Timeline of the Labor Movement


1648 - Boston shoemakers and coopers form guilds.

1770 - Boston Massacre set off by a conflict between rope workers and British soldiers.

1776 - Declaration of Independence signed in Carpenter's Hall.

1790 - First textile mill, built in Pawtucket, RI, is staffed entirely by children under the age of 12.

1814 - The invention of the power loom makes weaving a factory occupation.

1827 - The first citywide labor council forms in Philadelphia.

1837 - Andrew Jackson declares a 10-hour workday in Philadelphia Navy Yard.

1868 - The first federal 8-hour day takes effect. It is very limited, though.

1874 - The union label is used for the first time by the Cigar Makers International Union.

1876 - Molly Maguires convicted for coal-field murders in Pennsylvania. 10 are hanged.

1882 - First Labor Day Celebration takes place in New York City.

1885 - The Foran Act bans immigration of laborers brought in under contract to break strikes.

1886 - The American Federation of Labor forms with Samuel Gompers as its first president.

1886 - The Haymarket Riot takes place in Chacago. Four are hanged.

1892 - The Homestead Strike in Pennsylvania ends in a Union loss.

1906 - The International Typographical Union successfully strikes for an 8-hour day.

1919 - A strike by Boston police is the first ever by public safety workers.

1935 - The Social Security act is approved.

1936 - The Walsh-Healey Act sets safety standards, minimum wage, overtime pay and child labor provisions on all federal contracts.

1938 - A federal minimum wage law takes effect.

1947 - The Taft-Hartley Act restricts union activities and lets states pass "right-to-work" laws.

1955 - The AFL and CIO reunite.

1964 - The Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination.

1981 - Ronald Reagan fires most of the nation's air traffic controllers for refusing to end strike.

1993 - The Family and Medical leave Act is passed.

1997 - UPS workers strike over control of retirement benefits.
These materials were prepared as part of a class assignment for The Seminar in Famous Trials course at the University of Missouri-K.C. School of Law. The use of any sound or images in the trials sites is in furtherance of the educational mission of the Seminar.