(11) Some of the Strikes of 1912
Editorial Note by William D Haywood: "Under this heading all the references to Local Unions and National Industrial Unions are based upon the terms used and the structure provided by the constitution prior to the 10th convention in 1916. The Industrial Workers of the World being as broad as industry and dealing with the workers in the industries rather than along mere local lines, the inconsistency of the words Local and National was cured by striking them out and thus removing any restrictions that may have been imposed upon our ideals by the use of such terms."
Local Union No.10, Electrical Supply Workers, Fremont, Ohio. One strike; 30 men involved. Lost because of inability to extend the same and shut down the plant.
Local Unions 161 and 169, Textile and Shoe Workers, Haverhill, Mass. Two strikes involving 572 members. Lasted seven weeks altogether. Both strikes successful. Sixty members arrested and 15 of them convicted and sentenced to jail for one to four months.
Local Union 194, Clothing Workers, Seattle, Washington. Ten small strikes lasting from a few hours up to two months. All of the strikes successful except one. Fifteen arrested, one conviction, two members held in jail nine weeks for deportation finally released. Number of workers involved not specified.
Local Union 326, Railroad Construction Workers, Prince Rupert, B. C. Two strikes, both of which were successful; 2,350 workers involved; 12 members arrested, all of whom were convicted and sentenced from six months to three years. This local also assisted in winning a strike for unorganized workers at the Shenna Crossing.
Local Union 327, Railroad Construction Workers, Lytton, B. C. One strike lasting seven months; 5,000 involved; 300 members arrested; 200 convicted and sentenced to from one to six months. This strike was called off by the local union owing to the failure to keep the line tied up. The contractors were forced, however, to improve wages and conditions.
National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber Workers. Two strikes, involving seven local unions and 7,000 workers. One strike lasted two months and the other three weeks. No record of the number of members arrested, but there were several hundred. Three members were convicted and sentenced to from one to three months in jail. The strikes were partially successful in raising wages in the industry.
Extending the organization of the lumber workers in the southern lumber districts involves a contest with the employing class in a section of the country where the employers have held undisputed sway since the American continent was first settled.
Organizers are assaulted and killed by the armed thugs of the industrial lords. The will of the employing class is the law of the land.
July 7, 1912, a meeting-held upon the public road at Grabow, Louisiana, was ambushed by the guards of the Galloway Lumber Company. Three men were killed and forty wounded. Following this attack, A. L. Emerson, the president of the southern district organization, and sixty-four members were arrested and held for trial upon charges of conspiracy to commit murder. Emerson and nine of the members were tried and acquitted in spite of the efforts of the mill owners and lumber companies to railroad them to the penitentiary or gallows. All others were discharged from custody without trial.
Local Union 436, Lowell, Massachusetts, Textile Workers. Two strikes, one of which resulted in victory and the other was lost; 18,000 involved. Number arrested in strikes 26, all of whom were convicted and sentenced to from one to six weeks in jail.
Local Union 557, Piano Workers, Boston, Massachusetts. One strike; 200 members involved. Strike lasted five weeks and was lost.
Local Union 20, Textile Workers, Lawrence, Massachusetts. Five strikes involving 29,000 workers; 333 arrested, 320 of whom were convicted and fined from $100 down, and to one year in jail. Most of these cases, however, were settled for a nominal fine on appeal to the higher court. (For an account of the great Lawrence strike and of the Ettor-Giovannitti trial growing out of it, see "Trial of a New Society," by Justus Ebert.)
Local Union 157, Textile Workers, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Lockout; 13,000 workers involved. Number of arrests not known.
In addition to the above there were other strikes of smaller size, but the locals and members involved in the same have not furnished the General Office with any information, so we cannot include data concerning them. An estimate of the amount of money expended for relief and other expenses incidental to handling strikes in the year (1912) shows that $101,504.05 were expended in handling strikes involving a total of 75,152 strikers and their families, lasting over a period of 74 weeks in the aggregate. The number arrested during that period totaled 1,446; and there were 577 convictions.
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