The Development of Labor Unions

By ckruta
  • The National Trades Union

    The first national union, The National Trades Union, was founded in 1834.
  • Commonwealth v. Hunt

    In the 1842 court case Commonwealth v. Hunt, a Massachusetts court ruled that unions were legal.
  • Knights of Labor

    The first major union was founded by Uriah Stephens, a Philadelphia tailor. By 1879, its membership of 9,000 included women, african americans, and immigrants, both skilled and unskilled. By 1886, they boasted a membership of 700,000. They won several important strikes, but their influence declined after they were blamed for killing 7 police officers who attempted to break up a meeting in Haymarket Square, Chicago.
  • American Federation of Labor

    The American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886 bt Samuel Gompers, organized skilled workers by crafts. They fought for higher wages, shorter hours, and improved working conditions through collective bargaining.
  • Haymarket Riots

    During Chicago's Haymarket riots, in which striking McCormick Harvester Workers clashed with police, 4 strikers were killed.
  • United Mine Workers

    To improve wages and working conditions of coal mine workers.
  • The Homestead Strike

    Sreel workers Homestead, Pennsylvania struck against the Carnegie Steel plant because thae company had reduced wages. The Homestead Strike of 1892 became violent when the steel company hired private police to protect strike breakers. In the ensuring confrontation, nine strikers and seven police officers were killed.
  • American Railway Union

    Railroad fireman Eugene V. Debs founded the American Railway Union.
  • Pullman Company

    Workers at Pullman Company, which manufactured sleeping and dining cars, went on strike because their wages had been cut. Acting out of sympathy for the Pullman workers, conductors and engineers of the American Railway Union refused to handle trians with Pullman car attached. A federal judge ordered the strikers back to work, and whent they refused, President Grover Cleveland sent in federal troops. The ensuring violence turned public opinion against the strikers and President Eugene was jailed.
  • The International Workers of the World

    The International Workers of the World (Wobblies), which was organized in 1905 for unskilled workers and immigrants, advocated one large national union that would use strikes and sabotage to achieve its goals as opposed to the more peaceful American Federation of Labor.
  • Clayton Act

    The Clayton Act, passed in 1914, allowed picketing and limited the use of injunctions in labor disputes.
  • The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

    Created by A. Philip Randolph.
  • National Labor Relations Act

    In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) protected the rights of workers to organize and elect representatives for collective bargaining. Also in this year, the CIO, Congressnof Industrial Organization, was formed by several AFL unions to promote unionism in industry.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act

    The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established a minimum wage (twenty-five cents per hour) and time and a half for over forty hours of work a week.
  • Fair Labor Act

    An amendment to the Fair Labor Act in 1949 prohibited child labor.
  • AFL and CIO

    The AFL and CIO merged in 1955.
  • Air Traffic Controllers

    President Ronald Reagan fired 11,500 air traffic controllers for striking in violation of a no-strike clause in their contract.