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A preview of what would be an all-too-common sight in 1933 was on display in Dearborn, Michigan, a year earlier. What happened in Dearborn wasn't a strike, as such, but a demonstration that exposed a depth of bitterness, distrust and disrespect that would make labor negotiations very difficult in the years to come.

It was called an unemployment march or, perhaps more often, a hunger march, but most of the 3,000 men who walked into Dearborn to the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge plant were looking for jobs, not handouts. Obviously, they knew there weren't that many jobs available at Ford. They were trying to make a point about the number of men out of work, and the frustration of their situation. They hoped Henry Ford might hire a few, perhaps several, and that other Detroit-area industrialists would do the same.

However, some who participated in the march, one of many staged around the country in 1932, were trying to make another point. These men were Communists, either true believers or agents of the Soviet Union. Communism was considered as big a threat to democracy in the early 1930s as it would be again after World War 2.

FORD OFFICIALS obviously believed most of those who walked into Dearborn on March 7 were either Communists or men who had been duped by Communists. They considered the marchers dangerous and apparently instructed the company police force to stand tough.

Dearborn's city police were the first line of defense, some distance from the Ford plant. They tried to stop the marchers as they crossed the city line, and to that end relied on tear gas bombs, but these proved ineffective. Oh, the marchers scattered, briefly, but armed themselves with rocks and re-grouped, forcing the police to retreat.

Ford's private police force, either nervous or hostile, probably both, started shooting at the crowd after it arrived at the plant. Ford spokesmen would claim the first shots were fired at their police from behind a parked car, but later investigations would say it was much more likely all of the shooting came from the Ford security force.

Four marchers were killed, several men on both sides were injured in the battle that broke out. Harry H. Bennett, chief of Ford's private police force, was hit by a thrown rock. Three months later the death toll reached five when another marcher who had been shot died of his wound.

An editorial the next day in the Troy (NY) Times pretty much reflected the opinion of white collar America:

"That riotous march upon the Ford Motor plant at Detroit which resulted in the deaths of four men and injury to about 50 persons beyond doubt was a desperate effort of a mob of Communists to start trouble. To say it was an effort to obtain employment of idle workers is absurd. Men honestly seeking work would not resort to unlawful demonstration."

WHAT WAS ABOUT to happen throughout the United States was different in this respect — there would be thousands of demonstrations not by men seeking work, but by men and women who had jobs, but were determined to improve their working conditions.

Not surprisingly, the chief target of automotive workers were the various factories linked to the Ford Motor Company. Feeling against Henry Ford grew after the inauguration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in March, 1933, because the new administration pushed through the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which gave birth to the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which pressured all industries to establish codes that would benefit workers. Among other things, these codes established minimum wages. The most vocal opponent of the NRA was the industrialist who refused to participate — Henry Ford, who didn't need any stinking codes.

Ford would have the last laugh, of course. In 1935 the U. S. Supreme Court would rule the National Industrial Recovery Act was unconstitutional. But in 1933 — and 1934 — Henry Ford would not be smiling, much less laughing.

Syracuse Journal, January 27, 1933
DETROIT (INS) — Henry Ford today took a personal hand in efforts to adjust the strikes which have caused shutdown of his nationwide industry, throwing 150,000 men out of jobs.

Stalking dramatically through the picket lines, Ford, unattended except for a chauffeur, appeared at the Highland Park plant of the Briggs Manufacturing Company shortly before 11 a.m.

A surprised crowd of 200 pickets and onlookers made way for him as he marched grimly into the plant. Fifteen minutes later he emerged, snapped an order to his chauffeur, and sped away.

The strikers stared, but offered no comment except for a mutter here and there:

“The old man himself.”

What action the motor magnate intended to take in this newest crisis to threaten his vast organization could only be guessed.

Whatever Ford thought he might accomplish that day did not work. The Briggs Company offered to raise the basic wage scale, but workers rejected the offer. Briggs manufactured bodies for Ford vehicles. A shutdown at Briggs affected all Ford assembly plants. While there was no repeat of the hunger demonstration tragedy, things heated up in Detroit when strikebreakers were used to reopen the Briggs plant. With so many Americans unemployed, companies had little difficulty finding people willing to cross picket lines. Many of these strikebreakers would have second thoughts after they faced the picket lines.

