Timeline of labor issues and events
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||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2010)|
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Timeline of organized labor history
- 1 1600-1699
- 2 1700-1799
- 3 1800-1899
- 4 1900-1999
- 5 2000-2099
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 1791 (United States)
- Philadelphia carpenters conduct first strike in the building trades in the United States.
- 1792 (United States)
- Philadelphia form first local union in the United States organized to conduct collective bargaining.
- 1794 (United States)
- Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers formed in Philadelphia.
- 1797 (United States)
- Profit sharing originated at Albert Gallatin's glass works in New Geneva, Pennsylvania.
- 1805 (United States)
- Journeymen Cordwainer's union includes a closed-shop clause in its constitution in New York, New York.
- 1806 (United States)
- Commonwealth v. Pullis was the first known court case arising from a labor strike in the United States. After a three-day trial, the jury found the defendants guilty of "a combination to raise their wages" and fined.
- 1816 (England)
- Food riots broke out in East Anglia. Workers demanded a minimum wage and for the setting of maximum prices for food.
- 1828 (United States)
- Workingmen's Party was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the Mechanics' Union of Trades' Associations.
- 23 April 1829 (United States)
- Committee of Fifty, a group of prominent trade unionists in New York City, organized to resist efforts by business owners to revoke the 10-hour workday and reinstate the 11-hour workday. Their efforts lead directly to the forming of the Workingmen's Party of New York.
- 9 January 1831 (England)
- Twenty-three workers from Buckingham were sentenced to death for destruction of a paper machine by one of a number of Special Commissions sent to East Anglia to suppress insurgent workers by the Whig Ministry.
- 11 January 1831 (England)
- Three workers in Dorset were sentenced to death for extorting money and two workers were sentenced to death for robbery by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers.
- Fifty-five workers in Norwich were convicted of "machine breaking and rioting" by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers.
- Three workers in Ipswich were convicted of extorting money by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers.
- Twenty-six workers in Petworth were convicted of "machine breaking and rioting" by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers.
- "Upwards of thirty" workers in Gloucester were convicted of "machine breaking and rioting" by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers.
- Twenty-nine workers in Oxford were convicted of "machine breaking and rioting" by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers.
- 1834 (England)
- The Tolpuddle Martyrs, agricultural workers who formed a trade union in Tolpuddle in Dorsetshire, were sentenced by a Whig Ministry Special Commission to transportation to a penal colony in Australia.
- March 1834 (United States)
- National Trades' Union formed in New York when the New York General Trades' Union solicited labor organizations from around the country to send delegates to a national convention. This union was the first attempt to create a national labor federation.
- 1835 (United States)
- Carpenters, masons, and stone-cutters began a strike as part of the Ten-Hour Movement among skilled workers. They drafted a strike circular in Boston outlining their demands and seeking assistance from other tradespeople. Wherever this circular was distributed, a strike in favor of the ten-hour workday erupted. The 1835 Philadelphia General Strike, in which workers successfully struck for shorter working hours and higher wages, was influenced by the Boston circular.
- 3 July 1835 (United States)
- Textile workers, many of whom were children of Irish descent, launched the 1835 Paterson textile strike in the silk mills in Paterson, New Jersey fighting for the 11-hour day, 6 days a week.
- 1836 (United States)
- National Cooperative Association of Cordwainers formed in New York, New York. This association was the first national union for a specific craft.
- 1840 (United States)
- Ten-hour day for federal employees on federal public works projects without loss of pay established by President Martin Van Buren by executive order.
- 1842 (United States)
- Ten-hour Republican Association was formed by New England mechanics to pressure the Massachusetts legislature to establish a ten-hour workday throughout the state.
- March 1842 (United States)
- Commonwealth v. Hunt was a landmark legal decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on the subject of labor unions. Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw ruled that unions were legal organizations and had the right to organize and strike. Before this decision, labor unions which attempted to 'close' or create a unionized workplace could be charged with conspiracy. See Commonwealth vs. Pullis
- April 1844 (United States)
- Fall River Mechanics' Association established 'The Mechanic', a weekly paper dedicated "to advocate the cause of the oppressed Mechanic and Laborer in all its bearings."
- 1847 (Scotland)
- The Educational Institute of Scotland, the oldest teachers' trade union in the world, was founded.
- 1848 (United States)
- Pennsylvania's child labor law establishes the age of 12 as the minimum age for workers in commercial occupations.
- July 1851 (United States)
- Two railroad strikers are shot dead and others injured by the state militia in Portage, New York.
- 21 April 1856 (Australia)
- Stonemasons and building workers in Melbourne achieve an Eight-hour day, the first organized workers in the world to achieve an 8-hour day, with no loss of pay.
- 1860 (United States)
- 800 women operatives and 4,000 workmen marched during a shoemaker's strike in Lynn, Massachusetts.
- 1863 (United States)
- The first railroad labor union, The Brotherhood of the Footboard (later renamed the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers) is formed in Marshall, Michigan. It is headed by William D. Robinson.
- 1864 (Europe)
- International Workingmen's Association often called the First International is founded.
- 1867 (United States)
- Order of the Knights of St. Crispin, a union for factory workers in the shoe industry, founded.
