Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 24, 2015

In March, 1942 it was decided at a National Labor Relations Board hearing to let the employees vote for their choice of a bargaining unit at the mines of the U.S. Vanadium Co. at Bishop, California. At that time the I.W.W. was the only union which had put in an appearance. In fact the ballot was to read: "Shall Metal Mine Workers Industrial Union 210 of the I.W.W. represent you for the purposes of collective bargaining”.1 After some dispute it was decided that the mill workers should be included in the same bargaining unit as the miners.

Later in the month A.F.L. representatives appeared on the scene. Shortly after their appearance, a company attorney was successful in persuading the N.L.R.B. to schedule a new hearing and to include the A.F.L. on the ballot.

In the meantime I.W.W. organizing work was accelerated. They tried to line up the whole town including waitresses, cooks, bar~enders, etc. Workers of the latter type were enrolled in I.U. 640, Hotel, Restaurant and Building workers. The miners and mill hands were included in I.U. 210. Women assisted in the organizing work, particularly for I.U.640. Opposition to the I.W.W. 's vigorous organizing activities on the part of some townspeople resulted in considerable excitement. There was talk of vigilante committees and tar and feather parties, although not a great deal of actual violence.

On August 20 the N.L.R.B. finally decided that an election would be held not later than September 20. Two ballots were to be provided, one for Group A, the other for Group B. Both A.F.L. and the I.W.W. were represented on the Group A Ballot. This group was to include only the miners. Group B on which only the I.W.W. was to be represented was to include all other employees, mill hands, waitresses, cooks and others.

The election was held on September 4. The I.W.W. won Group A; the I.W.W. won the larger Group B.

There was not much activity in Cleveland in 1942, although the little action taken was effective. At American Stove the union protested the firing of one of their number by a plant foreman. The member was reinstated immediately. At Republic a 5% raise was obtained through negotiation. At Jones & Laughlin a five and one half cents raise was obtained.

  • 1Industrial Worker, 8/21/1942, 9/30/1942