A Brief American History Timeline

A Brief American History Timeline

1600’s 1920-1929
1700’s 1930-1939
1800-1829 1940-1949
1830-1849 1950-1959
1850-1869 1960-1969
1870-1879 1970-1979
1880-1889 1980-1989
1890-1899 1990-1999
1900-1909 2000-2009
1910-1919 2010-Present

English planters found Jamestown colony and complain about lack of laborers

Slave Trade Begins

Slave Trade Begins Slaves from Africa first imported to colonies

Mayflower Compact signed creating “just and equal laws.”

Maine Indentured Servants’ and Fishermen’s Mutiny

Shoemakers and coopers (barrel-makers) guilds organize in Boston

First slavery codes begin trend of making African servants slaves for life

Bacon’s Rebellion of servants and slaves in Virginia

First recorded prosecution against strikers in New York City


Carpenter’s Company of Philadelphia chartered to assist carpenter’s instruction and well-being.

Stono Rebellion of slaves in South Carolina.

The Boston Massacre

New York bakers quit work to protest local government setting the price of bread-possibly the first work stoppage in America

The first society of working women, the Daughters of Liberty, is organized as an auxiliary of the Sons of Liberty, a workingman’s association

New York tailors strike to protest a wage cut

Boston Massacre set off by a conflict between rope workers and British soldiers

A strike in Boston harbor, more commonly known as the “Boston Tea Party.” Local citizens dressed as Indians throw British tea overboard

Declaration of Independence signed in Carpenter’s Hall

New York printers combine temporarily to ask for a wage increase, disband after winning it

Philadelphia printers strike

First textile mill, built in Pawtucket, RI, is staffed entirely by children under the age of 12

First Building Trades Strike: Philadelphia carpenters strike for a 10-hour day and overtime pay

The first local craft union formed for collective bargaining was organized by shoemakers in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia shoemakers reorganized as the Federal Society of Journeymen Cord Wainers.

The Typographical Society was formed by printers in New York City

The Philadelphia shoemakers in a “sympathy strike” to support a local toolmakers’ strike



Gabriel Prosser leads a slave revolt in Virginia

A journeymen Cord Wainers’ union in New York City includes a closed-shop clause in its constitution

Employers start taking labor groups to court for “criminal conspiracies in constraint of trade”. The shoemakers, found guilty and fined, went bankrupt and disbanded.

Members of the Philadelphia Journeyman Cord Wainers were tried for criminal conspiracy after a strike for higher wages

The invention of the power loom makes weaving a factory occupation

Spinning mule 

Depression begins

Denmark Vesey leads a slave rebellion in South Carolina

Women workers strike for the first time, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. 102 women workers strike in support of brother weavers protesting the simultaneous reduction in wages and extension of the workday

The United Tailoresses of New York, a trade union organization for women, organized in New York City.

The Mechanics Union of Trade Associations, made up of skilled craftsmen in different trades, formed in Philadelphia – first city central federation.

Philadelphia Carpenters’ Strike

Depression begins

First workingmen’s parties formed to try to elect candidates favoring the 10-hour day, free public education, and ending the practice of imprisoning people in debt

Paterson New Jersey, Textile Strike

The Workingmen’s Party of New York formed

Carpenter Ebenezer Ford becomes the first trade unionist elected to public office in New York


New England Association of Farmers, Mechanics and other Workingmen formed.

February, 1600 women members of the United Tailoresses of New York, strike for “a just price for our labor.”

Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion in Virginia

Nat Turner

Lynn, Massachusetts, Shoe Binders’ Protest

Boston Ship Carpenters’ Ten Hour Strike

Lynn, Massachusetts, Shoe Binders’ Protest begins

Manayunk, Pennsylvania, Textile Strike

New York City Carpenters’ Strike

National Trades Union, first attempt at a national labor federation, formed in New York

Lowell, Massachusetts, Mill Women’s Strike

Manayunk, Pennsylvania, Textile Strike

Ten-Hour Movement among skilled workers

Children employed in the silk mills in Paterson, New Jersey go on strike for the 11 hour day, 6 days a week.

National Cooperative Association of Cord Wainers, the first national union of a specific craft, formed in New York City

Mill workers Lowell, Massachusetts,

Mill workers

Mill Women’s Strike

New York City Tailors’ Strike

Philadelphia Bookbinders’ Strike

Depression begins

Andrew Jackson declares a 10-hour workday in Philadelphia Navy Yard

President Martin Van Buren establishes the ten-hour day for employees on federal public works projects.

