The purpose of this timeline is to show how the IWW has grown
throughout the years. While you read the timeline, you will notice that
many years were skipped, those were years in which little or no important
events occurred. Also, you will notice that many of these events occurred
in other countries besides the U.S, that is to show that the IWW was a big
enough organization to spread worldwide.
• Meeting of six industrial unionists in Chicago issues called for a conference
to discuss the creation of a revolutionary working class organization.
• January 2: Conference of 23 industrial unionists in Chicago releases an
Industrial Union Manifesto scheduling an industrial Union Congress to be
held in Chicago June 27.
• IWW Founding Convention - June 27: The "Continental Congress of the
Working Class" creates the industrial Workers of the World with
cooperation from Socialist Labor Party/Socialist Trades & Labor
Alliance, Socialist Party of America, Western Federation of Miners and
survivors of International Working People's Association.
• Bill Haywood, George Pettibone and Charles Moyers, WFM
leaders, framed for attempting to kill the governor Frank Steunenberg, of
• National Industrial Union of Textile Workers, 1st chartered IWW industrial
“Fourth convention results in split between political actionists, led by
Daniel DeLeon of the SLP, and direct actionists, led by Vincent St. John and
J.H. Walsh. DeLeonists set up rival IWW in Detroit and accuse Chicago
IWW with “anarchism.”
• Wobblies join Magonistas in insurrection in Baja California, briefly
proclaim the Baja Commune. U.S. troops invade Mexico for crush
the rebellion; IWW-led General Strike in Tampico, Mexico for the
release of politicians kept imprisoned by the army.
• William Foster, an important IWW representative, leaves IWW and
forms Syndicalist League of North America from within AFL.
• Socialist Party forbids those who oppose political action or advocate
sabotage to belong to the party.
• Bill Haywood recalled from NEC. Many IWWs leave SPA.
• Strike instigated by IWW dual-carders in AFL Hotel and Restaurant Workers
Union against the Astor and other premier hotels in New York City.
• Detroit IWW, aka Workers International Industrial Union, dissolves.
• Joe Hill Executed—Joe Hill, IWW organizer, executed by copper bosses in
• Everett Massacre—IWWs murdered by hired guns in Everett, WA. Seventyfive held for murder of deputy, acquitted.
• IWW Convention adopts anti-war resolution.
1917 & 1920
• Oil Workers Industrial Union and Metal Mine Workers Industrial Union chartered.
Lumber Workers Industrial Union established.
General Construction Workers Industrial Union formed; construction strike in
Exeter, CA. Construction strike in Seattle wins IWW hiring hall; Construction strike in
• Palmer Raids—Palmer Raids round up and deport thousands of alien radicals.
Congress of Red Trade Union International attended by delegates from IWW and
Canadian OBU. Their reports of political domination by Communists convinced
IWW not to affiliate.
46 IWWs out on bail on the espionage convictions start prison terms. Bill Haywood
and 8 others jump bail and flee to Russia.
• Emergency Program / Four-Trey Split—IWW splits: Emergency
Program-IWW sets up headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
• Cleveland, Ohio, organizing takes off. Strikes at Ohio
Foundry, Draper Steel Barrel, Perfection Metal Container, Permold
Metal Container, American Stove, National Screw, Cleveland Wire
Spring, Republic Brasswin recognition for IWW.
• IWW votes to affiliate with IWA (AIT), then reverses itself.
• IWW forced to join AFL affiliate on a tunnel project in
Bishop, CA, because AFL held contract with the contractor;
1946, 1967, & 1970
• IWW Convention adopts “no check-off” rule prohibiting
practice of having employers collect union dues from
• Boston, MA: Resistance anti-draft group joins IWW.
• IWW referendum votes to allow students to join IWW as
members of Educational Workers IU 620.
• IWW-affiliated Le Presse Popuiaire du Montreal closed by
police under War Measures Act.
