textile Worker’s Strike.  Rubber Workers' Strike. 

 

January 1: Dr. Francis Townsend, a 66-year-old retired dentist, proposes federally-funded pensions for the elderly.
July 22: Public Enemy Number 1, bank robber John Dillinger, is shot and killed by the FBI while leaving a movie theater in Chicago .
September 15: The Nuremberg Laws strip German Jews of rights and prohibit intermarriage with non-Jews.

1935

IAM opens drive to organize aircraft Industry.  US Supreme Court declares the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional.  Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA  or Wagner Act), which protects the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively; this act was found constitutional in 1937.  Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) formed within the American Federation of Labor (AFL) with help from JL Lewis of the United Mine Workers organization, to promote industrial unionism.  Dr. Kenneth Lynch, professor of pathology, proposes that there is a causal relation between asbestos and lung cancer.  108 black steelworkers (furnace cleaners) in northern Indiana sued subsidiaries of U. S. Steel for failing to provide healthful working conditions (leading to silicosis and other lung diseases).  The settle out of court in 1938 for an undisclosed amount.  Up to 2,000 workers died from exposure to high levels of Silica.  Negro Labor Committee founded.  United Auto Workers founded.  Oklahoma , Kansas and Missouri Metal Workers' Strike.  Pacific Northwest Lumber Strike.  Southern Sharecroppers' and Farm Laborers' Strike. 

 

May 27: The Supreme Court declares the national industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional, suggesting that any federal effort to legislate wages, prices, and working conditions was invalid. June 10: Alcoholic Anonymous is organized in New York City . July 5: The Wagner Act guarantees workers' right to bargain collectively. August 14: President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act. September 8: Huey Long is assassinated in Louisiana 's state capitol. October 18: The Committee for Industrial Organization is formed with John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers, as its head. In 1938, it became the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Unlike the AFL, it did not limit membership to skilled workers.

1936

First industrial union agreement signed with Boeing, Seattle.  Seattle Post-Intelligencer Newspaper Strike.  IAM convention endorses FDR for President.  President Franklin Roosevelt reelected.  Steel Workers' Organizing Committee formed.  Membership climbs to 130,000.  United Rubber Workers at Goodyear Tire & Rubber (other sources say,” the Firestone tire plant in Akron , Ohio ”, win recognition in first large sit-down strike, which help win bargaining rights.   Atlanta , Georgia , Auto Workers' Sit-Down Strike.  First sit-down strike by auto workers starts at Bendix Products in South Bend , Indiana , General Motors Sit-Down Strike RCA Strike.  Byrnes Act passed to make it illegal to transport or aid strikebreakers.  Walsh-Healey Act establishes labor standards for minimum wage, overtime pay.  Child & convict labor provisions & safety standards for federal contracts.  Berkshire Knitting Mills Strike.  Seamen's Strike.  Walsh-Healy (public contracts) Act is passed which is the first national standards for workplace safety (only for corporations getting federal contracts).  An employer found guilty of violating the act could be "blacklisted" from federal contracts for 3 years.

 

March 7: In violation of the Versailles Treaty ending WWI, 4,000 German troops occupy the Rhineland . Summer: Jesse Owens wins four medals at the Olympics in Berlin , rebutting Hitler's claims about the superiority of the Aryan race. July 17: Civil War erupts in Spain , ending the country's five year experiment with democracy. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini provide arms to Gen. Francisco Franco, who defeats the Loyalists in 1939 and imposes a dictatorship.

1937

IAM negotiates paid vacations in 26% of its agreements.  Social Security and Railroad Retirement Acts now in operation.  UAW recognized by General Motors as legitimate bargaining unit following yearlong sit-down strikes.  Steel Workers Organizing Committee recognized by US Steel as official bargaining unit for employees and workers earn 10% wage increase with a workweek of five-8 hour days.  Wagner Act (NLRB) upheld in U.S. Supreme Court and declared constitutional. Chicago Memorial Day Massacre claims the lives of 10 workers and wounds 80 by police breaking up a support demonstration of steel workers rights.  “Little Steel” strikes broken as members go back to work without gaining right to representation.  US Steel signs a first contract with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee.  Bureau of Apprenticeship established with passing of National Apprenticeship Act.  AFL membership at 3.7 million and CIO membership at 3.4 million. American Federation of State. County & Municipal Employees formed.  General Motors Sit-Down Strikes in US and Canada - stikes end after workers win first UAW contract.  Battle of the Overpass, Ford Motor Co. thugs beat Walter Reuther and other UAW organizers in Dearborn , Michigan .  Chocolate Worker’s Strike Hershey , PA plant. 

