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Q: Important political action that has influenced labor relations in the U.S. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Important political action that has influenced labor relations in the U.S.
Category: Reference, Education and News > Homework Help
Asked by: talula987-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 09 Nov 2006 07:18 PST
Expires: 09 Dec 2006 07:18 PST
Question ID: 781345
What are the most important issues, events, laws and actions that have
influenced labor relations in the history of the United States.

I need an answers by 11/9/2006.

Request for Question Clarification by umiat-ga on 09 Nov 2006 07:22 PST
Hello, talula987!
 11/9 is today! What time do you need this answer by?
Subject: Re: Important political action that has influenced labor relations in the U.S.
Answered By: umiat-ga on 09 Nov 2006 10:28 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello, talula987-ga! 

 Since you are in a rush, I have done my best to research and compile
the most significant events which have affected labor relations in the
United States.


 This first reference from the Illinois Labor History Society contains
a wealth of information about the history of labor relations in the
United States. Please refer to the site and click on the link for each
period to read information in full. There is an introduction to each
section which summarizes the most important labor issues for the time
period which might prove helpful to you.

I have excerpted some of the most noteworthy events for each period,
but there are many lesser events under each time period that might
interest you as well. There are also supplemtary resources and
teaching notes which might prove helpful.

From "A Curriculum of United States Labor History for Teachers"
Sponsored by the Illinois Labor History Society.

The Colonial Period to 1763

1440s -  Opening of the African slave trade. 
1619  -  Slavery introduced into Virginia. 
      -  Virginia House of Burgesses formed, beginning of representative 
         government in North America. 
1620  -  Mayflower Compact signed creating "just and equal laws."
1676  -  Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia, farmers revolt against corrupt 
1683  -  New York Chapter of Liberties gives freeholders the right to vote 
1712  -  Carolina Slave Code created which regulates slave life.
1765  -  The first society of working women is organized as an auxliary of the 
         Sons of Liberty, called the Daughters of Liberty. 
1766  -  Green Mountain uprising of farmers against landowners over the 
         inequality of political power.

The Revolutionary Era: 1763-1789

1770  - Boston Massacre precipatated by conflict between ropeworkers and British
1773  - Carpenters dressed as Mohawk Indians help lead the Boston Tea Party. 
1775  - United Company of Philadelphia for Promoting American Manufacturing 
        employs 400 women under one roof.Points toward future industrialization. 
1776  - Common Sense published throughout colonies. 
      - Colonial delegates sign Declaration of Independence in Carpenter's Hall 
        built by Carpenter's Company of Philadelphia. 
      - The Wealth of Nations published which promotes laissez-faire economics, 
        individualism yet opposes monopolies and mercantilism.
1777  - British defeated at Saratoga saves New England from British. 
1778  - New York City journeyman printers unite and gain increase in wages. They
        then disband. 
1781  - Their defeat at Yorktown by Washington's army proves to British they 
        cannot win. 
1783  - Treaty of Paris signed. England recognizes American independence. 
1785  - New York City shoemakers strike for three weeks. 
1786  - Printers in Philadelphia walk out to protest a wage reduction. Result: 
        Gained a $6 a week minimum wage. 
1787  - Constitution counts five slaves as three people for Congressional 

The Growth of a New Nation: 1789-1830

1790  - Cabinet and chairmakers in Philadelphia fight an attempt by employers to
        blacklist union members.  
1791  - Philadelphia carpenters struck unsuccessfully for a 10 hour day and 
        overtime pay. 
      - First building trades strike
1808  - Federal law prohibits the importation of slaves into the United States. 
1817  - New York state legislature passes a law that frees slaves born before 4
        July 1799. 
1819  - Panic causes a six year depression. Manufacturers secure a tariff to 
        protect them from foriegn competion.
1824  - First reported strike of women workers when they join male weavers 
        protesting wage reduction and extension of the workday in Pawtucket, 
        Rhode Island. 
1825  - The United Tailoresses of New York, women only trade organization, 
        formed. (New York City). To demand a wage increase, they struck in the 
        first all women strike. 
1827  - The Mechanics Union of Trade Associations, made up of skilled workers in
        different trades, formed in Philadelphia. The first city-wide labor 
1828  - Workingmen's Party formed in Philadelphia.
1829  - The Workingmen's Party of New York formed.

