Williams/Tobin Law Project


Labor Cases/Strikes

Anthracite Coal Strike


A strike by the United Mine Workers of America in the anthracite coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania, where workers were asking for higher pay, shorter work days, and the recognition of their union

Lochner v. New York

17 April 1905

Supreme Court ruled in favor of Lochner, saying that New York's maximum hours law was unconstitutional against the 14th Amendment

Muller v. Oregon


Supreme Court ruled that an Oregon law that limited the hours available to work for women was unconstitutional

Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills


Strikers demanded increased wages, a 54-hour work week, and a decrease in the use of child labor

Sit Down Strike

27 February 1939

The Supreme Court rules that sit-down strikes are illegal.

Steel strike of 1959

July 15, 1959 - January 20, 1960

management's demand that the union give up a contract clause which limited management's ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery which would result in reduced hours or numbers of employees, solved when a new 20-month contract was signed

1966 New York City transit strike

January 1, 1966 - January 12, 1966

after the expiration of their contract with the New York City Transit Authority

St. John's University strike of 1966–67

January 4, 1966 - June 1967

31 faculty members were dismissed in the fall of 1965 without due process, dismissals which some felt were a violation of the professors' academic freedom. The strike ended without any reinstatements

Florida statewide teachers' strike of 1968

February 1968 - March 1968

was a strike action in the state of Florida in February and March 1968 by teachers and other education workers belonging to the Florida Education Association (FEA). The cause of the strike was under-funding of the state's educational system at a time when attendance was rising sharply, and low pay and benefits for teachers. Resolved when better contracts were written or renewed

New York City teachers' strike of 1968

May 15, 1968 - November 17, 1968

when the board dismissed a set of teachers and administrators. ended when the dismissed teachers were reinstate

1980 New York City transit strike

April 1, 1980 - March 31, 1981

goal of increasing the wage for contracted workers. Solved when they received a 3% raise over the next year

1981 Major League Baseball strike

June 12, 1981 - July 31, 1981

over free agent compensation. In the settlement, teams that lost a "premium" free agent could be compensated by drawing from a pool of players left unprotected from all of the clubs rather than just the signing club

Yale Clerical Workers' Strike

September 26, 1984

over Yale's poor economic offers

1992 NHL strike

April 1, 1992 - April 10, 1992

The settlement saw the players earn a large increase in their playoff bonuses, increased control over the licensing of their likenesses and changes to the free agency system

1994–95 Major League Baseball strike

August 12, 1994 - April 2, 1995

owners decided to withhold $7.8 million that they were required to pay per previous agreement into the players' pension and benefit plans. ended when owners where declared wrong by U.S. courts

Boeing Machinists Strike of 2008

September 7, 2008 - October, 2008

over outsourcing, job security, pay, and benefits. ended when a new deal was approved

University of Puerto Rico strikes

May 2010 - February 2011

The 2010 strike began as a 48-hour walk-out on April 21, 2010 at the Rio Piedras Campus. By May 4, ten of the eleven campuses comprising the UPR system joined the strike. The strike kept the Río Piedras Campus shut down for 60 days

Labor Acts

Lloyd – La Follette Act

August 24, 1912

began the process of protecting civil servants in the United States from unwarranted or abusive removal by codifying "just cause" standards previously embodied in presidential orders

Railway Labor Act


governs labor relations in the railroad and airline industries. prevents the employee from going on strike

Norris–La Guardia Act


banned yellow-dog contracts, barred the federal courts from issuing injunctions against nonviolent labor disputes, and created a positive right of noninterference by employers against workers joining trade unions

National Labor Relations Act

July 5, 1935

protects the rights of employees in the private sector to discuss organizing and workplace issues with coworkers, engage in collective bargaining, and take part in strikes and other forms of protected concerted activity in support of their demands

Executive Order 8802

June 25, 1941

to prohibit racial discrimination in the national defense industry. It was the first federal action, though not a law, to promote equal opportunity and prohibit employment discrimination in the U.S.

