Philip Murray: Union Man
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Little Steel Strikes. Over union supporters were expelled from Republic's Canton and Massillon, Ohio mills. One Republic supervisor bluntly told the locked-out workers that management intended to "starve them into submission. In no mood to delay action, the union ranks voted for an immediate strike aimed at shutting down all local Republic operations in solidarity with their locked-out union brothers.
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After the vote, and without gaining authorization from SWOC's national headquarters, hundreds of workers moved to set up picket lines at all Canton and Massillon Republic plants. Within a few hours, 13, Republic workers had downed their tools, beginning the latest steel strike since As one union official commented to the press, Canton and Massillon steelworkers simply "took it upon themselves to call the strike," in a "spontaneous protest because of discrimination a against [union] men in Republic plants.
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In response to the unauthorized Canton and Massillon walkouts, Philip Murray called a "war board" meeting of the union's two hundred Little Steel representatives. Going into the meeting, Murray faced the dilemma of how to present a cooperative attitude toward steel management, while at the same time being democratically responsive to the militancy of the rank and file.
Inside the conference hall, Murray faced union organizers demanding a national strike against the major Little Steel companies. They saw no reason for delay, given that Big Steel had signed a union contract.
Moreover, the scale of Republic's attack on the union at Canton and Massillon made an immediate response virtually inevitable. We were, on the other hand, mindful of the spirit of the members, their attitude about these things, and I think we agreed that in the absence of any contract, and particularly with the knowledge of the Republic Steel Corporation's methods and policies toward the organization, that if some sort of action was not taken, the organization would be destroyed.
I think that the members felt very strongly that way themselves. If I go back without word to go out at 11 o'clock tonight, I will get my throat cut.
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That night, May 26, , thousands of steelworkers, their families and supporters crowded around the mill gates of northeastern Ohio to cheer the second shift workers as they came off the job. Sign in to Purchase Instantly.
Explore Now. Buy As Gift. This plant is one of the few major steel mills left standing and still in production in America. Fittingly, this mill, a virtual loner sitting in the heart of the rust belt, reflects in its enduring, majestic solidity the spirit of Philip Murray a union warrior who during the years of struggle was in the vanguard of the battle to establish the organized labor movement in America.
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Capping a year span during which he worked his way up through the union ranks to president of the CIO in holding that position until he died in , it was Philip Murray who brought trade unionism to the threshold of institutional greatness in America. Product Details.
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