 

February 5: President Roosevelt proposes his "court packing" scheme.
February 11: After a 44-day occupation of General Motors factories, GM recognizes the United Automobile Workers.
March 18: A school fire in New London , Texas , kills 294.
March 29: The Supreme Court upholds a minimum wage law for women.
April 12: The Supreme Court upholds the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.
May 1: A Neutrality Act prohibits the export of arms and ammunition to belligerents.
May 24: The Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Social Security Act.
December 12: Japanese planes sink the U.S. gunboat Panay in Chinese waters, killing two. The Japanese government apologizes and pays reparations.

1938

Federal Maritime Labor Board established. Congress passes the “Fair Labor Standards Act” which sets minimum wage at twenty-five cents and time & a half for hours over 40 in one week, Child labor in interstate commerce banned. John L Lewis, founder, becomes president of Congress of Industrial Organizations. Chicago newspaper strike begins. Hilo , HA massacre occurs. Strike at Maytag. Supreme Court makes a decision that allows employers to permanently replace striking workers.   AFL expels CIO with charges of dual unionism.

 

September 29: Munich Pact: To avert war, Britain and France give in to Hitler's claim to the Sudetenland, the German-populated part of Czechoslovakia . Critics denounce the agreement as "appeasement."

1939

IAM signs first union agreement in air transport industry with Eastern. Auto Worker’s strike Chrysler. Tool & Die Worker’s strike GM. Union workers total 8.9 million. 

 

April 9: Denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, contralto Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln Memorial before 75,000 people.
August 23: Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact. The two countries agree to divide Poland .
September: World War II begins following Germany 's invasion of Poland on September 1.

1940

President Franklin Roosevelt reelected.  Machinists rates average 80 cents an hour.  IAM pledges full support to National Defense program.  IAM membership climbs to 188,000.  AFL grows to 4.2 million as organizing of industrial unions begin.  Supreme Court rules sit down strikes are not an illegal restraint of trade.  Lewis resigns as president of CIO and is replaced by Philip Murray.  Ford Motor workers strike.  AFL membership is 4.2 million when affiliated unions began to organize industrial unions.

 

U.S. population: 131,669,275.
April 9: Norway and Denmark fall to the Nazis.
May 10-29: Germany captures Holland , Belgium , and Luxemburg.
May 26-June 4: 338,000 Allied forces, mainly British, evacuate the continent at Dunkerque.
June 28: The Smith Act outlaws organizations advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government.
August-November: Battle of Britain . The Royal Air Force repels the Luftwaffe.
September 3: The U.S. provides Britain with 50 aging destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases on eight military bases in Newfoundland and the West Indies .

1941

IAM pledges hail support to win the war including no-strike pledge.  Ford Motor Company recognizes UAW and the UAW secures the first union-shop agreement in the auto industry.  US enters WWII.  AFL and CIO pledge not to strike for the duration of the way.  10.4 million union members.  Union growth due to help by the War Labor Relations Board seeking "labor peace" during World War II.  Allis-Chamber strike.  Captive Coal Mines strike.  International Harvester strike.  NYC bus drivers strike.  North American Aviation workers strike.  Detroit , Michigan , Hate Strike against black workers. 

 

January 13: President Roosevelt calls on Congress to defend four essential freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
March 11: Lend-Lease. The U.S. provides Britain with arms and supplies.
April 11: The Office of Price Administration is established with power to set production priorities and prices and institute rationing.
Summer: President Roosevelt freezes German, Italian, and Japanese assets and embargoes shipments of gasoline and scrap metal to Japan .
June 22: Germany invades Russia in violation of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact.
December 7: Japanese planes and submarines attack the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor , Hawaii . The surprise attacked heavily damaged or sank 19 ships and killed 3,457 soldiers, sailors, and civilians.

1942

United Steel Workers of America (USWA) replace earlier Steel Workers Organizing Committee.  National War Labor Board established by Roosevelt to determine labor dispute settlements in time of war - establishes the "Little Steel Formula" for wartime wage adjustments.  War Labor Relations Board assists unions in gaining recognition including requiring employers to sign contracts containing union security clauses.  Board requires employers to enter into union security clauses.  War Labor Board establishes procedures for determining wage adjustments in wartime.  Stabilization Act passed giving presidential authority to stabilize wagers at Sept ’42 levels. 

