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A teacher's regiment? Are the students that out of control? The American Civil War (1861-1865) was viewed by many as a fight over labor rights
How To Make Labor History Are you a working person? Are you laid off, but desire work? Are you retired or too young to have a job? No matter what your status, you can make labor history.
Payment: 3 3/4 cents per button This spontaneous strike was a critical catalyst for forming the Amalgamated Clothing Workers (known today as UNITE) in 1915.
How is labor often represented in the media? This famous drawing is an artist's conception of May 4, 1886, in Chicago's Haymarket Square.
Are these men really all named George? George Pullman hired former slaves as his car attendants. It became popular for people to address them as "George."
Are these people attacking the police? Memorial Day, 1937: Workers and supporters marched to the Republic Steel plant to establish a picket line.
"Unite & Fight" for what? These men and women are Chicago Stockyards employees, once the largest meat butchering and processing facility in the world.
On strike for what? Labor struggles and stories are not just history. In Chicago, hotel workers at the Congress Hotel have been on strike for over seven years.
Why is this man giving a thumbs up in a police van? Until 1982 it was illegal in Illinois for public employees to organize a union.
Union-building for builders Construction trades workers were some of the first to organize in the United States, beginning at a city level in the 1830s.
Unionize? We can do it! Women have long been leaders in organizing workers and fighting for better conditions. Illinois has a strong tradition of women who took early leadership
Health & Safety is no Accident Illinois coal miners have traditionally been among the leaders in the occupational health and safety movement.
5-12 researchers teachers
today in labor history

Join with the Illinois Labor History Society, Chicago Federation of Labor, Chicago Jobs with Justice, representatives of
the French General Confederation mccormick web of Labor (CGT)

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014 - 3:00 PM
Randolph & Des Plaines, Chicago

CGT 125 years ago, the international workers' movement declared our own holiday -- May 1st. Workers the world over have been marching as one on this day, continuing the struggle for justice, the right to organize, the right to jobs for all at a living wage. The power of the May Day tradition is ever more important in this age of corporate globalization.

This year's commemorative plaque will be placed on the Haymarket Memorial by the French General Confederation of Labor (CGT). After our ceremony, we'll join the annual march for Immigration Justice. For more information contact ILHS at (312) 663-4107 or email us at the address below.

All Members Invited to Attend
The Illinois Labor History Society Annual Meeting
Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 5:30 PM (following the May Day activities)
Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted (at 21st St)
5:30 PM: Light Buffet & Beverages  *  6:00 PM: Meeting Convenes

anti austerity europe webSpecial Presentation:
The Global Fight Against Austerity & the Rebirth of the World Labor Movement
Christian Pilichowski, International Representative of the French General Confederation of Labor (CGT)

The ILHS Annual Meeting will include a review of the past year's activities, consider proposals for future projects as well as nominate and elect ILHS officers and trustees.

The Uri-Eichen Gallery is an independent gallery space in Pilsen focused on social justice and located at 2101 S. Halsted. Parking in the area is free and unrestricted. The Halsted Orange Line is four blocks south at Halsted & Archer. Halsted buses run 24 hours and the North and South stops are near the gallery door.




train day1Visit the ILHS Display at the Seventh Annual National Train Day
Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Chicago's Union Station

The ILHS and the Pullman State Historic Site will once again mount a display on the history of Pullman at Chicago's Train Day. Tellilng the story of this model company town where workers' historic battles helped shape the modern labor movement furthers the effort now ulnderway to have Pullman declared Chicago's first national park.

Click here for a background article on Pullman and the 1894 strike on our website.
The ILHS guide, "Tourinng Pullman," is available in our online bookstore. As the guide's introduction says, "Pullman is is an outdoor museum of architecture, city planning, and Chicago labor history."

Labor Heroes

Albert Parsons  Lucy Parsons  chavez  Randolph  Debs  Lewis  Addams  Joe Hill  gompers
To see each labor hero's name, hover mouse above each image.  To learn more, visit the Labor Heroes page.

Labor Monuments of Illinois

mother-jones  union-cemetary  cherry-monument  cherrysmsq  haymarket  haymarketsmsq  stockyard  diamond  more2
To see what each memorializes, hover mouse over each image.

Labor Murals in Illinois

Many of Illlinois' labor battles and landmark events are portrayed in an array of stunning murals in Chicago and around the state. In a world surrounded by billboards and advertisements, we can turn to murals to tell us of the lives of people that built our movements and communities. We're sharing the list of labor murals the ILHS developed for our 2011 Union Hall of Honor, when four working-class artists and muralists joined the roster of our inductees.

Now on special sale at our online bookstore: The re-released ILHS DVD "When Art Speaks Labor's Language," a tour guided by President Emeritus Les Orear of three iconic Chicago labor murals. Order your copy today.


The Illinois Labor History Society

The Illinois Labor History Society wants to share an amazing story with you. It's the story of how working people built this state. Not just by the work of strong hands and strong minds, but with the ideals of democracy, equal opportunity and human solidarity.

It's the story of the labor movement in Illinois. It's the story of some courageous amazing people Like Mary Harris "Mother" Jones who defied the powerful coal bosses and A. Phillip Randolph who taught the railroad bosses how to respect their own employees. It's also about those people whose names we will never know, but through struggle and sacrifice, made a big difference.

Much of this labor story is unknown to the general public. Some has been deliberately hidden by the wealthy and powerful. Some has never been told. Some has been lost, but perhaps will be found again.

The Illinois Labor History Society wants to share with you as much of this labor story as we can. We also want to hear your part in the labor story, because it's only history if you share it.

Through our website resources, our labor bookstore, our labor videos, our public events, our tours of labor monuments and sites and our media appearances, we want to bring this labor story to life. Not only because it is exciting and uplifting, but because it will help working people build an even better Illinois for tomorrow.


Just some of what we do: 

What does labor want?

"What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures"
~ Samuel Gompers
First President of the American Federation of Labor

"And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destiny of the nation in her own hands and she will stand as a united force and show the world what the workers can do." --- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, 1830-1930

Get Involved


ILHSlogoIllinois Labor History Society
123 W. Madison St., Suite 905
Chicago, IL, 60602
Copyright © 2010
by Illinois Labor History Society

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