Labor History

May 01

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones born in County Cork, Ireland – 1830

Cigar makers in Cincinnati warn there could be a strike in the fall if factory owners continue to insist that they pay 30¢ per month for gas heat provided at work during mornings and evenings – 1883

Eight-hour day demonstration in Chicago and other cities begins tradition of May Day as international labor holiday – 1886

The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union strikes in San Francisco, demanding one day of rest per week, a 10-hour work day and a union shop for all restaurants in the city – 1901

Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebrated at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. She died six months later – 19302014.04.28history-maspeaks-bookcover
(Mother Jones Speaks: Speeches and Writings: Admirers and students of Mother Jones will want this comprehensive collection of her speeches, letters, articles, interviews and testimony before Congressional committees.  In her own words, this brave and determined heroine to millions of workers, active from the end of the Civil War until shortly before her death in 1930, explains her life, her mission, her passion on behalf of working people.)

New York City’s Empire State Building officially opens. Construction involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, and hundreds of Mohawk iron workers. Five workers died during construction – 1931

Congress enacts amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments—protections which didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges and regulation-writing problems – 1974

The federal minimum wage rises to $2 per hour – 1974

Int’l Molders & Allied Workers Union merges with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int’l Union – 1988

Woodworkers of America Int’l merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1994

2014.04.28history-immigrant-rallyInt’l Leather Goods, Plastics & Novelty Workers Union merges with Service Employees Int’l Union – 1996

Rallies in cities across the U.S. for what organizers call “A Day Without Immigrants.” An estimated 100,000 immigrants and sympathizers gathered in San Jose, Calif., 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles. In all, there were demonstrations in at least 50 cities – 2006

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