1877 – In Chicago, 30 workers are killed by federal troops, more than 100 wounded at the “Battle of the Viaduct” during the Great Railroad Strike.
1894 – President Grover Cleveland appoints a United States Strike Committee to investigate the causes of the Pullman strike and the subsequent strike by the American Railway Union. Later that year the commission issues its report, absolving the strikers and blaming Pullman and the railroads for the conflict.
1912 – Battle of Mucklow, W.Va., in coal strike. An estimated 100,000 shots were fired; 12 miners and four guards were killed.
1948 – President Truman issues Executive Order 9981, directing equality of opportunity in armed forces.
1992 – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect today. It requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities and bans discrimination against such workers.
1869 – William Sylvis, founder of the National Labor Union, died.
1869 – Women shoemakers in Lynn, Mass., create Daughters of St. Crispin, demand pay equal to that of men.
1901 – Harry Bridges is born in Australia. He came to America as a sailor at age 19 and went on to help form and lead the militant Int’l Longshore and Warehouse Union for more than 40 years.
1913 – A strike by Paterson, N.J., silk workers for an eight-hour day, improved working conditions ends after six months, with the workers’ demands unmet. During the course of the strike, approximately 1,800 strikers were arrested, including Wobbly leaders Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
1932 – Federal troops burn the shantytown built near the U.S. Capitol by thousands of unemployed WWI veterans, camping there to demand a bonus they had been promised but never received.
2002 – Nine miners are rescued in Sommerset, Pa., after being trapped for 77 hours 240 feet underground in the flooded Quecreek Mine.
1903 – A preliminary delegation from Mother Jones’ March of the Mill Children from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, publicizing the harsh conditions of child labor, arrives today. They are not allowed through the gates.
1956 – Nineteen firefighters die while responding to a blaze at the Shamrock Oil and Gas Corp. refinery in Sun Ray, Texas.
1970 – Following a five-year table grape boycott, Delano-area growers file into the United Farm Workers union hall in Delano, Calif., to sign their first union contracts.
1965 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.
1975 – Former Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa disappears. Declared legally dead in 1982, his body has never been found.
1999 – United Airlines agrees to offer domestic-partner benefits to employees and retirees worldwide.
1970 – Members of the National Football League Players Association begin what is to be a two-day strike, their first. The issues: pay, pensions, the right to arbitration and the right to have agents.
1981 – Fifty-day baseball strike ends.
1999 – The Great Shipyard Strike of 1999 ends after Steelworkers at Newport News Shipbuilding ratify a breakthrough agreement which nearly doubles pensions, increases security, ends inequality, and provides the highest wage increases in company and industry history to nearly 10,000 workers at the yard. The strike lasted 15 weeks.
1917 – After organizing a strike of metal miners against the Anaconda Company, Wobbly organizer Frank Little is dragged by six masked men from his Butte, Mont., hotel room and hung from the Milwaukee Railroad trestle. Years later writer Dashiell Hammett would recall his early days as a Pinkerton detective agency operative and recount how a mine company representative offered him $5,000 to kill Little. Hammett says he quit the business that night.
1921 – Sid Hatfield, police chief of Matewan, W. Va., a longtime supporter of the United Mine Workers union, is murdered by company goons. This soon led to the Battle of Blair Mountain, a labor uprising also referred to as the Red Neck War.
1938 – Police in Hilo, Hawaii, open fire on 200 demonstrators supporting striking waterfront workers. The attack became known as “the Hilo Massacre.”
1944 – A 17-day, company-instigated wildcat strike in Philadelphia tries to bar eight African-American trolley operators from working. Transport Workers Union members stay on the job in support of the men.
1956 – Government & Civic Employees Organizing Committee merges into State, County & Municipal Employees.
1997 – Ten-month strike against Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel wins agreement guaranteeing defined-benefit pensions for 4,500 Steelworkers.
2001 – California School Employees Association affiliates with AFL-CIO.
(Compiled by David Prosten, founder of Union Communication Services)