May 30
The Ford Motor Company signs a "Technical Assistance" contract to produce cars in the Soviet Union, and Ford workers were sent to the Soviet Union to train the labor force in the use of its parts. Many American workers who made the trip, including Walter Reuther, a tool and die maker who later was to become the UAW's president,  returned home with a different view of the duties and privileges of the industrial laborer - 1929
(Bye, America: The transfer of work to other countries has escalated since Reuther’s day. In this book, young readers learn that their contemporary, Brady, is proud of his dad and wants to be just like him, working at the factory and making useful things. But that dream dies when his dad goes to work one day and is told that the factory is closing and the work is being sent to China.)
 
In what became known as the Memorial Day Massacre, police open fire on striking steelworkers at Republic Steel in South Chicago, killing ten and wounding more than 160 - 1937
 
The Ground Zero cleanup at the site of the World Trade Center is completed three months ahead of schedule due to the heroic efforts of more than 3,000 building tradesmen and women who had worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the previous eight months - 2002
 
May 31
The Johnstown Flood.  More than 2,200 die when a dam holding back a private resort lake burst upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  The resort was owned by wealthy industrialists including Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick.  Neither they nor any other members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club were found guilty of fault, despite the fact the group had created the lake out of an abandoned reservoir – 1889

Some 25,000 white autoworkers walk off the job at a Detroit Packard Motor Car Co. plant, heavily involved in wartime production, when three black workers are promoted to work on a previously all-white assembly line.  The black workers were relocated and the whites returned - 1943

Rose Will Monroe, popularly known as Rosie the Riveter, dies in Clarksville, Ind.  During WWII she helped bring women into the labor force - 1997

June 01
The Ladies Federal Labor Union Number 2703, based in Illinois, was granted a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Women from a wide range of occupations were among the members, who ultimately were successful in coalescing women’s groups interested in suffrage, temperance, health, housing and child labor reform to win state legislation in these areas - 1888

Union Carpenters win a 25¢-per-day raise, bringing wages for a 9-hour day to $2.50 - 1898

Congress passes the Erdman Act, providing for voluntary mediation or arbitration of railroad disputes and prohibiting contracts that discriminate against union labor or release employers from legal liability for on-the-job injuries – 1898

Nearly 3,500 immigrant miners begin Clifton-Morenci, Ariz., copper strike - 1903

Some 12,500 longshoremen strike the Pacific coast, from San Diego to Bellingham, Wash. Demands included a closed shop and a wage increase to 55¢ an hour for handling general cargo - 1916

As many as 60,000 railroad shopmen strike to protest cuts in wages - 1922

Extinguishing the light of hope in the hearts and aspirations of workers around the world, the Mexican government abolishes siestas—a mid-afternoon nap and work break which lengthened the work day but got people through brutally hot summer days - 1944

Farm workers under the banner of the new United Farm Workers Organizing Committee strike at Texas’s La Casita Farms, demand $1.25 as a minimum hourly wage - 1966

Dakota Beef meatpackers win 7-hour sit-down strike over speed-ups, St. Paul, Minn. - 2000

General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing made the automaker the largest U.S. industrial company to enter bankruptcy protection. It went on to recover thanks to massive help from the UAW and the federal government - 2009

June 02
Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia stage the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay - 1786.

A constitutional amendment declaring that "Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age" was approved by the Senate today, following the lead of the House five weeks earlier. But only 28 state legislatures ever ratified the amendment—the last three in 1937—so it has never taken effect - 1924

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President Harry Truman acted illegally when he ordered the Army to seize the nation’s steel mills to avert a strike - 1952

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and Textile Workers Union of America merge to form Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union - 1976

June 03
Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union founded - 1900

A federal child labor law, enacted two years earlier, was declared unconstitutional - 1918
(The Essential Guide To Federal Employment Laws, 4th edition: Find out what federal laws are on the books in this well-indexed book, updated in 2013, which offers the full text of 20 federal laws affecting workers’ lives, along with plain-English explanations of each. An entire chapter is devoted to each law, explaining what is allowed and prohibited and what businesses must comply.)

More than 1,000 Canadian men, working at “Royal Twenty Centers” established by the Canadian government to provide work for single, unemployed homeless males during the Great Depression, begin an “On to Ottawa Trek” to protest conditions at the camps. They were being paid 20 cents a day plus food and shelter to build roads, plant trees and construct public buildings - 1935

June 04
Massachusetts becomes the first state to establish a minimum wage - 1912

The House of Representatives approves the Taft-Hartley Act. The legislation allows the president of the United States to intervene in labor disputes. President Truman vetoed the law but was overridden by Congress - 1947

The AFL-CIO opens its new headquarters building, in view of the White House - 1956

Gov. Jerry Brown signs the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law in the U.S. giving farmworkers collective bargaining rights. The legislation came after years of effort by the United Farm Workers union - 1975

June 05
Thirty-five members of the Teamsters, concerned about the infiltration of organized crime in the union and other issues, meet in Cleveland to form Teamsters for a Democratic Union - 1976
(Auditing Local Union Financial Records: Financial misdeeds can be avoided when proper procedures are in place. This easy-to-understand little book is a must-have for every local union trustee and auditor. In the author’s words, it will "provide local union trustees and auditors with the know-how and confidence they need to spot problems so they can be promptly reported and corrected.")

A strike begins at a General Motors Corp. parts factory in Flint, Mich., that spreads and ultimately forces the closure of GM plants across the country for seven weeks.  The Flint workers were protesting the removal of key dies from their plant and feared their jobs would be lost. The company ended the dispute by assuring the plant would remain open until at least the year 2000 - 1998
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten