The United States is rich in labor history. After all, it is the laborers of America that built America. This page is dedicated to the millions of American Laborers who gave their lives to advance the cause of working class citizens throughout our history. You will find here a timeline of significant events in the labor movement with a brief description of that event.
The Labor Movement in America has been the driving force behind most social issues from the beginning of the New World’s settlement. The Labor movement has fought for, and won, legislative battles that make the United States the world’s richest and most successful economies ever seen. The rise of Organized Labor in the late 1800’s gave working men and women a collective voice in stopping the injustices imposed by industry and government.
As American’s recognize more individual rights and privileges than most any nation, it is important to recognize the voice of Organized Labor throughout the centuries. Beginning with Polish immigrant glassworkers striking for the right to vote in 1608 to the latest ability to mobilize workers via the intranet, Labor’s voice has been heard.
The untold millions of people who gave all or part of their lives to the Labor movement can never be listed. The events listed here is a humble attempt to acknowledge their sacrifices, though.
Bold Type Print signifies listings associated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. To view the entire history, just scroll down the page.
1440 Opening of the African slave trade markets
1618 Polish glassmakers open first New World factory – Same immigrants lead first New World strike demanding right to vote.
1619 Slavery introduced into Virginia
1620 Mayflower compact signed and beginning of town meetings
1636 Maine indentured servants and fishermen mutiny
1648 Boston shoemakers and coopers form guilds to protect their interests
1661 Virginia indentured servants plot
1675 Boston ship carpenter’s protest
1676 Bacon’s Rebellion and farmers’ revolt
1677 New York City carters’ strike
1712 Carolina slave code enacted to regulate slave life
1724 Carpenter’s Company of Philadelphia created to assist in life quality
1739 Stone Rebellion by slaves in South Carolina
1765 First women workers organization formed -Daughters of Liberty
1766 Green Mountain uprising to protest inequality of political power
1768 Florida indentured servants revolt
1770 Boston Massacre precipitated by conflict between rope workers and British soldiers
1773 Carpenters lead Boston Tea Party
1774 New Jersey Iron workers strike
1778 New York City printers unite to win wage increases
1785 New York City shoemakers strike for three weeks
1786 Philadelphia printers walk out to gain $6 a week minimum wage
1787 US Constitution counts five slaves as three people for representation
1790 Cabinet and chair makers fight attempt by employers to blacklist unionist. First textile industry opens with every worker under the age of twelve
1791 Philly carpenters strike unsuccessfully for 10-hour day. First building trades strike
1792 Philly shoemakers form first union for collective bargaining
1794 Typographic Society organizes NY printers and strike for higher pay with shorter hours. Shoemakers organize in Philly again
1796 Cabinetmakers go on strike
1797 Philly carpenters go on strike
1800 G. Prosser organizes unsuccessful slave revolt in Richmond. VA
1805 Cordwainers include closed shop provision in its constitution
1806 Philly Cordwainers tried for conspiracy while striking for higher wages
1808 Federal law passed to prohibit importation of slaves
1814 Power loom invented which makes weaving a factory operation
1817 NY legislates law-freeing slaves born before 4 July 1799
1819 Panic causes six-year depression. Tariffs imposed
1820 Mass begins industrial organization. Missouri compromise legislated
1823 Hatters in NYC tried & convicted of conspiracy
1824 Women join men in strike in RI for weaver’s issues
1825 United Tailoresses organize in NY- first all female strike
1827 Mechanic’s Union of Trade Associations formed in PA. Philly tailors tried for conspiracy
1828 Workingman’s Party formed in Philly. First all women factory strike in NH (mill workers). Philly Mechanic’s Union of Trade Associations looses strike for 10-hour workday
1829 NY forms Workingman’s Party
1830’s Children under 16 make up 1/3 of New England workforce
1831 Nat Turner leads slave revolt. 1600 taloresses strike for two months
1833 Workingwomen’s Ticket formed. NY Carpenter’s strike
1834 National Trades Union formed in NYC. Factory Girl’s Association formed. 800 women strike in NH
1835 Shoemakers tried and convicted of treason. NJ children strike silk mills
1836 Equal Rights Party formed. 1st national union formed for a specific trade – Cordwainers unions grow. NY Tailor’s strike
1837 Most union’s buckle in panic over conspiracy trials. Depression begins
1838 1/3 of nation’s workers unemployed
1840 Van Buren institutes 10-hour workday for federal workers
