AFL-CIO offers a lengthy list of events in the history of the US labor movement. Some early highlights:
1843 Lowell [Mass.] Female Labor Reform Association begins public petitioning for 10-hour day
1869 Colored National Labor Union formed
1909 Unorganized immigrant steelworkers strike in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and win all demands
1912 Bread and Roses strike begun by immigrant women in Lawrence, Massachusetts, ended with 23,000 men, women and children on strike and with as many as 20,000 on the picket line
1935 Frances Perkins drafts the Social Security Act, greatly increasing retirement security for Americans
1938 Fair Labor Standards Act establishes first minimum wage and 40-hour week
1962 President John F. Kennedy’s order gives federal workers the right to bargain
The AFL-CIO post begins:
“Throughout our history, the labor movement has accomplished a lot. If you get weekends off or overtime pay, thank the union members who fought for those rights. None of our movement’s achievements would have happened without the effort, organization and advocacy of our brothers and sisters. But injustice still runs amok. We must look to the past not only for inspiration, but for the tools we need to continue the fight. The roots of the problems we face today can be found in our past. So can the beginnings of the solutions we need for our future.
The labor history timeline highlights the key events and the people who helped bring about radical changes in the workplace and society.
“Power concedes nothing without demands.” — Frederick Douglass