Expansion and Sectionalism: 1830-1850

1831  - Birth of American abolition movement when The Liberator published by 
        William. L. Garrison. 
      - Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion in Virginia, he was later killed and 
      - In New York City, 1600 tailoresses go on strike for two months over 
        wages and lose. 
1833  - Workingmen's Ticket is a political party formed of men and women to 
        promote labor ideology. 
1834  - The National Trades Union formed in New York City. The first attempt at
        a national labor federation. 
      - The Factory Girls' Association is formed in Lowell and go on strike over
        working conditions and wages. 
1836  - The National Cooperative Association of Cordwainers, the first national
        union of a specific trade, was founded in New York City. 
      - A convention of mechanics, farmers, and workingmen met in Utica, NY. The
        wrote a Declaration of Rights which opposed bank notes, paper money, 
        arbitrary power of the courts, and called for legislation to guarantee 
        labor the right to organize to increase wages. They formed the Equal
        Rights Party to be free of existing party control.      
1837  - Panic of 1837 puts an end to the National Trades Union and most other 
      - President Jackson declares ten hour day in Philadelphia Navy Yard to 
        quell discontent caused by Panic of 1837. 
1840  - Ten hour day without reduction in pay proclaimed by President Van Buren 
        for all federal employees on public works. 
1842  - In Commonwealth v. Hunt, the Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that 
        labor unions, as such, are not illegal conspiracies. 
      - Connecticut and Massachusetts pass laws prohibiting children from 
        working over ten hours per day.
1847  - New Hampshire is the first state to make the ten hour day the legal 
1848  - Child labor law in Pennsylvania makes twelve the minimum age for workers
        in commercial occupations. 
1850  - Compromise of 1850 perpetuates slavery and the sectional debates between
        North and South.

The Civil War and Reconstruction: 1850-1877

1852  - The Typographical Union founded which is the first national workers 
        organization to endure to the present day. 
      - First state law limiting women's working day to ten hours passed in 
1859  - Iron Molders Union formed in Philadelphia. 
1860  - Successful strike of 20,000 shoemakers in New England. Abraham Lincoln,
        in support of New England shoemakers, says, "Thank God that we have a 
        system of labor where there can be a strike." 
1863  - Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln which frees slaves in 
        southern areas occupied by Union forces. 
      - Working Women's Union founded. 
      - The present-day Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers founded.
1865  - 13th Amendment to the Constitution bans slavery in US. 
1866  - National Labor Union formed in Baltimore, MD.
1868  - First federal 8 hour day passed, only applies to laborers, mechanics, 
        and workmen employed by the government. 
      - First state labor bureau passed in Massachusetts. 
1869  - In Washington DC, the Black National Labor Union founded under the 
        leadership of Isaak Myers. 
      - First national female union is organized, Daughters of St. Crispin. 
1870  - First written contract between coal miners and coal mine operators 
1873  - Panic of 1873 followed by a depression wipes out most national unions.
1877  - National railroad strikes crippled the country. Federal troops needed to
        be called out as some state militias sided with strikers

