National labor union


  • Trade Unions

    Trade Unions
    As early as the 1790's, men were coming together to create trading groups. These were the first unions of any kind in America, and they would soon grow to branch out to form women's unions as well.
  • Lowell Mills Strikes

    Lowell Mills Strikes
    Women lead strikes against the inhumaine working conditions of the Lowell Milss in 1834 and 1836. These strikes eventually lead to the first investigations of working conditions by the government.
  • National Labor Union

    National Labor Union
    This union was the first national federation for labor founded. It strived to bring smaller unions from around the country to band together and work on getting the eight hour law passed, so as to limit the amount of hours a person could work a day.
  • Order of the Knights of St. Crispin

    Order of the Knights of St. Crispin
    This union, the largest of its time, was made up of shoe makers in the North. They were pushing for maintaining the benefits of skilled laborers as many of their jobs were being taken over by machines worked by non-skilled laborers.
  • Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor

    Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor
    This union, established in 1869, was the largest of the unions in the 1880's. This quickly growing union, while not being well organized, did advecate for the eight hour day and child labor laws.
  • Railroad Brotherhoods

    Railroad Brotherhoods
    Throughout the 1870's, railroad companies were booming, and unions ,such as the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the American Railroad Union, grew to generous sizes of workers demanding insurance and medical packages.
  • American Federation of Labor

    American Federation of Labor
    This organization, started by Samuel Gompers in 1881, is really a federation made up of many unions from around the nartion. This federation became popular due to the amount of people leaving the Knights of Confederation after the Haymarket Riot in Chicago. Union workers, mostly skliied men, pushed for the eight hour day and child labor laws.
  • Haymarket Riot

    Haymarket Riot
    This riot was started by the Knights of Labor in Chicago against Jay Gould and his association. This strike turned deadly as seven police officers were killed and several more were wounded by strikers, forever giving the Knights of Labor a bad reputation.
  • Western Federation of Minors

    Western Federation of Minors
    This conservative federation began in the west, but soon spawned many new federations around the nation. It was usually in competition with the American Federation of Labor.
  • Pullman Strike

    Pullman Strike
    As soon as the Pullman Palace Car Company began cutting wages, many workers joined Eugene V. Debbs and the American Railroad Union to strike againt Pullman. After refusing to cease the strike, the U.S. Marshalls had to step in and break up the strike, during which many were killed or injured.
  • Womens Trade Union League

    Womens Trade Union League
    Formed through the American Federation of Labor, this union was made up of working and middle class women. While it didn't ever officailly organize locally, it did work for a minimum wage and child labor laws.
  • Industrial Workers of the World

    Industrial Workers of the World
    These workers, known as Wobblies, were often unskilled laborers who couldn't find other unions to take them in. This union was working towards industrial unionism, which is different from the other unions of their time,
  • Loewe v. Lawler

    Loewe v. Lawler
    This princiapl Supreme Court case defined that unions can not interfer with the flow of interstate commerce and that a single union individual can take the consequences and be held accountable for any action the union performs as a whole.
  • Clayton Act of 1914

    Clayton Act of 1914
    This act was essentially replacing the Sherman Act after it was deemed unconstitutional. This act gave unions the right to strike and bargain with their employers.
  • Congress of Industrial Organizations

    Congress of Industrial Organizations
    This organization mainly organized the industrail workers, mostly the Steel Companies who were becoming very important to American buisness due to the automibile.
  • Great Railroad Strike of 1922

    Great Railroad Strike of 1922
    When railroad companies announced that hourly waged were going to be cut by seven cents, a nation wide strike againt railroads began. The Daughtery Injunction was announced making it illegal to strike or picket and giving workers two days to go back to work or be fired. While many went back to work, over half of all workers lost their jobs in the strike.
  • Great Depression

    Great Depression
    The Great Depression acually lessened unions hold on the workplace as unemployment rates skyrocketed and wages were cut very low. Many people simply couldn't strike because they knew twenty people were waiting to take thier job for half the pay they were getting curently. Union membership fell during this time.
  • Norris- La Guarda Anti- Injunction Act of 1932

    Norris- La Guarda Anti- Injunction Act of 1932
    This Act gave unions some protection form the injunctions that were springing up against unions throughout the nation. In this act, President Hoover also outlawed yellow dog contracts that would allow employers not to hire based on whether workers were going to join in an union.
  • National Industrial Recovery Act

    National Industrial Recovery Act
    This act set up by Roosevelt as part of the New Deal gave the right to workers to organize unions. It also set minimum wage laws and maxmium hour laws for working men and women.
  • Wagner Act

    Wagner Act
    Again piggybacking onto the Clayton Act of 1914, this act ensures that employers bargain with their employees under law. It also prevents the discrimination of employees by the employers.
  • World War II

    World War II
    Many union organizations supported Roosevelt and his war efforts during World War II.
  • Taft- Hartley Act

    Taft- Hartley Act
    This act limited the unions by preventing them form practicing "unfair labor". This included secondary boycotts, picketing, and the running of closed shops.
  • 1980 Presidential Election

    1980 Presidential Election
    During Reagan's campaign for the presidency, The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization decided to stroke and demand high pay with low working hours. The government deemed this unconstitutional and gave everyone 48 hours to return to work or be fired. While one fourth came back to work, all the others were fired, setting the union movement back quite a bit. It has never fully recovered.