Labor Victory Page


Los Angeles Public Schools
L.A. Teachers Win Big and Beat Back Privatizers
In a joyful, rain-drenched strike, 34,000 Los Angeles teachers won things no union has ever won.

Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Strike Wave Wins Raises for Mexican Factory Workers
Mexican maquiladora workers in 70 factories have won big wage increases and bonuses in a strike wave that began in January.

Tufts University
Dining Hall workers

Fidelity House
SEIU 509 Members and Fidelity House Management Reach Settlement to Raise Wages, End Open-ended Strike

1152 B.C.

History’s first recorded (on papyrus) strike, by Egyptians working on public works projects for King Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings. They were protesting having gone 20 days without pay—portions of grain—and put down their tools. Exact date estimated, described as within “the sixth month of the 29th year” of Ramses’ reign—1170BC—in The Spirit of Ancient Egypt, by Ana Ruiz. Scholar John Romer adds in Ancient Lives: The Story of the Pharaoh’s Tombmakers that the strike so terrified the authorities they gave in and raised wages.


Engineers start successful 5-month strike for 8-hour day, Newcastle-upon-Tyne


In the nation’s first general strike for a 10-hour day, 300 armed Irish longshoremen marched through the streets of Philadelphia calling on other workers to join them. Some 20,000 did, from clerks to bricklayers to city employees and other occupations. The city announced a 10-hour workday within the week; private employers followed suit three weeks later


British 10 Hours Act for women, children


Textile strikers win 10-hour day, Fall River, Massachusetts


The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes an ordinance setting an 8-hour workday for all city employees


London tailors win shorter hours


The leadership of the American Federation of Labor selects the Carpenters union to lead the 8-hour movement. Carpenters throughout the country strike in April; by May 1, some 46,000 carpenters in 137 cities and towns have achieved shorter hours


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


President Theodore Roosevelt establishes a fact-finding commission that suspends a nine-months-long strike by Western Pennsylvania coal miners fighting for better pay, shorter workdays and union recognition. The strikers ended up winning more pay for fewer hours, but failed to get union recognition. It was the first time that the federal government had intervened as a neutral arbitrator in a labor dispute


First soviet, St. Petersburg


ILGWU Strike
The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) calls a strike in New York, demanding a 20% pay raise and a 52-hour workweek. Within two days, more than 20,000 workers from 500 factories walk off the job. This largely successful “Uprising of 20,000” is the largest labor action by women in the nation’s history.


Employers give in to the demands of thousands of Wobblies-led striking railroad car production workers in McKees Rocks, Pa., agree to improved working conditions, 15-percent hike in wages and elimination of a “pool system” that gave foremen control over each worker’s pay

“The Uprising of the 20,000.” Some 20,000 female garment workers are on strike in New York; Judge tells arrested pickets: “You are on strike against God.” The walkout, believed to be the first major successful strike by female workers in American history, ended the following February with union contracts bringing better pay and working conditions


IWW wins Spokane free speech fight


IWW wins Fresno CA free-speech fight

Trolleymen return to work after 10-day strike defending fired union activists. Citywide general strike wins all demands on May 25, Montevideo, Uruguay


IWW wins Lawrence strike

The Lawrence, Mass., “Bread and Roses” textile strike ends when the American Woolen Co. agrees to most of the strikers’ demands; other textile companies quickly followed suit


AFL convention passes a 1¢ per capita assessment to aid the organization of women workers


President Woodrow Wilson signs the Clayton Antitrust Act—often referred to as “Labor’s Magna Carta”—establishing that unions are not “conspiracies” under the law. It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law


Operating railway employees win 8-hour day


Chicago stockyard workers win 8-hour day


Miners win battle of Matewan (West Virginia) over Baldwin-Felts gun thugs


El Salvadoran shoemakers win strike for higher wages, prompts government crackdown


Six miners striking for better working conditions under the IWW banner are killed and many wounded in the Columbine Massacre at Lafayette, Colo. Out of this struggle Colorado coal miners gained lasting union contracts


British coal miners win 7 1/2 hour work day


Norris-La Guardia Act restricts injunctions against unions, bans yellow dog contracts


IWW hop pickets win 50% pay hike, Yakima, Wash.

