The One Big Union in Washington

The One Big Union in Washington

An article by David Jay Bercuson on the radical Canadian 'One Big Union' and its efforts to organize in Washington state (U.S.).

Originally appeared in The Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (Jul., 1978)

The_One_Big_Union_in_Washington.pdf1.08 MB


Aug 30 2012 03:37

Juan is killin it on the evolution-of-trade,industrial&revolution-unions-in-the-U.S. uploads!

Juan Conatz
Aug 30 2012 04:25

Just trying to get rid of stuff I've had on my computer for a while. I still have quite a bit more.

Sep 1 2012 01:06

I dig this group. They organized struggles on a class basis, rather than on the more narrow industrial basis of the IWW. After influencing the 5-week Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 organizers came down the West Coast -- at least as far as Oakland.

CORRECTION: According to Art Almeida's new book Wobblies in San Pedro, OBU militants made it as far south as Los Angeles Harbor from Canada in the aftermath of the repression of the Winnipeg General Strike. The same had happened just prior with Wobblies escaping the crushing of the General Strike in Seattle.

Juan Conatz
Aug 31 2012 23:12

Huh, I'd have to read about OBU more, but I was under the impression that they often fell along craft lines, despite their efforts.

Sep 7 2012 15:56

Bercuson long ago became a pillar of the establishment. He once complained publicly that it was unfair that unemployment insurance premiums were being deducted from his pay cheque since he is a tenured professor who would never have a need for this insurance.

Nov 11 2012 08:20

Bercuson is pretty right wing and his histories of the OBU lazy and skewed. The OBU maintained a Unit/Local in the Bay Area until the early 1930s. Juan, I have a bunch more material, contact me personally.

Jan 7 2014 05:56

If the image is indeed a facsimile of the OBU membership card, i am surprised by the religious quotations and religious oath used on it . Certainly shows contrary to the article assertions that the SPC influenced OBU-ers did drop their marxist materialism to envelop all workers and were not as sectarian as made out.

, but I was under the impression that they often fell along craft lines, despite their efforts.

I think craft nor industrial lines as did the IWW but the IWW organised geographically.

Jan 7 2014 23:31

That's way weird. I've read a lot about the OBU and they always seemed pretty solid marxian/rationalists, reprints of books on evolution, etc. I'll check and try to find some more info.

Juan Conatz
Jan 8 2014 04:34

I can't remember where I found this image, but I took it as sarcastic, in the same manner the IWW was at the time.

Jan 8 2014 06:38

Might be better to ID it as such? I can send you their logo/bug