Massachusetts Supreme Court, in Commonwealth v. Hunt, rules that labor unions, as such, are not illegal conspiracies.

Anthracite Coal Strike

The Female Labor Reform Association is formed in Lowell, Massachusetts by Sarah Bagley and other women cotton mill workers to reduce the work day from 12 or 13 hours a day to 10, and to improve sanitation and safety in the mills where they worked.

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

Pennsylvania’s child labor law makes twelve the minimum age for workers in commercial occupations.


New York City Tailors’ Strike.

Typographical Union founded – first national union of workers to endure to present day

Eugene V. Debs

Eugene V. Debs , US labor leader, is born

Iron Molders’ International Union founded

New England Shoemakers’ Strike

Civil War Begins

American Miners’ Association , the first national coal miners’ union, is formed in St. Louis, Mo.

Congress Passes the Homestead Act

Emancipation Proclamation frees the slaves

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers founded

Cigar Makers’ Union founded

Thirteenth Amendment ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States

National Labor Union founded – an attempt at creating a national federation of unions

Molders’ Lockout

Knights of St. Crispin founded – a union of factory workers in the shoe industry

First federal eight-hour law passed – applied only to laborers, workmen, and mechanics employed by the government

Anthracite Coal Strike

Colored National Labor Union founded

Knights of Labor organized in Philadelphia

Troy, New York, Collar Laundresses’ Strike

Women shoemakers form the Daughters of St. Crispin, the first national union of women workers, at Lynn, Massachusetts.


First written contract between coal operators and coal miners signed

National Labor Reform Party formed

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

Depression begins

Miners’ National Association formed

The union label is used for the first time by the Cigar Makers International Union

A five-month long labor war in Pennsylvania between mostly Irish Coal Miners and the Reading Coal and Iron Company

Trials of the “Molly Maguires”, a secret society of Irish coal miners in Pennsylvania that had been infiltrated by a Pinkerton detective, surrendered state sovereignty. A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows

National Uprising of Railroad Workers cripples the nation in response to the cutting of wages for the second time in a year by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The governor of West Virginia sends in state militia, but they refused to use force against the strikers and the governor called for federal troops. President Hayes sent federal troops from city to city. These troops suppressed strike after strike, until at last, approximately 45 days after it had started, the strike was over.

“Rope Day” ten leaders of the Molly Maguires were hanged


Atlanta, Georgia: 3,000 Black women laundry workers stage one of the largest and most effective strikes in the history of the south

September, First Labor Day Celebration takes place in New York City

Haymarket Riot

Pendleton Act established the United States Civil Service Commission, which placed most federal employees on the merit system and marked the end of the spoils or patronage system

Knights of Labor Strike of South West System (J. Gould): The Missouri Pacific, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas; and the Wabash.

The Foran Act bans immigration of laborers brought in under contract to break strikes

March, Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 200,000 workers against the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads owned by Jay Gould, one of the more flamboyant of the ‘robber baron’ industrialists of the day. The failure of the strike led directly to the collapse of the Knights of Labor and the formation of the American Federation of Labor.

Haymarket Tragedy: May 1, in Chicago’s Haymarket Square a bomb went off in the middle of a protest rally against the killing of 4 strikers who had been on strike for the 8-hour day.

The American Federation of Labor is formed at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, representing 140,000 workers grouped in 25 national unions. Sam Gompers is elected President

Thomas W. Talbot and 18 other machinists met in a railroad engine pit in Atlanta, Ga. They formed the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers of America, now the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The first federal labor relations law was enacted, applying to Railroad workers. It provided arbitration and Presidential boards of investigation


The Great Homestead Lockout at the Carnegie Steel Works outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania against the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel & Tin Workers. Carnegie directs his manager, Frick, not to renew the union contract. Frick turns mills into “Fort Frick,” hires Pinkertons to protect scabs and locks out union laborers. Strikers battle arriving Pinkertons (9 strikers and 7 Pinkertons killed).

Cripple Creek Miners prisoners of
the military

Integrated general strike of 42 unions in New Orleans, broken when Governor Foster sends in the State Militia to use military force against the strikers.