Cotton fields struck by 18,000 workers in Pixley, California; 4 killed, pay hike won

Sit-down strike begins at Austin, Minn., Hormel plant with the help of a Wobbly organizer, leading to the creation of the Independent Union of All Workers. Labor historians believe this may have been the first sit-down strike of the 1930s. Workers held the plant for three days, demanding a wage increase. Some 400 men crashed through the plant entrance and chased out nonunion workers. One group rushed through the doors of a conference room where Jay Hormel and five company executives were meeting and declared: “We’re taking possession. So move out.” Within four days the company agreed to binding arbitration


US Minneapolis Teamsters Strike
Police attacked and fired upon striking Teamster truck drivers in Minneapolis who were demanding recognition of their union, wage increases, and shorter working hours. As violence escalated, Governor Olson went so far as to declare martial law in Minneapolis, deploying 4,000 National Guardsmen. The strike ended on 21 August when company owners finally accepted union demands.


Sit-down strike helps establish United Rubber Workers as national union, Akron Ohio

Some 1,200 workers sit down at Midland Steel, forcing recognition of the United Auto Workers, Detroit


US Steel (now USX) begins to bargain with CIO

UAW sitdown victory in Flint, Michigan

50 workers at Connecticut Automotive Specialty Company (Casco) in Bridgeport, CT, conduct a sit-down strike to win recognition of the UE as their bargaining agent while other workers and allies picket outside the plant. Within 24 hours they won a wage increase and union recognition


The 40-hour work week goes into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by President Roosevelt two years earlier


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


Teachers strike in St. Paul, Minn., the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers—and principals—led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated

In Hawaii, some 26,000 sugar workers represented by the Longshoremen’s union begin what is to become a successful 79-day strike that shuts down 33 of the 34 sugar plantations on the islands. The strike brought an end to Hawaii’s paternalistic labor relations and impacted political and social institutions throughout the then-territory.

Some 174,000 members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers union (UE) struck General Electric and Westinghouse after the power companies, with record-setting profits, offered just a half-cent per hour increase. After nine weeks, the strike was settled with an 18.5 cents hourly wage improvement


Nearly 1,550 typesetters begin what is to become a victorious 22-month strike against Chicago newspapers

Some 300,000 members of the National Federation of Telephone Workers, soon to become CWA, strike AT&T and the Bell System. Within five weeks all but two of the 39 federation unions had won new contracts


In what becomes known as the Great Hawaiian Dock Strike, a 6-month struggle to win wage parity with mainland dock workers, ends in victory


General Motors
United Auto Workers and GM reached agreement on a contract that provided pensions and wage increases over the duration of the signed contract.

Master Freight Agreement – Teamsters
400,000 workers covered – by 2000 would be less than 200,000.

Transport Workers Union members at American Airlines win 11-day national strike, gaining what the union says was the first severance pay clause in industry


The U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act becomes law. It bars employment discrimination against anyone aged 40 or older


California Grape Growers
United Farm Workers forced growers to sign an agreement after a five-year strike.

US Post Office
More than 200,000 Post Office workers walk off the job in the first national strike of public employees. Though the action is illegal and President Nixon calls on the army and National Guard to keep the mail moving, the two-week strike proves largely successful and ultimately leads to a modernization of the postal service.

After years of intensive lobbying by the labor movement, a comprehensive national safety law is enacted as President Nixon signs the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970, creating the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

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


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


Jimmy Carter-era OSHA publishes standard reducing permissible exposure of lead, protecting 835,000 workers from damage to nervous, urinary and reproductive systems


The UAW begins what was to become a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester. The union turned back company demands for weakened work rules, mandatory overtime


The J.P. Stevens textile company is forced to sign its first union contract after a 17-year struggle in North Carolina and other southern states


More than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases


Bulgarian workers topple government in general strike


Members of five unions at the Frontier Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas begin what was to become the longest successful hotel strike in U.S. history. All 550 workers honored the picket line for the entirety of the 6-year, 4-month, 10-day fight against management’s insistence on cutting wages and eliminating pensions


Bolivian Workers Congress reaches agreement to end 23-day general strike


Some 33,000 striking members of the Machinists end a 69-day walkout at Boeing after winning pay and benefit increases and protections against subcontracting some of their work overseas


After a struggle lasting more than two years, 6,000 Steelworkers members at Bridgestone/Firestone win(?) a settlement in which strikers displaced by scabs got their original jobs back. The fight started when management demanded that the workers accept 12-hour shifts

Dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club vote 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790. Their first union contract, ratified eight months later, guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and termination, automatic hourly wage increases, sick days, a grievance procedure, and removal of one-way mirrors from peep show booths.