The Industrial Revolution and the Progressive Era: 1877-1913

1878  - Greenback Labor Party organized by a merger of the Workingmen's Party 
        and Greenback Party.
1881  - Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, forerunner of the
        American Federation of Labor formed in Pittsburgh.
1884  - Federal Bureau of Labor established as part of Department of the 
1885  - Immigration of laborers on contract is outlawed by the Foran Act.
1886  - In Columbus, Ohio, the American Federation of Labor is formed with 
        Samuel Gompers as the first president. 
      - Violence erupts following a mysterious explosion at Haymarket Square in
        Chicago during a rally in support of the 8 hour day. 
1887  - Seven accused in the Haymarket explosion are sentenced to death. 
1888  - First federal labor relations law passed but it only applies to rail 
1890  - United Mine Workers of America formed.
1892  - Homestead Strike in Pennsylvania. The Amalgamated Association of Iron, 
        Steel, and Tin Workers lose the fight over Carnegie Steel's attempt to 
        break the union
1894  - Strike by the American Railway Union against the Pullman Palace Car
        Company near Chicago is defeated by the use of injunctions and federal 
1898  - Erdman Act passed which provides for mediation and voluntary arbitration
        on the railroads. This law replaces the 1888 law. 
1900  - International Ladies Garment Workers Union founded. 
1901  - United States Steel defeats the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel 
        and Tin Workers after a strike which lasted three months. 
      - United Textile Workers of America founded.
1903  - At the annual AFL convention, blue collar and middle class women unite 
        to form the National Women's Trade Union League.  
      - The Department of Commerce and Labor is formed. 
1905  - In Chicago, the Industrial Workers of the World founded. 
      - US Supreme Court in Lochner v. New York, declares a New York maximum 
        hours law unconstitutional under the due process clause of the 14th 
1906  - Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle which exposes the unsafe and unclean
        aspects of the Chicago meatpacking industry. 
      - The International Typographical Union struck successfully for the 8 hour
        day which helped pave the way for shorter hours in the printing trades. 
1908  - In Muller v. Oregon, the Supreme Court rules that female maximum hour
        laws are constitutional due to a woman's "physical structure and  
         ...maternal functions." 
      - Section 10 of the Erdman Act which deals with "yellow dog" contracts and
        forbids a person being fired for belonging to a union was declared 
        unconstitutional. (US v. Adair) 
1909  - 146 workers, mostly women, die in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire 
        in New York City. This leads the to the establishment of the New York 
        Factory Investigating Commission to monitor factory condition. 
1912  - Massachusetts adapts the first minimum wage law for women and minors. 
1913  - US Department of Labor established. Secretary of Labor given power to 
        "act as a mediator and to appoint commissioners of conciliation in labor

The First World War: 1914-1920

1914  - Clayton Act passed which limits the use of injunctions in labor
      - Ludlow Massacre in Colorado. Wives and children of striking miners are 
        set aflame when National Guardsmen attack their tent colony during a 
        strike against the Colora do Fuel and Iron Company. 
      - President appoints the Colorado Coal Commission to investigate the 
        Ludlow Massacre and labor conditions in the mines following an 
        unsuccessful strike by the United Mine Workers. 
1915  - LaFollette Seamen's Act, which regulates the working conditions of 
        seamen, created. 
1916  - 8 hour day for railroad workers is created with the passage of the 
        Adamson Act. This averts a nationwide strike. 
1918  - National War Labor Board created by President Wilson. 
      - Women in Industry division of the Department of Labor established. 
1919  - The nationwide Great Steel Strike led by William Z. Foster defeated. 
      - Labor leaders led by AFL President Samuel Gompers, recommended the 
        inclusion of labor clauses creating an International Labour Organization
        into the Versailles Treaty. 
      - Boston Police Strike- the first strike by public safety workers in US 
      - United Mine Workers struck and earn a 27% wage increase during 
        arbitration with a presidential commission.   
1920  - The Women in Industry division of the Department of Labor became the
        Women's Bureau, as part of the Department of Labor by an act of 
      - The women's suffrage amendment ratified. 
      - The Transportation Act established Railroad Labor Board.

The Roaring Twenties: 1921-1929

1921  - The Supreme Court held that nothing in the Clayton Act legalized 
        secondary boycotts or protected unions against injunstions brought 
        against them for conspiracy in restraint of trade. 
      - The Presidential Commission on Unemployment placed the main 
        responsibility for unemployment relief upon local communities. 
      - In Truax v. Corrigan, the Supreme Court ruled that an Arizona law 
        forbidding injunctions in labor disputes and permitting picketing was 
        unconstitutional under the 14th amendement. 
1922  - The United Mine Workers was held not reponsible for local strike action,
        and strike action was held not a conspiracy to restrain trade within the
        Sherman Anti-Trust Act. (Coronado Coal Co. v. UMMA) 
      - In southern Illinois, coal strikers kill twenty guards and 
        strikebreakers in the "Herrin Massacre".
1926  - The Railway Labor Act required employers to bargain collectively and not 
        discriminate against employees who wanted to join a union. The act also
        provided for mediation and voluntary arbitration in labor disputes. 
1927  - The Longshoremen's and Harbor Worker's Compensation Act was passed.
1929  - The Hayes-Cooper Act regulating the shipment of prison labor goods in 
        interstate commerce was approved. 