Mary Kenney O’Sullivan of the Bindery Workers is appointed the AFL’s first female national organizer

In the Cripple Creek Strike, Colorado gold miners, represented by the Western Federation of Miners are able to negotiate a peaceful end to a pitched battle between unionists and the state militia

Eugene V. Debs leads the newly formed American Railway Union in a national strike against the Pullman Company. The strike and the union were finally broken by a court injunction and the intervention of federal troops

Spanish-American War begins

Congress passes the Erdman Act, a more detailed version of the 1888 Railroad workers legislation, adding sections to make it illegal to fire workers for their union membership

American Labor Union founded

Marlboro, Massachusetts, Shoe Workers’ Strike begins

Brotherhood of Teamsters founded

Buffalo, New York, Grain Shovelers’ Strike

Cleveland, Ohio, Street Railway Workers’ Strike

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Miners’ Strike

International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union founded

Anthracite Coal Strike

Mother Jones the Miners Angel

Machinists’ Strike

Socialist Party of America founded

United Textile Workers founded

Machinists’ Strike

National Cash Register Strike

San Francisco Restaurant Workers’ Strike

Steel Strike

Great Anthracite Coal Strike , 147,000 miners strike over union recognition. Pres. Roosevelt mediated miners walk off the job for 164 days

Chicago Teamsters’ Strike

Big Bill Haywood leads the Western Federation of Miners (WMF) through a terrible and bloody series of conflicts spanning two years in what became known as the Colorado Labor Wars

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones leads a protest march of mill children, many of whom were victims of industrial accidents, from Philadelphia to New York

Department of Commerce and Labor created by Congress


Women’s Trade Union League founded

Cripple Creek, Colorado, Miners’ Strike begins

Oxnard, California, Sugar Beet Strike

Telluride, Colorado, Miners’ Strike begins

Utah Coal Strike begins

New York City Interborough Rapid Transit Strike

Packinghouse Workers’ Strike

Santa Fe Railroad Shopmen’s Strike begins

In Chicago, Eugene Debs and Big Bill Haywood combine efforts to found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies as they were called) to bring all American workers into “One Big Union

New York Supreme Court, in Lochner v. New York, declares maximum hours law for bakers unconstitutional 1906

Eight-hour day widely installed in the printing trades

The International Typographical Union successfully strikes for an 8-hour day

Goldfield, Nevada, Miners’ Strike begins

An explosion kills 361 miners in Monongah, West Virginia in the nation’s worst mining disaster

President William Howard Taft elected

Federal court, in US v. Adair, finds section 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

US Supreme Court, in Muller v. Oregon, declares an Oregon law limiting working hours for women unconstitutional

IWW Free-Speech Fight in Missoula, Montana

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People founded

Georgia Railroad Strike

IWW Free-Speech Fight in Spokane, Washington

McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, Steel Strike

“Uprising of the 20,000” Garment Strike in New York

Watertown, Connecticut, Arsenal Strike

Canada establishes Department of Labour due to union pressure


Bethlehem Steel Strike

Fire Engine Races to the Triangle
Shirtwaist fire.  146 women die.

Cloak makers’ Strike

Chicago Clothing Workers’ Strike, led by fifteen year old Bessie Noramowitz

Los Angeles strike wave

Philadelphia General Strike

The wives of striking miners arrested in Greensburg, Pennsylvania sing their way out of jail under the leadership of Mother Jones

US 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.

Fire kills 146 workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City.

Illinois Central and Harriman Lines Rail Strike begins

Southern Lumber Operators’ Lockout begins

President Woodrow Wilson elected

Massachusetts adopt the first minimum wage act for women and minors.

Chicago Newspaper Strike

Fur Workers’ Strike

IWW Free-Speech Fight in San Diego, California

Lawrence, Massachusetts, Textile Strike, twenty thousand textile workers representing 26 different nationalities win the 60 day “Bread and Roses” strike

Louisiana Timber Workers’ Strike begins

New York City Hotel Strike

Pain Creek and Cabin Creek, West Virginia, Mine Strikes

20,000 Strikers in 1912
Bread and Roses Strike

US Department of Labor established

Ludlow, Colorado, Massacre

Machinists Strike and Boycott

Michigan Copper Strike

Paterson, New Jersey, Textile Strike

Rubber Workers’ Strike

Studebaker Motors Auto Workers’ Strike

Wheatland, California, Hop Riot

Congress passes the Clayton Antitrust Act. Ostensibly limits the use of injunctions in labor disputes