- 1868 (Germany)
- The Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (ADGB)(Federation of General German Civil Servants) was founded and represented 142,000 workers.
- 1868 (United States)
- First U.S. federal eight-hour law passed. This law only applied to laborers, workmen, and mechanics employed by the U.S. federal government.
- 1870 (United States)
- The first written contract between coal miners and coal miner operators signed.
- 1872 (Europe)
- Karl Marx ejects Mikhail Bakunin and the other anarchists from the International Workingmen's Association
- 1873 (United States)
- In 1873 the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen was established. In 1906 it became the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen.
- 13 January 1874 (United States)
- The original Tompkins Square Riot occurs in New York City. As unemployed workers demonstrated in New York City's Tompkins Square Park, a detachment of mounted police charged into the crowd, beating men, women and children indiscriminately with billy clubs and leaving hundreds of casualties in their wake.
- Commented Abram Duryee, the Commissioner of Police: "It was the most glorious sight I ever saw..."
- 1874 (United States)
- Peter M. Arthur elected Grand Chief of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. He remained in office until his death.
- 12 February 1877 (United States)
- The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 -- U.S. railroad workers began strikes to protest wage cuts. It started in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and then spread to many other states.
- 14 July 1877 (United States)
- A general strike halted the movement of U.S. railroads. In the following days, strike riots spread across the United States. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the nationwide strike. At the "Battle of the Viaduct" in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, between protesting members of the Chicago German Furniture Workers Union, now Local 1784 of the Carpenters Union, and federal troops (recently returned from an Indian massacre) killed 30 workers and wounded over 100.
- 1878 (United States)
- Socialist Labor Party of America founded when the Workingmen's Party of the United States voted to change its name at its December 1877 convention.
- 1881 (United States and Canada)
- Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, the precursor of the American Federation of Labor, was founded in the United States and Canade.
- 5 September 1882 (United States)
- Thirty thousand workers marched in the first Labor Day parade in New York City.
- 1883 (Canada)
- The Trades and Labour Congress of Canada (TLC), a Canada-wide central federation of trade unions was formed.
- 1884 (United States)
- The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, forerunner of the American Federation of Labor, passed a resolution stating that "8 hours shall constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886."
- 1884 (United States)
- Federal Bureau of Labor established in the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- 1885 (United States)
- U.S. Congress passed the Foran Act outlawing immigration of laborers on contract.
- March 1886 (United States)
- The Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886 was a labor union strike against the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads involving more than 200,000 workers.
- 1 May 1886 (United States)
- Workers protested in the streets to demand the universal adoption of the eight hour day. Hundreds of thousands of American workers had joined the Knights of Labor. The movement ultimately failed.
- 1 May 1886 (United States)
- Bay View Tragedy -- About 2,000 Polish workers walked off their jobs and gathered at St. Stanislaus Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, angrily denouncing the ten hour workday. The protesters marched through the city, calling on other workers to join them. All but one factory was closed down as sixteen thousand protesters gathered at Rolling Mills. Wisconsin Governor Jeremiah Rusk called the state militia. The militia camped out at the mill while workers slept in nearby fields. On the morning of 5 May, as protesters chanted for the eight-hour workday, General Treaumer ordered his men to shoot into the crowd, some of whom were carrying sticks, bricks, and scythes, leaving seven dead at the scene, including a child.
- The Milwaukee Journal reported that eight more would die within twenty-four hours, adding that Governor Rusk was to be commended for his quick action in the matter.
- 1886 (United States)
- American Federation of Labor founded. Samuel Gompers served as first president.
- 4 May 1886 (United States)
- Anarchist rally lead to the Haymarket Riot in Chicago, Illinois, the origin of international May Day observances.
- 22 November 1887 (United States)
- In the Thibodaux massacre in Thibodaux, Louisiana a local militia, aided by bands of "prominent citizens," shot at least 35 unarmed black sugar workers striking to gain a dollar-per-day wage, and lynched two strike leaders.
- 1887 (United States)
- Seven of the Haymarket Riot bombing defendants sentenced to death, of which five are executed.
- June 1888 (United Kingdom)
- The London matchgirls strike of 1888 was a strike of the women and teenage girls working at the Bryant and May Factory in Bow, London. The strike was prompted by the poor working conditions in the match factory, including fourteen hour work days, poor pay, excessive fines, and the severe health complications of working with yellow (or white) phosphorus, such as phossy jaw.
- 1888 (United States)
- United States enacted first federal labor relations law; the law applied only to railroads.
- 1889 (EUROPE)
- The Second International is founded. Declaration of May 1 as International Workers Day.
- 1890 (United States)
- Labor Leader Eugene V. Debs founded the American Railway Union (ARU) as an all craft organization. The ARU, however, was destroyed a few years later by company management, with government collusion and the use of federal troops during the Pullman Strike in 1894.
- 1890 (United States)
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Strike occurred; the union demanded an eight-hour work day.
- 25 July 1890 (United States)
- New York garment workers won the right to unionize after a seven-month strike. They secured agreements for a closed shop, and firing of all scabs.