Syracuse American, February 5
By PAUL WEBER
DETROIT (INS) — Serious rioting and bloodshed occurred in the streets of the automobile capital yesterday, as the auto workers’ strike which has tied up the vast activities of the Ford Motor Company entered its third week.

Just as the deadlock seemed to have broken with resumption of work at the Briggs’ Manufacturing Company plants, the temper of the strikers took a dangerous turn. Dozens of persons were injured as bands of angry men roamed the streets about the two Briggs’ plants. Numerous arrests were made.

Closing of the Briggs’ plants, which supply Ford bodies, forced nationwide shutdown of the Ford organization. Although the Briggs Company maintained that quantity production had been resumed, Ford officials said they were still uncertain when the Rouge factory and its numerous branch plants could be reopened.

Most of the day’s disorder centered about the East Side Briggs plant. Gravest of the clashes occurred when a mob halted and stormed a street car crowded with workers returning from the plant. Amid a bedlam of screams and shouts from the trapped strikebreakers, the mob virtually wrecked the trolley car. Twelve persons were wounded, most of them by flying glass as missiles shattered every window in the car.

Police reserves attacked the mob with nightsticks and blackjacks, arresting 25 men before the crowd scattered.
Authorities were alarmed by the discovery that many of those arrested carried dangerous weapons — blackjacks, knives and “sluggers” made of heavy bolts strung on wire.

Sporadic assaults on individual workmen occurred at intervals throughout the day.

At one point Henry Ford claimed his competitors had conspired to halt the production of his new models. Later he also accused bankers of trying to sabotage his company, perhaps because Ford had recently invested more than $2 million of his own money in the creation of two banks he controlled.

But most business executives, along with most politicians, believed labor's unrest had a different source:

Syracuse Journal, February 13
DETROIT (INS) — Mass roundup of alien Communists was in progress here today, it was believed, after federal agents and suburban police raided the headquarters of the “fourth Communist area.”

The raiders said they found strong evidence that Communists are seeking to turn labor troubles in the automobile industry to their own ends. Letters written in Russia and postmarked Moscow, together with a list of Communists in the fourth area, were among the documents seized, raiders said. Two men and a woman were arrested.

NOTE: It's unclear what the reporter meant by the "fourth Communist area," which may indicate Soviet leaders had divided the United States into regions for their agents, but I found no other mention of "Communist areas."

STRIKES AIMED at Henry Ford would continue through the year. On March 3 there was an ugly confrontation at the Briggs Manufacturing Company between stone-throwing strikers and mounted police. Tear gas was used to scatter the crowd. Arrests were made.

Later that month there was a strike against a Ford plant in Dagenham, England. As weeks went by there were strikes at Ford assembly plants in Chester, Pennsylvania; Edgewater, New Jersey, and Richmond, California.

Only one other automobile company was struck that year. The Hudson Motor Company in Detroit quickly settled the matter, offering workers a wage increase, one that became effective August 1. General Motors also announced raises for its workers.

To put things in perspective, workers at that time were making about $20 a week, some a few dollars more, others less. For example, the workers who went on strike at Ford's Chester, Pennsylvania, plant did so after their work week was reduced from five to four days, with a minimum wage rate of 50 cents an hour for an eight-hour day, or $16 a week.

Overall, 1933 brought much more turmoil than progress. Unionization was inevitable, but not immediate. (Ford didn't sign a contract with the United Auto Workers until 1941.)

Syracuse Journal, September 29, 1933
Steel, coal and automobiles, three of the nation's key industries, were beset by strikes today. Labor troubles in these and lesser industries constituted a problem in the federal government's national recovery program, causing officials serious concern.

The entire soft coal field in Pennsylvania was tied up by strikes involving 85,000 miners. A boisterous mob of 3,000 striking miners surged into Clairton, seeking to induce workers in by-products plants of the Carnegie Steel Company to join their walk-out in protest against the failure of the H. C. Frick Coke Company to sign the NRA code.

Sporadic disorders occurred elsewhere in the bituminous coal fields. The anthracite mines in Pennsylvania also were involved in a left-wing union strike of approximately 4,000 miners.

Unrest in the Kentucky coal fields led to scattered walkouts involving about 1,000 men.

Steel felt the effect of labor unrest chiefly in Wierton, West Virginia, where approximately 10,000 workers have gone on strike.

The strike movement in the automobile industry was directed chiefly at Henry Ford, who has refused to sign the NRA code.

NRA mediators were endeavoring to settled the strike of nearly 10,000 tool and die makers in Detroit, which was seriously handicapping work on the 1934 models of leading automobile factories.

There were strikes also in silk mills in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and other Pennsylvania cities, and in Paterson, New Jersey.

NRA officials in Washington estimated more than 100,000 workers were now idle, due to strikes, and were planning vigorous mediation moves to stem the rising tide of dissatisfaction in the ranks of organized and unorganized labor throughout the nation.

 
Beware the angry farmers

New York's longest and most volatile dispute involved dairy farmers, a situation made more frustrating by the nature of the dairy industry and how the strike pitted neighbors against each other. There also were elements of guerrilla warfare at work, as striking dairy farmers, often armed with rifles and shotguns, sometimes hid along rural roads to ambush those who attempted to deliver milk to bottling plants.

Strikers were determined to force the state's new milk control board to fix a minimum price of three-and-a-half cents a quart for dairy farms. Threats were made that dairy farmers would blow up milk stations and milk trains.

For several weeks there were violent confrontations between strikers and dairy farmers who chose to continue working, and between strikers and the state police. Photos at the top of the page were taken during two such battles.

The August 1 clash between milk farmers and state police near Boonville (headline above) was perhaps the worst. Three strikers were taken to hospitals. The battle occurred when 30 troopers were escorting a truck to the Boonville plant. A mob of more than 200 farmers met them just outside the village, armed with sticks, stones, clubs and pitchforks.

Three days later, near Fonda, two state troopers were beaten by rioting farmers, who destroyed thousands of dollars worth of milk, forcing dozens of milk plants to close. Henry Bortle, 50, of Oneida, had a heart attack and died after he joined a mob of strikers attempting to dump a load of milk near Peterboro, several miles east of Cazenovia.

This prompted Governor Herbert H. Lehman to announce on August 5 that he was prepared to call out to National Guard to end what he called "civil war" that was raging in his state. At least a dozen state troopers and a score of civilians were seriously injured in clashes in Canastota, Cazenovia, Deansboro, Oriskany, Oneida, Vernon and other places.

In Onondaga County, farmers had what they called "flying squadrons," strikers who chased down those who attempted to deliver milk. A man was shot in a battle near Rochester, and in Lowville, north of Syracuse, farmers lying in ambush opened fire on a milk caravan and their drivers. Troopers guarding the trucks returned fire.

Farmers’ wives have joined the strike. Two of them were severely beaten in a battle between rioters and troopers near Rochester. Two others (photo, above) armed themselves before attempting their next delivery.

On the flip side, near Utica, several women who supported the strike threw themselves in the road in front of milk trucks, daring the drivers to run over them.

Dairymen’s League Company officials equipped their Cazenovia plant with rifles, tear gas bombs, as a mob of more than 200 farmers surrounded the plant.

Striking Seneca County farmers smashed into the Dairymen’s League plant at MacDougall and dumped more than 10,000 gallons awaiting shipment.

Owners of the Reid Dairy Company at Cincinnatus, near Cortland, operated an airplane to spot movements of strikers in that vicinity.

 

ON AUGUST 10 state troopers and strikers battled at Cuyler, north of Cincinnatus. Three strikers were injured and 14 arrested.

A day later there was an armed truce, and Governor Lehman took the lead in bringing the strike to an end, promising a "new deal" for the state's dairy farmers.

But what was happening in New York was only the tip of the iceberg. Battles were waging elsewhere, particularly in Iowa and Wisconsin.

What triggered the first demonstrations in midwestern states were foreclosure sales.

