April 13
Int’l Hod Carriers & Building Laborers’ Union (today’s Laborers’ Int’l Union) is founded, as 25 delegates from 23 Local Unions in 17 cities—representing 8,186 Laborers—meet in Washington, D.C. - 19032015.04.13 history young.hoffa2

A 17-year-old Jimmy Hoffa leads his co-workers at a Kroger warehouse in Clinton, Indiana, in a successful job action: by refusing to unload a shipment of perishable strawberries, they forced the company to give in to their demands. Among other things: the “strawberry boys” had to report to work at 4:30 a.m., stay on the job for 12 hours, and were paid 32¢ an hour—only if growers arrived with berries to unload. Plus, they were required to spend three-fourths of any earnings buying goods from Kroger - 1930

Labor leader and Socialist Party founder Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned for opposing American entry into World War I. While in jail he ran for president, received 1 million votes - 1919
2015.04.13 history debs.cross(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)

April 14
More than 100 Mexican and Filipino farm workers are arrested for union activities, Imperial Valley, Calif. Eight were convicted of “criminal syndicalism” - 1930

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath published - 1939

The United Steelworkers and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers unions merge to form the largest industrial union in North America - 2005

April 15 2015.04.13 history titanic.musiciains
A. Philip Randolph, civil rights leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, born in Crescent City, Fla. - 1889

Eight members of the Musicians union die in the sinking of the Titanic. According to survivors, they played their instruments until nearly the end. Five weeks later a concert organized by the union to benefit the musicians' families, held in a theater donated for the evening by impresario Flo Ziegfeld, featured the talents of 500 musicians. The evening ended with a rendering of "Nearer, My God, to Thee," the hymn being played as the ship went down. The union at the time was called the Musical Mutual Protective Union Local 310, the New York affiliate of the American Federation of Musicians - 1912

IWW union Agricultural Workers Organization formed in Kansas City, Mo. - 1915

Teacher unionists gather at the City Club on Plymouth Court in Chicago to form a new national union: the American Federation of Teachers - 1916

Start of ultimately successful six-day strike across New England by what has been described as the first women-led American union, the Telephone Operators Department of IBEW - 1919

Transport Workers Union founded - 1934

2015.04.13 history mcdonaldsThe first McDonald’s restaurant opens, in Des Plaines, Ill., setting the stage years later for sociologist Amitai Etzioni to coin the term "McJob." As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, a McJob is "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector" - 1955

April 16
Employers lock out 25,000 New York City garment workers in a dispute over hiring practices. The Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union calls a general strike; after 14 weeks, 60,000 strikers win union recognition and the contractual right to strike - 1916

Five hundred workers in Texas City, Texas die in a series of huge oil refinery and chemical plant explosions and fires - 19472015.04.13 history world.bank

An estimated 20,000 global justice activists blockade Washington, D.C., meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund - 2000

April 17
The Supreme Court holds that a maximum-hours law for New York bakery workers is unconstitutional under the due process clause of the 14th amendment - 1905

An explosion at a West Texas fertilizer plant kills 15 people and injures nearly 300 when 30 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate—stored in sheds without sprinkler systems—caught fire. Of those killed, ten were emergency responders - 2013

April 18
West Virginia coal miners strike, defend selves against National Guard - 1912

2015.04.13 history powell jr2After a four-week boycott led by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., bus companies in New York City agree to hire 200 black drivers and mechanics - 1941

April 19
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the nation’s “Furniture City,” more than 6,000 immigrant workers—Germans, Dutch, Lithuanians and Poles—put down their tools and struck 59 factories for four months in what was to become known as the Great Furniture Strike - 19192015.04.13 history immigrant
(The New Urban Immigrant Workforce: Organizing Innovations: This ground-breaking look at immigrant labor organizing and mobilization today draws on participant observation, ethnographic interviews, historical documents, and new case studies. The writers provide real evidence of immigrants’ eagerness for collective action and organizing, and they argue that this desire to organize stems from the immigrants’ social isolation.)

An American domestic terrorist’s bomb destroys the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 99 of whom were government employees - 1995