- 6 July 1892 (United States)
- Homestead Strike -- Pinkerton Guards, trying to pave the way for the introduction of scabs, opened fire on striking Carnegie mill steel-workers in Homestead, Pennsylvania. In the ensuing battle, three Pinkertons surrendered; then, unarmed, they were set upon and beaten by a mob of townspeople, most of them women. Seven guards and eleven strikers and spectators were shot to death.
- 11 July 1892 (United States)
- Coeur d'Alene, Idaho labor strike of 1892 -- Striking miners in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho dynamited the Frisco Mill, leaving it in ruins.
- 1893 (United States)
- Federal court in Louisiana rules that the Sherman Antitrust Act applies to unions and finds that sympathy strikes restrain trade.
- 1893 (United States)
- Unions helped win the passage of the Safety Appliance Act. Among other things, the Act outlawed the “old man-killer link and pin coupler” by railroads.
- 1894 (United Kingdom)
- History of Trade Unionism, the influential book by Sidney and Beatrice Webb is first published.
- 7 February 1894 (United States)
- In Cripple Creek, Colorado, miners went on strike when mine owners announced an increase from eight to ten hours per day, with no increase in wages. This strike marked perhaps the only time in American history that a state militia was called out to protect miners from sheriff's deputies.
- 21 April – June 1894 (United States)
- Bituminous Coal Miners' Strike of 1894 -- A two-month nation-wide strike by miners of hard coal in the United States. This unsuccessful strike almost destroyed the United Mine Workers union.
- 11 May – 10 July 1894 (United States)
- Pullman Strike -- A nation-wide strike against the Pullman Company begins with a wildcat walkout on 11 May after wages are drastically reduced. On 5 July, the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago's Jackson Park was set ablaze, and seven buildings were burned to the ground. The mobs raged on, burning and looting railroad cars and fighting police in the streets, until 10 July, when 14,000 federal and state troops finally succeeded in putting down the strike, killing 34 American Railway Union members. Leaders of the strike, including Eugene Debs, were imprisoned for violating injunctions, causing disintegration of the union.
- 1895 (France)
- The Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), was formed. This French union is the oldest confederation still in existence.
- 1895 (United States)
- U.S. Supreme Court rules in In re Debs to uphold an injunction against the Pullman Strikers on the grounds that the federal government is empowered to regulate interstate commerce.
- 21 September 1896 (United States)
- The state militia was sent to Leadville, Colorado to break a miner's strike.
Mine workers began their protest march near Harwood and many were eventually killed by the Luzerne County sheriff in Lattimer.
|Date||September 10, 1897|
|Location||Lattimer, Pennsylvania, United States|
- 10 September 1897 (United States)
- Lattimer Massacre -- 19 unarmed striking coal miners and mine workers were killed and 36 wounded by a posse organized by the Luzerne County sheriff for refusing to disperse near Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The strikers, most of whom were shot in the back, were originally brought in as strike-breakers, but later organized themselves.
- 1898 (United States)
- The Erdman Act was passed providing for mediation and voluntary arbitration on the railroads. It made it a criminal offense for railroads to dismiss employees or to discriminate against prospective employees because of their union membership or activity. It provided legal protection of employees’ rights to membership in a labor union, a limit on the use of injunctions in labor disputes, lawful status of picketing and other union activities, and requirement of employers to bargain collectively. Subsequently, a portion of the Erdman Act, which would have made it a criminal offense for railroads to dismiss employees or discriminate against prospective employees based on their union activities, was declared invalid by the United States Supreme Court.
- 1899 (United States)
- Miners in Idaho dynamite a mill in retaliation for the Bunker Hill Mining Company firing 17 union members.
- 15 May 1902 (United States)
- Coal Strike of 1902 -- United Mine Workers of America in the anthracite coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania struck in seven counties, from May through October. The strike caused a nationwide coal shortage. President Theodore Roosevelt imposed the first mediated agreement of its kind.
- 23 November 1903 (United States)
- Colorado Labor Wars -- Troops were dispatched to Cripple Creek, Colorado to defeat a strike by the Western Federation of Miners, with the specific purpose of driving the union out of the district. The strike had begun in the ore mills earlier in 1903, and then spread to the mines.
- July 1903 (United States)
- Labor organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones leads child workers in demanding a 55 hour work week.
- 8 June 1904 (United States)
- A battle between the Colorado Militia and striking miners at Dunnville ended with six union members dead and 15 taken prisoner. Seventy-nine of the strikers were deported to Kansas two days later.
- 17 April 1905 (United States)
- The Supreme Court held in Lochner v. New York that a maximum hours law for New York bakery workers was unconstitutional under the due process clause of the 14th amendment.
- 1908 (United States)
- The Federal Employers’ Liability Act was passed. Also that year, the Erdman Act was further weakened by the Supreme Court when Section 10, related to use of "yellow dog" contracts, was declared unconstitutional (see 1898).
- 1908 (United States)
- U.S. Supreme Court rules in Danbury Hatters Case" that a boycott launched by the United Hatters Union is a conspiracy in restraint of trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
- 1908 (United States)
- U.S. Supreme Court rules in Muller vs. Oregon" that an Oregon law that limited the working hours for women was unconstitutional.