Syracuse American, January 8
LE MARS, Iowa, January 7 (INS) — Approximately 1,000 farmers who gathered at the courthouse today with the announced intention of stopping a foreclosure sale on the farm of John Schonberg, disbanded when Sheriff R. E. Rippey announced the sale had been postponed, and that the landowners and their creditors had decided to arbitrate the matter.

Among the militant crowd at the courthouse were many of the 80 farmers who manhandled an attorney Tuesday when he bid in a piece of foreclosed property on behalf of a New York insurance firm.

This next item reads like a scene from an old movie. Note the size of the U. S. treasury official who had to deal with the disgruntled farmers.

Syracuse Journal, February 9
ITHACA, Michigan (INS) — Alarm over the temper of Gratiot County farmers was felt today after 1,000 of them mobbed a United States treasury official, took command of a foreclosure sale, and purchased the livestock and farm equipment of Ray Marzolf for a total of $3.80.

The embattled farmers then invaded the closed Ithaca National Bank and forced the cashier, A. A. Borsum, to open the vault and destroy the $1,000 mortgage held against Marzolf’s farm.

The farmers arrived as Peter A. Holman, United States treasury official and receiver of the closed bank, attempted to sell the bankrupt farmer’s property at auction. Seizing the 100-pound federal official, the farmers rolled him in a snowdrift and stood guard over him.

Sheriff Jacob D. Helman attempted to interfere, but was forced to continue the sale when Marzolf stood on his legal rights and refused to consent to a postponement.

A grain binder brought 10 cents, nine head of registered cows, 25 cents each; an automobile, 25 cents, and a wagon, 10 cents.

The farmers then forced Holman to sign a release voiding the mortgage. Borsum, who stood nearby, was seized, hurried to Ithaca, and forced to open the bank vault. The mortgage was publicly burned amid cheers.

Holman, slightly injured by the rough handling of the crowd, said he would make a full report to Washington.

Syracuse American, February 12
BENSON, Minnesota, February 11 (Universal) — By preventing Sheriff E. S. Flaten from leaving his office, a crowd of approximately 100 farmers prevented a mortgage foreclosure sale on a 240-acre farm in Edison township today.

The mortgage, totaling $12,391.25, is held by the Minnesota Rural Credit Bureau.

IOWA FARMERS abducted a judge when he refused to take an oath not to sign any more foreclosure decrees. Martial law was declared and farmers were arrested and accused of threatening to lynch District Judge C. C. Bradley.

Midwestern dairy farmers, like those in New York, soon turned their attention to what they were paid for the milk they produced.

Syracuse Journal, February 22
MILWAUKEE (INS) — Cities in eastern Wisconsin felt the pinch of reduced milk supply today as belligerent farmer pickets continued to confiscate cargoes of market-bound milk trucks in defiance of armed patrols of deputy sheriffs.

So desperate have the strikers become that one group of pickets flung themselves across a railroad track, stopping a special milk train.

A tense situation, marked by frequent outbursts of disorders in six eastern counties, prevailed as the striking dairy farmers stormed cheese factories, forcing many to close, and dumped thousands of pounds of milk into roadside ditches.

While some relief was provided for farmers and other home owners who were having difficulty with mortgage and tax payments, there would be no solution to the farmers' complaints about the value of their work.

Syracuse Journal, May 18
Arrest 200 at Milk War Spreads in Wisconsin
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (INS) — With violence, disorder and bloodshed growing hourly along the 250-mile milk strike front, authorities today mobilized more than half of Wisconsin’s national guardsmen with full military equipment for duty in the rebellion zones.

On Governor Albert Schmedeman’s orders, 14 companies of the National Guard were mobilized in the eastern bank of counties. Yesterday two hundred strikers and sympathizers were taken prisoner and scores of guardsmen and deputies were injured.

Syracuse Journal, May 19
Reach Agreement to End Wisconsin Milk War
MADISON, Wisconsin (INS) — An agreement ending the milk strike and its attendant disorders in eastern Wisconsin was reached today by arbitrators for the Wisconsin co-Operative Milk Pool and Governor A. G. Schmedeman. Death threats against the governor preceded the final peace conference.