1842 MA court rules unions are not illegal conspiracies. CT & MA pass laws prohibiting children for working longer than 10 hours per day. Coal miners strike
1848 PA enacts law-making 12 the youngest legal age for commercial work. PA passes law mandating 10-hour day. Women mill workers riot for enforcement of laws
1850 Compromise of 1850 perpetuates slavery
1852 Typographical union founded – first national workers’ union still present today. 1st state law in Ohio limits workingwomen to 10-hour days
1855 Labor Leader Eugene Debs born
1859 Iron Molder’s union formed
1860 Successful New England shoemaker’s strike (20000 involved)
1861 Civil War begins. American Miner’s Association (First national coal miner’s union) formed in St. Louis, MO
1862 Homestead Act passed in Congress
1863 Emancipation Proclamation signed. Brotherhood of Locomotive engineers founded
1864 Cigar Maker’s Union formed. Contract Labor Law upheld allowing wages to be held back for importing immigrant labor used as strike breakers
1865 16th Amendment abolishes slavery. 8 Hour League formed
1866 National Labor Union founded. Molder’s Lockout occurs
1867 Knights of St. Crispin founded to represent shoe industry workers. General strike for 8-hour day in Chicago
1868 Anthracite Coal strike. Federal 8 hour work law passed for government laborers, workmen, and mechanics. First state (MA) creates Labor Bureau
1869 Colored National Labor Union formed. Knights of Labor founded in Philly (only open to blacks and women). Collar Laundress strike in NY. Daughters of St. Crispin form (1st national female union)
1870 Coal Miners secure first written contract with coal operators
1872 National Labor reform Party formed
1873 Depression begins. Miner’s National Association formed
1874 Tompkins square riot in NYC. Union label 1st used by Cigar Makers International Union
1875 Molly Mcguires convicted for coalfield murders – twenty hanged. Anthracite coal strike
1876 Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers founded. Workingman’s Party founded (predecessor to Socialist Party). Greenback Party formed
1877 Federal and State troops crush first nationwide strike in US history when railroad workers walk off the job. Cigarmaker’s strike. Anti-Chinese riots breakout in San Francisco. Pinkerton spy frames members of the Molly Mcguires (militant rank and file coal miner’s) – several hanged
1878 Socialist Labor party founded. Greenback Labor Party organized. International Labor Union founded
1882 30,000 workers march in first Labor Day parade in NYC. Congress passes Chinese Exclusion Act. Cotton Mill Strike in NY
1883 International Working People’s Association formed. Cowboy Strike. VA Tobacco Strike. Molder’s lockout begins.1884 Federation Bureau of Labor established. MA Textile Strike. UP Railroad Strike
1885 Congress passes Foran Act forbidding contract for immigration labor. Anti-Chinese riots break out. Cloakmaker’s General Strike. McCormick Harvesting Machine Strike. Southwest Railroad Strike. NY Carpet Weaver’s Strike1886 350,000 workers demonstrate in Chicago demanding 8-hour workday. May Day founded as worker’s holiday. 8-hour movement failed. Haymaker Massacre occurs in Chicago with bombing from anarchists. Police storm Labor Market intensifying demonstrations. American Federation of Labor founded and the much beloved Samuel Gompers installed as first president. GA Textile Strike.
1887 Seven sentenced to death for Haymaker Massacre (5 eventually executed) Port of New York Longshoreman Strike. International Union of Painters Formed as a Union.
1888 International Association of Machinist formed as 19 machinists meet in locomotive pit at Atlanta, GA; vote to form a trade union. Machinists earn 20 to 25 cents an hour for 10-hour day. Railroad labor relation’s laws enacted at federal level. Burlington Railroad Strike. Cincinnati Shoemaker’s Strike
1889 34 locals represented at the first Machinists convention, held in Georgia State Senate Chamber, elect Tom Talbot as Grand Master Machinist. A monthly journal is started. Baseball Players’ revolt begins. MA Textile Strike. A. Philip Randolph born (civil and labor rights leader)
1890 First Canadian local chartered at Stratford, Ont. Union is named International Association of Machinists. Headquarters set up in Richmond, VA. IAM membership at 4,000. United Mineworker’s of America founded in Ohio. Carpenter’s strike for 8-hour day
IAM Local 145 asks $3 for a 10-hour day. People’s Party formed. GA Black Laborers’ Strike. TN Miner’s StrikeFirst railroad agreement signed with Atcheson, Topeka & Santa Fe. International Longshoreman’s Association founded. Seaman’s Union founded. PA iron and steel worker’s strike gains national attention. New Orleans General Strike. Coeur d’Alene Miners’ Strike
1893 Depression begins. American Railway Union formed. Western Federation of Miners formed. Federal court in LA applies Sherman Antitrust Act finding sympathy strike to be in restraint of trade. National Civic Federation formed.
