1917 – Bisbee, Ariz., deports Wobblies; 1,186 miners sent into desert in manure-laden boxcars. They had been fighting for improved safety and working conditions.
1933 – The Screen Actors Guild holds its first meeting. Among those attending was future horror movie star and union activist Boris Karloff.
1934 – Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union organized in Tyronza, Ark.
1995 – Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder. The strike was to become a lockout, which lasted four years more.
1877 – The first national strike started at Baltimore’s Camden Yards Station when workers on the B & O Railroad refused to work after a 10 percent wage cut. Eventually involving hundreds of thousands of workers and allies across the U.S., the strike was crushed by federal troops called to action by President Hayes.
1912 – Woody Guthrie, writer of “This Land is Your Land” and “Union Maid,” born in Okemah, Okla.
1921 – Italian immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murder and payroll robbery — unfairly, most historians agree — after a two-month trial, and are eventually executed. Fifty years after their deaths the state’s governor issued a proclamation saying they had been treated unfairly and that “any disgrace should be forever removed from their names.”
1917 – Some 50,000 lumberjacks strike for eight-hour day.
1931 – Ralph Gray, an African-American sharecropper and leader of the Sharecroppers Union, is murdered in Camp Hill, Ala.
1959 – A half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees.
1919 – Ten thousand workers strike Chicago’s Int’l Harvester operations.
1920 – Martial law declared in strike by longshoremen in Galveston, Texas.
1934 – San Francisco Longshoremen’s strike spreads, becomes four-day general strike.
1944 – Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny.
1883 – The Brotherhood of Telegraphers begins an unsuccessful three-week strike against the Western Union Telegraph Co.
1919 – Some 35,000 Chicago stockyard workers strike.
1969 – Hospital workers win 113-day union recognition strike in Charleston, S.C.
(Compiled by David Prosten, founder of Union Communication Services)