But other farmers had other issues, particularly when it was time to harvest their crops.

Syracuse Journal, October 21
By JAMES R. McCARTHY
DES MOINES, Iowa (INS) — The revolt of the farmers of the United States, with an objective of starving or scaring the country into a realization of their desperate plight and to force the government to accede to its determined demands, began today at noon.

One million farmers, strike leaders said, would drop their plows, unharness their teams in the fields and refuse to sell or produce to market another penny’s worth of food until the nation is starved into paying better prices for agricultural products.

A week later, near Madison, Wisconsin, a striker was killed when a convoy taking food to market was stopped by pickets, and a man stepped out of a truck and fired a revolver into the crowd, fatally injuring a farmer. The driver of the truck, who also had a gun, sped off and eluded authorities.

On the other side, pickets beat a man who attempted to haul a load of cedar posts through the lines, leaving the man in critical condition. Arrests were made.

And despite agreements that had been made in some areas, many dairy farmers remained unhappy.

Syracuse Journal, November 4
DES MOINES, Iowa (INS) — An aspect of unprecedented gravity developed in the constantly spreading farm strike after a day of widespread violence as the strike gained momentum.

1. Minnesota strikers were reported to be secretly organizing military units under former service men and to be providing themselves with guns and tear gas bombs.

2. In Iowa, Mills County authorities requested that troops be called out after a pitched battle in which 500 farmers participated and in which dozens were cut and bruised. John Chalmers, Iowa president of the strikers, threatened to end the temporary “truce” and order farmers to “strike with every weapon at their command on Monday.”

3. In Wisconsin, two more creameries were bombed, bringing the total bombings in that state up to six since the strike started.

4. Highway picketing spread to South Dakota and Nebraska, and was undertaken in a wider area in Minnesota.

5. The strike reached the farming south when members of the Alabama Dairy League voted to withhold milk from market until the price is increased 17 cents per hundred-weight.

Syracuse Journal, November 7
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (INS) — A railroad bridge on the main line of the Illinois Central Railroad, between Cleghorn and Meriden, northeast of here, was destroyed by fire. Railroad officials asserted farm strikers were responsible for the fire.

It was the third railway bridge burning in this farm strike center within the week.

The Illinois Central bridge, in Cherokee County, was 56 feet long and 22 feet hight. As the result of its destruction, the railroad rerouted its trains through Sheldon. A crew of laborers was dispatched to the bridge to rebuild it.

Two days later fire destroyed the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad bridge south of Portsmouth, Iowa. Authorities said it was another effort by striking farmers to prevent food shipments.

At this point there was growing opposition to the farm strike, even among farmers, and the situation petered out with no resolution, but lingering bad feelings that were put on hold for the winter.

 
No peace for coal miners

Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana were scenes of often violent confrontations involving striking coal miners.

Syracuse Journal, January 9
TAYLORVILLE, Illinois (INS) — Fearful the latest wave of bombings and shootings in the Christian County coal mine war zone presages more serious uprisings, Lieutenant colonel Robert W. Davis was expected today to request a stronger force of militia.

Riding in four automobiles, a band of terrorists last night raced through the streets here firing rifle and sub-machine gun volleys into the homes of mine officials and working miners.

It is believed the attack was in retaliation for seven bombings earlier in the day which wrecked the business houses of two sympathizers of the progressive miners, dissenters from the present wage scale.

Syracuse Journal, March 4
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (INS) — Authorities in the strife-torn coal fields today investigated a dynamite bomb explosion which partially wrecked the home of Fred Eddy, engineer at Peabody Mine Number 3 near Tovey last night.

Although no one was injured, the explosion tore away half of the front porch, shattered a number of windows and endangered the lives of Eddy’s wife and child. It was the 24th bombing since labor troubles began in the Taylorville area last year.

Syracuse Journal, June 7
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (INS) — Five men were shot and three others injured in a melee between picketers and miners at the Peerless mine of the Peabody Coal Company here this morning, the sheriffs reported

 

AS BAD as it was in Illinois, the biggest battles were fought in Pennsylvania where the situation was complicated by several factors.