 

January 20: Wansee Conference. The Nazis plan the "final solution" to the Jewish problem.
February 19: President Roosevelt authorizes the internment of 112,000 Japanese-Americans living along the Pacific coast. Japanese-Americans in Hawaii were not interned. More than 17,000 Japanese-Americans served in the U.S. armed forces during the war.
April 10: The Bataan Death March begins. 10,000 U.S. and 45,000 Filipino prisoners of war are forced to march 120 miles to Pampanga Province . 5,200 Americans and thousands of Filipinos died during the forced march.
April 18: "30 Seconds Over Tokyo ." Col. Jimmy Doolittle's carrier-based aircraft bomb Tokyo .
May 15: Gas rationing is put into effect, limiting drives to three gallons a week.
June 3-6: The Battle of Midway. U.S. aircraft repel a Japanese assault in the Central Pacific, sinking 17 Japanese ships and shooting down 250 airplanes.
July 25: British and American forces invade French North Africa.
November 28: A fire at Boston 's Coconut Grove nightclub kills 491.
December 2: A research team led by physicist Enrico Fermi produces the first successful atomic chain reaction at the University of Chicago .

1943

Executive Order creates Committee on Fair Employment Practices to stop discriminatory hiring in war industries based on race, creed, color, or national origin.  Detroit , Michigan , Hate Strikes against black workers and the Detroit , Michigan , Race Riot.  Congress passes the Smith-Connally Act to restrict strikes and union political activity during the war.  War Labor Act allows seizure of plants if needed to stop interference in the war effort.  Bituminous Coal Strike, UMWA strike which triggered a US government takeover of the mines ends with a contract providing portal-to-portal pay and other benefits.  Legislation providing for federal grants-in-aid to states to set up worker protection units failed in 1940 and 1943.

 

May 9-10: Some 250,000 German troops surrender in Tunisia , abandoning the last Nazi stronghold in Africa .
June 5-8: Zoot Suit Riots. Sailors in Los Angeles attack Mexican Americans.
June 10: The United States institutes a withholding tax.
June 20: An anti-black riot in Detroit results in the deaths of 25 blacks and nine whites.
July 10: 150,000 British, American, and Canadian forces land in Sicily , conquering the island in five weeks.
July 25: Benito Mussolini is forced to resign as head of Italy 's government after 21 years of rule.
September: British and American forces advance into Italy .

1944

President Franklin Roosevelt reelected.  76,000 IAM members serve in armed forces.  Total IAM membership now 776,000.18.6 million workers in US are unionized and 3.5 million are women.   Detroit Race riots begin.  Philadelphia Transit Strike. 

 

Publishers introduce the "paperback" book.
June 6: D-Day. Over a 48-hour period, 156,000 Allied troops storm the beaches of Normandy in France , while 8000 Allied planes provide air cover.
June 22: President Roosevelt signs the GI Bill of Rights, providing educational and vocational benefits for returning veterans.
October 22-27: The Battle of Leyte Gulf . At the largest naval battle in history, 166 U.S. ships and 1280 planes destroy five Japanese aircraft carriers, four battleships, 14 cruisers, and 43 other ships, and destroy 7000 aircraft.
December 16: The last German counter offense of the war, the Battle of the Bulge, begins.

1945

President Franklin Roosevelt dies.   Vice-President Harry S. Truman becomes President.  WWII ends.  First IAM agreement with Remington Rand.  IAM convention votes to establish weekly newspaper, education department.  World Federation of Trade Unions created.  CIO affiliates with WFTU.  AFL stays out of WFTU as they are viewed as not free and democratic.  14.7 million union workers in US. Philly Transit workers strike.  Kelsey-Hayes workers strike.  NYC Longshoremen strike.  Montgomery Ward workers strike.  Oil Worker’s strike.  A wave of major strikes including General Motors, coal steel and rubber and threat of nationwide railroad strike.  4,750 strikes involving 3.4 million workers (due in part to the ending of no-strike pledges and high inflation).  14.7 million union members. 