1894 Railroads paralyzed by National Rail Strike led by American Railways Union in Pullman, IL. CO Miner’s strike. Great Northern Railroad strike. Labor Day becomes official US holiday
1896 Colorado militia sent to break up miner’s strike.
1895: IAM joins American Federation of Labor (AFL), moves headquarters to Chicago.
1897 PA police kill 19 strikers & wound 40. Union ranks around 447,000
1898 Machinist in LL 52 (PA) negotiate first 9-hour workday. 14 miners killed during strike in Il. Congress passes Erdman Act providing mediation & arbitration of Railroad labor disputes. American Labor Union founded. MA Shoe Worker’s Strike. AFL membership around 250,000
1899 Time-and-a-half for overtime has become prevalent. IAM Headquarters moved to Washington, D.C. Miners blowup ID mill. Brotherhood of Teamsters formed. NY Grain Shoveler’s Strike. NYC Newsboy’s Strike
1900 International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union founded. Machinist Strike. Anthracite Coal Strike
1901 Socialist Party of America formed. United Textile Workers founded. Machinist Strike. National Cash Register Strike. San Fran Restaurant Workers’ Strike. Steel Strike. AFL helps establish National Civic Federation
1902 14 miners killed in Pana IL. Chicago Teamster’s Strike. Great Anthracite Coal Miner’s Strike. Unsuccessful steel strike leaves steel industry virtually free of unions
1903 Specialists admitted to membership. Drive begins for 8-hour day. Troops stop riot at Cripple Creek CO. Dept of Commerce and Labor created by Congress. National Women’s Trade Union League formed. CA Sugar Beet Strike and Utah Coal Strike begins. Mother Jones leads march on Roosevelt’s home to protest for child labor accident victims
1904 CO militia kills 6 strikers. NYC Interborough Rapid Transit Strike. Packinghouse Worker’s Strike. Santa Fe Railroad strike. AFL around 1,700,000 members strong
1905 Apprentices admitted to IAM membership. There are 769 IAM locals. Railroad machinists earn 36 to 43 cents an hour for 9-hour day. NY Supreme Court declares maximum hours per shift for bakers to be unconstitutional. 8-hour days become standard for printers. Industrial Workers of the World founded
1907 NV Miner’s Strike begins. Mine explosion kills 361 in WV
1908 Metal Trades Department established within AFL with IAM President James O’Connell as president. Supreme Court rules labor hours for women unconstitutional. Section 10 of Erdman Act dealing with “yellow dog” contracts declared unconstitutional
1909 20,000 female garment workers strike in NY – gain preferential union hiring -board of arbitration & grievances. NAACP founded. GA Railroad Strike. PA Steel Strike. CT Arsenal Strike
1910 PA Steel Strike. Cloakmaker’s Strike. 15-year-old Bessie Noramowitz leads Chicago Clothing Maker’s Strike. General strike in Philly and LA. Worker’s Compensation Acts passed in several states. Accident rate for non-English speaking workers in Steel Factories twice the national average
1911 Women admitted to IAM membership with equal rights. Supreme Court orders FL to cease promotion of boycotts targeting Bucks Stove and Range Company. 147 workers lose their lives in sweatshop fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Company in NYC – many deaths due to locked doors designed to keep “unauthorized” breaks from occurring. Illinois Central and Harriman Lines Rail Strike. Southern Lumber Operator’s Lockout begins. National Safety Council formed to promote business interest over safety of workforce
1912 Railway Employees Department established in AFL with Machinist A. O. Wharton as President. Women and children beaten by police in textile strike in Ma. National Guard called out to stop strike by WV coal miners. 2 women and 12 children machine gunned by company guards in CO mining strike. Joe Hill executed in UT in what many believed to be trumped up murder charges in attempt to silence organizers voices across America. MA adopts first minimum wage standard for women and minors. Chicago Newspaper Strike. Fur worker’s Strike. “Bread and Roses” strike in MA involves 20,000 workers wins back wage cuts. LA Timber Worker’s Strike. NYC Hotel Strikes. WV Mine Strikes
1913 International Workers of the World (IWW) leads unsuccessful textile strike to stop wage cuts. US Department of Labor established. Ludlow CO Massacre of union workers occurs. Machinist Strike and boycott begins. MI Copper Strike. Rubber Worker’s Strike. Studebaker Auto worker’s Strike. CA Hop riot occurs
1914 Nineteen UMWA men, women & children killed by Co State Militia in “Ludlow Mining Massacre”. Congress passes Clayton Antitrust Act to limit injunctions used in labor disputes making picketing illegal. Amalgamated Clothing workers founded. Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill Strike