Amalgamated Clothing Workers founded

Monument to Murdered Strikers and
Family Members in Ludlow, Co

Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill Strike begins

Company gunmen attack a tent colony of striking UMWA families in Colorado and kill 19 men, women, and children in the Ludlow Massacre

Congress passes the LaFollette Seamen’s Act – regulates working conditions for seamen

Standard Oil Strike

Youngstown, Ohio, Steel Strike begins

Joe Hill , IWW union organizer, executed in Salt Lake City on trumped up murder charge

Congress passes Federal Child Labor Law – later declared unconstitutional

Congress passes the Adamson Act establishing the eight-hour day for railroad workers

Six killed and forty wounded in bombing of San Francisco preparedness parade – labor leaders arrested

American Federation of Teachers founded

Arizona Copper Strike

Everett, Washington, Massacre

Minnesota Iron Range Strike

New York City Transit Strike

New York Cloak makers’ Strike

San Francisco Open Shop Campaign

Standard Oil Strike

United States enters World War I

Supreme Court, in Hitchman Coal and Coke v. Mitchell, upholds the legality of yellow-dog contracts

Green Corn Rebellion in Oklahoma

Tom Mooney sentenced to death for role in San Francisco preparedness parade bombing.

Bisbee, Arizona, Miners’ Strike

Many Young Children were Killed or
Crippled before Child Labor became illegal
in the US.

Butte, Montana, Miners’ Strike

East St. Louis Race Riot

Pacific Northwest Lumber Strike

War Labor Board is created

Keating-Owen Act bans child labor; annulled by Supreme Court Many Young Children were Killed or Crippled before Child Labor became illegal in the US.

World War I ends

Leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World sentenced to federal prison on charges of disloyalty to the United States

First national conference of women trade unionists

Huge postwar strike wave sweeps across the nation

Communist Party of America founded

Red Scare begins

Actors’ Strike

Boston Police Strike

Centralia, Washington, Massacre

Chicago Race Riot

New England Telephone Strike

Seattle General Strike

16,000 Silk Workers in Paterson, NJ strike for a shorter workweek

Steel Strike

Winnipeg General Strike in Canada


President Warren Harding elected

More than four thousand alleged Communists arrested for deportation under “Anarchist Exclusion” Act of 1918; DOL refuses to deport the bulk of those arrested; Secretary Wilson threatened with impeachment.

Trade Union Educational League founded

Coal Miners Turn In Guns in
Matewan County

Alabama Miners’ Strike

Clothing Workers’ Lockout

West Virginia Coal Wars begin, ten people killed in the Matewan Massacre in a battle over the right to organize the southern West Virginia coalfields

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

Congress restricts immigration to the United States and establishes the national origin quota system
Seamen’s Strike

West Virginia Coal Wars and Baldwin-Felts agents kill West Virginia unionists Sid Hatfield an Ed Chambers on the steps of the McDowell County Courthouse

Battle of Blair Mountain, 2000 US troops block miners’ attempt to organize in southern West Virginia

Conference for Progressive Political Action founded

Anthracite Coal Strike

Bituminous Coal Strike

Herrin, Illinois, Massacre

Nationwide railroad strike of 400,000 shop workers caused by the Railroad Labor Board’s wage cut. The railroads hired strikebreakers, increasing hostilities between the railroads and striking workers. On September 1 federal judge James H. Wilkerson issued a sweeping injunction against striking, assembling, picketing, and a variety of other union activities, colloquially known as the “Daugherty Injunction

President Calvin Coolidge elected

Samuel Gompers dies. William Green becomes president of the American Federation of Labor

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters founded

Anthracite Coal Strike

Congress passes the Railway Labor Act, which requires that employers bargain with unions and forbids discrimination against union members

Passaic, New Jersey, Textile Strike

Outside the NY Stock Exchange

Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Massachusetts labor activists are executed

Bituminous Coal Strike

Columbine Mine Massacre of striking coal miners in Colorado who were attacked with machine guns

President Herbert Hoover elected

New Bedford, Massachusetts, Textile Strike

Convict-labor system for coal mining is outlawed in Alabama

Stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression

Trade Union Unity League founded

Conference for Progressive Labor Action founded

Gastonia, North Carolina, Textile Strike

Mother Jones , UMWA organizer, dies at age 100

National Unemployed Council formed

Imperial Valley, California, Farm workers’ Strike

Congress passes Davis-Bacon Act providing for payment of prevailing wages to workers employed on public works projects

“Scottsboro Boys” arrested in Alabama

Teamsters Battle Police in Minneapolis, MN.