 

April 25-June 26: Representatives from 50 nations draft the United Nations charter in San Francisco .
April 30: Adolf Hitler commits suicide in an underground bunker in Berlin .
May 7: V-E Day. German forces surrender to the Allies. Germany is divided into four zones.
June 26: Delegates from 50 nations draft the United Nations Charter in San Francisco .
August 6: The Enola Gay, a B-29, drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima . On August 9, a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki .
September 2: Japan formally surrenders in a ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay .
November 20: The Nuremberg tribunal convenes to hear cases of 22 high-ranking Nazis charged with war crimes. Twelve were given the death sentence, three received life terms, four were given 10-20 year prison terms, and three were acquitted. A war crimes trial in Tokyo in 1948 resulted in the hanging of Premier Tojo and six others.

1946

Republicans take control of congress.  88% of IAM agreements now provide for paid vacations.  The end of the war unleashes the largest wave of strikes in history.  In previous year, over 4700 strikes involving more than 3.4 million worker sweep nation.  Women janitors in New York City demand and win bid to have cuspidors removed from offices citing health risks due to potential communicable disease exposure.  UMWA wins health and welfare fund. United Mine Workers win a health and welfare fund in bargaining with the coal operators.  Nationwide coal strike prompts US government to seize the mines to continue production.  Electrical Manufacturing Strikes.  General Motors Strike.  Pittsburgh Power Strike.  Railroad Strike.  Steelworkers launch 30-state strike against US Steel.  Both the AFL and the CIO launch organizing campaigns in the south. 

 

March: Speaking in Fulton , Mo. , Winston Churchill announces that "an iron curtain has descended across the Continent" of Europe .

1947

IAM Legal Department established. Machinists average $1.56 an hour.  The recently elected republican congress passes the Taft-Hartley Act (Labor Management Relations Act) restricting union practices and permitting the states to ban union security agreements and allows for “right to work” (FOR LESS!) laws by individual states and making secondary boycotts (like the Danbury hatters) illegal.  Norris-La Guardia Act designed to prohibit injunctions in labor disputes is denied as applicable in Government vs. John L Lewis. RJ Reynolds Tobacco workers strike.  Telephone workers strike. 

 

Financier Bernard Baruch declares that "We are in the midst of a cold war."
28-year-old Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American in baseball's major leagues.
March 22: President Truman orders loyalty investigations of all federal employees.
October 14: Air Force Captain Charles Yeager becomes the first pilot to exceed the speed of sound.

1948

IAM membership opened to all regardless of race or color.  IAM convention endorses Harry Truman for President.  President Harry S. Truman is reelected.  UAW establishes first contract with GM that has automatic wage increases based on CPI.  First national conference on safety meets. Progressive Party formed.

 

March 8: Congress authorizes the Marshall Plan.
May: The United States formally recognizes the state of Israel .
June 24: Berlin Blockade. After Joseph Stalin imposes a land blockade on West Berlin , President Truman mounts an airlift; 277,000 flights carry over 2.5 million tons of supplies to the city.

1949

Railroad machinists win 40 hour week. Membership down to 501,000. Child labor is directly prohibited by amendment to Fair Labor Standards Act for the first time. CIO leads an anti-communist drive at its annual convention leading to the expulsion of two unions. Many unions engaged in democratic free trade withdraw from WFTU and meet with 51 countries to form the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Hawaii Dock strike.



 

April 4: The United States joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and pledges to resist aggression against member nations.
October 1: Mao Tse-tung proclaims the People's Republic of China . On December 8, China 's Nationalist government flees to Taiwan .
October 21: Eleven U.S. Communist party leaders are sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000.

1950

IAM joins International Transport Workers Federation.   Machinists now average $1.82 an hour. UAW secures five-year contract with General Motors that automatic includes COLA (cost of living adjustments), modified union shops, and pension benefits.   US enters Korean War. New Mexico miners begin “Salt of the Earth” strike.  CIO expels nine unions for alleged Communist domination.  Mechanization of the cotton industry increases incidence of respiratory symptoms similar to byssinosis.

 

U.S. population: 150,697,361.
Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Rep. Wisc.) tells Wheeling, W. Va.'s Women's Republican Club: "I have here in my hand a list of 205...names that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Dept."
May: A special Senate committee, chaired by Sen. Estes Kefauver, conducts televised hearings on organized crime.
June 25: The Korean War begins when North Korean forces cross the 38th parallel into South Korea . President Truman wins a UN mandate to drive communist forces from South Korea because the Soviet delegation is absent.
September 15: UN forces land behind enemy lines at Inchon , while other UN troops drive northward up the Korean peninsula.
September 23: The McCarran Internal Security Act requires Communist-front organizations to register with the Subversive Activities Control Board.
October 7: U.S. forces cross the 38th parallel into North Korea .
November 29: After UN forces approach the Yalu River , Chinese troops intervene, pushing the U.S. and its allies out of North Korea .