1915 IAM wins 8-hour in many shops and factories. IAM affiliates with International Metalworkers Federation. Congress passes La Follette Seaman’s Act to regulate working conditions for seamen. Standard Oil Strike. Ohio Steel Strike. IWW organizer Joe Hill executed in Utah
1916 Auto mechanics admitted to IAM membership. Congress passes Federal Child Labor Law and Adamson Act (Child Labor Law later declared unconstitutional – Admanson sets 8 hour workday for railroaders) American Federation of Teachers founded. AZ Copper Strike. Everett WA Massacre. MN Iron Range Strike. NYC Transit Strike. NY Cloakmaker’s Strike. SF Open Shop Campaign. Standard Oil Strike
1917 US enters WWI. Yellow Dog contracts upheld by Supreme Court. OK Green Corn Rebellion. Tom Mooney sentenced to death in CA. AZ Miners’ Strike ends with 1200 strikers being deported to the desert by Sheriff’s Department. MT Miner’s Strike. East St. Louis Race Riots. Pacific Northwest Lumber Strike. Railroads federalized due to war
1918 IAM membership reaches 331,000.War Labor Board created. WWI ends. Women Trade Unionists’ hold first national conference. Women in Industry division created in Labor Dept
1919 Postwar Strike waves sweep across US. Communist Party of America founded. Red Scare begins. Actors’ Strike. Boston Police Strike (this is the first public safety workers strike in US history). WA Massacre. Chicago Race Riots. New England Telephone Strike. Seattle General Strike. 16000 Silk workers strike in NJ for shorter workweek. Steel Strike. Winnipeg General Strike
1920 Headquarters moved to first Machinists Building, at 9th & Mt.Vernon Pl., N.W., Washington, D.C. British Amalgamated Engineering Union cedes its North American locals to IAM. Machinists earn 72 to 90 cents an hour for 44-hour week. Women’s Suffrage Amendment ratified. Transportation Act established de-federalizes railroads and creation of Railroad Labor Board. Trade Union Educational League formed. AL Miners’ Strike. Clothing Workers Lockout. Matewan WV Massacre kills 10 in dispute over right to organize coalminers
1921 Clayton Act ruled unconstitutional. Presidential Commission places unemployment responsibility on local communities. Supreme Court rules AZ law forbidding injunctions in labor disputes and permitting picketing ruled unconstitutional. Depression begins. Seaman’s Strike. Coal Mine Activist Hatfield & Chambers killed on steps of WV courthouse. Blair Mt Battle in WV uses 2000 US troops to block organizers
1922 79,000 railroad machinists pin shopmen’s strike against second post-war wage cut. Membership declines to 148,000. UMWA wins court case holding them not responsible for local strike actions and not in violation of conspiracy laws. Herrin IL massacre occurs in which miners killed 20 guards and strike breakers
1924 IAM convention endorses Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., for President. Samuel Gompers dies. William Green becomes AFL president. Amendment to restrict child labor proposed but not enough states adopt measure to pass law
1925 Brotherhood of Sleeping Cars Porters founded. Anthracite coal strike
1926 Railway Labor Act passes Congress – requires employers to bargain with unions and forbids discrimination based on union activities. NJ Textile strike
1927 IAM urges ratification of Child Labor Amendments to U.S. Constitution; 2,500,000 children under 16 are working at substandard wages. Two MA unionist – Sacco & Vanzetti – executed for union activities. Bituminous coal strike. Longshoreman’s & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act passed. Journeymen Stone Cutters found quality of interstate trade restraint in actions to prevent purchase of nonunion cut stone
1928 250 delegates at 18th IAM convention urge 5-day week to alleviate unemployment. MA Textile strike. AL outlaws convict labor system in coalmines
1929 Depression layoffs cut IAM membership to 70,000. Stock Market crashes. Great Depression begins. Trade Union League forms. NC Textile strike. Conference for Progressive Labor Action founded. Hayes-Cooper Act regulating shipment of prison goods in interstate commerce approved. NC textile strike
1930 Supreme Court rules in union favor upholding Railway Labor Act prohibiting interference in workers choice of unions. Union membership around 3,000,000. National Unemployed Council formed. CA Farmworker’s strike
1931 Davis-Beacon Act passed to ensure prevailing wages paid to workers involved in public works projects. Scottsboro Boys arrested in AL for union activities. KY miner’s strike. FL Cigar Worker’s strike
1932 FD Roosevelt elected. Norris-LaGuardia Act passes to prohibit federal injunctions in labor disputes and outlaws yellow dog contracts. American Federation of Government Employees formed. CA Pea Pickers strike. Century Airline’s Pilots strike. TN Coal strike. Ford Hunger March in Detroit – four workers killed as protesters march on plant. CA Tree Pruner’s strike. Wisconsin adopts first unemployment insurance act. Nearly 30% of union members are jobless.
