occur. Immediately following the receipt of this telegram
President Lynch wired President O'Brien of Chicago Local
No. 16 as follows: "Kellogg wires me dispute with Hearst
papers serious and trouble liable.
Of course, under arbi-
tration agreement, disputes must be peaceably adjusted,
work continuing in the interim between raising of question
and its settlement. Know that you will see agreement is
observed." The first knowledge that any official of the
International Typographical Union received that a strike
had occurred was gained by President Lynch through a
bulletin posted on a bulletin board in Washington. Presi-
dent Lynch telegraphed at once to President O'Brien of the
Chicago local union: "Just learned of strike on Hearst
papers, in violation of arbitration agreement and contract
obligations. Men must return to work at once and pro-
58 Railroad Trainmen's Journal, September-October, 1906, pp. 835-
5' Proceedings, 1901, p. 9.
^o Proceedings, 1905, pp. 18, 44.
405] THE INDEPENDENT STRIKE 67
tection guaranteed to those who obey this order," Presi-
dent Lynch also communicated at once with Secretary-
Treasurer Hays and the executive council, and the strike,
in accordance with the rules of the national union, was
disavowed as illegal, and the men were ordered to report
for work. The publishers of the Examiner and the Ameri-
can were also informed of this decision. The Chicago local
union refused to carry out this order. The national
officers then declared that if the men did not return to
work the "executive council would order that type for the
American and Examiner be set by members in other
chapels, and that it would use every effort to see that the
papers on which the strike occurred were issued with the
least possible delay." The local union proving stubborn,
telegrams were sent to the chairmen of the other Chicago
papers instructing them to have set up any copy presented
for the American and the Examiner unless the strikers
returned to work at once.^^ The executive committee of
the local union then ordered the men to return to work on
the American and the Examiner.
The members of the Photo-Engravers' Union on the Pitts-
burg Dispatch went out on an illegal strike in 1905, but
were ordered to return to work by the national officers, and
a deputy was sent who adjusted the dispute.®^ The Inter-
national Stereotypers and Electro typers' Union, likewise,
opposes any illegal strike. Stereotypers' Union No. 4 of
Chicago instituted a strike on the principal Chicago papers
on May 3, 1912, in direct violation of the terms of an agree-
ment entered into with the daily newspapers of Chicago,
and underwritten and guaranteed by the national union.
The executive officers of the national union as soon as notice
had been received of the strike denounced it as illegal, and
ordered the men who had struck immediately to return to
work. The executive officers went to Chicago and en-
deavored to have the striking members return to work but
without success. On May 9, 1912, the charter of Stere-
^^ Proceedings, 191 1, p. 95.
^2 Proceedings, 191 1, p. 352.
68 CONTROL OF STRIKES IN AMERICAN TRADE UNIONS [406
otypers' Union No. 4 was suspended. The matter was
brought up at the annual convention, and after long debate
was referred to the executive board with power to act.
The executive board then by unanimous vote chartered a
new union to be known as Stereotypers' Union No. 114 of
Chicago, Illinois, to take the place of the one suspended.^^
The Boot and Shoe Workers in 1907 revoked the charter
of their local union in South Framingham, Mass., and
entered suit for the funds in the local treasury. The local
union had entered upon a strike without holding a meeting
or notifying any of the national officers.^ Likewise some
"treers" in a Brockton factory where the "union stamp
agreement" was in force went out on the plea of a right to
quit as individuals. The firm notified the officers of the
national union, and the latter advertised for men to take
the places of the strikers and thus protect the agreement.
The strikers appealed to the 1907 convention, but their
appeal was not allowed because they had not paid their
fines.^^ Again in 1909 the places of illegal strikers were
filled, although with difficulty, and the strikers were termed
traitors and repudiators.®^
The United Mine Workers do not consider any strike
legal or entitled to support unless the rules governing
strikes have been complied with.^^ In 1896 the McDonald
machine men had a grievance, but instead of observing
the strike law they quit work, and then sought an adjust-
ment of the trouble. The Pittsburg convention ordered
them back to work, and asked them to present their
grievances to the joint committee of ten appointed for the
purpose of settling such disputes. The editor of the
Journal said: "This is disciphne, no doubt, but it is of the
right kind. It is the discipline that will eventually redound
«3Tiie Journal [Stereotypers and Electrotypers], June, pp. I, 2,
September, p. i, 1912; Proceedings, 19 12, p. 36.
** Proceedings, 1907, p. 22.
°^ Ibid., pp. 21, 319.
**Shoe Workers' Journal, January, 1911, p. 26.
" Constitution, 1890, art. v; 1908, art. x.
407] THE INDEPENDENT STRIKE 69
to the benefit of all of us, if rightly and consistently exer-
The rare case of a local union going farther in disciplining
members than the national organization is willing to go is
illustrated in a decision of the general executive board of
the Pattern Makers' League. A branch of the league
expelled two members on account of their action during
an unsanctioned strike. The executive board did not
approve the action of the association in expelling these
two members, and ruled that they would not approve the
action of any branch in expelling members on account of
unsanctioned strikes.^^ This union, however, is highly
organized and as a body is opposed to strikes, holding that
under their system strikes are unnecessary.'^"
It thus appears that the main forces making for the
abolition of the independent or illegal strike have been (i)
the growth of a national policy in regard to organization
and beneficiary features, (2) the necessity of the enforce-
ment of agreements with employers, and (3) the necessity
of discipline to keep the local unions from disruption and
destruction through unwise and hasty strikes. The older
national unions, such as the Iron Molders, the Bricklayers
and Masons, the Cigar Makers, the Typographical Union,
and the Locomotive Engineers, have attained a more
complete control than the more recently organized unions.
Complete control is found in all the railroad brotherhoods.
The grant of strike benefits only in the case of a duly
authorized strike acts as a sharp deterrent on local unions
contemplating an illegal strike. The suspension or revo-
cation of the charter of a local union means that its members
will suffer the loss of death, sickness, and out-of-work
benefits offered by the national organization. The expul-
sion or suspension of the individual members acts also, of
course, in the same way, while a fine and the loss of work
through the illegal strike may make the financial burden
an onerous one.
** United Mine Workers' Journal, January 23, 1896, p. 4.
»" Pattern Makers' Journal, April, 1890, p. 16.
'"' Proceedings, 1906, p. 8.
70 CONTROL OF STRIKES IN AMERICAN TRADE UNIONS [408
No uniform date can be assigned to the beginning of the
ehmination of independent strikes since the date varies
with different unions. The Locomotive Engineers, for
instance, centraHzed strike control by agreements through
the national executive with the railroads during the years
1874-1879. The Cigar Makers did not gain full control
until after 1885, while the Holders, although passing an
expulsion rule in 1882, had independent strikes as late as
1901. The Printers did not provide against the illegal or
unauthorized strike until 1904. It may be stated gener-
ally, however, that fairly effective control of the un-
authorized strike began to develop the early eighties.
The lack of control still found in many unions is to be
explained by their system of local autonomy and low dues.
The national office without money cannot dictate to the
local unions when and where not to strike. The influence
of increased dues and centralization is shown by the history
of the Boot and Shoe Workers since 1899. This organiza-
tion, by means of increased dues (the bulk of which go to
the national union), the raising of a defense fund, the use
of agreements, and the giving of sick benefits, has made the
national union paramount.
The Management of Strikes
The successful issue of a strike, like the winning of a
battle, depends to a large extent on the methods used and
the leadership evoked. The evolution of strike manage-
ment, like that of strike initiation, has proceeded from
almost complete autonomy on the part of the local unions
to the present large measure of control by the national
unions.^ The usual strike machinery is as follows: (i) the
local strike committee, (2) the district committee, and""
(3) the agent or representative of the national union who
conducts the strike and represents the interests of the
(i) The local strike committee chosen by the local union
conducts the strike and has full charge of affairs where
there is complete local autonomy, as in such unions as the
Blast Furnace Workers and Smelters, the Composition
Roofers, the Damp and Waterproof Workers, the Print
Cutters, the Hod Carriers, the Slate and Tile Roofers, and
the Wall Paper Machine Printers and Color Mixers. On
the other hand, where control by the national union exists
the local committee is chosen under rules laid down by the
national union. The Granite Cutters, for instance, in
1880 provided that the local union should elect a strike
committee of five members to conduct the strike, report to
the national union as to the standing of the dispute, and
give an account of receipts and expenditures.^ Such an
election is a common procedure in several unions, but in
* Especially significant, however, as showing the trend of develop-
ment is the fact that in the Hod Carriers and Building Laborers' Union,
which pays no strike benefits, the national president or a special
organizer sent by him goes to stay with the local union until the strike
' Constitution, 1880, art. xiii.
72 CONTROL OF STRIKES IN AMERICAN TRADE UNIONS [4 10
others the local executive board, made up of the officers
of the local union, acts as a strike committee.^
(2) In places where there is more than one local union
of any national union, a district council or joint local
executive board usually exists and takes an active part in
the management of strikes. The general rule is that a
district committee appointed to consider the initiation of a
strike continues as a strike committee if, in spite of their
efforts at adjustment, a strike ensues. Occasionally a
new committee is elected. The Brotherhood of Carpenters
and Joiners, for instance, in 1888 provided that when a
district council exists it must adopt rules for the govern-
ment of strikes and lockouts subject to the approval of
the general executive board.^ Likewise the Cigar Makers'
International Union in 1890 voted that in places where
more than one local union exists such local unions shall
form a "Joint Strike Committee" for the management of
all strikes or lockouts, and that in the month of January of
each year they must adopt local rules for the management
of strikes, these rules to be published in the Cigar Makers'
Official Journal.^ A concrete illustration of the working
of a district council is afforded by a strike in 191 1 of thir-
teen local unions of the Brick, Tile, and Terra Cotta
Workers' Alliance under the jurisdiction of District Council
No. I, known as the Chicago district. At the conferences
preceding the strike each local union was represented by
one delegate and negotiations were carried on by this
committee and by the district and general officers. When
a strike ensued, however, a general meeting of all the local
unions was held, and the management of the strike was
turned over to the executive board of the council and the
It is usual in the case of a general strike for the national
president to call upon each local union involved to select a
representative to meet with the members of the general
* Tobacco Workers, Constitution, 1905, sec. 77.
* Constitution, 1888, art. xx, sec. 12.
' Constitution, 1890, art. xxv, sees, i, 4.
* Brick, Tile and Terra Cotta Workers' Journal, June, 191 1, p. 4.
41 1] THE MANAGEMENT OF STRIKES 73
executive board to form a general arbitration committee,
with power delegated by the executive board to take full
charge of the strike.
(3) An increasing number of unions have adopted in
recent years the policy of sending a representative or
deputy to the place where any dispute or difficulty arises.
The evolution of this practice has been outlined in a
previous chapter and need not detain us here. The agent
sent in the first place usually remains to manage the
strike if all efforts for adjustment fail; or if there has been
no opportunity to send a representative before the strike
takes place, one is sent as soon as possible thereafter.
Some sixty unions pursue this policy, which reflects the
general feeling among trade unionists that a local union
on strike is not capable of managing its own affairs. The
members of the national union outside of the local union
on strike are not satisfied unless there is a general officer or
agent on the field of conflict to conduct the strike and to
give an itemized report of expenditures and full details as
The recognized strike leader in many unions is the
national president, who has authority to command the
entire resources of the national union. This is especially
true of the railroad brotherhoods such as the Locomotive
Engineers, the Locomotive Firemen, the Railway Con-
ductors, the Railroad Trainmen, the Car Workers, the
Railway Clerks, and the Railroad Telegraphers. Where
more than one strike at a time is being waged the vice-
presidents are called upon to take the place of the presi-
dent. The representative may be, however, any of the
officers or members of the national union. In 1904 the
Amalgamated Woodworkers' Union had two salaried men
who were directing strikes, but whose expenses were
charged to "organization and travel."^
The duties of the agent or representative in the manage-
ment of strikes were succinctly stated by the Cigar Makers
in the constitution of 1886: "To attend all meetings of
" Proceedings, 1904, p. 22.