1951

IAM pledges full support of UN action in Korea . Taft-Hartley Act amended to allow union shop negotiations to occur without prior employee polls.  UAW president Walter Reuther elected president of CIO.  Senator Hubert Humphrey proposed federal legislation for the Department of Labor to develop safety standards. It failed to pass.

 

February 26: The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution stipulates that no person may be elected president more than two times.
April 5: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death for their alleged role in passing U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union .
April 11: President Truman dismisses Gen. Douglas MacArthur for publicly challenging the policies of his civilian superiors. MacArthur had advocated an invasion of China .

1952

Employees on 85% of airlines now protected by IAM agreements.  92% of IAM contracts provide for paid holidays.  An 8-week strike in the Steel Industries follows the seizure by the Federal Government after companies rejected Wage Stabilization Board recommendations.  Supreme Court rules Steel companies seizure as unconstitutional.  AFL President Green dies and George Meany takes the position of president. Philip Murray.  CIO President. dies and is replaced by former UAW president Walter Ruether.  Coal Mine Safety Act passed.  CA mine and mill operators win their seven-month strike over high dust levels and won many of its objectives..  Steel strike.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected. 

 

September 23: Checkers Speech. On nationwide television, Richard M. Nixon, the Republican vice presidential candidate, explains that an $18,000 private fund set up by wealthy backers was for "necessary political expenses" and "exposing communism." He added that he had received another gift, a cocker spaniel that his daughter had named Checkers.

1953

IAM has contracts fixing wages and working conditions with 13,500 employers.  IAM Atomic Energy Conference organized.  AFL and CIO sign “no raiding” pact.  AFL expels the            International Longshoremen's Association for corruption.  Louisiana Sugar Caner Workers’ strike. 

 

 

June 19: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg become the only American civilians executed for espionage.
July 27: An armistice formally ends the Korean War, which killed three million people and cost the U.S. 54,000 lives and $22 billion.
August 19: The CIA engineers a coup overthrowing Iran 's Prime Minister Mohammed Mossaegh and placing the Shah in power.

1954

Kohler strike begins.

 

March 1: Five members of Congress are shot on the floor of the House of Representatives by Puerto Rican nationalists.
April 22: The Army-McCarthy hearings begin. Sen. McCarthy had charged that the Secretary of the Army had interfered with his investigations of communists in the military. The Army counter charged that McCarthy had sought favors for an aide who was in the service. In December, the Senate censured McCarthy 67-22.
May 8: The French garrison at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam falls to insurgent forces, the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh.
May 17: In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court rules unanimously that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Chief Justice Earl Warren writes: "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate education facilities are inherently unequal."
June 18: The CIA sponsors a coup in Guatemala overthrowing the government of Jacobo Arbenz, which had nationalized property owned by the United Fruit Company.

1955

70% of IAM contracts now have health and welfare provisions.  Machinists average $2.33 an hour.  AFL and CIO merge with George Meany as first president, Machinist Al Hayes elected Vice President and chairman of Ethical Practices Committee, UMWA remains independent.  United Auto Workers win supplementary unemployment benefits in bargaining with Ford. Southern Telephone strike.  It was proven unequivocally that exposure to asbestos causes lung cancer by the British Government.

 

The United States provides $216 million in aid to South Vietnam .
August 28: Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American from Chicago , was kidnapped from his uncle's home in LeFlore County , Miss. His mutilated body was recovered four days later from the Tallahatchie River . Till had been accused of acting disrespectfully toward a white woman. An all-white jury acquitted the two men accused of the crime.
December 1: Seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery , Ala. , city bus to a white man, leading to a year-long black bus boycott.
December 5: The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge.

1956

President Dwight D. Eisenhower is reelected.  Union membership 17.4 million (33.4%).  2,000th active local chartered. New ten story Machinists Building dedicated at 1300 Connecticut Ave. , Washington , DC .  The World Health Organization discovered an alarming number of cases of mesothelioma (a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure) due to asbestos exposure that was less than the amount that causes asbestosis.  Steel strike.  Canadian Labour of Congress formed.  East Coast Longshoremen's Strike.  Steel Strike.  Of 560 labor contracts surveyed in New York 53% did not mention the word "safety".

