Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Strike and Fire (1909-1911) – The Triangle Shirtwaist Strike brought twenty thousand women into the streets to protest for shorter hours, better pay, and safer working conditions. When public opinion turned against the garment manufacturers the companies agreed to negotiate with the unions. A year later a fire in one of the company's buildings led to the death of one hundred and twenty-nine women who were working in the building. Among the politicians who investigated the tragedy was Robert F. Wagner, who would later help pass The Wagner Act.
The Ludlow Massacre (1914) – The Ludlow Massacre is recognized as one of the deadliest strikes in American History. Mine workers in Ludlow, Colorado struck against the John D. Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. Workers were moved from company owned housing into a tent community. During battles between the striking workers and state militia loyal to the mine owners, the tent community was attacked and burned. Two women and eleven children hidden in the tents were killed, leading to further attacks on the mine operators.
WWI (1917) – World War One created more opportunities women and African-Americans into the labor force. The need for industrial labor also brought a wave of African-Americans migration to northern cities.
Battle of Blair Mountain (1921) – For five days thousands of armed coal miners confronted lawmen and militia in the largest armed rebellion since the Civil War. The battle was triggered by a confrontation in the town of Matawan, WV, between agents hired by the mine owners and the town's sheriff who was protecting the miners and their families. Following the battle, 985 miners were indicted for murder, treason, and conspiracy. The failure of the strike was a major setback for the United Mine Workers (UMW) union.
The Secretary (1921) – The rise of business created new opportunities for working women in office jobs, and new questions about the social acceptability of women in the workplace.
The Great Depression/A New Era for Labor(1929-1939) - The roaring 20s brought a massive growth in capitalism, and decline for the labor movement. After the economic crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed, American workers reacted with a new wave of labor organizing. This chapter will look at the factors that led to this turning point in labor history, among them; Industrial unionism, multiracial unity, and support from the Roosevelt administration.
The Wagner Act (1935) – The National Labor Relations Act was the most important piece of legislation effecting labor relations in the United States. The act legitimized labor unions and defined rights and protections for collective bargaining.
The Auto Worker Sit-Ins (1936-1937) – The successful sit down strikes in Flint, Michigan led to the unionization of the American auto industry and the transformation of the United Auto Workers (UAW) into a major labor union.