74 CONTROL OF STRIKES IN AMERICAN TRADE UNIONS [4I2
the committee having the conducting of the strike or the
lock-out in charge, and to report weekly or oftener as
circumstances warrant, or if required to do so by the
International President, upon all questions in reference to
the difficulty, and at the same time forward a copy thereof
to each member of the Executive Board. He shall have
free access to all meetings of the committee above speci-
fied, and have power when directed to examine the books
and papers of the local unions."^ This phrasing has been
adopted by several other unions. The general agent is
liable to discipline for neglect of duty. The general
executive board of the Bakery and Confectionery Workers
in 1911 suspended an agent on account of flagrant neglect
of duty in handling a strike.^
The tendency is toward an increased use of the general
representative, even where a large degree of local autonomy
prevails. The Painters plan to send a general officer to
the scene of a strike, although their local unions generally
finance their own strikes.^° The Barbers have always
allowed their local unions autonomy in the matter of
strikes, but in a strike at Louisville, Ky., in 1911, an inter-
national representative was sent to the scene of conflict to
safeguard the interests of the national union. Even where
no representative is sent from outside, the national union
in some cases has its officers appoint two or more members
of the local strike committee from among the members of
the local unions on strike, to act on behalf of the national
Headquarters are usually established, where the officers
in charge of the strike may be found and where the strikers
can gather, and in some cases they are kept open day and
night.^^ Meetings are held daily in most cases and speakers
address these meetings to encourage the men. Members
* Constitution, 1886, art. vi, sec. 21.
' Bakers' Journal, April 29, 191 1, p. i; May 6, 191 1, p. I.
_ ^^ A general officer of this union attended a meeting of a strike com-
mittee in Pittsburgh in 191 1 and advised how best to conduct the
strike (Painter and Decorator, May, 191 1, p. 295).
"The Burlington Strike, p. 205. Compiled by C. H. Salmons, an
official account, Aurora, 111. 1889.
413] THE MANAGEMENT OF STRIKES 75
on strike are required to report daily at roll call in some
unions, while in others attendance is required twice a day.
Failure to report ordinarily entails a forfeiture of strike
pay, although some unions excuse non-attendance provided
a good reason is given.^ In some unions members on
strike are not allowed to leave the locality without noti-
fying the local union, or without the consent of two thirds
of the members involved. Violations are punished or
penalized in the International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths
by a fine of ten dollars.^^ Members are also required to do
whatever work may be assigned them in connection with
the strike, and in case of refusal without a reasonable
excuse they forfeit their strike pay or are expelled.
The officers of the local union or the strike committee
must report the progress of the strike to the national
officers. To begin with, as soon as the strike takes place
notice must be sent to general headquarters giving the
number of men involved, describing the condition of affairs,
and in some cases transmitting a list of the strikers.^*
A blank form is usually sent from headquarters for the
local officials to fill out.^^ The Stone Cutters require that
" Boiler Makers' Journal, August, 1902, p. 321; Journeyman Barber,
August, 191 1, p. 225; Constitution, Granite Cutters' Association, 1880,
1' Local Constitution, 1909, art. xii, sec. 7.
1* Bakers' Journal, May 13, 1911, p. 3.
^* The following is a typical form:
Affiliated with the American Federation of Labor
International Association of Machinists
Office of Grand Lodge — 400-407 McGill Building
Report of Strikes and Lockouts
Secretaries will please fill out this blank form and send to Interna-
tional President when a strike or lockout occurs.
Date of strike 190 . Time of day
Name of firm
Cause of strike
Total number of machinists on strike
Number of union machinists Number of apprentices
76 CONTROL OF STRIKES IN AMERICAN TRADE UNIONS [414
a strike report shall be made to the general office daily /^
but only a weekly report is required by the^greater number
of national unions. Failure to report involves the for-
feiture of strike pay in most unions. Strike aid was dis-
continued by the Cigar Makers^^ in 1873 and by the Stone
Cutters^^ in 1903 to local unions on strike which had not
sent in their strike reports.
One of the first steps taken after the inauguration of a
strike is to send out a notice of the strike to the various
local unions. Such a notice is a warning to all to keep
away from the seat of trouble so that the employers will
not be able to get workmen. The Philadelphia Typo-
graphical Society in 1803 published an advertisement and
sent out notices of such a nature to different societies in the
United States, as did the Franklin Typographical Society
of New York in 1809. The latter in 18 10 urged its members
to make every effort to prevent the defeat of their striking
brethren in Philadelphia by the importation of printers
from New York. After the establishment of the National
Typographical Union in 1850 its main purpose for thirty
Number of machinists who have been members for three months
Number of non-union machinists on strike Number
of machinists remaining at work Are any of the other
metal trades involved?