Employment Act of 1946

February 20, 1946

to lay the responsibility of economic stability of inflation and unemployment onto the federal government

Taft–Hartley Act

June 23, 1947

restricts the activities and power of labor unions

Fair Labor Standards Act

October 26, 1949

The FLSA set a maximum 44-hour seven-day workweek, set a national minimum wage, guaranteed "time-and-a-half" for overtime in some jobs. It also prohibited most employment of minors

Civil Rights Act of 1957

September 9, 1957

primarily a voting rights bill, was the first civil rights legislation enacted by Congress in the United States since Reconstruction following the American Civil War

Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act


regulates labor unions' internal affairs and their officials' relationships with employers

Civil Rights Act of 1960

May 6, 1960

established federal inspection of local voter registration polls and introduced penalties for anyone who obstructed someone's attempt to register to vote

Equal pay Act of 1963

June 10, 1963

To prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

July 2, 1964

Title VII- Prohibits discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Title VII applies to employers who have fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the calender year

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

October 3, 1965

abolished the national origins quota system that was American immigration policy since the 1920s, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants' skills and family relationships with citizens or U.S. residents

Age Discrimination in Employment Act


forbids employment discrimination against anyone at least 40 years of age in the United States

Civil Rights Act of 1968

April 11, 1968

expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and since 1974, gender; since 1988, the act protects people with disabilities and families with children

Civil Rights Act of 1968

April 11, 1968

provided for equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, or national origin

Executive Order 11478

August 8, 1969

prohibited discrimination in the competitive service of the federal civilian workforce on certain grounds

Occupational Safety and Health Act

December 29, 1970

to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards

Black Lung Benefits Act of 1973


provides monthly payments and medical benefits to coal miners totally disabled from pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) arising from employment in or around the nation's coal mines

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

September 26, 1973

replaces the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, to extend and revise the authorization of grants to States for vocational rehabilitation services, with special emphasis on services to those with the most severe handicaps, to expand special Federal responsibilities and research and training programs with respect to handicapped individuals, to establish special responsibilities in the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare for coordination of all programs with respect to handicapped individuals within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and for other purposes

Employee Retirement Income Security Act

September 2, 1974

Establishes minimum standards for pension plans in private industry and provides for extensive rules on the federal income tax effects of transactions associated with employee benefit plans

Age Discrimination Act of 1975


Prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from U.S. Department of Education

Federal Labor Relations Act


establishes collective bargaining rights for most employees of the federal government

Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978

November 6, 1978

Prohibits employment discrimination against anyone who has declared bankruptcy

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

November 6, 1986

In brief the act, required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status, made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants, legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants, legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt. About three million illegal immigrants were granted legal status

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act


protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide sixty calendar-days advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs of employees.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

July 26, 1990

Prohibits discrimination based on disability. Passed by George H.W. Bush (Father)

Civil Rights Act of 1991

November 21, 1991

provided for the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages, while limiting the amount that a jury could award

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

August 5, 1993

requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.

Executive Order 13166

August 11, 2000

requires federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency, and develop and implement a system to provide those services so those said persons can have meaningful access to them


May 15, 2002

The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002. seeks to discourage federal managers and supervisors from engaging in unlawful discrimination and retaliation

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

May 21, 2008

prohibit the use of genetic information in health insurance and employment

ADA Amendments Act of 2008

January 1, 2009

Signed into law by President George W. Bush (Son) on September 25, 2008. The ADAAA makes changes to the definition of the term "disability," clarifying and broadening that definition to increase the number and types of people who are protected under the ADA and other Federal disability nondiscrimination laws

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

January 29, 2009

The Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The new act states that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action. The law was a result of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit begins on the date that the employer makes the initial discriminatory wage decision, not at the date of the most recent paycheck.

Employee Free Choice Act

March 10, 2009

Allowed a union to be certified as the official union to bargain with an employer if union officials collect signatures of a majority of workers. The bill would have required employers and unions to enter binding arbitration to produce a collective agreement at latest 120 days after a union is recognized. The bill would have increased penalties on employers who discriminate against workers for union involvement.

Labor Unions

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union


Was one of the largest labor unions in the U.S. in it's time. Predominantly female membership

Industrial Workers of the World


Also known as the (IWW) was an international union. Membership did not require that one work in a represented workplace nor did it exclude membership in another labor union

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People


Also known as the NAACP. Wasn't necessarily a union but it did help African Americans find work

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America


It was known for its support for "social unionism" and progressive political causes

American Federation of Teachers


A union that mainly represented teachers

The Newspaper Guild


Union founded by newspaper journalists who noticed that unionized printers and truck drivers were making more money than they did

United Auto Workers


Labor union which represents workers in the United States and Puerto Rico, and formerly in Canada

United Steelworkers

May 22, 1942

The largest industrial labor union in North America, representing workers of many industries, mainly the metal industry

National Negro Labor Council


Labor union dedicated to serving the needs and civil rights of African-American workers

American Federation of Labor


George Meany is elected president of the American Federation of Labor, which was founded in 1886

United Farm Workers


Union that changed from a workers' rights organization that helped workers get unemployment insurance to that of a union of farmworkers