Laboring for the Union timeline

Timeline created by 17lipinskim
  • Haymarket Riot

    Haymarket Riot
    In Chicago, 8 people died and about 100 were injured from a bomb and police firing during a protest against police brutality during labor strikes. The day before, a striker had been killed by the police and the union workers took the opportunity to protest their cause and their safety. As a result, the labor industry's push for an 8 hour workday was tarnished due to the poor reputation associated with the disastrous strike.
  • Pullman Strike

    Pullman Strike
    With the economic depression facing the country, workers experienced long work days and wage cuts. In response, they walked. Their protest was joined by the American Railway Union and they successfully shutdown train traffic westward out of Chicago. Although the end result of the strike was unsuccessful and troops had to be sent to the area, the protest encouraged national sympathy for unions.
  • Great Steel Strike of 1919

    Great Steel Strike of 1919
    In Pittsburgh, over 350,000 strikers with the American Federation of Labor union protested against United States Steel Corporation on grounds of poor wages, working conditions, hours, and union harassment. They shut down half of the steel industry in the U.S., but were unsuccessful in their end goal. Those in charge of the company and government utilized the public's fear of Communism to shut down the strike, and any union involvement in the steel industry for the next fifteen years.
  • Wagner Act

    Wagner Act
    A revision of Senator Wagner's labor disputes bill, the Wagner Act introduced a new and independent agency called the National Labor Relations Board, which served to enforce employee rights. The bill also gave employees the right to join a union, and told employers that they had to bargain collectively with the most prominent unions in their company. Overall, the Wagner Act was a success for unions.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act

    Fair Labor Standards Act
    The Fair Labor Standards Act, or Wages and Hours Bill, signed by Frankin D. Roosevelt established a federal minimum wage at 25 cents, overtime pay, a maximum workweek of 44 hours, and obliterating certain types of legal child labor. Prior to this act, labor activity had been very minimal during the Great Depression since people wanted their jobs, no matter the pay or conditions. However, laborers and unions had been complaining of the poor working conditions that were remedied by the FLSA.
  • Taft-Hartley Act

    Taft-Hartley Act
    The Taft-Hartley Act was a revision of the Wagner Act, which set limitations, political and otherwise, on unions. The act limited some certain union practices, but also protected employees whether they participated in a union or not. Employees couldn't be hired because they won't join a union, but an employer could require employees to join one. Unions also couldn't take advantage of their members by charging excessive dues or conditions.
  • United States Postal Strike of 1970

    United States Postal Strike of 1970
    In spite of banned collective bargaining by postal workers, a postal union 210,000 workers strong gathered in New York City to protest their low wages, minimal benefits, and poor work conditions. The protest spread to over 100 U.S. cities. Eventually the group was successful and the Postal Reorganization Act was passed. Five different postal position unions (postal clerks, mail processors, maintenance, and motor vehicles) combined into the New Postal Workers Union, strengthening union efforts.
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    Industrial Revolution

    In the era pre-Civil War, there was boom of new technology. There was a common shift from a rural, farming society to an industrial, machine-based economy. Prominent roles were played by the railroads and electricity. Consequently, wealth was more widely spread amongst the population and there were a variety of social changes as well. With new factories came a need for new workers, but the mass production methods weren't as safe and the conditions were dangerous creating a need for unions.
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    World War I

    Catalyzed by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, World War I set the Central Powers against the Allied Powers. War created a high demand for machinery and workers to create it. Although the union movement was not specifically influential to the working conditions, the unions would bond together on issues related to the international conflict. At the conclusion of the war, the unions worked to raise their wages, which had been constricted by the economic war time.
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    Great Depression

    At first unions seemed fruitless against the massive unemployment of the 1930s, until a new radical type of union emerged, making "union" synonymous for American labor democracy. While strikes were rare, the unions decided to pursue change through legislative outlets. Their actions gave a name to unions as legitimate and respectable, a reputation that has continued into the modern era.