- 22 November 1909 (United States)
- The New York shirtwaist strike of 1909 (Uprising of the 20,000) began. Female garment workers went on strike in New York; many were arrested. A judge told those arrested: "You are on strike against God".
- 1910 (United States)
- The 1910 Accident Reports Act was passed and a 10-hour work day and standardization of rates of pay and working conditions were won by the Railway Brotherhoods.
- Union membership topped 8 million workers in 1910.
|Los Angeles Times bombing|
Rubble of the Los Angeles Times building in 1910
|Location||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Date||October 1, 1910
|Target||Los Angeles Times building|
|Attack type||Time bombing, fire|
|Perpetrators||John J. McNamara
James B. McNamara
- 1 October 1910 (United States)
- The Los Angeles Times bombing killed twenty people and destroyed the building. Calling it "the crime of the century," the newspaper's owner Harrison Gray Otis blamed the bombing on the unions, a charge denied by unionists.
- 25 December 1910 (United States)
- A dynamite bomb destroyed a portion of the Llewellyn Iron works in Los Angeles, where a bitter strike was in progress. In April 1911 James McNamara and his brother John McNamara, secretary-treasurer of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, were charged with the two crimes. James McNamara pleaded guilty to murder and John McNamara pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the dynamiting of the Llewellyn Iron Works.
- 1911 (United States)
- The Locomotive Inspection Act passed. Four years later, the Hours of Service Act passed. The Railroad Brotherhoods had won an 8-hour day.
- The Supreme Court in Gompers v. Buck's Stove and Range Co. (221 U.S. 418) affirmed a lower court order for the AFL to stop interfering with Buck's Stove and Range Company's business or boycotting its products or distributors.
- On 24 June 1912 in the second contempt trial, the defendants (Samuel Gompers, John Mitchell, and Frank Morrison) were again found guilty and sentenced to prison. The Supreme Court overturned the convictions because the new proceedings had not been instituted within the three-year statute of limitations (233 U.S. 604 1914).
- 1911 (Wales)
- Two men are shot dead by police during the Llanelli railway strike of August 1911, leading to rioting.
- 25 March 1911 (United States)
- Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire -- The Triangle Shirtwaist Company, occupying the top three floors of a ten-story building in New York City, was consumed by fire. One hundred and forty-six people, mostly women and young girls working in sweatshop conditions, died.
- January–March 1912 (United States)
- Lawrence textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, often known as the "Bread and Roses" strike. Dozens of different immigrant communities united under the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in a largely successful strike led to a large extent by women. The strike is credited with inventing the moving picket line, a tactic devised to keep strikers from being arrested for loitering.
- It also adopted a tactic used before in Europe, but never in the United States, of sending children to sympathizers in other cities when they could not be cared for by strike funds. On 24 February, women attempting to put their children on a train out of town were beaten by police, shocking the nation.
- 18 April 1912 (United States)
- The National Guard was called out against striking West Virginia coal miners at the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek, West Virginia mines.
- 7 July 1912 (United States)
- Striking members of the Brotherhood of Timber Workers and supporters are involved in an armed confrontation with the Galloway Lumber Company and supporters in the Grabow Riot, resulting in four deaths and 40 to 50 wounded.
- 11 June 1913 (United States)
- Police shot three maritime workers (one of whom was killed) who were striking against the United Fruit Company in New Orleans.
- 1914 (United States)
- According to a report by the Commission on Industrial Relations, approximately 35,000 workers were killed in industrial accidents and 700,000 workers were injured in the U.S.
- 1914 (United States)
- U.S. Congress passes the Clayton Antitrust Act limiting the use of injunctions in labor disputes.
- 5 January 1914 (United States)
- The Ford Motor Company raised its basic wage from $2.40 for a nine hour day to $5 for an eight hour day.
- 20 April 1914 (United States)
- The "Ludlow Massacre." In an attempt to persuade strikers at Colorado's Ludlow Mine Field to return to work, company "guards," engaged by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and other mine operators and sworn into the State Militia just for the occasion, attacked a union tent camp with machine guns, then set it afire. Five men, two women and 12 children died as a result.
- 13 November 1914 (United States)
- A Western Federation of Miners strike is crushed by the militia in Butte, Montana.
- 1915 (United States)
- U.S. Congress passed the LaFollette Seamen's Act regulating working conditions for seamen.
|Born||Joel Emmanuel Hägglund
October 7, 1879
|Died||November 19, 1915
Utah, United States
|Cause of death||firing squad|
|Other names||Joseph Hillström|
|Occupation||labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World|
- 19 January 1915 (United States)
- World famous labor leader Joe Hill was arrested in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was convicted on trumped up murder charges, and was executed 21 months later despite worldwide protests and two attempts to intervene by President Woodrow Wilson. In a letter to Bill Haywood shortly before his death he penned the famous words, "Don't mourn - organize!"
- 25 January 1915 (United States)
- The Supreme Court upholds "yellow dog" contracts, which forbid membership in labor unions.
- 1916 (United States)
- U.S. Congress passed the Federal Child Labor Law, which was later ruled unconstitutional.
- 1916 (United States)
- U.S. Congress passed the Adamson Act, which established an eight-hour workday for railroad workers.
