1935

During this year the I.W.W. was very busy, particularly in Cleveland. The strike of the dharwomen at Terminal Tower, which began on Dec. 12, 1934, was finally defeated on April 10 by the mass arrest of the pickets. During this strike there was some violence and several rumors of plans for the use of dynamite Major Snead, manager of the Tower, used strikebreakers in 0pposing the strike. Prior to the mass arrest on April 10, several women had been arrested for assault and battery. In addition, in the latter part of January the Cleveland Press carried stories about a plot to dynamite the Tower which was uncovered when a bomb was found in a fire hose box on the sixth floor of the building. Later, there was a story about the bombing of the home of a Margaret Hozin, an alleged scab.1

The strikers demanded recognition of the Building Maintenance Workers' Industrial Union No. 440 of the I.W.W. as their bargaining agent. They also demanded a six hour day and thirty six hour week at the same pay received for the existing eight hour day forty eight hour week. At one time it appeared that the management was ready to yield on these points, but, since it was unwilling to reinstate the strikers who had been arrested, the strike continued.

At about the same time another unsuccessful I.W.W. strike was in progress at the National Screw and Manufacturing Co. This one was conducted by the Metal and Machinery Workers' r.U.No. 440. Like the other I.W.W. activities of the period, it 'NaS violently opposed by an organization called the "Associated Industries. The strike started on February 8, and involved about thirteen hundred men. It began when the management refused a ten percent general increase, which the I.W.W. claimed had been previously agreed upon.2 All workers in the plant went out, although the tool and die makers at first refused to participate in the picketing. However, they soon joined the rest of the workers.

There were frequent arrests usually resulting from skirmished between strikers and alleged gun thugs. Frank Cedervall and other organizers were also arrested from time to time. These abuses of the workerss' rights became so flagrant that the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter of protest to Mayor Harry L. Davis. The following quotations were taken from this letter:

Our information is that strikers are harassed with continual arrests; that more than a dozen of the workers' organizers and active committeemen have been arrested, held for 48 hours or more, and then released without any charge being made against them;-----that arrested strikers have been beaten by detectives-----that known gangsters have been used as professional strikebreakers---- whether a strike is lead, as this is, by the Industrial Workers of the World or by some other labor group, the rights of the workers are the same.

Norman Thomas was credited by the union as having sent a fifty dollar check be used by you in relief of the men and women now on strike at the National Screw and Manufacturing Company's plant." It was during this strike that Michael J. Lindway was jailed on the charge that an arsenal of "dynamite bombs, tear gall, revolvers. shotguns, ammunition, and a machine shop for the manufacture of further supplies" had been found in his home. Mr. Lindway was not released until 1946, despite the efforts of the General Defense Committee and other groups.

On April 29, this unsuccessful strike was called off.

Other Cleveland plants affected by I.W.W. activities during this year were the Accurate Parts Manufacturing Co., Republic Brass, Cochrane Brass, Perfection Metal Container, Cleveland Steel and Wire, American Stove and Holland Trolley. In addition, there were strike threats at the Dill Manufacturing Co., and a successful strike at Wedge Protectors Inc., which resulted in a raise in pay and recognition of the union as bargaining agent. At Holland Trolley where the I.W.W. had been recognized, no strike was necessary to secure the raise in pay sought.

During this year in order to get away from the I.W.W., the American Stove Co. management moved its Dangler Division Plant to Lorain, Ohio.

Efforts were made to organize the New York subway and bus workers during this year by Municipal Transportation Workers Industrial Union No. 540 of the I.W.W., but these efforts were not very fruitful. The Construction Workers' Union, No. 310, was active at Fort Peck, Montana and at Los Angeles. The Lumberworkers' Union, No. 120 was active also in the vicinity of Port Arthur, Seattle and Spokane. The Marine Transport Workers' Union, No. 510, was busy in Houston, where its hall was raided, and also in New Orleans and New York.

  • 1. Industrial Worker, 1/5/1935, 2/16/1935, 3/9/1935, 4/20/1935
  • 2. Ibid 2/2/1935, 3/2/1935, 3/30/1935, 5/11/1935, 6/15/1935