1892  Congress establishes the 8-hour day for laborers and craftsmen working engaged in public works.

1892  Homestead Steel Strike.  Steelworkers at Carnegie Steel locked out by Henry Clay Frick.  Frick brings in armed Pinkerton guards to break the strike.  Seven workers die.http://home.earthlink.net/~homestead1892/BoH/1892history.htmlhttp://home.earthlink.net/~homestead1892/BoH/1892history.htmlhttp://home.earthlink.net/~homestead1892/BoH/1892history.htmlhttp://home.earthlink.net/~homestead1892/BoH/1892history.htmlhttp://www.chicagohistory.org/dramas/shapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3
1886    American Federation of Labor founded.  Samuel Gompers is first president.http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/gompers.cfmhttp://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/gompers.cfmhttp://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/gompers.cfmhttp://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/gompers.cfmhttp://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/gompers.cfmhttp://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/gompers.cfmhttp://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/gompers.cfmshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2shapeimage_3_link_3shapeimage_3_link_4shapeimage_3_link_5

May 4, 1886  Eight-hour movement leads to Haymarket riots.  The trial and the nation’s first Red Scare ultimately leads to four controversial executions.

1884  The Rhode Island Central Labor Union is formed.

1882  1000 Rhode Island workers - including the Knights of Labor - celebrate with Rhode Island’s first Labor Day Parade.  Eleven years later, Governor Russell Brown declares Labor day a state holiday.http://www.knightsoflabor.org/http://www.knightsoflabor.org/http://www.knightsoflabor.org/http://rhodeisland.cox.net/cci/homeshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2
Click on image to read a short article on worker efforts published in the New York Times on June 17, 1886.Return_to_10_Hours_NYT_6_17_1886.html

Click on image to read a short article published in the New York Times on November 29, 1887, on employer violations of the 10-hour day.  The article also touches on inter-union tensions and the Red Scare.

Click on image to see the Mayor’s Order closing the streets of Chicago.

May 3, 1886  August Spies, editor of Arbeiter-Zeitung (Workers Newspaper) speaks to a rally of 6,000 workers and leads them to the McCormick plant (Chicago) to protest scab workers.  Police open fire killing four and wounding many.

Homestead Pennsylvania

1886  Albert Parsons, head of the Chicago Knights of Labor, and his wife, Lucy Parsons, lead 80,000 people in march in what is regarded as the first May Day parade in support of the 8-hour day.

Click on image at LEFT to read Samuel Gompers statement on the Homestead Strike printed in the New York Times, August 14, 1892

June 26, 1893  Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld frees the remaining Haymarket defendants and grants a full pardon to all convicted claiming “a packed jury had been selected to convict” and “much of the evidence given at the trial was pure fabrication.”  Altgeld continued, the “trial judge was  either so prejudiced against the defendants or else so determined to win the applause of a certain class in the community, that he could not and did not grant a fair trial.”

Events In Labor History

1881 to 1899

The Economics

In 1895...

  1. A pound of bacon cost 13 cents                                                     

  2. A half-gallon of milk cost (delivered) cost just under 14 cents                                                                  

  3. Six pounds of flour cost 12 cents

  4. 5 pounds of sugar was just over 26 cents

  5. A dozen eggs cost 20 cents

The average hourly wage for production workers was 13 cents.

$3.49 in 1895 dollars had the same purchasing power of $100 in 2013


1895  A number of independent locals come together to form the Boot and Shoe Workers Union.  The union affiliates with the AFL the same year.

1888  The average retail clerk earns $10 per week for 86 hours of work while receiving no holidays, no sick pay, no pensions, and no insurance.

1890  Retail Clerks National Protective Union (one of the ancestor unions of what would become the UFCW) is chartered by A.F. of L.

1897  Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workment of North America (another ancestor union of what would eventually become the UFCW) is chartered by the A.F. of L.

1893  Labor Day holiday established by Rhode Island workers.

The 1887 Women’s Suffrage Amendment was submitted to male voters of Rhode Island.

The Amendment was defeated.