- 22 July 1916 (United States)
- A bomb was set off during a "Preparedness Day" parade in San Francisco, killing 10 and injuring 40 more. Thomas J. Mooney, a labor organizer and Warren K. Billings, a shoe worker, were convicted, but were both pardoned in 1939.
- 19 August 1916 (United States)
- Strikebreakers hired by the Everett Mills owner Neil Jamison attacked and beat picketing strikers in Everett, Washington. Local police watched and refused to intervene, claiming that the waterfront where the incident took place was Federal land and therefore outside their jurisdiction. (When the picketers retaliated against the strikebreakers that evening, the local police intervened, claiming that they had crossed the line of jurisdiction.)
- Three days later, twenty-two union men attempted to speak out at a local crossroads, but each was arrested; arrests and beatings of strikebreakers became common throughout the following months, and on 30 October vigilantes forced IWW speakers to run the gauntlet, subjecting them to whipping, tripping kicking, and impalement against a spiked cattle guard at the end of the gauntlet. In response, the IWW called for a meeting on 5 November. When the union men arrived, they were fired on; seven people were killed, 50 were wounded, and an indeterminate number wound up missing.
- 7 September 1916 (United States)
- Federal employees win the right to receive Worker's Compensation insurance.
- 5 November 1916 (United States)
- The Everett Massacre (also known as Bloody Sunday) was an armed confrontation between local authorities and members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union, commonly called "Wobblies", which took place in Everett, Washington on Sunday, 5 November 1916. The tragic event marked a time of rising tensions in Pacific Northwest labor history.
- 1917 (United States)
- In "Hitchman Coal and Coke vs. Mitchell', U.S. Supreme Court upholds the legality of yellow-dog contracts.
|Timeline of labor issues and events|
Tom Mooney as a young socialist, 1910
- 1917 (United States)
- Thomas Mooney sentenced to death for his participation in the San Francisco Preparedness Day Bombing of 1916.
- 15 March 1917 (United States)
- The Supreme Court approved the Eight-Hour Act under the threat of a national railway strike.
- 12 July 1917 (United States)
- The Bisbee Deportation: After seizing the local Western Union telegraph office in order to cut off outside communication, several thousand armed vigilantes forced 1,185 men in Bisbee, Arizona into manure-laden boxcars and "deported" them to the New Mexico desert. The action was precipitated by a strike when workers' demands (including improvements to safety and working conditions at the local copper mines, an end to discrimination against labor organizations and unequal treatment of foreign and minority workers, and the institution of a fair wage system) went unmet. The "deportation" was organized by Sheriff Harry Wheeler. The incident was investigated months later by a Federal Mediation Commission set up by President Woodrow Wilson; the Commission found that no federal law applied, and referred the case to the State of Arizona, which failed to take any action, citing patriotism and support for the war as justification for the vigilantes' action.
- 5 September 1917 (United States)
- Federal agents raid the IWW headquarters in 48 cities.
- 3 June 1918 (United States)
- A Federal child labor law, enacted two years earlier, was declared unconstitutional. A new law was enacted 24 February 1919, but this one too was declared unconstitutional (on 2 June 1924).
- 27 July 1918 (Canada)
- United Mine Workers organizer Ginger Goodwin was shot by a hired private policeman outside Cumberland, British Columbia.
- 1919 (International)
- The International Labour Organization (ILO), now a specialized agency of the United Nations, was formed through the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles, and was initially an agency of the League of Nations.
- 26 August 1919 (United States)
- United Mine Worker organizer Fannie Sellins was gunned down by company guards in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.
- 19 September 1919 (United States)
- Looting, rioting and sporadic violence broke out in downtown Boston and South Boston for days after 1,117 Boston policemen declared a work stoppage due to their thwarted attempts to affiliate with the American Federation of Labor. Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge put down the strike by calling out the entire state militia.
- 22 September 1919 – 8 January 1920 (United States)
- The "Great Steel Strike" began. Ultimately, 350,000 steel workers walked off their jobs to demand union recognition. The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee called off the strike on 8 January 1920, their goals unmet.
- 11 November 1919 (United States)
- Centralia Massacre -- IWW organizer Wesley Everest was lynched after a Centralia, Washington IWW hall was attacked by Legionnaires.
- 22 December 1919 (United States)
- Amid a strike for union recognition by 395,000 steelworkers (ultimately unsuccessful), approximately 250 "anarchists," "communists," and "labor agitators" were deported to Russia, marking the beginning of the so-called "Red Scare."
- 1920 (INTERNATIONAL)
- The IFCTU is founded, later to become the World Confederation of Labour.
- 2 January 1920 (United States)
- The U.S. Bureau of Investigation began carrying out the nationwide Palmer Raids.
- 19 May 1920 (United States)
- The Battle of Matewan. Despite efforts by police chief (and former miner) Sid Hatfield and Mayor Cabel Testerman to protect miners from interference in their union drive in Matewan, West Virginia, Baldwin-Felts detectives hired by the local mining company arrived to evict miners and their families from the Stone Mountain Mine camp. A gun battle ensued, resulting in the deaths of 7 detectives, Mayor Testerman, and 2 miners. The movie Matewan is based on the event.
- Baldwin-Felts detectives assassinated Sid Hatfield 15 months later, sparking off an armed rebellion of 10,000 West Virginia coal miners at the "Battle of Blair Mountain," dubbed the "redneck war" and "the largest insurrection this country has had since the Civil War." Army troops later intervened against the striking mineworkers in West Virginia.
- 1921 (United States)
- U.S. Supreme Court rules in Duplex Printing Press vs. Deering that federal courts could enjoin unions for actions in restraint of trade despite the Clayton Act.
- 22 June 1922 (United States)
- Herrin massacre -- Thirty-six people are killed, 21 of them non-union miners, during a coal-mine strike at Herrin, Illinois.
- 1 September 1922 (United States)
- Federal judge James H. Wilkerson issues a sweeping injunction against striking, assembling, picketing, and a variety of other union activities, known as the "Daugherty Injunction."
- 14 June 1923 (United States)
- Maritime strike. A San Pedro, California IWW hall was raided. Several children were scalded when the hall was demolished.
- 1924 (United States)
- Samuel Gompers died. William Green elected to succeed him as president of the American Federation of Labor.
- 2 June 1924 (United States)
- Child Labor Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed. Only 28 of the necessary 36 states ever ratified it.
- 1 May 1925 (China)
- The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) was officially founded. With 134 million members it is the largest trade union in the world. However many, such as the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, maintain the position that the ACFTU is not an independent trade union organization.
- 25 May 1925 (United States)
- Two company houses occupied by nonunion coal miners were blown up and destroyed by labor "racketeers" during a strike against the Glendale Gas and Coal Company in Wheeling, West Virginia.
- 11 June 1925 (Canada)
- 1 coal miner was killed and many injured during a protest as a result of a major strike at the British Empire Steel and Coal Company (BESCO) in New Waterford, Nova Scotia. Davis Day was established in the memory of Bill Davis, the miner who was murdered by company police. The labor dispute resulted in the deployment of 2,000 soldiers during the largest peacetime deployment of the Canadian Army for an internal conflict since the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.
- 1926 (United States)
- The Railway Labor Act passed. It required employers, for the first time and under penalty of law, to bargain collectively and not to discriminate against their employees for joining a union. It provided also for mediation, voluntary arbitration, fact-finding boards, cooling off periods and adjustment boards.
- 21 November 1927 (United States)
- Picketing coal miners marching under the banner of the Industrial Workers of the World were massacred in the Columbine mine massacre in the company town of Serene, Colorado.
- 1 April 1929 Loray Mill Strike Gastonia, North Carolina (United States)
- Violent and relatively unsuccessful Loray Mill Strike during which the National Guard was called, and 100+ masked men destroyed the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) building. Crushing Southern textile worker's collective bargaining efforts made a furor in US national news, giving momentum and urgency to the more successful labor movement of the 1930s
- 1929 (Australia)
- The 1929 Timber Workers strike was the first large strike after the onset of the Great Depression in Australia arising from a new timber industry award that increased the working week from 44 to 48 hours and reduced wages. A fifteen month lockout during 1929-1930 of miners on the Northern New South Wales Coalfields was particularly bitter with police shooting at miners, killing Norman Brown and seriously injuring many more at the Rothbury Riot.
- 3 February 1930 (United States)
- "Chicagorillas" -- labor racketeers -- shot and killed contractor William Healy, with whom the Chicago Marble Setters Union had been having difficulties.
- 14 April 1930 (United States)
- Imperial Valley Farmworkers' Strike occurred. Over 100 farm workers were arrested for their unionizing activities in Imperial Valley, California. Eight were subsequently convicted of "criminal syndicalism."
- 4 May 1931 (United States)
- Harlan County Miners' Strike began in Harlan County, Kentucky when gun-toting vigilantes attacked striking miners.
- 14 May 1931 (Sweden)
- Five persons were killed by bullets fired by Swedish military troops called in as reinforcements by the police during a protest later known as Ådalen shootings.
- 1932 (United States)
- U.S. Congress passed the Norris-LaGuardia Act outlawing yellow-dog contracts and prohibiting federal injunctions in labor disputes.
- 1933 (United States)
- National Industrial Recovery Act passed by the U.S. Congress. The Act guaranteed the rights of employees to organize and enter into collective bargaining.
- 10 October 1933 (United States)
- 18,000 cotton workers went on strike in Pixley, California. Four were killed before a pay-hike was finally won.
- 1934 (United States)
- The Electric Auto-Lite Strike. In Toledo, Ohio, two strikers were killed and over two hundred wounded by National Guardsmen. Some 1,300 National Guard troops, including included eight rifle companies and three machine gun companies, were called in to disperse as many as 10,000 strikers and protestors.
- May 1934 (United States)
- Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 occurred. Police attacked and fired upon striking Teamster truck drivers in Minneapolis who were demanding recognition of their union, wage increases, and shorter working hours. As violence escalated, Governor Olson went so far as to declare martial law in Minneapolis, deploying 4,000 National Guardsmen. The strike ended on 21 August when company owners finally accepted union demands.
- 1–22 September 1934 (United States)
- A strike in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, part of a national movement to obtain a minimum wage for textile workers, resulted in the deaths of three workers. Over 420,000 workers ultimately went on strike.
- 1935 (United States)
- U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the National Industrial Recovery Act was unconstitutional.
- 1935 (United States)
- The National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act, was passed. It clearly established the right of all workers to organize and to elect their representative for collective bargaining purposes.
- 1935 (United States)
- Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri Metal Workers' Strike occurred.
- 9 November 1935 (United States)
- The Committee for Industrial Organizations (CIO) was formed to expand industrial unionism.
- 1936 (United States)
- Steel Workers Organizing Committee, one of two labor organizations that eventually merged to form the United Steelworkers, founded.
- 1937 (United States)
- U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act is constitutional.
- 1937 (United States)
- American Federation of Labor ejected the unions that would later form the Committee of Industrial Organizations.
- 1937 (United States)
- American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Union founded.
- 11 February 1937 (United States)
- General Motors recognizes the United Auto Workers union following a sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan, that began in December 1936.
- Two months later, company guards beat up United Auto Workers leaders at the River Rouge Plant, in River Rouge, Michigan.
- 30 May 1937 (United States)
- Police kill 10 and wounded 30 during the Memorial Day Massacre at the Republic Steel plant in Chicago.
- 25 June 1938 (United States)
- The Wages and Hours (later Fair Labor Standards) Act is passed, banning child labor and setting the 40-hour work week. The Act went into effect in October 1940, and was upheld in the Supreme Court on 3 February 1941.
- 27 February 1939 (United States)
- The Supreme Court rules that sit-down strikes are illegal.
- 1940 (United States)
- Philip Murray elected president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations replacing John L. Lewis.
- 15 December 1941 (United States)
- The AFL pledges that there will be no strikes in defense-related industry plants for the duration of the war.
- 1942 (United States)
- National War Labor Board was established; the NWLB established formula for wartime wage adjustments.
- 1943 (United States)
- Smith-Connolly Act passed by U.S. Congress. Act restricts the extent of political activities and strikes by unions during the duration of the war.
- 28 December 1944 (United States)
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Army to seize the executive offices of Montgomery Ward and Company after the corporation failed to comply with a National War Labor Board directive regarding union shops.
- 1945 (INTERNATIONAL)
- International Federation of Trade Unions becomes the World Federation of Trade Unions
- 1946 (United States)
- Workers in packinghouses nation-wide went on strike.
- 1 April 1946 (United States)
- A strike by 400,000 mine workers in the U.S. began. U.S. troops seized railroads and coal mines the following month.
- 4 October 1946 (United States)
- The U.S. Navy seized oil refineries in order to break a 20-state post-war strike.
- 1947 (United States)
- Taft-Hartley Act passed by U.S. Congress. The Act restricted union practices and permitted states to ban union security agreements.
- 20 June 1947 (United States)
- The Taft-Hartley Labor Act, curbing strikes, was vetoed by President Truman. Congress overrode the veto.
- 20 April 1948 (United States)
- Labor leader Walter Reuther was shot and seriously wounded by would-be assassins.
- 1949 (INTERNATIONAL)
- International Confederation of Free Trade Unions splits from the World Federation of Trade Unions
- 1949 (United States)
- Congress of Industrial Organizations expelled two unions for alleged communist influence.
- 1950 (United States)
- Congress of Industrial Organizations expelled nine unions for alleged communist influence.
- 1950 (United States)
- United Auto Workers and General Motors reached agreement on a contract that provided pensions and wage increases over the duration of the signed contract.
- 1950 (International)
- The Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948, one of the two primary labor conventions of the ILO, came into force on 4 July.
- 27 August 1950 (United States)
- President Truman ordered the U.S. Army to seize all the nation's railroads to prevent a general strike. The railroads were not returned to their owners until two years later.
- 1951 (International)
- The Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949, one of the two primary labor conventions of the ILO, came into force on 18 July.
- 1952 (United States)
- Walter Reuther is elected president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
- 8 April 1952 (United States)
- President Truman ordered the U.S. Army to seize the nation's steel mills to avert a strike. The act was ruled to be illegal by the Supreme Court on 2 June.
- 1953 (United States)
- American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations reached an agreement to not raid from each others' membership.
- 1953 (United States)
- American Federation of Labor expelled the International Longshoremen's Union on grounds of corruption.
- 1955 (United States)
- United Auto Workers successfully negotiate with Ford Motor Company for supplementary unemployment benefits.
- April 1955 (United States)
- Textile workers strike of 1955, in both New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts. Strike over a nickel raise was led and negotiated by Union President Manuel "Manny" Fernandes Jr., who resolved the strike and got the workers a nickel raise.
- 5 December 1955 (United States)
- The two largest labor organizations in the U.S. merged to form the AFL-CIO, with a membership estimated at 15 million. George Meany served as the first president of the combined organization.
- April 1956 (Canada)
- The largest Canadian trade union center, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), was formed.
- 5 April 1956 (United States)
- Columnist Victor Riesel, a crusader against labor racketeers, was blinded in New York City when a hired assailant threw sulfuric acid in his face.
- 1957 (United States)
- American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations expelled International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Bakery Workers, and Laundry Workers on the grounds of corruption.
