May 04 
Haymarket massacre. A bomb is thrown as Chicago police start to break up a rally for strikers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. A riot erupts, 11 police and strikers die, mostly from gunfire, and scores more are injured - 1886
2015.05.04 history ppls.history(A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present: If your last serious read of American history was in high school—or even in a standard college course—you’ll want to read this amazing account of America as seen through the eyes of its working people, women and minorities. Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a widely respected historian, author, playwright, and social activist. In A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present, he turns history on its head with his carefully researched and dramatic recounting of America and its people—not just its bankers, industrialists, generals and politicians.)

May 05 
National Typographical Union founded, Cincinnati, Ohio. It was renamed the Int’l Typographical Union in 1869, in acknowledgment of Canadian members. When the ITU merged into CWA in 1986 it was the oldest existing union in the U.S. - 1852

On Chicago’s West Side, police attack Jewish workers as they try to march into the Loop to protest slum conditions - 1886

Some 14,000 building trades workers and laborers, demanding an 8-hour work day, gather at the Milwaukee Iron Co. rolling mill in Bay View, Wisc. When they approach the mill they are fired on by 250 National Guardsmen under orders from the governor to shoot to kill. Seven die, including a 13-year-old boy - 1886

2015.05.04 history iam.logo

Nineteen machinists working for the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad gather in a locomotive pit to decide what to do about a wage cut. They vote to form a union, which later became the Int’l Association of Machinists - 1888

Italian-American anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are arrested in Boston for murder and payroll robbery. Eventually they are executed for a crime most believe they did not commit - 1920

2015.05.04 history harlan.countyHeavily armed deputies and other mine owner hirelings attack striking miners in Harlan County, Ky., starting the Battle of Harlan County - 1931

John J. Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Int’l Union from 1980 to 1995, then president of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009, born in the Bronx, N.Y. - 1934

Lumber strike begins in Pacific Northwest, will involve 40,000 workers by the time victory is achieved after 13 weeks: union recognition, a 50¢-per-hour minimum wage and an 8-hour day - 1937

The U.S. unemployment rate drops to a 30-year low of 3.9 percent; the rate for blacks and Hispanics is the lowest ever since the government started tracking such data - 2000

May 06 
Works Progress Administration (WPA) established at a cost of $4.8 billion—more than $80 billion in 2015 dollars—to provide work opportunities for millions during the Great Depression - 1935

2015.05.04 history tobacco.stemmers

May 07 
Four hundred black women working as tobacco stemmers walk off the job in a spontaneous revolt against poor working 
conditions and a $3 weekly wage at the Vaughan Co. in Richmond, Va. - 1937

The Knights of St. Crispin union is formed at a secret meeting in Milwaukee. It grew to 50,000 members before being crushed by employers later that year - 1867

Two die, 20 are injured in “Bloody Tuesday” as strikebreakers attempt to run San Francisco streetcars during a strike by operators. The strike was declared lost in 1908 after many more deaths, including several in scab-operated streetcar accidents - 1907
2015.05.04 history blackjacks(From Blackjacks to Briefcases: This is the first book to document the systematic and extensive use by American corporations of professional unionbusters, an ugly profession that surfaced after the Civil War and has grown bolder and more sophisticated with the passage of time. Since the 1980s, hundreds of firms have paid out millions of dollars to hired thugs. Some have been in uniforms and carried nightsticks and guns, others have worn three-piece suits and carried attaché cases, but all had one simple mission: to break the backs of workers struggling for decency and fair treatment on the job.)

Philadelphia’s longest transit strike ends after 44 days. A key issue in the fight was the hiring and use of part-timers - 1977

May 08 
The constitution of the Brotherhood of the Footboard was ratified by engineers in Detroit, Mich. Later became the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers - 1863

Jerry Wurf, who was to serve as president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) from 1964 to his death in 1981, born in New York City. The union grew from about 220,000 members to more than 1 million during his presidency - 19192015.05.04 history construction.attack

About 200 construction workers in New York City attack a crowd of Vietnam war protesters four days after the Kent State killings. More than 70 people were injured, including four police officers. Peter Brennan, head of the New York building trades, was honored at the Nixon White House two weeks later, eventually named Secretary of Labor - 1970

Some 12,000 Steelworker-represented workers at Goodyear Tire & Rubber win an 18-day strike for improved wages and job security - 1997

May 09 
Japanese workers strike at Oahu, Hawaii’s Aiea Plantation, demanding the same pay as Portuguese and Puerto Rican workers. Ultimately 7,000 workers and their families remained out until August, when the strike was broken - 1909

2015.05.04 history haywoodLegendary Western Federation of Miners leader William “Big Bill” Haywood goes on trial for murder in the bombing death of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg, who had brutally suppressed the state’s miners. Haywood ultimately was declared innocent - 1907

Longshoremen’s strike to gain control of hiring leads to general work stoppage, San Francisco Bay area - 1934

Hollywood studio mogul Louis B. Mayer recognizes the Screen Actors Guild. SAG leaders reportedly were bluffing when they told Mayer that 99 percent of all actors would walk out the next morning unless he dealt with the union. Some 5,000 actors attended a victory gathering the following day at Hollywood Legion Stadium; a day later, SAG membership increased 400 percent - 19372015.05.04 history wrking.stiffs
(Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films About Labor: This wonderful book is an encyclopedic guide to 350 labor films from around the world, ranging from those you’ve heard of -- Salt of the Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, Roger & Me -- to those you’ve never heard of but will fall in love with once you see them. Zaniello describes all the films in detail, tells you whether they’re available for rental or purchase, and, if so, where. Fiction and nonfiction, the films are about unions, labor history, working-class life, political movements, and the struggle between labor and capital. Each entry includes critical commentary, production data, cast list, suggested related films, and annotated references to books and Web sites for further reading.)

United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther and his wife May die in a plane crash as they travel to oversee construction of the union’s education and training facility at Black Lake, Mich. - 1971

Four thousand garment workers, mostly Hispanic, strike for union recognition at the Farah Manufacturing Co. in El Paso, Texas - 1972

2015.05.04 history railroad joining2May 10 
Thanks to an army of thousands of Chinese and Irish immigrants, who laid 2,000 miles of track, the nation’s first transcontinental railway line was finished by the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines at Promontory Point, Utah - 1869

U.S. & Canadian workers form Western Labor Union. It favors industrial organization and independent labor party politics - 1898

A federal bankruptcy judge permits United Airlines to legally abandon responsibility for pensions covering 120,000 employees - 2005