The NEA of Farmers, Mechanics and Other Working men state that “Children should not be allowed to labor in the factories from morning till night, without any time for healthy recreation and mental culture," because it endangers the health of the children.
Founding of Knights of Labor
Uriah Stephens founds the Knights of Labor in Philadelphia. At first, they are a secret society and organize members around the country saying it was for management.
States limit work hours
Massachusetts and other states limit the number of maximum hours worked to 10 hours.
Minimum age urging
Working Men's Party says that children should not be allowed to work under the age of 14.
Railway strike of 1877
A strike against the Baltimore and Ohio railroad begins a series of strikes across the northeast. Federal troops have to be called out for the first time to stop the strike, and although they are crushed, it makes the hostility bewteen the laborers and business owners transparent.
Labor Day parade
30,000 workers marched in the first labor day parade.
A labor rally in Chicago called in support of an 8-hour day soon became very chaotic. A bomb is tossed at the police by an unknown party, and the police fire into the crowd.
Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Passed to block business monopolies.
A federal court issues the first injunction against a union under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The case, brought against the Workingman's Amalgamated Council of New Orleans for interfering with the movement of commerce, hands managers a potent legal weapon.
Union workers walk out of the factory of the Pullman Company in Pullman, Illinois, in spite of the paternalistic treatment the company had afforded to workers. The strike, organized by Eugene V. Debs and the American Railway Union, will end in total defeat.
The National Child Labor Committee is founded, an organization to support the rights of children and to speak out against child labor.
Western miners and other activists form the Industrial Workers of the World at a convention in Chicago. The IWW, or Wobblies, is one of the most radical of all organized labor groups. Though they will achieve only limited success in moving their agenda forward, they will inspire generations of labor activists with their militant spirit.
The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) calls a strike in New York, demanding a 20-percent pay raise and a 52-hour workweek. Within two days, more than 20,000 workers from 500 factories walk off the job. This largely successful "Uprising of 20,000" is the largest labor action by women in the nation's history.
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
A fire in lower Manhattan kills 146 women workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. The tragedy highlights the harsh conditions under which the young women had to work, evoking public sympathy for reform.
In Lawrence, Massachusetts, women and children were beaten during a textile strike.
First State Minimum Wage Law
Massachusetts adopts the first minimum wage law, setting a floor under the pay of women and minors. Other states will pass similar laws beginning the same year.
Federal Department of Labor Established
The United States Department of Labor is established as a cabinet-level agency. Though established under President Taft, he signs the law after his defeat in the 1912 election. The Department will mostly emphasize the pro-labor stance of the incoming president, Woodrow Wilson, who appoints a United Mine Workers official as the first Secretary of Labor.
President Wilson, a friend of labor unions, signs the Clayton Act, which exempts unions from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. In coming years, the new law will prove toothless, as courts void many of its union protections.
The Adamson Act establishes an 8-hour workday for employees of interstate railroads, with overtime for working longer hours.
Child Labor Act
The Keating-Owen Child Labor Act, says that there is a 16 year old minimum age for working in mines, a 14 year old minimum age for other types of work, an 8-hour day in total, and a 48-hour week. The law prohibited night work for children under the age of 16.
Child labor amendment failure
A child labor amendment was proposed, but they were 8 states short of the necessary 36 in passin it. The amendment failed.
Samuel Gompers, the most influential of the early labor leaders, dies at age 74.
The Davis-Bacon Act requires that federal contractors pay their workers the wages and benefits prevailing in the local market when working on a public works project. The law keeps employers from importing cheaper workers from outside the region.
President Roosevelt signs into law the National Labor Relations Act, known as the Wagner Act. The law safeguards union organizing efforts and authorizes the National Labor Relations Board to assure fairness in union elections and during collective bargaining with employers. The new law tilts the playing field significantly in labor's favor, prompting a huge unionization drive throughout the late 1930s.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act sets a 40-hour workweek with time-and-a-half for additional hours. It also establishes a national minimum wage and puts severe restrictions on child labor.
World day against child labor
Every year on June 12th, we dedicate a day to opposing child labor and remembering the difficult times they went through. 2002 was the first year we celebrated it.