- 7 November 1959 (United States)
- The Taft-Hartley Act is invoked by the Supreme Court to break a steel strike.
- 1962 (United States)
- President John F Kennedy issues Executive Order 10988 establishing limited collective bargaining rights for federal employees and widely regarded as the impetus for the expansion of public sector bargaining rights at state and local levels in the years to come>.
- 1 April 1963 (United States)
- The 1962 New York City newspaper strike, longest newspaper strike in U.S. history ended. The 9 major newspapers in New York City had ceased publication over 114 days before.
- 1968 (United States)
- Members of four railroad unions voted overwhelmingly for the largest union merger ever in the railroad industry. The merger created a powerful new union called the United Transportation Union (UTU).
- 1968 (INTERNATIONAL)
- The IFCTU becomes the World Confederation of Labour
- 1969 (United States)
- Charleston, South Carolina, Hospital Workers' Strike occurred.
- 5 January 1970 (United States)
- Joseph Yablonski, unsuccessful reform candidate to unseat W. A. Boyle as President of the United Mine Workers, was murdered, along with his wife and daughter, in their Clarksville, Pennsylvania home by assassins acting on Boyle's orders. Boyle was later convicted of the killing.
- West Virginia miners went on strike the following day in protest.
- 18 March 1970 (United States)
- The first mass work stoppage in the 195-year history of the United States Post Office Department began with a walkout of letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan, soon involving 210,000 of the nation's 750,000 postal employees. With mail service virtually paralyzed in New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia, President Nixon declared a state of national emergency and assigned military units to New York City post offices. The stand-off culminated two weeks later.
- 29 July 1970 (United States)
- United Farm Workers forced California grape growers to sign an agreement after a five-year strike.
- 1975 (United States)
- U.S. Congress voted down union-sponsored bill to reform the basic United States labor laws.
- 1976 (United States)
- U.S. Congress voted down union-sponsored bill to make it easier for construction unions to organize.
- 1979 (United States)
- The film Norma Rae, based on a real life character trying to unionize a textile mill, is released. It wins an Academy Award for best actress.
- September 1980 (Poland)
- The trade union Solidarity (Solidarność) is established at the Gdańsk Shipyard, and originally led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa. Within the year the government implements martial law in an attempt to quell nationwide civil unrest and protest.
- 1980 (United States)
- Joyce Miller joined the AFL-CIO executive board as the first female board member.
- 3 August 1981 (United States)
- Federal air traffic controllers began a nationwide strike after their union rejected the government's final offer for a new contract. Most of the 13,000 striking controllers defied the back-to-work order, and were dismissed by President Reagan on 5 August. Reagan ordered them to leave.
- Largest labor rally in United States history broke out in protest of Reagan's order.
- October 1982 (United States)
- A boycott was initiated by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) against Brown & Sharpe. The National Labor Relations Board later charged Brown & Sharpe with regressive bargaining, and of entering into negotiations with the express purpose of not reaching an agreement with the union. (See IAM for more details.).
- 1985 (United States)
- Hormel Meatpackers' Strike occurred but ultimately failed. The documentary American Dream chronicles the strike.
- 1985 (Vatican City)
- The Association of Vatican Lay Workers was formed, but was not recognized by the Vatican authorities until 1993. It is the sole trade union in Vatican City and represents the majority of the 3000 employees who work in the city state.
- 6 October 1986 (United States)
- Female flight attendants won an 18-year lawsuit against United Airlines, which had fired them for getting married. The lawsuit was resolved when a U.S. district court approved the reinstatement of 475 attendants and $37 million back-pay settlement for 1,725 flight attendants. (United Airlines, Inc. v. McDonald, 432 U.S. 385 (1977)) 
- 4 April 1989 (Poland)
- Round table negotiations between Solidarity and the then-Communist government result in semi-free parliamentary elections in Poland, a pivotal moment in fall of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa is elected President in August of that year.Kennedy, Michael D. (2002). "Negotiating revolution in Poland". NCEEER. Retrieved 14 July 2013.</ref>
- The World Confederation of Labour merges with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and eight other trade union affiliations to found the International Trade Union Confederation. 
19 September 2012 (Texas)
- Coca Cola workers of the Fossil Creek Facility (in Fort Worth) vote 215 to 191 to not be represented by The International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
- List of incidents of civil unrest in the United States
- List of strikes
- Labor unions in the United States
- Timeline of labor issues and events in Canada
- International comparisons of labor unions
- Labor and employment law
- Filippelli, Ronald L. (1990). Labor conflict in the United States : an encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. pp. xix. ISBN 082407968X.
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- Wisconsin Labor History Society: Bay View Story
- Bay View Massacre, Milwaukee County Genealogy
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- The Samuel Gompers Papers
- Watson, Bruce (2005). Bread and Roses. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-03397-9.
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- Bronfenbrenner, K. (1990). "Imperial Valley, California, farmworkers’ strike of 1930 [Electronic version]". Cornell University, ILR School. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
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- "ILO Director-General lauds formation of new global union federation". ILO Online press room. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
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Adrian Paradis, The Labor Reference Book (Philadelphia: Chilton Book Co., 1972), 133-134.