March 02
Postal workers granted 8-hour day – 1913
2015.03.02history weekend(From the Folks Who Brought You The Weekend: This is a sweeping, highly readable history of U.S. labor that will be welcomed by anyone interested in learning more about the struggle of American working people to better their lives through collective action. This excellent narrative surveys the historic efforts and sacrifices that working people made to win the rights we take for granted today, from minimum wage and overtime protections to health and safety guarantees to even the weekend itself.)

More than 6,000 drivers strike Greyhound Lines, most lose jobs to strikebreakers after company declares “impasse” in negotiations – 1990

March 03
Birth date in Coshocton, Ohio, of William Green, a coal miner who was to succeed Samuel Gompers as president of the American Federation of Labor, serving in the role from 1924 to 1952. He held the post until his death, to be succeeded by George Meany - 18732015.03.02history labor.hospital

The local lumber workers' union in Humboldt County, Calif., founded the Union Labor Hospital Association to establish a hospital for union workers in the county. The hospital became an important community facility that was financed and run by the local labor movement – 1906

Congress approves the Seamen’s Act, providing the merchant marine with rights similar to those gained by factory workers. Action on the law was prompted by the sinking of the Titanic three years earlier. Among other gains: working hours were limited to 56 per week; guaranteed minimum standards of cleanliness and safety were put in place - 1915

The Davis-Bacon Act took effect today. It orders contractors on federally financed or assisted construction projects to pay wage rates equal to those prevailing in local construction trades - 1931

2015.03.02history frances.perkinsMarch 04
In his inaugural address, President Thomas Jefferson declares: “Take not from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” - 1801

President William Howard Taft signs legislation creating the Department of Labor. Former United Mine Workers Secretary Treasurer William B. Wilson is named to lead the new department - 1913

President Franklin D. Roosevelt names a woman, Frances Perkins, to be secretary of labor. Perkins became the first female cabinet member in U.S. history - 1933

Machinists strike Eastern Airlines, are soon joined by flight attendants and pilots in the nationwide walkout. Owner Frank Lorenzo refuses to consider the unions’ demands; Eastern ultimately went out of business - 1989

March 052015.03.02history attucks
British soldiers, quartered in the homes of colonists, took the jobs of working people when jobs were scarce. On this date, grievances of rope makers against the soldiers led to a fight. Soldiers shot down Crispus Attucks, a black colonist, then others, in what became known as the Boston Massacre. Attucks is considered the first casualty in the American Revolution - 1770

United Shoe Workers of America merge with Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union - 1979

March 06
The Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, a union of mariners, fishermen and boatmen working aboard U.S. flag vessels, is founded in San Francisco - 1885

The Knights of Labor picket to protest the practices of the Southwestern Railroad system, and the company's chief, high-flying Wall Street financier Jay Gould. Some 9,000 workers walked off the job, halting service on 5,000 miles of track. The workers held out for two months, many suffering from hunger, before they finally returned to work - 1886

2015.03.02history joe.hillJoe Hill’s song “There is Power in a Union” appears in Little Red Song Book, published by the Wobblies – 1913
(The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon: In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy. Many believed Hill was innocent, condemned for his association with the Industrial Workers of the World—the radical Wobblies. Following an intensive investigation, author William M. Adler gives us a full-scale biography of Joe Hill, and presents never before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating him.)

With the Great Depression underway, hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers demonstrated in some 30 cities and towns; close to 100,000 filled Union Square in New York City and were attacked by mounted police - 1930

Int’l Brotherhood of Paper Makers merges with United Paperworkers of America to become United Papermakers & Paperworkers - 1957

The federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act is enacted - 19702015.03.02history lordstown

Predominantly young workers at a Lordstown, Ohio, GM assembly plant stage a wildcat strike, largely in objection to the grueling work pace: at 101.6 cars per hour, their assembly line was believed to be the fastest in the world - 1972

President Jimmy Carter invoked the Taft-Hartley law to halt the 1977-78 national contract strike by the United Mine Workers of America. The order was ignored and Carter did little to enforce it. A settlement was reached in late March - 1978

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the nation’s unemployment rate soared to 8.1 percent in February, the highest since late 1983, as cost-cutting employers slashed 651,000 jobs amid a deepening recession - 2009

2015.03.02history ford.marchers.gassedMarch 07
Some 6,000 shoemakers, joined by about 20,000 other workers, strike in Lynn, Mass. They won raises, but not recognition of their union - 1860
Three thousand unemployed auto workers, led by the Communist Party of America, braved the cold in Dearborn, Mich., to demand jobs and relief from Henry Ford. The marchers got too close to the gate and were gassed. After re-grouping, they were sprayed with water and shot at. Four men died immediately; 60 were wounded - 1932

Steel Workers Organizing Committee—soon to become the United Steel Workers—signs its first-ever contract, with Carnegie-Illinois, for $5 a day in wages, benefits – 1937
(From First Contact to First Contract: A Union Organizer’s Handbook: This is a no-nonsense tool from veteran labor organizer and educator 2015.03.02history first.contactBill Barry. He looks to his own vast experience to document and help organizers through all the stages of a unionization campaign, from how to get it off the ground to how to bring it home with a signed contract and a strong bargaining unit.)

IWW founder and labor organizer Lucy Parsons dies - 1942

Hollywood writers represented by the Writers Guild of America strike against 200 television and movie studios over residuals payments and creative rights. The successful strike lasted 150 days, one of the longest in industry history - 1988

Musicians strike Broadway musicals and shows go dark when actors and stagehands honor picket lines. The strike was resolved after four days - 2003

2015.03.02history needle.trades.marchMarch 08
Thousands of New York needle trades workers demonstrate for higher wages, shorter workday, and end to child labor. The demonstration became the basis for International Women’s Day - 1908

Three explosions at a Utah Fuel Co. mine in Castle Gate, Utah, kill 171. Fifty of the fatalities were native-born Greeks, 25 were Italians, 32 English or Scots, 12 Welsh, four Japanese, and three Austrians (or South Slavs). The youngest victim was 15; the oldest, 73 - 1924

New York members of the Fur and Leather Workers Union, many of them women, strike for better pay and conditions. They persevere despite beatings by police, winning a 10-percent wage increase and five-day work week - 1926

The Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injunction Act took effect on this day. It limits the ability of federal judges to issue injunctions against workers and unions involved in labor disputes - 1932

César Chávez leads 5,000 striking farmworkers on a march through the streets of Salinas, Calif. - 1979