The Great Depression: 1929-1939

1929  - The stock market crash in October began the longest economic period in
        American history. 
1930  - The Supreme Court upheld the Railway Labor Act's prohibition of employer 
        interference or coercion in the choice of bargaining representative 
        (Texas & N.O.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Railway Clerks). 
1931  - In the Davis-Bacon Act, Congress provided for the payment of the 
        prevailing wages to employees of contractors and subcontractors on 
        public construction. 
1932  - The Anti-Injunction Act prohibited Federal injunctions in most labor 
      - Wisconsin created the first unemployment insurance act in the United 
1933  - Francis Perkins becomes the Secretary of Labor and the first women named
        to a Cabinet position. 
      - The Wagner-Peyser Act created the United States Employment Service 
        within the Dept. of Labor. 
1934  - 500,000 Southern millworkers walked off the job in the Great Uprising of
      - The first National Labor Legislation Conference was called by the 
        Secretary of Labor to obtain closer Federal-State cooperation in working
        out a sound national labor legislation program.
1935  - The Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act) establishes the first 
        national labor policy of protecting the right of workers to organize and
        to elect their representatives for collective bargaining. 
      - Social Security Act approved. 
      - Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) formed within the AFL to 
        foster industrial unionism.
1936  - The United Rubber Workers (CIO), in the first large sit-down strike, won 
        recognition at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
      - The Anti-Strikebreaker Act (Byrnes Act) declared it unlawful to 
        transport or aid strikebreakers in interstate or foreign trade.  
      - The Public Contracts Act (Walsh-Healey Act) established labor standards,
        including minimum wages, overtime pay, child and convict labor 
        provisions, and safety standards on all federal contracts.
1937  - General Motors agreed to recognize the United Auto Workers (CIO) as the 
        bargaining agents for auto workers and not discriminate against union
        members following a year of sit-down strikes. 
      - US Steel recognizes the Steel Workers Organizing Committee as the 
        official bargaining agent of the steel workers. 
      - The Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act) was declared 
        Constitutional by the Supreme Court (NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel 
      - In south Chicago, 10 people were killed and 80 wounded in the Memorial 
        Day Massacre during the "Little Steel" strikes. 
1938  - A Federal Maritime Labor Board is created by the Merchant Marine Act. 
      - The Fair Labor Standards Act created a $.25 minimum wage and time and a
        half for hours over 40 per week. 
      - The CIO becomes the Congress of Industrial Organizations with John L. 
        Lewis as its president.

The Second World War: 1939-1945

1940  - In Apex Hosiery Co. v. Leader, the Supreme Court ruled that a sit-down 
        strike is not an illegal restraint of trade under the Sherman Anti-Trust
        Act in the absence of intent to control trade.
1941  - The United Auto Workers were recognized by Ford Motor Company. They sign
        a union- shop agreement- the first in the auto industry. 
      - The United States entered World War II on December 8. 
      - The AFL and the CIO announce a no-strike pledge for the duration of the 
1942  - The United Steelworkers of America was created to replace the Steel 
        Workers Organizing Committee first established in 1936 by the CIO. 
      - President Roosevelt establishes the National War Labor Board to 
        determine procedures for settling labor disputes. 
      - The National War Labor Board establishes a procedure for wartime wage
      - The Stabilization Act gives President Roosevelt the authority to 
        stabilize wages based on September 15, 1942 levels. 
1943  - Roosevelt made an executive order to create a Committee on Fair 
        Employment Practices to eliminate employment discrimination in war 
        industries based on race, creed, color or national origin. 
      - The Smith-Connally (War Labor Disputes Act) authorized plant seizure if
        needed to avoid interference with the war effort.
1945  - World War II ends. 
      - The CIO affiliated with the newly created World Federation of Trade 

