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Collection: Resources

View: CIO Unions History and Geography

The CIO transformed American labor and American politics. Defying the American Federation of Labor’s commitment to craft unionism, the Committee for Industrial Organization was established in 1935 by leaders of the United Mine Workers and other AFL unions who embraced industrial union organizing strategies.

View: Knights of Labor History and Geography 1869-1899

The Knights of Labor was the largest and most extensive association of workers in 19th century America. Organized in 1869, the movement grew slowly in the 1870s, then surged in the 1880s, reaching a peak membership approaching one million in 1886-1887 with Local Assemblies spread across the country in more than 5,600 cities and towns.

Frances Benjamin Johnston, photographer. Wooden Box Industry: women in work room of box factory. ca 1910. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.
View: Founding of the National Labor Union and the 1st National Call for a 8-Hour Work Day

The National Labor Union was founded on August 20, 1866, in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first attempt to create a national labor group in the United States and one of their first actions was the first national call for Congress to mandate an 8-hour work day.

View: LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History

LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History is the official journal for the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA), and is housed at the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University. A subscription to LABOR is available through membership in LAWCHA.

Sheldon Dick, photographer. Sitdown strikers in the Fisher body plant factory number three. Flint, Michigan. 1937. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
View: Dec. 30, 1936: First Sit-Down Strike Begins in Flint

The Flint sit-down strike, which started on Dec. 30, 1936, represented a shift in union organizing strategies from craft unionism (organizing white male skilled workers) to industrial unionism (organizing all the workers in an industry). The sit-down strike changed the balance of power between employers and workers.

View: The Flint, Michigan, Sit-Down Strike (1936-37)

Once called “the strike heard round the world,” the first major labor dispute in the U.S. auto industry ended after General Motors signed a contract with the United Auto Workers Union on February 11, 1937.

Surveillance photos taken from the Exchange Building show the National Guard gathered at the center of Concord Street at the height of the 1948 meatpackers strike.
View: 1948 Meatpackers Strike

Many were home from war and wanted more than ever to live a long full life. Others had worked long days and nights during the war to feed the troops overseas as well as Americans on the home front. Some had migrated to the cities from farms and small towns looking for work.

President Reagan with William French Smith making a statement to the press regarding the air traffic controllers strike (PATCO) from the Rose Garden on August 3, 1981.
View: PATCO: The Strike That Changed American Labor

The Takeaway traces it all back to August 1981, when nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers went on strike creating a standoff with Ronald Reagan that ended when he fired the majority of them and de-certified their union, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.

Air traffic controllers picket near a fence at DFW Airport's FAA tower during the PATCO strike. Aug. 5, 1981. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection)
View: The 1981 PATCO Strike

In August 1981, over 12,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) walked off the job after contract negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) broke down.