1918 – The first General Strike in Canadian history is held in Vancouver, organized as a one-day political protest against the killing of draft evader and labor activist Albert “Ginger” Goodwin, who had called for a general strike in the event that any worker was drafted against his will.
1939 – Hatch Act is passed, limiting political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government.
1821 – Uriah Smith Stephens born in Cape May, N.J. A tailor by trade, in 1869 he led nine Philadelphia garment workers to found the Knights of Labor.
1913 – Fighting breaks out when sheriff’s deputies attempt to arrest Wobbly leader Richie “Blackie” Ford as he addressed striking field workers at the Durst Ranch in Wheatland, Calif. Four people died, including the local district attorney, a deputy and two workers. Despite the lack of evidence against them, Ford and another strike leader were found guilty of murder by a 12-member jury that included eight farmers.
1986 – Florence Reece dies in Knoxville, Tenn., at 86. She was a Mine Workers union activist and author of “Which Side Are You On?,” written after her home was ransacked by Harlan County Sheriff J.H. Blair and his thugs during a 1931 strike.
1981 – Some 15,000 air traffic controllers strike. President Reagan threatens to fire any who do not return to work within 48 hours, saying they “have forfeited their jobs” if they do not. Most stay out and are fired Aug. 5.
1876 – The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers is formed. It partnered with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, CIO in 1935; both organizations disbanded in 1942 to form the new United Steelworkers.
1919 – An estimated 15,000 silk workers strike in Paterson, N.J., for 44-hour week.
1997 – Nearly 185,000 Teamsters begin what is to become a successful 15-day strike at United Parcel Service over excessive use of part-timers.
1931 – Using clubs, police rout 1,500 jobless men who had stormed the plant of the Fruit Growers Express Co. in Indiana Harbor, Ind., demanding jobs.
1949 – Thirteen firefighters, including 12 smokejumpers who parachuted in to help their coworkers, die while battling a forest fire at Gates of the Mountain, Mont.
1993 – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) took effect today. The first law signed by President Clinton, it allows many workers time off each year due to serious health conditions or to care for a family member.
2011 – Some 45,000 CWA- and IBEW-represented workers at Verizon begin what is to be a two-week strike, refusing to accept more than 100 concession demands by the telecommunications giant.
1890 – Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Wobbly organizer, born.
1894 – Eugene Debs and three other trade unionists arrested after Pullman Strike.
1919 – Actors Equity is recognized by producers after stagehands honor their picket lines, shutting down almost every professional stage production in the country. Before unionizing, it was common practice for actors to pay for their own costumes, rehearse long hours without pay, and be fired without notice.
1983 – Some 675,000 employees struck ATT Corp. over wages, job security, pension plan changes and better health insurance. It was the last time CWA negotiated at one table for all its Bell System members: divestiture came a few months later. The strike was won after 22 days.
1988 – Television writers, members of The Writers Guild of America, end a 22-week strike with a compromise settlement.
2018 – Missouri voters go to the polls to overwhelmingly overturn a “Right-to-Work” measure approved by the state’s Republican legislature and governor in February, 18 months earlier.
1902 – Delegates to the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly elect 35-year-old Charles James, leader of the Boot and Shoe Workers local union, as their president. He was the first African-American elected to that leadership post in St. Paul, and, many believe, the first anywhere in the nation.
1903 – Cripple Creek, Colo., miners strike begins.
1994 – Cesar Chavez is posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Mexican-American ever to receive the honor.
(Compiled by David Prosten, founder of Union Communication Services)