September 01
The Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers is founded at a meeting in Chicago, the product of two separate brotherhoods created over the previous 13 years - 18932014.09.01history-weekend.bookcover

Congress declares Labor Day a national holiday – 1894
(From the Folks Who Brought You The Weekend is a sweeping, highly readable history of U.S. labor that will be welcomed by anyone interested in learning more about the struggle of American working people to better their lives through collective action.)

Some 30,000 women from 26 trades marched in Chicago's Labor Day parade - 1903

Walter Reuther is born. He went on to become a founder of the United Auto Workers and was president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations when it merged with the AFL in 1955 - 1907

A 3-week strike in Woonsocket, R.I., part of a national movement to obtain a minimum wage for textile workers, resulted in the deaths of three workers. Ultimately more than 420,000 workers struck nationally - 19342014.09.01history-Hawaiian-sugar-strike

In Hawaii, some 26,000 sugar workers represented by the Longshoremen’s union begin what is to become a successful 79-day strike that shuts down 33 of the 34 sugar plantations on the islands. The strike brought an end to Hawaii's paternalistic labor relations and impacted political and social institutions throughout the then-territory - 1946

Int'l Metal Engravers & Marking Device Workers Union changed its name to Int’l Association of Machinists - 1956

Some 20,000 Pennsylvania Railroad shop workers effectively halt operations in 13 states for 12 days. It was the first shutdown in the company's 114-year history - 1960

Boot Shoe Workers' Union merged with Retail Clerks Int’l Union - 1977

The Journeymen Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists' Int'l Union of America merged with United Food & Commercial Workers - 1980

Glass Bottle Blowers' Association of the United States & Canada merged with Int'l Brotherhood of Pottery & Allied Workers to become Glass, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers - 1982

2014.09.01history-mergersAluminum, Brick & Clay Workers Int'l Union merged with United Glass & Ceramic Workers of North America to form Int'l Union of Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers - 1982

Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees changed name to Transportation-Communications Union - 1987

Coopers Int’l Union of North America merged with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int'l Union - 1992

The federal minimum wage is increased to $5.15 per hour - 1997

The AFL-CIO creates Working America, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization designed to build alliances among non-union working people - 2003

September 02
White and Chinese immigrants battle in Rock Springs, Wyo., fueled by racial tensions and the practice of Union Pacific Railroad of hiring lower-paid Chinese over whites. At least 25 Chinese died and 15 more were injured. Rioters burned 75 Chinese homes – 2014.09.01history-chix.feathers.bookcover1885
(Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan: We’ve all read newspaper and magazine reports about how miserable life is for garment workers in Third World sweatshops. But we’ve read very little in the workers’ own words, and that’s what this fascinating book offers. In Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin, 25-year-old Chun Yu Wang tells of her life as a Chinese emigrant to Saipan, searching for a better life 2,000 miles from her home.)

Operating railway employees win 8-hour day - 1916

Mineowners bomb West Virginia strikers by plane, using homemade bombs filled with nails and metal fragments. The bombs missed their targets or failed to explode - 1921

President Eisenhower signs legislation expanding Social Security by providing much wider coverage and including 10 million additional Americans, most of them self-employed farmers, with additional benefits - 1954

2014.09.01history-retire.happy.bookcoverThe Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed by President Ford, regulating and insuring pensions and other benefits, and increasing protections for workers – 1974
(Retire Happy: What To Do NOW to Guarantee A Great Retirement: Everyone who works for a living thinks at some point about retirement, but few actually consider what that really means, other than escaping the daily grind. For sure, most of us worry about having enough money, and this highly readable book provides a lot of information and advice on the subject: how much we’ll need, how to make the most of what we’ve accumulated, how to accumulate more (even as we get close to retirement) and how to make it last. For that advice alone, Retire Happy is worth the price.)

September 03
African-American cotton pickers organize and strike in Lee County, Texas, against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations.  Over the course of September a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process - 1891

Some 300 musicians working in Chicago movie houses strike to protest their impending replacement by talking movies - 1928

Twenty-five workers die, unable to escape a fire at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, N.C. Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection - 1991

September 042014.09.01history-peekskill
Twelve thousand New York tailors strike over sweatshop conditions - 1894

More than 140 attendees at a benefit for a civil rights group are injured in the “Peekskill Riots” in Peekskill, N.Y.  The victims were among the 20,000 people leaving a concert featuring African-American Paul Robeson, well-known for his strong pro-unionism, civil rights activism and left-wing affiliations.  The departing concert-goers had to drive through a miles-long gauntlet of rock-throwing racists and others chanting "go on back to Russia, you niggers" and "white niggers" - 1949

Int’l Brotherhood of Bookbinders merged with Graphic Arts Int’l Union - 1972

In what many believe was to become the longest strike in U.S. history, 600 Teamster-represented workers walk out at the Diamond Walnut processing plant in Stockton, Calif., after the company refused to restore a 30-percent pay cut they had earlier taken to help out the company.  The two sides ultimately agreed to a new contract after 14 years - 1991

2014.09.01history-palmer.raidsSeptember 05
Between 20,000 and 30,000 marchers participate in New York's first Labor Day parade, demanding the 8-hour day - 1882

"Palmer raids" on all Wobbly halls and offices in 48 cities in U.S.  Alexander Palmer, U.S. Attorney General, was rounding up radicals and leftists - 1917

Ten thousand angry textile strikers, fighting for better wages and working conditions, besiege a factory in Fall River, Mass., where 300 strikebreakers are working. The scabs are rescued by police using tear gas and pistols on the strikers - 1934

General strike begins across U.S. maritime industry, stopping all shipping. The strikers were objecting to the government's post-war National Wage Stabilization Board order that reduced pay increases negotiated by maritime unions - 1946

September 06
One of the worst disasters in the history of U.S. anthracite mining occurred at the Avondale Mine, near Scranton, Pa., when a fire originating from a furnace at the bottom of a 237-foot shaft roared up the shaft, killing 110 miners - 18692014.09.01history-tony.boyle

Tony Boyle, former president of the United Mine Workers, is charged with murder in the 1969 deaths of former UMW rival Joseph A. Yablonski and his wife and daughter - 1973

September 07
Federal employees win the right to receive Workers' Compensation insurance coverage - 1916