1933 IAM backs National Recovery drive and 40-hour week. FOR picks IAM Vice President Robert Fechner to head new Civilian Conservative Corps. IAM Membership sinks to 56,000. National Industrial Recovery Act passes to guarantee right of employees to organize and bargain collectively. Francis Perkins becomes first female presidential cabinet member. Newspaper Guild formed. Briggs Manufacturing strike. Ca Farmworker’s strike. Detroit Tool & Die strike. Hormel Meat packing strike. NM Miner’s strike. Francis Perkins becomes first women elevated to Secretary of Labor. Wagner-Peyser Act creates United States Employment Service. Union membership at 2.6 million. Newspaper Guild founded. Briggs Mfg. Strike. CA Farmworker’s Strike. Detroit T&D Strike. Hormel Strike. NM Miner’s Strike
1934 IAM establishes Research Department. Great Uprising of Southern Millworker’s take 500,000 off the job. US joins International Labour Organization. First National Labor Legislation Conference held to work out national labor program. Southern Tenant Farmer’s Strike. Harlem Boycott. MN Teamster’s Strike. Newark Newspaper Strike. San Francisco Longshoreman’s Strike. OH Auto-Lite Strike. Textile Worker’s Strike
1935 IAM opens drive to organize aircraft Industry.Wagner Act established to protect worker’s right to organize and elect bargaining representatives. Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) formed within the AFL with help from JL Lewis in the United Mine Workers organization. First link between asbestos and lung cancer discovered. 108 black steelworkers sues US Steel for unsafe working conditions
1936 First industrial union agreement signed with Boeing, Seattle. IAM convention endorses FDR for President. Membership climbs to 130,000. United Rubber Workers at Goodyear Tire & Rubber win recognition in first large sit-down strike. Byrnes Act passed to make it illegal to transport or aid strikebreakers. Walsh-Healey Act establishes labor standards for minimum wage, overtime pay. Child & convict labor provisions & safety standards for federal contracts
1937 IAM negotiates paid vacations in 26% of its agreements. Social Security and Railroad Retirement Acts now in operation. UAW recognized by General Motors as legitimate bargaining unit following yearlong sit-down strikes. Steel Workers Organizing Committee recognized by US Steel as official bargaining unit for employees and workers earn 10% wage increase with a workweek of five-8 hour days. Wagner Act upheld in Supreme Court. Chicago Memorial Day Massacre claims the lives of 10 workers and wounds 80 by police breaking up a support demonstration of steel workers rights. “Little Steel” strikes broken as members go back to work without gaining right to representation. AFL expels CIO with charges of dual unionism. Bureau of Apprenticeship established with passing of National Apprenticeship Act. AFL membership at 3.7 million and CIO membership at 3.4 million. American Federation of State. County & Municipal Employees formed. Walter Ruether and other UAW organizers beat by thugs in MI. Chocolate Worker’s Strike Hershey PA plant.
1938 Federal Maritime Labor Board established. Fair Labor Standards act sets minimum wage at twenty-five cents and time & a half for hours over 40 in one week. Child labor in interstate commerce banned. John L Lewis becomes president of Congress of Industrial Organizations. Chicago newspaper strike begins. Hilo HA massacre occurs. Strike at Maytag. Supreme Court makes a decision that allows employers to permanently replace striking workers.
1939 IAM signs first union agreement in air transport industry with Eastern. Auto Worker’s strike Chrysler. Tool & Die Worker’s strike GM. Union workers total 8.9 million.
1940 Machinists rates average 80 cents an hour. IAM pledges full support to National Defense program. IAM membership climbs to 188,000. AFL grows to 4.2 million as organizing of industrial unions begin. Supreme Court rules sit down strikes are not an illegal restraint of trade. Lewis resigns as president of CIO and is replaced by Philip Murray. Ford Motor workers strike.