• Chicago, IL: Strike support work for striking child-care workers
(Augustana Nursery); Cook County Hospital nurses; and Capitol
Packaging; Enforces Boycott of Kingston Mines nightclub to
force owner to pay wages earned to a band, which included two
Wobs; Health Workers IU610 Organizing Committee
established; Construction Workers job branch established on
• New York City General Defense Committee establishes
international Libertarian Labor Fund to raise money for CNT in
Spain. Sponsors tour of North America by veteran anarchosyndicalist Augustin Souchy. The tour raised over $3000.
• Job branch established at Kochum’s Shipyard, Malmo, Sweden.
• IWW Shop Stewards Committee in AFSCME local at Bangor (ME)
• Chicago’s IU440 Committee takes on organizing drive at Mid-America
Machinery, Virden, IL. Majority of workers in the shop, concerned
primarily about safety, sign-up in union and demand recognition. Boss
locks them out. IWW files ULP charges and pickets the work-site and
auctions. Company sues union and organizer for $50,000 each (both suits
later dismissed). Wob Rick Wehlitz fired for sabotage.
• IU670 (Public Service Workers) organizing campaign among CETA trainees
and Bus Washers in Santa Cruz, CA. For some CETA trainees the IWW won
better wages, health and dental benefits, safer working
conditions, grievance procedures, legal insurance, paid holidays and
vacations, 32 hours’ work for 40 hours’ pay, retirement benefits, profit
sharing, and the elimination of sexual, racial and other forms of
discrimination. Bus washers: 100% signed up, two fired but company
forced to re-hire, and harassment of union members. Finally workers
forced to join other union which had previously barred them.
• IU 630 (Entertainment and Recreation
Workers) Network Conference establishes a
Clearinghouse in Chicago and issues a model
contract for use of musicians when landing
gigs; Branch solidarity with Dresher
Manufacturing strikers who were abandoned
by Teamster Local 743. Support helps win
• Virden, IL: IU440 strike threat forces boss to back
down from threatened lay-off. More picketing at
auctions costs boss thousands of dollars. NLRB
issues directed bargaining order; boss appeals.
NLRB orders Wob James D’Aunoy re-instated.
• In June IWW strikes Mid-America for recognition
but fails to budge boss. Strike called off after
• Chicago: IU610 (Health Care Workers) Committee
issues a pamphlet aimed at workers in area hospitals.
Propose to form alternative to Health Employees Labor
Program (HELP), a lash-up of the Service Employees
International Union Local 73 and Teamsters Local 743.
The drive is opposed from the beginning by a member
of the Chicago Branch who is also a business agent for
Local 73. This opposition eventually succeeds in
thwarting the IU610 Committee’s efforts to gain Branch
support and causes IU610 Committee members to
leave the IWW.
• IWW Conference establishes new Industrial Organizing
• IWW IU660 (General Distribution Workers) organizing
begins in Ann Arbor, MI. Defeat lockout at Charing
Cross Bookstore. Win NLRB election at University Cellar
Bookstore at UM in Ann Arbor and win contract
following brief strike. Contract includes significant
workers control provisions.
• IWW IU450 (Printing and Publishing Workers) contract
signed at Eastown Printing, Grand Rapids, MI.
People’s Wherehouse job branch in Ann Arbor wins recognition without
election and begins negotiations on first contract gains.
Chicago, IL: IWW supports boycott of Coca Cola in solidarity with
occupation of Coke plant in Guatemala.
Bellingham, WA: IWW initiates Food for People project to feed
unemployed and underemployed. Program ends when powers that be
pressure landlords into not renting space.
IWW, through the Vancouver Unemployed Action Center, initiates
campaign against Job Mart Employment Agency which was selling job lists
to the unemployed for up to $50. Through a combination of
leafleting, pickets and legal action the campaign succeeds in closing down
job Mart and getting some of the victims of the scam their money back.
Rank and File Organizing Committee established to counter IOC.