On January 17, the I.W.W. shop committee at American Brass Co. in Cleveland was recognized as the workers' bargaining agency. On July 1, a five per cent general increase was negotiated; however, apparently the company changed its mind, and as a result the workers went on strike. Picketing was carried on for sixty nine days until an agreement was finally reached that the strikers would be hired without discrimination, and that a five per cent raise be given, effective thirty days after the return to work. The I.W.W. Claims to have agreed to these unfavorable terms, because some of the workers, who did not belong to the union, had been negotiating separately with management and were about to break ranks and go to work.
In the meantime I.U. 440 was having difficulty with the management of the Dangler division of the American Stove Co. which had been moved to Lorain to get away from the union.1 Organizers were frequently arrested, and the I.W.W. was even unable to get a hall in Lorain to serve as organizing headquarters. The' union claimed that the workers were being asked to sign a "yellow-dog” contract, also. Shortly after the I.W.W shop committee had been refused recognition by management, an increase ranging from three to six cents an hour had been granted the workers.
During this year the I.W.W. was most active among the lumber workers of the Northwest. A conference of the lumber workers had been held in December, 1935 in the new hall at 207 Main Street in Seattle.2 After the customary resolution had been passed regarding the release of Tom Mooney and Warren K. Billings plans were laid down for a drive among the lumber workers which was to be very effective during the coming year, particularly in Washington and Idaho. Among other things these plans called for demanding a six hour day, minimum wages of five dollars a day, improved living conditions, and better safety standards. Another conference was held by I.U. 120 on March 2, in Spokane, which further stimulated the drive. Shortly after this conference three short strikes were pulled against Potlatch Forests Inc., all of which were successful and resulted in raises in pay and improved conditions. In May additional short strikes were called against the Winton Lumber Co., as well as against Potlatch Forests. Picket lines were set up at various times at Coeur d'Alene, St. Maries, St. Joe, Fernwood, Clarkia, Bovill, Kendrick, Elk River, Pierce and Orofino. Finally in July the lumber companies began to fight back by importing strikebreakers. Eventually, martial law was declared; a number of pickets and organizers were arrested; and, violence and gun play were in evidence Evert Anderson, G.E.B. representative was deported out of Idaho. On August 19, the strikers at Pierce, Idaho voted to return to work. Although the lumber strikes were eventually broken, pay and conditions had been improved in most cases.
During 1936, I.U. 440, in addition tobeing active in Cleveland, also opened an organizing drive in the Los Angeles area. I.U. 420, the Furniture Workers' Industrial Union was active in Chicago. I.U. 460, the Foodstuff Workers' Industrial Union was active in New York. In addition, the Marine Transport Workers Union, No. 510, was active in several ports, particularly Philadelphia and Boston, where it waged strikes against the United Fruit Co.
Ralph Chaplin resigned as Editor of the Industrial Worker in March, 1936. He explained as follows: "This step is unavoidable. Very serious disagreement with the policy and personnel of the newly elected Administration of the I.W.W. has made any other course impossible." Fred Thompson succeeded him. Mr. Thompson had been elected General Secretary-Treasurer as of March 1.
The twenty-second General Convention of the I.W.W. met eight days in Chicago, beginning on Nov. 9. In addition to usual reports and discussion of organization plans, it was decided to publish a monthly magazine to be called One Big Union Monthly.