1941 IAM pledges hail support to win the war including no-strike pledge. Ford Motor Company recognizes UAW and the UAW secures the first union-shop agreement in the auto industry. US enters WWII. AFL and CIO pledge not to strike for the duration of the way. 10.4 million union members. Allis-Chamber strike. Captive Coal Mines strike. International Harvester strike. NYC bus drivers strike. North American Aviation workers strike.
1942 United Steel Workers of America replace earlier Steel Workers Organizing Committee. National War Labor Board established by Roosevelt to determine labor dispute settlements in time of war. Board requires employers to enter into union security clauses. War Labor Board establishes procedures for determining wage adjustments in wartime. Stabilization Act passed giving presidential authority to stabilize wagers at Sept ’42 levels
1943 Executive Order creates Committee on Fair Employment Practices to stop discriminatory hiring in war industries based on race, creed, color, or national origin. War Labor Act allows seizure of plants if needed to stop interference in the war effort. Government takes over coalmines to end UMWA strike – this paves the way for portal-to-portal pay and other benefits.
1944 76,000 IAM members serve in armed forces. Total IAM membership now 776,000. 18.6 million workers in US are unionized and 3.5 million are women. Detroit Race riots begin.
1945 First IAM agreement with Remington Rand. IAM convention votes to establish weekly newspaper, education department. WWII ends. World Federation of Trade Unions created. CIO affiliates with WFTU. AFL stays out of WFTU as they are viewed as not free and democratic. 14.7 million union workers in US. Philly Transit workers strike. Kelsey-Hayes workers strike. NYC Longshoremen strike. Montgomery Ward workers strike. Oil Worker’s strike.
1946 88% of IAM agreements now provide for paid vacations. The end of the war unleashes the largest wave of strikes in history. In previous year, over 4700 strikes involving more than 3.4 million worker sweep nation. NY city janitors win bid to have cuspidors removed from offices citing health risks. UMWA wins health and welfare fund. Coalmines again seized by government due to strikes. Electrical Manufacturing Strikes. Pittsburg Power strike. Railroad strike. Steelworkers strike US Steel in 30 states.
1947 IAM Legal Department established. Machinists average $1.56 an hour. Taft-Hartley Act passed to restrict union activities and allow for “right to work” (FOR LESS!) laws by individual states. Norris-La Guardia Act designed to prohibit injunctions in labor disputes is denied as applicable in Government vs. John L Lewis. RJ Reynolds strike. Telephone workers strike.
1948 IAM membership opened to all regardless of race or color. IAM convention endorses Harry Truman for President. UAW establishes first contract with GM that has automatic wage increases based on CPI. First national conference on safety meets. Progressive Party formed.
1949 Railroad machinists win 40 hour week. Membership down to 501,000. Child labor is directly prohibited by amendment to Fair Labor Standards Act for the first time. CIO leads an anti-communist drive at its annual convention leading to the expulsion of two unions. Many unions engaged in democratic free trade withdraw from WFTU and meet with 51 countries to form the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. HA Dock strike.
IAM joins International Transport Workers Federation. Machinists now average $1.82 an hour. UAW secures five-year contract with automatic COLA, modified union shops, and pension benefits. US enters Korean War. NM miners begin “Salt of the Earth” strike.
1951 IAM pledges full support of UN action in Korea. Taft-Hartley Act amended to allow union shop negotiations to occur without prior employee polls.
1952 Employees on 85% of airlines now protected by IAM agreements. 92% of IAM contracts provide for paid holidays. An 8-week strike in the Steel Industries follows the seizure by the Federal Government after companies rejected Wage Stabilization Board recommendations. Supreme Court rules Steel companies seizure as unconstitutional. AFL President Green dies and George Meany takes the position of president. Philip Murray. CIO President. dies and is replaced by former UAW president Walter Ruether. Coal Mine Safety Act passed. CA mine and mill operators win their seven-month strike. Steel strike.
1953 IAM has contracts fixing wages and working conditions with 13,500 employers. IAM Atomic Energy Conference organized. FL and CIO sign “no raiding” pact. LA Sugar Caner Workers strike.
1954 Kohler strike begins.
1955 70% of IAM contracts now have health and welfare provisions. Machinists average $2.33 an hour. George Meany leads efforts that result in re-unification of AFL and CIO, Machinist Al Hayes elected Vice President and chairman of Ethical Practices Committee. Meany is first president. Ford Motor gives in to union demands for supplemental unemployment benefits. Southern Telephone strike.
1956 2,000th active local chartered. New ten story Machinists Building dedicated at 1300 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC. World Health Organization raises concerns linking asbestos to cancer. Steel strike. Canadian Labour of Congress formed.