For one thing, the United Mine Workers, a union headed by bushy-browed John L. Lewis, one of the most recognizable men in the country, had steadily lost membership in Pennsylvania after what was then called The World War. Perhaps because forward-thinking Franklin Roosevelt had become President — without the support of the union leader, incidentally — Lewis decided to renew efforts to strengthen the UMW in Pennsylvania.

There are different kinds of coal mines, principally bituminous and anthracite, the latter being the most valued coal. Also, Pennsylvania's iron and steel companies, which depended on coal to fuel their ovens, owned several mines for their exclusive use. These were called "captive mines," and it was at these sites that Lewis would meet his greatest resistance. He was much more successful re-establishing his union at commercial mines, while his efforts at the captive mines often wound up pitting miners against each other. Forced to choose, men who worked the captive mines often voted to be represented by a company-controlled union.

Lewis and his lieutenants, chief among them his vice president, Philip Murray, did not back down, and a war was on.

Syracuse Journal, July 29
UNIONTOWN, Pennsylvania (INS) — Martial law was declared today by Governor Gifford Pinchot in the strife-torn coal fields of Fayette County.

The proclamation followed a night of telegraphic exchanges between the governor and Sheriff Harry E. Hackney of Fayette County in which the chief executive demanded the sheriff remove his deputies and permit state troopers to patrol the strike areas and the sheriff flatly refused.

National Guardsmen of the 112th Infantry were ordered to Uniontown from Mount Gretna. The 300 Guardsmen are equipped with machine guns, rifles, chemical weapons and field packs.

Sheriff’s deputies were still in charge this morning. The number of pickets had been reduced to about half, partly due to Sheriff Hackney’s proclamation prohibiting more than two pickets from gathering at the same place.

Syracuse Journal, September 14
UNIONTOWN, Pennsylvania (INS) — Sixteen men were shot down in the soft coal strike area and 14 others were beaten today as seething resentment over delay in formulating a bituminous coal code was whipped to white heat by isolated, sporadic clashes between miners and deputies.

All of those wounded were struck by buckshot, all but one were picketing miners. The lone exception was Deputy Sheriff Mike Cutright, who inadvertently ran into the line of fire and was shot by his fellow officers, according to the strikers.

 

VIOLENCE CONTINUED to mark strikes among coal miners. On October 5, in Harrisville, Illinois, 15 persons were wounded in gunfighting between pickets and mine guards. State militia were rushed to the scene. In Pittsburgh, strike breakers were attacked by pickets at every opportunity, an undetermined number being severely beaten and slashed.

A day later, two men were shot down near Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Neither wounded man was seriously hurt. Both were struck by shotgun charges as they slept in a shack fronting the highway leading to a mine.

Several hundred shots were exchanged between the striking pickets and company deputies. Houses of the deputies were riddled with bullets, every window smashed.

IMAGINE that scene in "North by Northwest" when Cary Grant runs through a cornfield, a crop dusting plane in hot pursuit:

Syracuse Journal, October 9
SHELBURN, Indiana (INS) — Two Indiana National Guard airplanes, flying 50 feet off the ground with the muzzles of machine guns in plain sight, brought relief to 175 non-union miners who were being besieged by a mob of hundreds of men in the Starburn co-operative coal mine two miles east of here today.

When the two airplanes swooped low over the mine property, the pickets, who had completely surrounded the mine, beat a hasty withdrawal.

Militiamen from Terre Haute were reported on their way to the scene following Governor Paul V. McNutt’s order placing entire Sullivan County under martial law.

Syracuse Journal, October 19
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (INS) — Melville Staples, member of the Progressive Miners, was shot and killed here today as Progressives marched on Springfield, prepared for a demonstration. Staples was reported to have been slain in an altercation with Pete Haines, president of the United Mine Workers’ Union at Kincaid, Illinois.

President Roosevelt involved himself in coal matters in October, and by November 3, a Friday, it appeared his efforts to bring the mine owners and their workers back together had paid off, at least, in Pennsylvania. Over the weekend newspapers carried stories that work would resume on Monday for bituminous miners.

Digging for anthracite coal would have to wait.

Syracuse Journal, November 7
WILKES-BARRE, Pennsylvania (INS) — Violence in the northern anthracite strike field flared anew today as pickets let loose a barrage of stones, injuring six persons and damaging several automobiles, one of them a federal government vehicle. Only one of the injured had any connection with the mine union activities.

Two weeks later it appeared Pennsylvania coal miners were back to square one.

Syracuse Journal, November 25
By International News Service
Turmoil was renewed today in Pennsylvania’s coal fields, both anthracite and bituminous.

Three homes in the anthracite region were dynamited, injuring two persons. Eight men and boys were wounded in gunplay in the Uniontown Captive Mine zone.

Almost simultaneously with these outbreaks came an announcement by Philip Murray, vice president of the United Mine Workers of America, that he will formally protest the Captive Mine election in Fayette County where the so-called company brotherhoods were victorious.

In the Scranton hard coal zone, a miner was injured by a falling beam when his home was dynamited. The blast shattered windows in a house across the street and flying glass severely injured 15-year-old Anna Lasky.

John Kwietnecki was the target of the dynamiters. Ten other persons were jolted from their beds by dynamiting in North Scranton.

The bituminous region outbreak occurred in the sector where last summer’s strike riots had their inception. Three hundred men and boys from a mine of the H. C. Frick Coke Company, celebrating the miners’ independent brotherhood victory over the United Mine Workers at the Colonial mine, were fired upon from windows. Two of the eight struck by buckshot were wounded seriously. Dynamite bombs were set off in fields nearby.

Official tabulations of the second day’s election in the captive mine fields, as announced by Senator Robert F. Wagner, showed the independent union candidates were victorious at nine mines and regular union at five, and one was tied.

In announcing his plan to protest the election, Murray said, “We are collecting evidence to prove there was intimidation, coercion and offers of bribery.”

In the first day’s balloting for collective bargaining representation, the United Mine Workers gained easy victories.

 
In other strikes:

Leather workers in Massachusetts tanneries went on strike in April for recognition of their union. Weeks later, after the Massachusetts strikes were settled, leather workers in Gloversville, New York, followed suit, but theirs would be a longer dispute.

A girl and a man were overcome by tear gas on July 20 when 400 clothing strikers in Rochester, New York, clashed with 40 police at a plant of the Keller Heumann Thompson Company.

Also in July, the motion picture industry was hit by a strike of technicians, limiting work at Hollywood film studios, which managed to remain in production by hiring non-union workers to fill places in sound booths and behind cameras. Striking union workers said films produced by non-union technicians probably would not be shown by the thousands of union projectionists throughout the country.

On August 16 a strike of 60,000 dress workers paralyzed New York City's dress industry and quickly brought a demand for settlement from Grover A. Whalen, representing the NRA. The strike ended at 1 p.m. a day later when employers voted to adopt collective bargaining agreements. It was considered unionism’s greatest victory in the history of the garment industry.

Two hosiery mill pickets were shot and killed in Philadelphia on August 31, two others wounded and a score of persons, including several policemen, were injured when 4,000 strikers clashed with strike-breakers outside the Cambria Silk Hosiery mill.

In New York City on October 2, more than 5,000 toy and doll makers returned to work after a five-week strike.

One man was shot, two others were badly beaten in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, during an October 4 confrontation between striking steel workers and strikebreakers at the Spang-Chalfant Seamless Tube Company.

There was chaos outside the National Silk Dye Company in East Paterson, New Jersey, on October 20 when 500 union strikers approached the plant where only one policeman was on duty. Also arriving were about 150 outside agitators, who threw stones at the window of the plant.

What resulted was a battle between the strikers and the agitators, while the unfortunate policeman, Frederick Kaugh, ducked behind an automobile and fired several shots in the air, which prompted some strikers to return fire.

According to a story from the International News Service:

Police Chief William Bulmer raced to the scene with 25 policemen followed by Sheriff Patrick Riley with 25 deputies. The police fired directly into the ranks of the strikers; there were pools of blood around the shattered car behind which Kaugh had hidden.