 

October: Soviet troops crush a revolt in Hungary .
October 30: Israeli forces invade the Sinai Peninsula after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal and excludes Israeli shipping. The next day, Britain and France begin to bomb Egypt .

1957

Bakery Workers, Laundry Workers and Teamsters are expelled from AFL-CIO over a corruption scandal. 

 

The Senate's McClellan Committee investigates corrupt union practices. The committee's counsel was Robert F. Kennedy.
September 24: President Eisenhower sends a thousand army paratroopers to Little Rock , Arkansas 's Central High School , to permit nine black children to enroll in the previously all-white school.
October 4: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first artificial satellite.

1958

IAM convention establishes a strike fund which was approved by the membership in a referendum vote.  IAM membership now tops 903,000. 

1959

Congress passes the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin Act) which regulate union’s internal affairs in wake of corruption scandals and requires unions to file periodic reports of financial activities.  Asbestos manufacturer Johns Manville tests employees for but did not share results.  Steel strike.

 

January 1: Fidel Castro marches into Havana , having defeated the regime of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba .

1960

IAM convention endorses JFK for President after personal visits from both Kennedy and Richard Nixon.  Kennedy becomes President.  IAM convention establishes college scholarship program.  IAM establishes Labor Management Pension Fund.  Over one million public employees are in unions.  DOL pushes for better safety and health standards in shipyards and longshoreman jobs.  Woolworth’s sit-in begins civil rights movements in Greensboro , North Carolina .  Negro American Labor Council founded. General Electric strike.  Seaman’s strike.  Mother Jones, UMWA organizer, passes away at 100. 

 

U.S. population: 179,323,175.
U.S. scientists Charles H. Townes and Arthur L. Schawlow patent the laser.
The first retirement community opens in Sun City , Arizona , outside Phoenix .
A House subcommittee reports that 207 disk jockeys in 42 cities had received over $260,000 in payola to play records on the air.
February 1: The "sit-in" movement begins when four African American students sit down at a Greensboro , N.C. Woolworth's to protest segregated lunch counters.
May 5: A U-2 spy plane with Francis Gary Powers at the controls is shot down over Sverdlovsk , Russia , aborting a scheduled summit meeting between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and President Dwight Eisenhower.
May 9: The Food and Drug Administration approves the birth control pill. By 1962, 1.2 million American women were taking it.
June 30: Belgium grants independence to the Congo .
September 26-October 17: Presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon face off in four televised debates.

1962

IAM Electronics Conference established. Machinists now average $3.10 an hour. President Kennedy signs Executive Order allowing Federal employee’s unions right to bargain with all government agencies. Unions stand at 16.5 million members. NYC Newspaper strike. East Coast Longshoremen’s strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Quite Done;

Still a Work in Progress

us labor history

WELCOME, YOU'RE A STEELWORKER NOW!

who are we

There is not a single US citizen who has not benefitted from the struggles, sacrifices and victories of the US labor movement. Things we take for granted--child labor laws, unemployment insurance, the 8-hour day, the minimum wage, health and safety regulations--are a direct result of the strikes, sit-downs, slow-downs, and actions of organized workers. Unfortunately, most of this history has been effectively purged from our collective memory. The US political establishment portrays unions as out of date and somehow "no longer necessary."

The social conditions which gave birth to unions are still very much evident today, however. More people than ever must work as a wage-earner to survive, and wages and working conditions have been in a downward spiral since the end of the 1960s. Only the collective action of a union allows working people the leverage they need to earn a better wage, or have any real power at the work place. Though the industrial basis of our economy has given way to one based on services and information, the fundamental inequality inherent in wage-labor has not changed one iota. Data processors, teaching assistants, fast-food workers, computer programmers and other service workers need collective bargaining as much as autoworkers and steelworkers.

The attitude of government towards unions has shifted throughout history as have citizens attitudes in general.

Throughout the mid eighteen hundreds and into the industrial revolution America embraced a laissez faire approach as it hurtled towards industrialism. Even in the progressive era from 1900 to 1917 unions received scant little support with the notable exception of the Sherman antitrust act in 1914. It was almost as if unions were rebels against a very conservative society. America at this time was VERY conservative and unions represented a change in the status quo. Unions also, for many Americans, represented a step towards Communism and when the Red Scare arose in reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 many Americans saw Unions as the vehicle for socialist and communist ideology. The reality is that they where not entirely wrong as such union organizers as Eugene V. Debs were, in fact, socialists.