1957 Bakery Workers. Laundry Workers. and Teamsters are expelled from AFL-CIO over a corruption scandal.
1958: IAM convention establishes a strike fund which was approved by the membership in a referendum vote. IAM membership now tops 903,000.
1959 Landrum-Griffin Act passed to regulate union’s internal affairs in wake of corruption scandals. Asbestos manufacturer Johns Manville tests employees for but did not share results. Steel strike.
1960 IAM convention endorses JFK for President after personal visits from both Kennedy and Richard Nixon. IAM convention establishes college scholarship program. IAM establishes Labor Management Pension Fund. Over one million public employees are in unions. DOL pushes for better safety and health standards in shipyards and longshoreman jobs. Woolworth’s sit-in begins civil rights movement. Negro American Labor Council formed. General Electric strike. Seaman’s strike. Mother Jones passes away.
1962IAM Electronics Conference established. Machinists now average $3.10 an hour. President Kennedy signs Executive Order allowing Federal employee’s unions right to bargain with all government agencies. Unions stand at 16.5 million members. NYC Newspaper strike. East Coast Longshoremen’s strike.
1963 Pay differences based on sex prohibited by Equal Pay Act. Kennedy assassinated.
1964 IAM convention endorses LBJ for President, after a personal appearance. Delegates vote to change name to International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. IAM Membership at 800,000. Civil Rights Act passed after years of struggles.
1965 United Farm Workers Committee formed. CA grape worker’s strike.
1966 IAM members strike five major airlines and finally break through unfair 3.2% limit on wage increases. First dental care plan negotiated with Aerojet General. Eleven unions bargain effectively with General Electric. NLRB insists that health and safety are subject to mandatory bargaining. NYC Transportation strike – Mike Quill leads Transit Worker Strike in New York City. Mike spent time in jail; however, transits workers prevail and win all they struck for.
1967 Railroad machinists lead shopcrafts against nation’s railroads. Congress forces return to work and arbitration. Copper Strikes begin.
1968 IAM membership tops 1,000,000. Machinists average $3.44 an hour. Age Discrimination in Employment Act passed to protect workers between 40 and 65 years of age. Alliance for Labor Action formed as UAW withdraws from AFL-CIO and joins Teamsters. WV coalmine explosion kills 78 miners. 28% of America’s workforce is union – 18.9 million. Prisoners I n textile operations in Atlanta find high levels of brown lung. Nixon elected president. Martin Luther King Jr assassinated while supporting TN sanitation strike. NYC Teacher’s strike.
1969 IAM member, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, the first space mechanic walks on the moon. Philadelphia construction industries pressured by Department of Labor to promote minority hiring. SC Hospital Worker’s strike.
1970 IAM is one of 19 unions in first successful coordinated bargaining effort against GE. US Postal Service struck by employees. Hawaii allows local and state officials to strike – a first in the US. OSHA established by Congress. 42000 WV coalminer’s go on wildcat strike to get Black Lung compensation rights.
1971 IAM wins biggest back pay award in history, more than $54,500,00 for 1,000 members locked out illegally by National Airlines. IAM establishes Job Safety & Health Department. NYC Police strike.
1972 IAM membership drops to 902,000 as a result of recession and layoffs in defense industries. IAM President Floyd Smith quits U.S. Pay Board to protest unfair economic policies. IAM convention endorses Sen. George McGovern for President. Black Lung Benefits Act passes. GM strike. Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act takes effect. Farah Clothing Worker’s strike. OH Auto Worker’s strike. Philly teacher’s strike. Quebec general strike begins.
1973 IAM and UAW hold first joint Legislative Conference with 1,000 delegates in attendance. Machinists average $4.71 an hour. IAM membership rises to 927,000. United Steel Workers gives up right to strike in return for binding arbitration in an experimental negotiation agreement. Civil Service workers in Washington gain nation’s first rights to unionize this sector. Caesar Chavez leads United Farm Workers into the AFL-CIO.
1974 Watergate Scandal breaks and casts suspicions on unions. Coalition of Labor Union women formed. Employee Retirement Income Security Act regulates pension funds. Public employee department created in AFL-CIO. Non-profit hospital workers win right to organize. Baltimore Police strike. Karen Silkwood dies mysteriously during organizational drive with Oil. Chemical. and Atomic workers at Kerr-McGee.
1975 District 837 Strikes McDonnell Douglas. AFSCME, representing public employees, leads 80,000-person strike. Congress defeats union’s attempt to reform labor laws.