Harlan County, Kentucky, Miners’ Strike

Tampa, Florida, Cigar Workers’ Strike

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected

Emergency Relief and Construction Act; created employment through a public works program.

Congress passes the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which prohibits federal injunctions in labor disputes and outlaws yellow-dog contracts

Bonus March of World War I veterans on Washington, DC

American Federation of Government Employees founded

California Pea Pickers’ Strike

Century Airlines Pilots’ Strike

Davidson-Wilder, Tennessee, Coal Strike begins

Ford Hunger March in Detroit, Michigan

Four workers killed as protesters march on Ford Rouge Plant near Detroit seeking jobs during the Great Depression

Vacaville, California Tree Pruners’ Strike

Congress passes the National Industrial Recovery Act, Section 7(a) of which guarantees rights of employees to organize and bargain collectively

Civilian Conservation Corps established; DOL assists with administration.

Frances Perkins becomes secretary of labor and the first woman named to a presidential cabinet
Newspaper Guild founded

Briggs Manufacturing Strike

Colorado Miners Poster

California Farm workers’ Strikes

Detroit, Michigan, Tool and Die Strike

Hormel, Iowa, Meat-Packing Strike

New Mexico Miners’ Strike

Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union founded

Harlem, New York City, Jobs-for-Negroes Boycott

Imperial Valley, California, Farm workers’ Strike

Minneapolis Teamsters’ Strike

Newark Star-Ledger Newspaper Strike begins

Rubber Workers’ Strike

San Francisco Longshoremen & General Strike

Textile Workers’ Strike

Toledo, Ohio, Auto-Lite Strike

US Supreme Court declares the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional

Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which protects the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively.

FD Roosevelt signs the labor-backed Social Security Act into law

Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) formed inside the American Federation of Labor

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

President Franklin Roosevelt reelected

Steel Workers’ Organizing Committee formed

Atlanta, Georgia, Auto Workers’ Sit-Down Strike

Berkshire Knitting Mills Strike

First sit-down strike by auto workers starts at Bendix Products in South Bend, Indiana

General Motors Sit-Down Strike

RCA Strike

Rubber Workers’ begin the nation’s first major sit-down strike at the Firestone tire plant in Akron, Ohio

Seamen’s Strike

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Newspaper Strike

US Supreme Court declares the NLRA constitutional

American Federation of Labor expels the CIO unions

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union founded

General Motors Sit-Down Strikes in US and Canada – strikes 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

Hershey, Pennsylvania, Chocolate Workers’ Strike

 Flint_Sit-Down_Strike_window (1)
Sit Down Strikers at Flint MI Ford Plant

Little Steel Strike and Memorial Day Massacre, ten strikers shot at Republic Steel in Chicago

US Steel signs a first contract with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee

Congress passes the Fair Labor Standards Act, which establishes the forty-hour work week, the minimum wage, and bans child labor in interstate commerce

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) is founded with John L. Lewis as president

John L. Lewis, seeking to organize steelworkers, secures a labor contract with the president of the world’s largest steel company, United States Steel, but the smaller companies that collectively were known as “Little Steel” brutally fought steelworkers. Scores of deaths and injuries occurred as the United Steelworkers of America struck at Little Steel plants across the industrial northeast

Chicago Newspaper Strike begins

Hilo, Hawaii, Massacre

Maytag Strike

US Supreme Court issues decision permitting employers to permanently replace strikers

Chrysler Auto Strike

General Motors Tool and Die makers’ Strike


President Franklin Roosevelt reelected

President Roosevelt 

Philip Murray replaces John L. Lewis as CIO president

Ford Motor Strike

United States enters World War II

Walt Disney Animators strike

AFL and CIO give no-strike pledges for the duration of the war

Allis-Chalmers Strike

Captive Coal Mines Strike

Detroit, Michigan, Hate Strike against black workers

International Harvester Strike

New York City Bus Strike

North American Aviation Strike

National War Labor Board is established – establishes the “Little Steel Formula” for wartime wage adjustments

United Steel Workers of America founded

Fair Employment Practices Committee is established

Congress passes the Smith-Connally Act to restrict strikes and union political activity during the war

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

Detroit, Michigan, Hate Strikes against black workers

Disney Animators on Strike 

Detroit, Michigan, Race Riot

President Franklin Roosevelt reelected

Philadelphia Transit Strike

President Franklin Roosevelt dies

Vice-President Harry S. Truman becomes President

World War II ends

Kelsey-Hayes Strike

New York City Longshoremen’s Strike

Montgomery Ward Strike

Oil Workers’ Strike

Huge postwar strike wave sweeps across the nation

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

Unions Promise Not to
Strike to Support the War Effort. 