Has a strike ever taken place before; if so, with what result?
What class of work is firm engaged in?
What has been done to avoid the strike?
Give full particulars not mentioned above, wages paid, hours worked,
Approved: Int'l Pres.
Pay rolls sent:
No Benefits Paid for the First Week of Strike.
"Constitution, 1892, art. xi, sec. 7; By-Laws, 1909.
^' Proceedings, 1873, p. 16.
^8 Stone Cutters' Journal, January, 1903, p. 7.
415] THE MANAGEMENT OF STRIKES 77
years was "to build up among the local unions such a
community of feeling as to make it as difficult as possible
for employers to secure workmen in time of strike. "^^
In 1864 the national secretary of the Cigar Makers was
instructed to notify all local unions of any difficulty .^°
The officers of the Bricklayers and Masons in 1869 issued
warnings to members to keep away from the scene of
trouble.^^ The FHnt Glass Workers in 1881 instructed
their secretary in case of sanctioned strikes to send out a
statement of the facts to all local unions, "warning all
true men not to accept employment in such factory or
factories. "^^ The same language is used by the Operative
Potters-^ and the Tin Plate Workers.^ The Iron Molders
directed their president in 1882, and later their secretary,
to keep the organization informed as to strikes or lock-
outs either by circular or through the Journal.^^
Most unions now issue notices of strikes through their
secretaries or through their journals. A typical notice is
the following by the Machinists, printed in large-face type
in their official organ: "Keep away from all points on the
Pacific Coast. This means every city, there are no excep-
tions, and it means you, so don't go out there and pretend
that you did not know they were on strike for an eight-
hour day."^® That such a notice is not entirely uncalled
for is seen by the experience of the Boiler Workers in two
strikes in 1892, one in Chicago and the other in Boston.
Both local unions had to pay out of their strike benefits
the return fare of those members, denounced as "pirates"
and "land cormorants," who came on free tickets furnished
by the employers and then claimed that they would not
have come if they had known a strike was in progress.^'^
1^ Barnett, pp. 16, 18, 29.
'" Constitution, 1864, art. vii, sec. 2.
'^ Proceedings, 1869, p. 34.
2^ Constitution, 1881, art. ix, sec. 2.
^' Constitution, 1910, sec. 66.
^* Constitution, 1908, art. vii, sec. 3.
^^ Constitution, 1882, art. vi, sec. 2.
2^ Machinists' Monthly Journal, January, 191 1, p. I5-
*' Proceedings, 1893, p. 41.
78 CONTROL OF STRIKES IN AMERICAN TRADE UNIONS [416
Another method of limiting the number of men who
must be turned back is to refuse temporarily all travelling
or transfer cards. The Cigar Makers in 1886 passed a
rule giving local unions on strike power to reject all travel-
ling cards, provided the strike was approved by the national
union.^^ This rule was amended in 1896 by making an
exception in the case of sick members. The Freight
Handlers^^ and the Stove Mounters^° have a similar rule.
The Steam Fitters in 1897 also provided against transfer
at such times.^^ A local union of the Bakery and Con-
fectionery Workers must have the approval of the general
executive board before it may refuse to admit members from
the national union on travelling cards during a strike or
lockout in its district.^^ The Bookbinders, when a strike
involves more than one third of the membership, allow the
local union to reject all travelling cards, ^^ while under the
same conditions a local union of the Theatrical Stage
Employes may reject such cards for three months, or,
with the consent of the national president, for six months.^^
The Cement Workers, the Horseshoers, the Operative
Plasterers, and the Painters also provide against such
transfers. Members who have had a bona fide residence of
one year or more within the jurisdiction of a local union of
the Operative Plasterers prior to a strike or lockout have
the privilege of returning. One of the reasons for these
restrictions on transfers is that if some employers hold out
while others accede to the demands, it becomes difficult