April 25
The New York Times declares the struggle for an 8-hour workday to be “un-American” and calls public demonstrations for the shorter hours “labor disturbances brought about by foreigners.” Other publications declare that an eight-hour workday would bring about “loafing and gambling, rioting, debauchery and drunkenness” - 1886
 
IWW Marine Transport Workers begin West Coast strike - 1923
 
The Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and 100 others are arrested while picketing a Charleston, S.C., hospital in a demand for union recognition - 1969
 
Supreme Court rules that employers may not require female employees to make larger contributions to pension plans in order to obtain the same monthly benefits as men - 1978
 
April 26
The U.S. House of Representatives passes House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending - 1924
(Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)
 
On the orders of President Roosevelt, the U.S. Army seizes the Chicago headquarters of the unionized Montgomery Ward & Co. after management defies the National Labor Relations Board - 1944
 
April 27
First strike for 10-hour day, by Boston carpenters - 1825
 
James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses” published in IWW newspaper Industrial Solidarity - 1911
 
President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements for Government Employment. The order listed “sexual perversion” as a condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment to potential applicants - 1953

A cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapses, killing 51 construction workers in what is thought to be the largest construction accident in U.S. history.  OSHA cited contractors for 20 violations, including failures to field test concrete.  The cases were settled for $85,000—about $1,700 per worker killed - 1978
 
April 28
Coal mine collapses at Eccles, W.Va., killing 181 workers - 1914
 
A total of 119 die in Benwood, W.Va., coal mine disaster - 1924
 
United Wallpaper Craftsmen & Workers of North America merges with Pulp, Sulfite & Paper Mill Workers - 1958
 
American Federation of Hosiery Workers merges with Textile Workers Union of America - 1965
 
Congress creates OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The AFL-CIO sets April 28 as “Workers Memorial Day” to honor the hundreds of thousands of workers killed and injured on the job every year - 1971
(Tools of the Trade: A Health and Safety Handbook for Action is a valuable resource for those who want to promote worker health and safety while building their unions and community groups at the same time.  It includes examples of successful workplace health and safety campaigns and lists strategies to actively engage workers in advocating for their own protection.)
 
First “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” promoted by the Ms. Foundation, to boost self-esteem of girls with invitations to a parent’s workplace - 1993
 
April 29
Coxey’s Army of 500 unemployed civil war veterans reaches Washington, D.C. - 1894
 
An estimated one thousand silver miners, angry over low wages, the firing of union members and the planting of spies in their ranks by mine owners, seize a train, load it with 3,000 pounds of dynamite, and blow up the mill at the Bunker Hill mine in Wardner, Idaho - 1899
 
The special representative of the National War Labor Board issues a report, “Retroactive Date for Women’s Pay Adjustments,” setting forth provisions for wage rates for women working in war industries who were asking for equal pay.  Women a year earlier had demanded equal pay for comparable work as that done by men – 1943

April 30
An explosion at the Everettville mine in Everettville, W. Va., kills 109 miners, many of whom lie in unmarked graves to this day - 1927
 
The Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board implements new rules to speed up unionization elections. The new rules are largely seen as a counter to employer manipulation of the law to prevent workers from unionizing - 2012
 
May 01
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones born in County Cork, Ireland - 1830
(Mother Jones Speaks: Speeches and Writings: Admirers and students of Mother Jones will want this comprehensive collection of her speeches, letters, articles, interviews and testimony before Congressional committees. In her own words, this brave and determined heroine to millions of workers, active from the end of the Civil War until shortly before her death in 1930, explains her life, her mission, her passion on behalf of working people.)
 
Cigar makers in Cincinnati warn there could be a strike in the fall if factory owners continue to insist that they pay 30¢ per month for gas heat provided at work during mornings and evenings - 1883
 
Eight-hour day demonstration in Chicago and other cities begins tradition of May Day as international labor holiday - 1886
 
The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union strikes in San Francisco, demanding one day of rest per week, a 10-hour work day and a union shop for all restaurants in the city - 1901
 
Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebrated at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. She died six months later - 1930
 
New York City’s Empire State Building officially opens. Construction involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, and hundreds of Mohawk iron workers. Five workers died during construction - 1931
 
Congress enacts amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments—protections which didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges and regulation-writing problems - 1974
 
The federal minimum wage rises to $2 per hour - 1974
 
Int’l Molders & Allied Workers Union merges with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int’l Union - 1988
 
Woodworkers of America Int’l merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers - 1994
 
Int’l Leather Goods, Plastics & Novelty Workers Union merges with Service Employees Int’l Union - 1996
 
Rallies in cities across the U.S. for what organizers call “A Day Without Immigrants.” An estimated 100,000 immigrants and sympathizers gathered in San Jose, Calif., 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles.  In all, there were demonstrations in at least 50 cities - 2006
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten