August 22
Five flight attendants form the Air Line Stewardesses Association, the first labor union representing flight attendants. They were reacting to an industry in which women were forced to retire at the age of 32, remain single, and adhere to strict weight, height and appearance requirements. The association later became the Association of Flight Attendants, now a division of the Communications Workers of America - 1945
 
Int’l Broom & Whisk Makers Union disbands - 1963
 
Joyce Miller, a vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers, becomes first female member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council - 1980

The Kerr-McGee Corp. agrees to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood $1.38 million, settling a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit.  She was a union activist who died in 1974 under suspicious circumstances on her way to talk to a reporter about safety concerns at her plutonium fuel plant in Oklahoma - 1986
(The Killing of Karen Silkwood: This is an updated edition of the groundbreaking book about the death of union activist Karen Silkwood, an employee of a plutonium processing plant, who was killed in a mysterious car crash on her way to deliver important documents to a newspaper reporter in 1974. Silkwood’s death at age 28 was highly suspicious: she had been working on health and safety issues at the plant, and a lot of people stood to benefit by her death.)
 
Int’l Longshore & Warehouse Union granted a charter by the AFL-CIO - 1988
 
August 23
The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations is formed by Congress, during a period of great labor and social unrest. After three years, and hearing witnesses ranging from Wobblies to capitalists, it issued an 11-volume report frequently critical of capitalism. The New York Herald characterized the Commission's president, Frank P. Walsh, as "a Mother Jones in trousers" - 1912
 
Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, accused of murder and tried unfairly, were executed on this day. The case became an international cause and sparked demonstrations and strikes throughout the world - 1927
 
Seven merchant seamen crewing the SS Baton Rouge Victory lost their lives when the ship was sunk by Viet Cong action en route to Saigon - 1966
 
Farm Workers Organizing Committee (to later become United Farm Workers of America) granted a charter by the AFL-CIO - 1966
(Farmworker’s Friend: The story of Cesar Chavez is a thoughtful and moving book about the inspiring life of American hero Cesar Chavez, founder and long-time leader of the United Farm Workers of America. This sympathetic portrayal of Chavez and his life’s work begins with his childhood, starting from the time his family’s store in Arizona failed during the Great Depression and his entire family was forced into the fields to harvest vegetables for a few cents an hour. It traces his growth as a man and as a leader, talking of his pacifism, his courage in the face of great threats and greater odds, his leadership and his view that the union was more than just a union, it was a community—una causa.)


August 24
The Gatling Gun Co.—manufacturers of an early machine gun—writes to B&O Railroad Co. President John W. Garrett during a strike, urging their product be purchased to deal with the "recent riotous disturbances around the country." Says the company: "Four or five men only are required to operate (a gun), and one Gatling ... can clear a street or block and keep it clear" - 1877
 
United Farm Workers Union begins lettuce strike - 1970
 
August 25
Birth of Allan Pinkerton, whose strike-breaking detectives ("Pinks") gave us the word "fink" - 1819
 
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters founded at a meeting in New York City.  A. Philip Randolph became the union's first organizer - 1925
 
August 26
Fannie Sellins and Joseph Starzeleski are murdered by coal company guards on a picket line in Brackenridge, Pa. Sellins was a United Mine Workers of America organizer and Starzeleski was a miner - 1919
(Sixteen Tons carries the reader down into the dark and dangerous coal mines of the early 1900s, as Italian immigrant Antonio Vacca and his sons encounter cave-ins and fires deep below the earth’s surface.)
 
After three-quarters of the states had ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, women win their long struggle for the vote - 1920
 
With America in the depths of the Great Depression, the Comptroller of the Currency announces a temporary halt on foreclosures of first mortgages - 1932
 
In what some may consider one of the many management decisions that was to help cripple the American auto industry over the following decades, Ford Motor Co. produces its first Edsel. Ford dropped the project two years later after losing approximately $350 million - 1957
 
The Women’s Strike for Equality is staged in cities across the U.S., marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, under which women won the right to vote.  A key focus of the strike—in fact, more accurately a series of marches and demonstrations—was equality in the workplace.  An estimated 20,000 women participated, some carrying signs with the iconic slogan, “Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot.”  Another sign: “Hardhats for Soft Broads” - 1970
 
More than 1,300 bus drivers on Oahu, Hawaii, begin what is to become a 5-week strike - 2003
 
August 27
Some 14,000 Chicago teachers who have gone without pay for several months finally collect about $1,400 each - 1934
 
President Truman orders the U.S. Army to seize all the nation's railroads to prevent a general strike.  The railroads were not returned to their owners until two years later - 1950
 
August 28
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—the Martin Luther King Jr. "I Have A Dream" speech march—is held in Washington, D.C., with 250,000 participating.  The AFL-CIO did not endorse the march, but several affiliated unions did – 1963
(Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington: Written for 5 to 8 year-olds, this is a very nice introduction to Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, that watershed event in the fight for civil rights. It uses the March as a point of reference as it talks about segregation in America and the battle for equal rights.)

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten