Зображення сторінки

deaths were caused by bullets fired either by police or company guards. The fifth was caused by a brick that may have been thrown by a striker. The death in this case was that of a man who had refused to strike until the strike had been on for about a week. He had just quit work to join the strikers when he received his fatal injury.

Sheriff Kinkead's conduct during the strike was as erratic as it was vicious. He gave his conduct semblance of fairness, at one time promising to remove all of the Rockefeller gunmen from the plant of the company, and at another time by attempting, at great personal risk, to prevent clashes between his own deputies and the strikers. At still another time Kinkead placed P. Leo Bergoff, head of the private detective agency bearing his name, and Samuel Edwards, superintendent of the Tidewater Oil Refining Company, under arrest. Kinkead placed 99 strike guards under arrest, too, and threw them into jail. But this was not done until the Standard Oil Company had practically no further need for their services.

On the other hand Kinkead practically compelled sympathizers with the strikers to leave Bayonne, and it was established that several persons prominent in Bayonne whose sympathies were with the strikers felt it the part of wisdom to leave the place until the strike had been ended. The grand total of official influence and brutality was emphatically on the side of the employing oil company, and whatever weight seemed to have been thrown against the company either was of no importance or was of a character to justify the assertion that it was done merely for effect on public opinion.


Shortly after the organization of the copper miners of the camps of Morenci, Clifton and Metcalf, Arizona, in the fall of 1915, the companies issued notices to the men that they must sever connections with their union and sign a blank form to that effect. The men refused and were obliged to strike. An unusual feature of the strike was the fact that the Governor of the State, Geo. W. P. Hunt and the Sheriff of Grenell County showed sympathy with the strikers and kept them from demoralization by the importation of strikebreakers. The men stood solidly and won the strike in March, 1916.

[ocr errors]


The strike of 20,000 members of the Amalgamated Garment Workers Union in Chicago in the fall of 1915 and winter of 1916 was one of the most spectacular of the year in respect to the unusually brutal treatment given the strikers by strike breakers and police: The workers went on strike for a 25% raise in wages, 48 hours of work weekly and recognition of the union. Over 1,200 arrests were made of strikers and sympathizers and the police brutally handled the women. The public supported the strike to an unusual degree.

YOUNGSTOWN. One of the most dramatic strikes of 1916 began very quietly at Youngstown, O., on December 27 of the year previous, and reached its climax in a riot on January 7, 1916, in which the lives of several workers were lost and a vast amount of property completely destroyed.

This strike began when 300 unskilled workers walked out of the plant of the Republic Iron and Steel Company, of Youngstown, demanding advances in pay from 197/2 to 25 cents per hour, time and a half for overtime, and double time for Sunday work. The strike spread steadily until at the highest point 13,500 men were idle. Of this number approximately 6,000 were strikers, and the rest were forced into idleness because of the strike.

Working conditions, hours, and wages in this plant had been those usually obtaining in the steel industry. Wages throughout the steel industry were uniform at the time. But little attention had been given the strike outside of Youngstown until the riot of January 7.

It is doubtful whether any authority has been able to establish the exact immediate cause of the riot of that day. The weight of evidence supports the following conclusion:

A mass of parading strikers had congregated at the end of a bridge over which all employes had to pass in going to and coming from the plant of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. At the approach to the bridge a number of company guards were stationed. At least two of these guards were members of the State militia, but serving as guards in a private capacity. A stone or other missile seems to have been thrown by some person in the crowd, either a striker or a sympathizer, at one of the guards. J. M. Woltz, chief of the company's forces of guards, fired a shot at the strikers, whereupon there was a general fusillade from all of the guards.

Following this shooting there was an evening of wild rioting. One of the features that cannot be overlooked in connection with the rioting is that the rioters were given


immense quantities of the cheapest kind of liquor procurable. This liquor was an ale compound, which is an adulterated ale. Arrests were made by the score. The jails were filled, and during one day one of the fire houses also was filled with prisoners. The State militia was called out, and all persons were kept outside the military lines except those who could procure a pass from the commanding officer.

When it came to disposing of those who had been arrested in the most summary fashion, and whose homes had been searched without warrant, the usual railroading process was resorted to. Strikers undefended by counsel and permitted to present their own case briefly if at all through an interpreter, were given thirty day terms by the dozen.

The living conditions, the cost of living, and the wages paid, together with the conditions under which they were arranged, formed one of the most complete economic backgrounds for a tremendous upheaval of labor that has ever been found in any industry. While there were rumors of outside influences, said to have had their foundation in war conditions, no intelligent investigator questioned the true economic background of the striker. It was agreed that the men had been driven to revolt by unbearable conditions, and by wages that did not permit an acceptable standard of living.

As a result of the strike wages were raised, hour men getting an advance of from 2 to 4 cents an hour. Company officials claim that the increase was approximately 10 per cent. throughout the plant. However, it must be taken into consideration that a year previous there had been a 9 per cent. reduction, so that the increase won by the strike but little more than restored the standard that had prevailed prior to the reduction of the year previous.

It is noteworthy, however, that the increase forced by the strikers in Youngstown spread to the entire steel industry, the evident reason being that the industry in the midst of an unprecedented rush of war orders, feared to face the possibility of a similar upheaval on a scale that might envelope and paralyze the entire industry.

There was following this strike a most unusual anticlimax. The grand jury was impannelled while the strike still was in progress, to determine the responsibility for the deaths and property destruction that had occurred. Contrary to all precedent, this grand jury indicted President Campbell, Elbert H. Gary, president of the United States Steel Corporation, and the following companies: Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, Youngstown Iron and Steel Company, United States Steel Corporation, and the Carnegie Steel Company. A total of 113 corporations and officers were indicted. They were charged with violation of the Valentine anti-trust act, a State law, and with conspiracy to keep down wages of common laborers.

With this indictment the grand jury returned censure for Mayor Cunningham of East Youngstown, six members of the East Youngstown Council, and the police force. Mayor Cunningham and the officials were characterized as "inefficient," and "unworthy to hold office.”

The report of the grand jury charged that the riot was precipitated by acts of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. In part the language of the grand jury report follows:

“While one shot was fired from one of the mob assembled around the gate of the tube company, the shots which precipitated the extreme acts of violence, lawlessness and crime which were committed January 7 were shots fired by the guards of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company.

“We have been unable to find any proof of any direct connection with any foreign government and any influence brought to bear on the rioters to commit the various acts of crime.

"We find that there is an underlying cause, not only of the strike and of the dissatisfaction prevailing among the men prior to the strike, but of the riot itself, a cause which will be shown upon the trial of some of the corporations and individuals against whom charges have been made by this jury.”

The action of the grand jury, however, was of no practical avail. Judge W. H. Anderson dismissed the indictments upon representations, made by counsel for the defendants.

The only wholesome result was that the action of the grand jury in the steel companies and their officials threw upon them the blame and removed it from the workers upon whom blame usually is placed, in such cases.

The strike on the whole was one of the most dramatic that the country has known. The complete destruction of so much property, the remarkable solidarity of unorganized workers, and the indictment of company officials as responsible for the result of low wages and unendurable conditions, were features that stamped it as one of most unusual qualities, and worth deep study.


IN 1915. From Monthly Review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics,

April, 1916, pp. 13-18. The so-called munitions strikes attracted special attention in 1915. These strikes started in Bridgeport, Conn., during the latter part of July, and spread rapidly to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and other States where metal goods are manufactured. They consisted generally of a demand for a shorter working-day without reduction of wages, and in some cases the demand was for increased wages, though the strikers rarely got all the increase asked for.

The strikes in the clothing industry in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Chicago involved a large number of strikers, but their duration was comparatively short, except in Chicago where the strike lasted for about three months and involved from 6,000 to 25,000 people.

Other strikes attracting wide attention were those in the building trades in Chicago from April to July, which practically paralyzed the building industry of that city for the time; the oil and chemical strikes in Elizabeth, N. J., and neighboring cities during the summer, which, though short, were accompanied with rioting and loss of life; the streetcar strike in Chicago in June; and the strike of the silverworkers in Connecticut in October, which had not been settled at the close of the year. Though the long-continued coal strike in Colorado was brought to an end just before the opening of the year, the attention of the public continued to be directed to it through the efforts made by the mine owners to settle the many questions that had not been finally considered at the termination of the strike. The coal strikes in the middle west were settled late in the fall of 1914 and early in 1915, with the exception of the eastern Ohio strikes, which were not settled until May. The copper mine strike in Arizona was settled just after the close of the year. The causes of strikes and lockouts during the year were

In few cases was the cause confined to one matter in dispute. In the following table an effort has been made to show the principal cause of the strikes tabulated, though this has been difficult in many cases on account of the indefinite character of the information available. Number of Strikes and Lockouts, by Causes, 1915. Matter of dispute

Strikes Lockouts
Increase of wages
Decrease of wages
Nonpayment of wages
Increase of hours
Decrease of hours
Wages and hours
General conditions
Conditions and wages
Conditions and hours
Conditions, wages, and hours
Recognition of the union
Recognition and wages
Recognition and hours
Recognition, wages, and hours





6 11 37 26

6 10



« НазадПродовжити »