Pittsburgh Power Strike

Railroad Strike

Steelworkers launch 30 state strike against US Steel

Congress passes the Taft-Hartley Act (Labor Management Relations Act) restricting union practices and permitting the states to ban union security agreements.

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company Strike

Telephone Strike

President Harry S. Truman is reelected

Progressive Party formed

CIO expels two unions for alleged Communist domination

Hawaii Dock Strike

United States enters Korean War

CIO expels nine unions for alleged Communist domination

George Meany

United Auto Workers and General Motors sign a contract that provides for pensions, automatic cost-of-living wage adjustments, and guaranteed increases over the life of the contract

“Salt of the Earth” Strike of New Mexico Miners begin

UAW president Walter Reuther elected president of CIO


President Truman seizes the steel industry when the steel companies reject the Wage Stabilization Board recommendations. Supreme Court rules the action unconstitutional

George Meany becomes president of the AFL

Walter Reuther becomes president of the CIO

President Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected

Steel Strike

AFL and CIO agree to a “no raiding” pact. AFL expels the International Longshoremen’s Association for corruption

Louisiana Sugar Cane Workers’ Strike

Kohler Strikers 

Kohler Strike begins

United Auto Workers win supplementary unemployment benefits in bargaining with Ford

AFL and CIO merge with George Meany as first president, UMWA remains independent

Southern Telephone Strike

President Dwight D. Eisenhower is reelected

East Coast Longshoremen’s Strike

Steel Strike

Canadian Labour Congress founded

AFL-CIO expels Teamsters, Bakery Workers, and Laundry Workers for corruption

Congress passes the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin), which regulates the internal affairs of unions

Longest steel strike in U.S. history, shut down 90% of US steel production for 116 days


President John F. Kennedy is elected

Civil rights sit-in begins at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina

Negro American Labor Council founded

General Electric Strike

Seamen’s Strike

Presidential executive order gives federal employee’s unions the right to bargain with government agencies

New York City Newspaper Strike begins

East Coast Longshoremen’s Strike

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated

Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President

Congress passes Equal Pay Act prohibiting wage differentials based on sex for workers covered by the Fair  Labor Standards Act

President Lyndon B. Johnson is reelected

Dr. Martin Luther King Murdered
While Supporting Strikers 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin

Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa succeeds in bringing virtually all North American over-the-road truck drivers under a single national master freight agreement

United Farm Workers Organizing Committee formed

California Grape Workers’ Strike

New York City Transportation Strike

Copper Strike begins

President Richard M. Nixon is elected

Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated while supporting a strike by Memphis, Tennessee, sanitation workers.

New York City Teachers’ Strikes

November 20th, a gas explosion at Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine at Farmington, West Virginia trap 81 men, 78 of whom are killed in the mine.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people 40 to 65 years old

Charleston, South Carolina, Hospital Workers’ Strike

Black Lung compensation bill passes in West Virginia after mass demonstrations by UMWA members

Postal strike is first nationwide strike of public employees

Hawaii becomes the first state to allow local and state government employees the right to strike

Congress passes the Occupational Safety and Health act

General Motors Strike

Postal Workers’ Strike , President Nixon declares a national emergency and orders 30,000 troops to New York City to break the first nationwide postal strike

Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act takes effect after passing Congress December 30, 1969

New York City Police Strike

Cesar Chavez 

President Richard M. Nixon is reelected

Farah Clothing Workers’ Strike and Boycott

Lordstown, Ohio, Auto Workers’ Strike

Philadelphia Teachers’ Strike begins

Quebec workers general strike

United Farm Workers, led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, is chartered by the AFL-CIO

Coalition of Labor Union Women is founded (CLUW)

Congress passes the Employment Retirement Income Security Act regulating all private pension plans
Baltimore Police Strike

Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers union activist Karen Silkwood is killed during investigation of Kerr-McGee nuclear plant in Oklahoma

First legal statewide public employees’ strike in nation’s history occurs in Pennsylvania

Congress defeats a union-sponsored attempt to reform the nation’s basic labor law

