Trade union badges timeline

Grand National Consolidated Trades Union issues ribbons for members to wear at funerals. Designs for use in the centre of rosettes are referred to as “badges” and sold at a penny ha’penny.

Amalgamated Association of Miners  produces metal badge bearing the union’s name, to be worn suspended from a white ribbon.

Locomotive Steam Engine and Firemen’s Society (later ASLEF) issues silver watch-chain fob engraved with the initials of the union and of the owner, a shamrock, rose and thistle, and clasped hands.

Amalgamated Society of Engineers produces badge to commemorate the start of work on the Manchester Ship Canal.

National Amalgamated Society of Brass Workers issues large brass medal to commemorate a strike.

Derbyshire miners’ officials wear “handsome gilt badges” with the motto “united we stand, divided we fall”.
Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants for Scotland commemorates a strike with gold, silver and bronze medallions for use as watch-chain fobs.

Amalgamated Society of Engineers issues badge to its delegates to the Trades Union Congress.

Earliest known Trades Union Congress badge known to have survived – in the Unison Collection.

Earliest badge marking Trades Union Congress to be found in the TUC Collection.

TUC issues porcelain badge for delegates to Congress held at in the Potteries at Hanley, Stoke on Trent.

Badge of the London and Provincial Union of Licensed Vehicle Workers.

Badge of the London and Provincial Union of Licensed Vehicle Workers.

Thousands of workers join a five-week general strike in Brisbane, Australia after members of the Australian Tramway Employees Association are dismissed for wearing their union badges to work. The tramway workers are not reinstated until the Queensland Government acquires the tram system in 1922.

London bus and tube services close down when transport workers strike in support of 12 drivers and conductors suspended by bus operator Tillings for wearing their union badges. The strike was settled after arbitration and led to recognition for the London and Provincial Union of Licensed Vehicle Workers.

Badge of the National Asylum Workers Union.

Badge of the National Asylum Workers Union.

Members of the National Asylum Workers Union at Bodmin walk out after five nurses are dismissed for wearing their union badge while on duty. All are eventually reinstated and win the right to wear their badge.

Messrs J Llyons & Co dismisses Mrs Sparkes, a long-serving member of the catering staff at its flagship teashop on the Strand, for wearing her United Catering Trade Union badge. Around 4,000 “teashop girls” and kitchen workers walk out. Some 1,200 march along the Embankment behind a band to demonstrate outside the Strand Corner House.

Year-long miners’ strike leads to a resurgence in trade union badges, with lodges and areas of the National Union of Mineworkers, and support groups, issueing strike badges to raise funds. 

Trade Union Badge Collectors Newsletter launched, leading to eventual birth of Trade Union Badge Collectors Society. 

Dunnes Stores sacks Dublin shopworker Joanne Delaney for wearing the badge of her union, Mandate. She is reinstated after a Europe-wide email campaign and winning support from Members of the Scottish Parliament.

Prison Officers Association 2007 dispute badge.

Prison Service threatens to discipline members of the Prison Officers Association who wear badges issued by their union to mark a day of action

The Trade Union Badge: Material Culture in Action, by Paul Martin (Ashgate, 2002);
1912 Brisbane General Strike, Wikipedia;
Traction strike threatens Britain, New York Times;
Dunnes offers to reinstate fired union-member employee,  Ireland Online
Prison staff threaten new strike, BBC News;

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