Times, as Dylan said, they are a changing and change they did. When the depression hit, Roosevelt's New Deal began to revolutionize the way Americans looked at workers. The depression made us realize that workers were a part of the industrial and economic landscape. Workers, we finally recognized, were at the heart of the economy because workers spend. Government also changed its tune as we moved from a laissez faire philosophy that believed in supply side (trickle down) economics to an activist government that believed in Keynesian (pump priming) economics. During this pro union era notable legislation, described below was passed that ever increased the power of unions.

As World War II and the depression ended unions had gained a strong foothold in America. We emerged from the war as the undisputed world military and economic power and if we were to remain as such we would need to shift from a wart time to a post war economy. This is a difficult transition and recognizing that unions had perhaps gained an upper hand that might stifle this transition, government moved to limit the power of unions and perhaps balance things out a little. Laws such as the Taft Hartley Act, described below, achieved this balance.

Where do we stand today... history will be the judge but many observers feel that as the role and importance of unions in a post industrial economy lessens, that the government has adopted an anti union stance. Again, this is merely supposition and is subject to much debate.

Anti Union Legislation - Before 1933

The anti union attitude of government before the New Deal was seen in the way the federal courts interpreted existing law and in the use of federal troops or state militia during a strike. Management would often seek injunctions from the court. An injunction is a court order barring a specific activity. In this case the injunctions would be against the formation of unions or against a strike or other union activity. In order to grant an injunction the court must base its decision on existing law. In this case the law referred to was the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The Sherman Antitrust Act a basic federal enactment regulating the operations of corporate trusts declared illegal "every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce." In interpreting the Sherman Act the courts decided that unions represented a "restraint of trade and thus granted injunctions against them in violation of the Sherman Act.

In 1914 Congress passed the Clayton Anti Trust Act. This act was designed to strengthen the anti trust provisions of the Sherman Act but had a clause in it that stated that Unions were not a conspiracy in restraint of trade. Samuel Gompers, founder of the AFL referred to the Clayton Act as the "Magna Carta" of union legislation.

In 1932 the Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction Act was passed severely limiting the power to issue injunctions in labor disputes. The passage of the Norris-La Guardia Act signaled the beginning of a shift away from the governments anti union sentiment.


Pro Union Legislation - 1933 - 1939

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) a federal law enacted by the United States Congress in July 1935 to govern the labor-management relation is generally known as the Wagner Act, after Senator Robert R. Wagner of New York.

The general objective of the act to guarantee to employees "the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection." The NLRA establishes procedures for the selection of a labor organization to represent a unit of employees in collective bargaining. The act prohibits employers from interfering with this selection. The NLRA requires the employer to bargain with the appointed representative of its employees. It does not require either side to agree to a proposal or make concessions but does that each side bargain in good faith. Proposals which would violate the NLRA or other laws may not be the subject matter of collective bargaining. The NLRA also establishes regulations on what tactics (e.g. strikes, lockouts, picketing) a side in negotiations may employ to further their bargaining objectives.

To safeguard these rights the act created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which, among other powers, has the authority to prevent employers from engaging in certain specified unfair labor practices. Examples of such practices are acts of interference, restraint, or coercion upon employees with respect to their right to organize and bargain collectively; domination of or interference with the formation or administration of any labor organization, or the contribution of financial or other support thereto; discrimination in regard to hiring or dismissal of employees or to any term or condition of employment, in order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization; discrimination against any employee for filing charges or giving testimony under the provisions of the act; and refusal to bargain collectively with the representative chosen by a majority of employees in a bargaining unit deemed appropriate by the NLRB.

Before the enactment of the NLRA, the federal government had refrained almost entirely from supporting collective bargaining over wages and working conditions and from facilitating the growth of trade unions. The new law, which was proposed and enacted with the firm support of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, marked a significant reversal of this attitude. First the American Federation of Labor and later the Congress of Industrial Organizations took advantage of governmental encouragement by carrying out nationwide organizational campaigns. Largely as a result of such efforts, the number of organized workers rose from about 3.5 million in 1935 to about 15 million in 1947.

The Wages and Hours Act passed in 1938 established a minimum wage of 25 cents per hour and a maximum workweek of 40 hours for industrial workers. Workers were to receive overtime at a rate of time and a half. Child labor was restricted. This federal law applied only to businesses engaged in interstate trade but soon most states had passed similar laws.