Post War America: 1946- Present

1946  - Largest strike wave in history as pent up labor troubles are unleashed 
        by the end of war-time controls. 
1947  - Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act which restricts union activities 
        and permits the states to pass "right-to-work" laws. 
1948  - General Motors and the United Auto Workers signed the first major 
        contract with an escalator claus e, providing for wage increases based 
        on the Consumer Price Index. 
1949  - An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 directly prohibited
        child labor for the first time. 
1950  - A five year contract between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and General
        Motors granted pensions, automatic cost of living wage adjustments and a
        modified union shop. 
1951  - An amendment to the Taft-Hartly Act permitted the negotiation of union 
        shop agreements without previous polls of employees. 
1952  - President Truman seized the steel industry when companies reject the 
        Wage Stabilization Board's recommendations. An 8 week strike followed 
        when the Supreme Court found the president's action unconstitutional. 
1955  - The AFL and CIO reunited with George Meany as the first president. This
        brought together about 85% of all union members under one large union. 
1959  - The Landrum-Griffen Act (Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act) 
        passed by Congress which regulates the internal affairs of unions in 
        order to lessen corruption. 
1962  - Federal employee's unions given the right to bargain collectively with 
        government agencies as a result of President Kennedy's executive order. 
1963  - The Equal Pay Act prohibited wage differences for workers based on sex. 
1964  - The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on 
        race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 
1966  - Coalition bargaining occurred in negotiations between eleven unions and
        General Electric. 
1968  - The Age Discrimination in Employment Act went into effect. It made it 
        illegal to discriminate in hiring or firing person bet ween 40-65 on the
        basis of age. 
      - The UAW left the AFL-CIO and joined the Teamsters in forming the 
        Alliance for Labor Action (ALA). 
1970  - First mass postal strike in the history of the US Postal Service. 
      - Hawaii became the first state to allow its state and local officials the
        right to strike. 
      - Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). 
1973  - The major steel companies and the United Steelworkers of America 
        approved an "Experimental Negotiation Agreement" where the union gave up
        the right to strike in favor of binding arbitration. The companies 
        agreed to end stockpiling of products. 
      - Washington became the first state to allow the union shop for civil 
        service  employees. 
1974  - Coalition of Labor Union Women formed in Chicago. 
      - Pension funds to be regulated by Congress under the Employee Retirement 
        Income Security Act. 
      - In response to the growth of public employee unionism, the AFL-CIO 
        created a public employee department. 
1975  - 80,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
        Employees (AFSCME) went on strike in the first legal large scale strike 
        of public employees. 
1977  - President and the Congress raised minimum wage to $2.65. 
1980  - The first woman was appointed to the AFL-CIO executive board, Joyce 
1981  - Most of the nation's air traffic controllers fired by President Reagan 
        who then decertified their union in reponse to an illegal strike. 


Also see "An Eclectic List of Events in U.S. Labor History."


"There has been a general stalemate in labor law since the mid-1970s,
observes MIT's Thomas A. Kochan (1995, p. 386), a member of the
so-called Dunlop Commission on the Future of Worker Management
Relations. The most notable exception to this generalization is the
1988 Supreme Court decision in Harry E. Beck v. Communication Workers
of America, which found that union members are legally entitled to a
refund of the portion of their dues spent on activities other than
collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance

Read further - National Center for Policy Analysis

 Read more about the case here


For further descriptions of labor laws and labor disputes, see:

"United States federal labor legislation." Wikipedia

"Labor disputes in the United States."

"United States labor case law."

* Some excerpts that are not noted in the list compiled above:

1965  - Delano Grape Strike - "The strike began when the Agricultural
Workers Organizing Committee, mostly Filipino farm workers in Delano,
California, walked off the farms of area table grape growers demanding
wages on level with the federal minimum wage. One week after the
strike began, the predominantly Mexican-American National Farmworkers
Association led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta joined the strike,
and eventually the two groups merged, forming the United Farm Workers
of America."