Washington Post Pressmen’s Strike begins

President Jimmy Carter is elected

Congress defeats a union-sponsored attempt to have a law enacted that would improve the ability of construction unions to organize and carry out effective strikes

More than 1 million Canadian workers demonstrate against wage controls

Bituminous Coal Strike begins

Coors Beer Strike and Boycott begins

J.P. Stevens Boycott begins

Willmar, Minnesota, Bank Workers’ Strike

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Newspaper Strike begins

Lane Kirkland becomes president of the AFL-CIO

Independent Truckers’ Strike

President Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States of America

Joyce Miller of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union becomes the first woman to sit on the AFL-CIO executive board

President Ronald Reagan fires most of the nation’s air traffic controllers for striking illegally and orders their union, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Association, decertified.

400,000 unionists, the largest labor rally in American history takes place in Washington in protest against the policies of the Reagan administration

Striking PATCO Workers 

Baseball Players’ Strike

Phelps-Dodge Copper Strike begins

President Ronald Reagan is reelected President of the United States of America

Yale University Clerical Workers’ Strike

Hormel Meatpackers’ Strike begins

Los Angeles County Sanitation District Strike


Yale University Clerical Workers’ Strike

Trans World Airlines Flight Attendants’ Strike

USX (United States Steel) Lockout begins

Professional Football Players’ Strike

60,000 Home Care Workers Strike in NY

President George Bush is elected President of the United States of America

Eastern Airlines Workers’ Strike

Mine Workers’ Strike against Pittston Coal Company


UMWA Pittston Strike ends, miners ratify a new contract

Delta Pride Catfish Workers Victory

Three hundred thousand unionists march in Washington, DC to demand workplace fairness and health care reform

Twenty five workers die in a fire at the nonunion Imperial Food plant in Hamlet, North Carolina , which had never been inspected by federal or state agencies

Locked Fire Exit at Non-Union Plant.
Twenty Five People Died in a Fire at
the Imperial Food plant.

Hotel Normandy Strike

Bill Clinton is elected President of the United States of America

Caterpillar Strike

Justice for Janitors Century City Demonstration – police attack

Staley Workers’ Lockout in Decatur

A five day strike of 21,000 American Airlines’ flight attendants, virtually shutting the airline down is ended when Pres. Clinton persuades the owners to arbitrate the dispute

The Family and Medical leave Act is passed

North American Free Trade Agreement Passes

April 23, 1993, Cesar E. Chavez dies at the age of 66

The longest players’ strike in sports history (232 days) is conducted by the Major League Players Association against National and American League owners

Bill Clinton is reelected President of the United States of America

In a big win for their members and all of organized labor, the Teamsters reach a new five-year agreement with United Parcel Service (UPS) on Aug. 18, ending a two-week strike over abuse of part-time workers and health care for retirees


The 500,000-member United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners announced that it was disaffiliating with the national AFL-CIO because of differences in the direction of the labor movement.

27,000 Boeing IAM members strike
against a proposed two tier pay scheme.

10,000 Public school teachers and 3000 state university faculty in Hawaii shut down all public education in the State in the nation’s first state-wide education strike

70,000 Southern California grocery workers strike Safeway to protect their health benefits and s imposition of a vicious two-tier wage system

Seven major national unions, representing six million workers, disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO and, in September, form a new coalition called “Change to Win”, devoted to organizing

2006: After years of one of the most anti-labor Congresses in decades, strong voter turnout by union members helps put a pro- labor majority in control of the U.S. House of Representatives and a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate.

27,000 Machinists union members strike Boeing for 57 days.  “The strike was triggered by a Boeing strategy to create a separate and lower class of employees in its manufacturing facilities; one with lower pay, fewer benefits and a cut-rate retirement plan,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.

Barack Obama becomes the first African-American elected President of the United States. Labor voters again play a key role in national elections, increasing the pro-labor majorities in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and a pro-labor president. Pro-labor candidates win key governorships and
legislative races.




    In January 2010, a decision handed down by the ultra-conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court allows unlimited spending by corporations in U.S. elections, opening the floodgates for corporate cash in the November elections. Pro- business candidates sweep midterm elections and take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, gain control of many state governorships and secure anti-worker majorities in many state legislatures.

     Pro-business governors and state legislators elected in 2010 start nationwide assault on unions by attacking the right to collectively bargain, proposing right-to-work (for less) laws and other measures to weaken unions. Mass protests erupt in Wisconsin and spread nationwide.