The Social Security Act passed in 1935 also provided protection to workers. There were three phases to the program: (1) benefits to cover the risks of old age, death, dependency of children, disability and blindness; (2) medical care for the aged (added in 1965); and (3) unemployment benefits.


Legislation that Balanced Unions and Management - 1946 - Present

In 1947 Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act limiting the actions of Unions and balancing the tend begun by the Wagner Act. The Taft-Hartley act amended (changed by adding to) the Wagner Act and set up standards of conduct for both unions and management. These were the major provisions of the act:

a. Unions were required to bargain with employers fairly and in good faith just as the Wagner Act had decreed that management must bargain similarly with unions.

b. Unions were required to give notice before striking. If a strike threatened the national interest the President could request and injunction to delay the strike for 80 days.

c. Unfair labor practices by unions were listed and prohibited. These included the refusal to bargain in good faith, attempting to cause an employer to discriminate against an employee because of threat employees refusal to join a union, charging excessive initiation fees and union dues and encouraging employees to take a job related action for the specific purpose of achieving objectives deemed unfair to employers.

d. Unions could be sued and held legally responsible for the actions of their members.

e. Secondary boycotts, when a union agrees not to do business or handle products from non union shops or from shops currently involved in a job action where prohibited.

f. Financial contributions to political campaigns were forbidden.

g. The closed shop, which required that all employees be union members before they could be hired, was declared illegal. The union shop, which required that all employees become union members after a certain period of time on the job was allowed. The law also set forth provisions that enabled workers to refuse to join the union. In this case a agency shop is established. This is a union shop where some workers pay an agency fee to the union that still bargains collectively on their behalf but they do not contribute that portion of dues that might have gone to poltical activities.

h. The checkoff of union dues without the written consent of employees; contributions by employers to union health and welfare funds not under joint labor-management administration was prohibited.

 I. It required labor unions desiring to use the facilities of the NLRB to file certain organizational and financial data with the NLRB, and it required the officers of such unions to file affidavits certifying that they are not members of the Communist party.

j. It emphasized the right of all employees not to join a union and not to participate in collective action.

The Landrum-Griffin Act was passed in 1949 as the result of a Senate investigation into the relationship of unions and organized crime. Racketeering (Organized illegal activity such as bootlegging or extorting money by threat or violence from legitimate businessmen; a dishonest scheme or trick, illegally attempting to control businesses by threat of force or violence.) And undemocratic practices in unions were uncovered. This law was designed to protect union members rights by curbing racketeering and eliminating other corrupt practices such as stealing union controlled pension plans.

 

Landmark legislation involving public employees exists in New York State. Due to the potentially severe impacts to citizens of a halt in essential government service provision, New York State law has long prohibited public sector strike. From 1947 to 1967, employees of all levels of government in New York State were governed by the Condon-Wadlin Act which prohibited public sector strikes and assessed harsh penalties to strikers. The law made public employee unions illegal and strictly forbade striking. In fact, striking workers were fired, fined and often jailed. This strategy did not, however, prevent such serious strikes as the 1966 New York City transit worker strike which effectively crippled the city and cost an estimated $100 million per day. By the late 1960s, a number of public sector employee strikes in the State pushed the government to shift from a penalty-based system to a prevention-based one.

The new law passed in 1967, the Taylor Law, permits union organizing, and provides a system within which to resolve labor-management conflict short of striking. Public employers are required to recognize and negotiate in good faith with the union representatives of a bargaining unit, thus public employee unions were legally recognized. The law establishes certain mandatory bargaining issues, which public employers must negotiate with union representation. Broadly stated, mandatory bargaining issues are terms and conditions of employment.

(Good site on the Taylor Law, PERB and bargaining issues in New York State - http://www.cce.cornell.edu/community/govt/restructuring/labor/reviews/legal.html)

The Public Employees Relations Board(PERB) interprets which issues are terms and conditions of employment under the law. PERB is also mandated to facilitate union recognition and labor-management contract negotiations, and to arbitrate any unresolved disputes. PERB is thus similar to the NLRB but for public employees within New York State.

The Taylor law does, however, outlaw striking by public employees. Public employees who engage in a strike are fined two days pay for every day they are out. Authorizing unions are also subject to the loss of the dues payoff provision and the incarceration of union leaders as well a fines.Type your paragraph here.

Map of Mergers that Lead To the USW