Dedication for over 110 years

Union History

1611 First indentured labor brought to America.

1792 Philadelphia cordwainers form first "permanent" local.

1806 Organization of labor declared illegal.

1809 Only "oppressive" activities of labor declared illegal.

1825 First use of the word "union".

1837 Panic and depression destroy the labor union structure.

1842 Commonwealth vs. Hunt declared labor organizations legal.

1844 First paid organizer by unions.

1845 "Sick benefits" and "pensions" are established in unions.

1878 Organization of Noble Order of Knights established. (Sought to organize all labor, skilled and unskilled) 

1881 Formation of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions.

1884 Salamander's Association of Pipe & Boiler Coverers organized.

1886 Formation of the American Federation of Labor - AFL Samuel Gomphers elected the first President 25 unions - 300,000 members. 

1886 Eight-hour work day strike.

1903 First convention for Salamanders - Changed name to: National Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers.

1907 Asbestos Workers join AFL and change name to: International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers; Local #24 given a charter on August 24, 1907.

1912 Joseph Mullaney elected President of Asbestos Workers International.

1924 Samuel Gomphers dies - William Green becomes President of AFL.

1931 Congress enacts the Davis-Bacon Act, provides prevailing wage rates.

1935 Wagner Act enacted by Congress, provides protection of labor to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.  Established the National Labor Relations Board.

1935 Committee of Industrial Organizations established - CIO John L. Lewis elected first President.

1938 CIO reorganized as the Congress of Industrial Organizations to Work.

1952 George Meany named President of AFL.  Walter Ruether named President of CIO. 

1953 AFL & CIO merge into the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.  George Meany named President.  16 million trade unionists. 

1957 AFL-CIO expelled Teamsters, Bakery Workers and Laundry Workers for corruption.

1959 Landrum Griffen Act, enactment of Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, provided regulation of internal union affairs.

1963 Davis-Bacon Act amended to include fringe benefits.

1969 George Meany Center for Labor Studies established.

1979 George Meany retires.  Lane Kirkland elected President of AFL-CIO.