After a 16-day walkout, United Parcel Service agrees to a contract with the Teamsters, marking labor’s first successful nationwide strike in two decades. One of the main issues leading to the strike is the company’s practice of using part-time workers to avoid paying benefits.

Nike shoe workers protest wins wage hikes, Indonesia

Some 2,600 Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers begin what is to be a successful 6-day strike for higher pay and against a two-tier wage system


A 20-month illegal lockout of 2,900 Steelworkers members at Kaiser Aluminum plants in three states ends when an arbitrator orders a new contract. Kaiser was forced to fire scabs and fork over tens of millions of dollars in back pay to union members

Detroit teachers begin what is to become a 9-day strike, winning smaller class sizes and raises of up to 4 percent.


Hundreds of San Jose Mercury News newspaper carriers end 4-day walkout with victory


An estimated 3,300 sanitation workers working for private haulers in Chicago win a 9-day strike featuring a 28-percent wage increase over five years


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

Steelworkers approve a settlement with Oregon Steel Mills, Inc. and its CF&I Steel subsidiary, ending the longest labor dispute in the USWA’s history and resulting in more than $100 million in back pay for workers


Starbucks 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


Walmart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest employer, with 1.4 million “associates,” agrees to settle 63 wage and hour suits across the U.S., for a grand total of between $352 million and $640 million. It was accused of failure to pay overtime, requiring off-the-clock work, and failure to provide required meal and rest breaks


Court documents filed in Boston say Walmart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $40 million to 87,500 Massachusetts employees who claimed the retailer denied them rest and meal breaks, manipulated time cards and refused to pay overtime


After a two-year fight, workers at the Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, Calif., win a union contract calling for pay increases, better breaks and other gains. “They didn’t treat us like people,” nine-year employee Oliverio Gomez told the Los Angeles Times


1,000 workers from 16 unions wildcat Newfoundland mine construction job, winning on fifth day, 4 face contempt charges


Tufts University
Tufts adjuncts win first contract


Temple University
Adjunct Faculty at Temple Win First Contract

Air Transport International
ATI flight attendants first contract/CWA “Air Transport International (ATI) Flight Attendants, represented by AFA-CWA, reached a tentative agreement for a first contract.

US Steamship Authority
All unlicensed vessel employees, including pursers/AB, boatswains/AB, ablebodied seaman, ordinary s eaman, chief cooks, oilers and wipers overwhelmingly ratified their first contract with theTeamsters Union. There are approximately 185 employees and we welcome them to Teamsters Local 59.

First Contract Secured for IBEW Members at NAES

Horseshoe Casino
Baltimore Horeshoe Casino Workers Ratify First Union Contract

Electrolux – IBEW
Electrolux Workers in Memphis Notch Another Victory in Organizing the South

Baptist Health
SEIU 140 and Baptist Health reach historic agreement


Marriott Hotels
After two months of strikes, workers at the largest hotel company in the world have won their biggest demands and set a new pattern for the hospitality industry.

Acero Charter Schools
Chicago teachers are leading the way again. They have declared victory in the first charter school strike in U.S. history.

Mission Foods
Workers at Mission Foods in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania have voted to approve a 3-year collective bargaining agreement and officially join United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 1776 following union organizing efforts dating back to 2006.

JetBlue Pilots Approve Their First Union Contract
JetBlue, almost two decades old, has reached a formative stage in a young airline’s development. Labor is a formidable presence at most large airlines, and pilots often seek collective bargaining first, because they have some of the strongest unions. JetBlue’s flight attendants are up next.

Tufts Graduate Students
Tufts grad students reach labor deal
Graduate students at Tufts University say they have reached their first labor deal with the Medford school’s administration.

Shaw’s Maine drivers
Shaw’s Maine drivers win pay hike in first Teamsters-negotiated contract
After gaining union representation in January, truck drivers and mechanics at Shaw’s Supermarkets’ Wells distribution center have agreed to a contract that provides their first pay raise in four years.