1980 - "The 1980 New York City transit strike in New York City (often
referred to as the Subway strike) was the first work stoppage at the
New York City Transit Authority (a subsidiary of the New York MTA)
since 1966. 34,000 members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 walked
off of their jobs on April 1, 1980, in a strike with the goal of
increasing the wage for contracted workers."

1982  - The Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 (Pub.L. 97-300, 29
U.S.C.  1501, et seq.) is a United States federal law passed October
13, 1982. The law was repealed by the Workforce Investment Act of

1982 - "The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 was a
comprehensive transportation funding and policy act. 87 Stat. 2136.
Effective in 1983, Section 405 (49 U.S.C.  31105) was enacted to
encourage employee reporting of noncompliance with safety regulations
governing commercial motor vehicles."

1983 - "The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-3,
enacted February 5, 1993) is a United States labor law allowing an
employee to take unpaid leave due to illness or to care for a sick
family member. It was one of the first major bills signed by President
Bill Clinton in his first term, fulfilling a campaign promise."

1989  - "he Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN
Act), a law in the United States, protects workers, their families,
and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees
to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings
and mass layoffs."

1994 - "The 1994 baseball strike resulted in the cancellation of the
World Series for the first time in 90 years. It lasted 232 days
(August 12, 1994?April 2, 1995), led to the cancellation of 920 games
overall, and dragged into the next spring. Baseball became the first
sport in history to lose its postseason to a labor dispute."

1994-95 - "The 1994-95 NHL lockout came after a year of NHL hockey
that was played without a collective bargaining agreement. This 104
day lockout stretched from October 1, 1994 to January 11, 1995. A
total of 468 games were lost due to the lockout, along with the
All-Star Game. Much like the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the big issue was
the implementation of a salary cap. The NHL owners were strongly in
favor of the cap while the players were opposed to it."

2004-2005 - NHL Lockout - "The 2004-05 NHL lockout resulted in the
cancellation of what would have been the 88th season of the National
Hockey League (NHL). It was the first time the Stanley Cup was not
awarded since 1919, and the first time a major professional sports
league in North America cancelled a complete season due to a labor
dispute. The lockout lasted 310 days starting September 16, 2004, the
day after the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NHL
and the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) that resolved the 1994-95
lockout expired. The negotiating teams reached an agreement on July
13, 2005, and the lockout officially ended nine days later on July 22,
after both the NHL owners and players ratified the CBA."

2005 - "The 2005 New York City transit strike was a strike in New York
City called by the Transport Workers Union Local 100 (TWU).
Negotiations for a new contract with the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority (MTA) broke down over retirement, pension, and wage
increases. The strike began at 3:00 a.m. EST on December 20, 2005.
Most New York City Transit Authority personnel observed the strike,
effectively halting all service on the subway and buses. Millions of
commuters were affected. The strike officially ended at 2:35 p.m. EST
on December 22, 2005. Service was restored overnight, with all
transportation systems fully operational by the morning commute of the

2006 - "The University of Miami 2006 custodial workers' strike was one
of several high-profile labor disputes to emerge in 2006. It featured
striking custodial workers at the University of Miami in Coral Gables,
Florida, in the United States. The strike began on February 28, 2006
and ended on May 1, 2006."


 I hope this answer provides you with the references you need on such short notice!



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U.S. labor relations
events affecting labor relations in the U.S.
historical events that have influenced labor relations in the United states 
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events and labor relations in the U.S.
talula987-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
uniat - excellent job!  Yes I needed it by the end of today. :)  I
appreciate your professional work, and citing.  I forgot to ask for
that, much appreciated.  Well worth the fee.  Thank you again ~ Talula

Subject: Re: Important political action that has influenced labor relations in the U.S.
From: umiat-ga on 09 Nov 2006 20:42 PST
I am so glad I could help! Thank you for your kind comments and very generous tip!

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