Union History: 1800-1900

1804 - First Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers strike in Philadelphia.

1835 - National Association of Journeymen Cordwainers (Shoemaker) formed.

1850 - Clothing Cutters’ and Trimmers’ Union established.

1867 - Knights of St. Crispin formed to regulate machinery.

1869 - Daughters of St. Crispin formed as female counterpart.

“Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and bruised itself. We have been enjoined by the courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, traduced by the press, frowned upon in public opinion, and deceived by politicians. But notwithstanding all this and all these, labor is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission is as certain of ultimate realization as is the setting of the sun.”
~ Eugene V. Debs

1870 - First craft unions formed.

1881 - First Knights of Labor assembly convenes in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

1886 - Journeymen Barbers Protective Union present at founding convention of American Federation of Labor (AFL), an amalgamation of dozens of separate craft unions.

1887 - Journeymen Barbers International Union of America founded.

1888 - Clothing, Gents Furnishings and Shoe Store Workers receive AFL charter.

1888 - Mary Burke elected first female Vice President of the Retail Clerks National Protective Association.

1890 - Establishment of Clothing Cutters’ Progressive Union.

1890 - Retail Clerks National Protective Association gets AFL charter.

1891 - United Garment Workers of America chartered by AFL.

1895 - Boot and Shoe Workers Union (BSWU) receives AFL charter.

1897 - Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (AMCBW) receives AFL charter.

1899 - First Canadian local of Retail Clerks founded in Vancouver, British Columbia.