September 29
A report by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the average weekly take-home pay of a factory worker with three dependents is now $94.87 - 1962
 
September 302014.09.29history-mother.jones
A total of 29 strike leaders are charged with treason—plotting "to incite insurrection, rebellion & war against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"—for daring to strike the Carnegie Steel Co. in Homestead, Pa. Jurors refuse to convict them - 1892

Seventy-year-old Mother Jones organizes the wives of striking miners in Arnot, Pa., to descend on the mine with brooms, mops and clanging pots and pans.  They frighten away the mules and their scab drivers.  The miners eventually won their strike - 1899
(Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Her rallying cry was famous: "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."  A century ago, Mother Jones was a celebrated organizer and agitator, the very soul of the modern American labor movement.  At coal strikes, steel strikes, railroad, textile, and brewery strikes, Mother Jones was always there, stirring the workers to action and enraging the powerful.  In this first biography of "the most dangerous woman in America," Elliott J. Gorn proves why, in the words of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones "has won her way into the hearts of the nation's toilers, and... will be lovingly remembered by their children and their children's children forever.")
 
Railroad shopmen in 28 cities strike the Illinois Central Railroad and the Harriman lines for an 8-hour day, improved conditions and union recognition, but railroad officials obtain sweeping injunctions against them and rely on police and armed guards to protect strikebreakers - 1915
 
Black farmers meet in Elaine, Ark., to establish the Progressive Farmers and Householders Union to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices.  They are shot at by a group of whites, and return the fire.  News of the confrontation spread and a riot ensued, leaving at least 100, perhaps several hundred, blacks dead and 67 indicted for inciting violence - 1919

Cesar Chavez, with Delores Huerta, co-founds the National Farm Workers Association, which later was to become the United Farm Workers of America - 1962

2014.09.29history-l.a.times.bldgOctober 01
An ink storage room in the L.A. Times building is dynamited during a citywide fight over labor rights and organizing.  The explosion was relatively minor, but it set off a fire in the unsafe, difficult-to-evacuate building, ultimately killing 21.  A union member eventually confessed to the bombing, which he said was supposed to have occurred early in the morning when the building would have been largely unoccupied – 1910

The George Washington Bridge officially opens, spanning the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. Thirteen workers died during the four-year construction project for what at the time was the longest main span in the world - 1931

Thousands of dairy farmers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa strike in demand of higher prices for their milk - 1935

The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened as the first toll superhighway in the United States.  It was built in most part by workers hired through the state’s Re-Employment offices - 1940
 
United Transport Service Employees of America merges with Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees – 1972

Some 200 Pressmen begin what is to become a two-year strike at the Washington Post.  Nine of the paper’s ten other unions engaged in sympathy strikes for more than four months but ultimately returned to their jobs as the paper continued publishing.  The press operators picketed for 19 months but eventually decertified the union - 1975

Insurance Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union - 1983

Railroad Yardmasters of America merge with United Transportation Union - 1985

Pattern Makers League of North America merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers - 1991

The National Hockey League team owners began a lockout of the players that lasted 103 days - 19942014.09.29history-nhl-logo
 
Stove, Furnace & Allied Appliance Workers Int’l Union of North America merges with Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, & Helpers - 1994

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union merges with United Food and Commercial Workers Int’l Union - 1998

Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers merges with Communications Workers of America - 2000

October 02
American Federation of Labor officially endorses campaign for a 6-hour day, 5-day workweek - 1934
 
Joining with 400,000 coal miners already on strike, 500,000 CIO steel workers close down the nation’s foundries, steel and iron mills, demanding pensions and better wages and working conditions - 1949

2014.09.29history-starbucks.workers.unionStarbucks Workers Union baristas at an outlet in East Grand Rapids, Mich., organized by the Wobblies, win their grievances after the National Labor Relations Board cites the company for labor law violations, including threats against union activists - 2007

Union members, progressives and others rally in Washington D.C., under the Banner of One Nation Working Together, demand “good jobs, equal justice, and quality education for all.” Crowd estimates range from tens of thousands to 200,000 - 2010

October 03
The state militia is called in after 164 high school students in Kincaid, Ill., go on strike when the school board buys coal from the scab Peabody Coal Co. - 1932

The Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America is founded in Camden, N.J. It eventually merged with the Int’l Association of Machinists, in 1988 - 1933

Pacific Greyhound Lines bus drivers in seven western states begin what is to become a 3-week strike, eventually settling for a 10.5-percent raise - 1945

The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) is formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO's Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which in turn merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979, forming the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) - 1943

The United Auto Workers calls for a company-wide strike against Ford Motor Co., the first since Ford’s initial contract with the union 20 years earlier - 19612014.09.29history-guthrie

Folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie ("This Land is Your Land", "Union Maid" and hundreds of others) dies of Huntington's disease in New York at the age of 55 - 1967
(The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon: Before there was Woody Guthrie, there was Joe Hill, legendary American songwriter and labor hero. This definitive, well-illustrated biography of Joe Hill includes explosive new evidence pointing to his innocence of the crime for which he was executed nearly a century ago.)

Baseball umpires strike for recognition of their newly-formed Major League Umpires Association, win after one day - 1970

October 04
Work begins on the carving of Mt. Rushmore, a task 400 craftsmen would eventually complete in 1941.  Despite the dangerous nature of the project, not one worker died - 1927

President Truman orders the U.S. Navy to seize oil refineries, breaking a 20-state post-war strike - 1945

The United Mine Workers of America votes to re-affiliate with the AFL-CIO after years of on-and-off conflict with the federation. In 2009 the union’s leader, Richard Trumka, becomes AFL-CIO President - 1961

Distillery, Wine & Allied Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union - 1995

2014.09.29history-black.fridayOctober 05
A strike by set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Calif., when scabs try to cross the picket line. The incident is still identified as "Hollywood Black Friday" and "The Battle of Burbank" - 1945

The UAW ends a 3-week strike against Ford Motor Co. when the company agrees to a contract that includes more vacation days and better retirement and unemployment benefits - 1976

Polish Solidarity union founder Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize - 1983

Some 2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, win a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years - 2004
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the 2014.09.29history-mobilizing.bookcoverCrisis of Capitalism: Are immigrant workers themselves responsible for low wages and shoddy working conditions?  Should unions expend valuable time and energy organizing undocumented workers?  Unions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken various approaches to confront the challenges of this significant segment of the workforce.  As U.S. immigration policy is debated, readers will gain insight into how all workers benefit when wages and working conditions for immigrant workers are improved.)