The police were the first to use the tear gas. They hurled the bombs many feet from them, but the fickle wind changed, and the fumes were blown back. The bluecoats and deputies were trapped. Many fell.

The strikers also were armed with tear gas bombs; they stood their ground and hurled them at the armed forces, but the strikers also were caught in the backdraft and suffered casualties.

After half an hour of fighting, 35 of the strikers took possession of the house across the street, occupied by Mrs. Richard Sidell, 66. They stationed themselves at windows and threw tear gas bombs. The fumes were swept back into the house, knocking out several of the strikers and causing Mrs. Sidell to collapse. She was removed to East Paterson Hospital, where the wounded also were taken. One man had two bullets in his body, police said.

The strikers eventually retreated across the county line into Passaic County.

On November 12 the 2,700 employees of George A. Hormel & Company struck and took over the meat packing plant in Austin, Minnesota. Company officials who attempted to keep the refrigeration system going were dragged from their posts. The strike ended the next day.

On November 17, violence was renewed in the strike of 500 truck drivers. A 10-ton truck and trailer was destroyed by fire en route from Albany, New York, to Springfield, Massachusetts. Stanley Spulnick of Albany told state police that apparently a fire bomb had been dropped over the tailboard of the truck as it labored up a grade west of Chester, Massachusetts. Later the driver of another truck turned over to state police an unexploded fire bomb found in the rear of his truck.

Chicago sausage industry workers, numbering 3,000, went on strike on December 2, tying up production in 96 meat plants. The strikers demanded recognition of their union, increased wages and shorter working hours.

While not alone with this particular problem, Chicago was the scene of several bombings that were at least loosely connected with labor unrest.

Syracuse Journal, May 1
CHICAGO ROCKED BY 5 MAY-DAY BOMBS:
Police ordered the arrest of every known Communist today after five powerful dynamite bombs, exploding almost simultaneously, damaged property in or near the downtown area to the extent of at least $100,000.

Authorities ordered police guards thrown about public buildings public utilities companies and large industrial firms to protect their property. Four men were taken into custody.

Police say they are sure the explosions were planned as part of the May Day demonstrations of radicals.

Some detectives admitted, however, the possibility the attacks were an outgrowth of the gangland war for control of the Teamsters’ unions. All five firms affected by the blasts are dependent on union teamsters, police pointed out. There were no fatalities; one watchman suffered slight contusions.

Buildings hit are owned or occupied by Illinois Bell Telephone Company, Marshall Field & Company, the Willett Teaming Company, Sprague, Warner & Company, wholesale grocery, and Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett, wholesale hardware plant.

Syracuse Journal, May 3
CHICAGO (INS) — Another bombing makes it appear that gangland warfare, not Communist agitators, is responsible for the violence. Latest bomb exploded at the Galloway-West Company, a subsidiary of the Borden Farm Products Company. The bomb did little damage. It was the seventh bombing in 48 hours. The Galloway-West Company employs hundreds of teamsters for the delivery of milk.

 

EVERYONE, it seemed, resorted to a strike to make a point:

Syracuse Journal, April 5
Angered by refusal of the Board of Education to renew the contract of William Perrine, athletic coach and history teacher, more than 60 students at Warners High School went on strike this morning.

Declaring they would not return to their classes until Perrine is granted a new contract and until Principal W. A. Carpenter resigns from his post, the students marched out of school at 10:30 a.m. They immediately began to parade through the village attempting to enlist support.

Five days later, 50 high school students in Clyde, New York, refused to attend classes in protest against the changing of athletic coaches.

Both the Clyde and Warner strikes were doomed to fail, as were similar student strikes staged for various reasons throughout the country.

In 1934 there would be even more labor strikes and demonstrations organized by Communists. Textile workers, among the country's lowest paid, went on strike. Those in the North would have better luck than their Southern counterparts. Dockworkers also struck, as did truck drivers not yet represented by unions — such as those who delivered coal to consumers.

There were inevitable confrontations, but overall these did not match the violence generated by labor unrest in 1933.

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