1976 IAM convention endorses Jimmy Carter for U.S. President Delegates vote to set up Civil Rights and Organizing departments and expand community services program. Women union workers are 4.3 million strong. Carter elected US president. Congress beats back attempt to allow construction workers a right to organize and strike. 1 million Canadian workers stage demonstrations against wage controls.
1977 William W.Winpisinger sworn in as the lAM’s 11th president. Minimum wage increased to $2.65. Coal Strike. Coors Beer strike and Boycott begins. J.P.Stevens workers strike. MN Bank Workers strike.
1978 Union jobs in manufacturing decreases by 400,000. Federal employees win right to organize with Civil Service Reform Act. Four month coal miner strike focuses Ion right to strike for safety reasons. PA Newspaper strike.
1979 Lake Kirkland becomes AFL-CIO president. Independent Trucker’s strike. Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition launches first Stop Big Oil day to protest obscene profits by oil conglomerates while American workers’ paychecks continue to shrink.
1980 IAM media project begins. Thousands of IAM members and their families monitor prime time TV to determine media’s portrayal of working people and unions. Joyce Meyers becomes first women on AFL-CIO Executive Board. Reagan elected US president.
1981 Older Workers and Retired Members Department is established at Grand Lodge. Reagan fires most American air traffic controllers and de-certifies their union. 500,000 workers march on DC to protest budget cuts and labor policies under Reagan. Baseball Player’s strike.
1982: Reaganomics grips nation. Individual and corporate bankruptcies reach epidemic proportions. IAM membership begins drop to 820,211.
1983 IAM introduces ‘Rebuilding America’ act to Congress as alternative to Reaganomics and to rebuild nation’s industrial base. Philip Dodge Copper strike.
1984 IAM convention in Seattle WA, endorses Walter Mondale for U.S. President. Delegates vote funding for Placid Harbor Education Center to improve the level of understanding of workers in an ever changing world. Reagan re-elected. Yale University Clerical Worker’s strike.
1985 Hormel Meatpacker’s strike begins. LA Sanitation District Strike.
1986 Federal Right to Know standards established. Federal regulations on asbestos in America’s schools are established. TWA Flight Attendant’s strike. USX (US STEEL) Lockout.
1987 IAM Executive Council establishes new Organizing Department, the first ever to be headed by a Vice President. First IAM Communications Conference convened in Kansas City, MO. Paper Worker’s Strike and Lockout starts. Professional Football Payer’s strike.
1988 IAM celebrates 100th anniversary in Atlanta, GA, on May 5. George Bush elected US President. NY Home Care Worker’s strike – 60,000 strong
1989 George J.Kourpias sworn in as the IAM’s 12th president.Eastern Airline Worker’s strike. Pittston Coal struck by Mine Workers.
1990 Delta Pride Catfish Worker’s strike.
1991 300,000-unionist march on DC demanding workplace fairness and health care reform. 25 workers killed in non-union Imperial Food plant. Hotel Normandy strike.
1992 IAM moves to new state-of-the-art headquarters building in Upper Marlboro, MD, to keep pace with technological changes and serve members’ needs well into 21st Century; IAM convenes 33rd convention at Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Clinton elected US president. Caterpillar strike. Police attack janitors demonstrating for justice on the job in Century City.
1993 Decatur IL Staley Lockout. North American Free Trade Agreement passed. Caesar Chavez dies.
1994: International Woodworkers of America ratify merger agreement. More than 20,000 members join IAM family. Some 8,000 USAir fleet service workers say “IAM yes.” Machinist newspaper bids fond farewell, reborn as IAM Journal magazine.
1995: IAM, Auto and Steelworker unions debate plans for unification by year 2000. Unity plan sparks solidarity. Plan would create largest, most diverse union in North America, with more than 2,000,000 active members, 1, 400, 000 retirees. Sixty-nine day strike brings major victory in new contract at Boeing. Members air their views during first round of Town Hall meetings.
1996 IAM District 837 strikes McDonnell Douglas in STL. Fighting Machinists’ spearhead political battle for worker rights. Union efforts provide winning edge in Clinton-Gore presidential victory. Meeting in Chicago, IAM Convention delegates build bridge to 21st century. Delegates establish IAM Women’s Department.
1997 On July 1, Robert Thomas Buffenbarger, 46, takes office as13th International president in 109-year IAM history, moves quickly to reshape Union to reflect growing diversity, interests, concerns of IAM members. Former IAM President Winpisinger dies Dec. 11.
1998 New Blue Ribbon Commission empanelled to provide membership forum to voice opinions. Placid Harbor facility renamed Winpisinger Education and Technology Center to
honor visionary union leader, who brought the facility into being.