June 27
Emma Goldman, women's rights activist and radical, born in Lithuania. She came to the U.S. at age 17 - 1869
 
The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the "Wobblies," is founded at a 12-day-long convention in Chicago. The Wobbly motto: "An injury to one is an injury to all." - 1905
 
Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act, creating the structure for collective bargaining in the United States - 1935
(The Labor Law Source Book: Texts of 20 Federal Labor Laws: A very handy collection that puts the full texts of all the major U.S. labor laws into one book. Includes the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Family and Medical Leave Act and 15 more. The full, actual language of each law is presented—without elaboration by the editor—and a helpful topic finder at the back of the book tells you which laws apply to basic concerns and classes of workers.)
 
A 26-day strike of New York City hotels by 26,000 workers—the first such walkout in 50 years—ends with a 5-year contract calling for big wage and benefit gains - 1985
 
A.E. Staley locks out 763 workers in Decatur, Ill. The lockout was to last two and one-half years - 1993
 
June 28
Birthday of machinist Matthew Maguire, who many believe first suggested Labor Day. Others believe it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter - 1850
 
President Grover Cleveland signs legislation declaring Labor Day an official U.S. holiday - 1894
 
The federal government sues the Teamsters to force reforms on the union, the nation's largest. The following March, the government and the union sign a consent decree requiring direct election of the union's president and creation of an Independent Review Board - 1988
 
June 29
What is to be a 7-day streetcar strike begins in Chicago after several workers are unfairly fired. Wrote the police chief at the time, describing the strikers’ response to scabs: "One of my men said he was at the corner of Halsted and Madison Streets, and although he could see fifty stones in the air, he couldn't tell where they were coming from." The strike was settled to the workers’ satisfaction - 1885
 
An executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National Labor Relations Board.  A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, established by the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, had been struck down by the Supreme Court - 1934
 
IWW strikes Weyerhauser and other Idaho lumber camps - 1936
 
Jesus Pallares, founder of the 8,000-member coal miners union, Liga Obrera de Habla Espanola, is deported as an "undesirable alien." The union operated in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado - 1936
 
The Boilermaker and Blacksmith unions merge to become Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers - 1954
 
The newly-formed Jobs With Justice stages its first big support action, backing 3,000 picketing Eastern Airlines mechanics at Miami Airport - 1987
 
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in CWA v. Beck that, in a union security agreement, a union can collect as dues from non-members only that money necessary to perform its duties as a collective bargaining representative - 1988
 
June 30
Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to mine coal, a practice that had been in place since 1848. In 1898, 73 percent of the state's total revenue came from this source. 25 percent of all Black leased convicts died - 1928
 
The Walsh-Healey Act took effect today. It requires companies that supply goods to the government to pay wages according to a schedule set by the Secretary of Labor - 1936
 
The storied Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, a union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America - 1967
 
Up to 40,000 New York construction workers demonstrated in midtown Manhattan, protesting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s awarding of a $33 million contract to a nonunion company. Eighteen police and three demonstrators were injured. "There were some scattered incidents and some minor violence," Police Commissioner Howard Safir told the New York Post. "Generally, it was a pretty well-behaved crowd." – 1998
(Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits follows the history of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO from the emergence of building trades councils to the age of the skyscraper. It takes the reader through treacherous fights over jurisdiction as new building materials and methods of work evolved and describes numerous Department campaigns to improve safety standards, work with contractors to promote unionized construction, and forge a sense of industrial unity among its fifteen (and at times nineteen) autonomous and highly diverse affiliates.)

Nineteen firefighters die when they are overtaken by a wildfire they are battling in a forest northwest of Phoenix, Ariz.  It was the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. in at least 30 years - 2013
 
July 01
The American Flint Glass workers union is formed, headquartered in Pittsburgh.  It was to merge into the Steelworkers 140 years later, in 2003 - 1873

Steel workers in Cleveland begin what was to be an 88-week strike against wage cuts - 1885
 
Homestead, Pa., steel strike. Seven strikers and three Pinkertons killed as Andrew Carnegie hires armed thugs to protect strikebreakers - 1892
 
The Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers stages what is to become an unsuccessful 3-month strike against U.S. Steel Corp. Subsidiaries - 1901
 
One million railway shopmen strike - 1922
 
Some 1,100 streetcar workers strike in New Orleans, spurring the creation of the po’ boy sandwich by a local sandwich shop owner and one-time streetcar man. "Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming," Bennie Martin later recalled, "one of us would say, ‘Here comes another poor boy.’" Martin and his wife fed any striker who showed up – 1929

In what was to be a month-long strike, 650,000 steelworkers shut down the industry while demanding a number of wage and working condition improvements.  They won all their demands, including a union shop - 1956
 
National Association of Post Office & General Service Maintenance Employees, United Federation of Postal Clerks, National Federation of Post Office Motor Vehicle Employees & National Association of Special Delivery Messengers merge to become American Postal Workers Union - 1971
 
Int’l Jewelry Workers Union merges with Service Employees Int’l Union - 1980
 
Graphic Arts Int’l Union merges with Int’l Printing & Graphic Communications Union to become Graphic Communications Int’l Union, now a conference of the Teamsters - 1983
 
Copper miners begin a years-long, bitter strike against Phelps-Dodge in Clifton, Ariz. Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt repeatedly deployed state police and National Guardsmen to assist the company over the course of the strike, which broke the union - 1983
(Strikes Around the World draws on the experience of fifteen countries around the world – The United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Covering the high and low points of strike activity over the period 1968–2005, the study shows continuing evidence of the durability, adaptability and necessity of the strike.)
 
Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union merges with Int’l Ladies' Garment Workers Union to form Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees - 1995
 
Int’l Chemical Workers Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int'l Union - 1996
 
The Newspaper Guild merges with Communications Workers of America - 1997
 
United American Nurses affiliate with the AFL-CIO - 2001
 
July 02
The first Walmart store opens in Rogers, Ark.  By 2014 the company had 10,000 stores in 27 countries, under 71 different names, employing more than 2 million people.  It is known in the U.S. and most of the other countries in which it operates for low wages and extreme anti-unionism - 1962
(Why Unions Matter: In Why Unions Matter, the author explains why unions still matter in language you can use if you happen to talk with someone who shops or works at Walmart. Unions mean better pay, benefits, and working conditions for their members; they force employers to treat employees with dignity and respect; and at their best, they provide a way for workers to make society both more democratic and more egalitarian. Yates uses simple language, clear data, and engaging examples to show why workers need unions, how unions are formed, how they operate, how collective bargaining works, the role of unions in politics, and what unions have done to bring workers together across the divides of race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.)
 
President Johnson signs Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbidding employers and unions from discriminating on the basis of race, color, gender, nationality, or religion - 1964
 
The Labor Dept. reports that U.S. employers cut 467,000 jobs over the prior month, driving the nation’s unemployment rate up to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent - 2009
 
July 03
Children, employed in the silk mills in Paterson, N.J., go on strike for 11-hour day and 6-day week. A compromise settlement resulted in a 69-hour work week - 1835
 
Feminist and labor activist Charlotte Perkins Gilman born in Hartford, Conn. Her landmark study, "Women and Economics,” was radical: it called for the financial independence of women and urged a network of child care centers - 1860
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten