March 20
Michigan authorizes formation of workers’ cooperatives. Thirteen are formed in the state over a 25-year period. Labor reform organizations were advocating "cooperation" over "competitive" capitalism following the Civil War and several thousand cooperatives opened for business across the country during this era. Participants envisioned a world free from conflict where workers would receive the full value of their labor and freely exercise democratic citizenship in the political and economic realms – 1865

Fifty-eight workers are killed, 150 injured when a boiler explosion levels the R.B. Grover  shoe factory in Brockton, Mass. The four-story wooden building collapsed and the ruins burst into flames, incinerating workers trapped in the wreckage - 1905
 
The American Federation of Labor issues a charter to a new Building Trades Department. Trades unions had formed a Structural Building Trades Alliance several years earlier to work out jurisdictional conflicts, but lacked the power to enforce Alliance rulings - 1908
 
Members of the Int’l Union of Electrical Workers reach agreement with Westinghouse Electric Corp., end a 156-day strike - 1956
 
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that employers could not exclude women from (the often highest paying) jobs where exposure to toxic chemicals could potentially damage a fetus - 1991
 
Three hundred family farmers at a National Pork Producers Council meeting in Iowa protest factory-style hog farms - 1997

March 21
American Labor Union founded - 1853
 
March 22
Mark Twain, a lifelong member of the Int’l Typographical Union (now part of CWA), speaks in Hartford, Conn., extolling the Knights of Labor’s commitment to fair treatment of all workers, regardless of race or gender - 1886
 
The Grand Coulee Dam on Washington state’s Columbia River begins operation after a decade of construction.  Eight thousand workers labored on the project; 77 died - 1941
 
Eight hundred striking workers at Brown & Sharpe in Kingstown, R.I. are tear-gassed by state and local police in what was to become a losing 17-year-long fight by the Machinists union - 1982
 
A 32-day lockout of major league baseball players ends with an agreement to raise the minimum league salary from $68,000 to $100,000 and to study revenue-sharing between owners and players - 1990
 
A bitter six-and-a-half-year UAW strike at Caterpillar Inc. ends. The strike and settlement, which included a two-tier wage system and other concessions, deeply divided the union - 1998
 
March 23
Trial of 101 Wobblies, charged with opposing the draft and hindering the war effort, begins in Chicago - 1918

Norris-La Guardia Act restricts injunctions against unions and bans yellow dog contracts, which require newly-hired workers to declare they are not union members and will not join one - 1932
 
Five days into the Post Office’s first mass work stoppage in 195 years, President Nixon declares a national emergency and orders 30,000 troops to New York City to break the strike. The troops didn’t have a clue how to sort and deliver mail: a settlement came a few days later - 1970
 
Coalition of Labor Union Women founded in Chicago by some 3,000 delegates from 58 unions and other organizations - 1974
 
Fifteen workers die, another 170 are injured when a series of explosions rip through BP’s Texas City refinery. Investigators blamed a poor safety culture at the plant and found BP management gave priority to cost savings over worker safety - 2005
 
March 24
Groundbreaking on the first section of the New York City subway system, from City Hall to the Bronx. According to the New York Times, this was a worker’s review of the digging style of the well-dressed Subway Commissioners: "I wouldn't give th' Commish'ners foive cents a day fer a digging job. They're too shtiff" - 1900
 
March 25
Toronto printers strike for the 9-hour day in what is believed to be Canada’s first major strike - 1872
 
First “Poor People’s March” on Washington, in which jobless workers demanded creation of a public works program.  Led by populist Jacob Coxey, the 500 to 1,000 unemployed protesters became known as “Coxey’s Army” - 1894
 
A total of 146 workers are killed in a fire at New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, a disaster that would launch a national movement for safer working conditions - 1911
 
An explosion at a coal mine in Centralia, Ill., kills 111 miners. Mineworkers President John L. Lewis calls a 6-day work stoppage by the nation’s 400,000 soft coal miners to demand safer working conditions - 1947
 
March 26
San Francisco brewery workers begin a 9-month strike as local employers follow the union-busting lead of the National Brewer’s Association. and fire their unionized workers, replacing them with scabs. Two unionized brewers refused to go along, kept producing beer, prospered wildly and induced the Association to capitulate. A contract benefit since having unionized two years earlier, certainly worth defending: free beer - 1868

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten