WE KNEW DIFFERENT
MICHIGAN TIMBER WORKERS' STRIKE
Debra E. Bernhardt
Mid-Peninsula Library Cooperative
BALLAD OF A LUMBERJACK
PART I 1
PART II 17
PART III 41
PART IV 55
SOURCES CONSULTED 89
It seemed natural that I should come to this study of the woods and the men who worked there.
Several years ago in an attempt to understand the community I come from and myself through it, I listened to the words of iron ore miners. It was time to turn to the woodsmen. For this land now nearly depleted of both the iron and the pine holds great wealth in the memories of its people.
But lest I become too ethereal, I recall for you the comment of a retired IWA organizer. "So you're writing a history of organized labor in the boondocks?" he said.
This second study deals with a single event rather than with the truth of an individual multiplied from subjective experience to the collective reality of a community. I have been painfully conscious of my role--and my voice--as I play synthesizer of what is fragmented, imperfectly known, imperfectly remembered, and value-laden. For that reason I rely heavily on the words of participants, one remarkably articulate "veteran struggler" in particular.
But in the end it is I, having collected such bits as they are wrenched from their context in time, who must take responsibility for placing them in an order which I have tried to make a fair and balanced and true representation of what occurred forty years ago.
I am obligated to tell you who I am in relationship to this corpus I have brought together. I choose to do so through the word "communist" because it is so volatile a word and so important to this narrative. When I began this project half a year ago, I knew only one "communist", in the person of a grandmotherly neighbor, a Finnish woman whose wrath over social injustice and support for the causes I thought right made of me as much an admiring grand daughter as a political ally. Since then I have come to know many "communist" faces. Arriving at some sort of political awareness as I did after the Cold War, I knew "communist" not as the object of fear and loathing, but rather, as a phenomenon I grouped on a nostalgic plane with Eugene V. Debs, the Kennedy martyrs, and McGovern's campaign--embodiments of pure and vaguely rebellious strivings sweetened because they seemed doomed to failure.
Now I know less vaguely about the strivings of "communists" in a nearly forgotten struggle, one which was the product of great social forces, overshadowed by other manifestations of them.
I offer that knowledge to you.
Debra E. Bernhardt
Iron River, Michigan
BALLAD OF A LUMBERJACK
We told 'em the blankets were crumby,
And they said that we like 'em that way.
We told 'em skunks couldn't smell our bunks,
But they said that our bunks were okay.
We told 'em we wanted a pillow,
And a mattress and maybe a sheet,
And they said, where's your guts? Going
soft? Are you nuts?
That hay on your bunks is a treat.
We told 'em we wanted some water
And a tub into which it could squirt.
And they said, why wash clothes? Wanna
smell like a rose?
Why, it's healthy to wallow in dirt.
We said that we wanted some windows,
And we wanted a little more space,
Cause, we said, it was punk sleepin' two
in a bunk
With a guy snorin' booze in your face.
We said that we wanted some money,
We hadn't enough to get by.
A month in the wood, ten bucks to the good--
But they promised us pie in the sky.
But one day we all got together,
And we put the old boys on the spot,
We laid the axe down and we tramped
And we left their old timber to rot.
The bosses they crawled on their bellies,
And they wept that they couldn't get by,
So we melted with pity and passed out a
To buy the boys pie in the sky.
This poem by Irene Paull first appeared in a mimeographed strike bulletin distributed to lumberjacks in Duluth's skid row, December, 1936.
In the spring of 1937 the eyes of the country were following Amelia Earhart's ill-fated world flight and Wally Simpson's romance with royalty, and the disposition of John D. Rockefeller's will; or perhaps, the offensives of John L. Lewis or Franco or Hitler. They were most certainly not following the May 18 walkout of lumberjacks at Bonifas Camp No. 2 near Marenisco, Michigan, though it would mark the beginning of a general strike of Upper Peninsula woodsmen lasting sixteen weeks and idling an estimated six thousand men. It would mark the beginning of the end of a lumbering era, as well.
The condition of the lumber industry at the outbreak of the strike could not be termed healthy. Nation-wide the industry was beginning to recover from a period of stagnation that began as early as 1925. But the signs were not boding well. Lumber consumption had been falling since 1906 as the period of agricultural expansion came to an end. Substitutes were relentlessly encroaching on the wood products market. In addition, the lumber industry, slow to follow the trend of consolidation, had no organization that was able to cope with problems of over production. Overhead costs were mounting, and so was unemployment.
Then there was the problem of raw materials. In the Upper Peninsula the white pine era was three decades past and already many of the prime hardwood and hemlock reserves were depleted. Logging had always been a risky business, and loggers had always been willing to face the risks.
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As for labor in the woods, unionism was slow to take hold. Forest historian Vernon Jensen lists the deterrents to organization:7
The absence of trade union psychology, the strength of individualism, the seasonality of the industry, the isolation of groups of workers in camps miles back in the woods, and the customary complete employer control in the sawmilling centers were all obstacles to cooperative action by working men.
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So it was in the Michigan woods. Before the strike in 1937 there were few attempts to organize Upper Peninsula lumberworkers and those attempts met with little success. The AFL through the International Timber Workers' Union called a strike for the eight-hour day in 1920 but after nearly two months millworkers and lumberjacks returned to work having gained nothing.8
The Twenties were years as lean for unionism as for the industry itself. In the early Thirties the National Lumber Workers Union sent organizers and locals were readied by Finnish Workers or their cooperatives, but again, little came of their efforts.9 Though scarcely more successful, the I.W.W. Lumber Workers Industrial Union 120 deserves more attention because of its place within the Finnish working class movement--without which the organization of Upper Peninsula timberworkers may not have achieved the gains it did.
The phenomenon of Finnish radicalism is credited by one historian to the Finns' inherent "love of freedom and courageous opposition against the oppressors, whether a Russian cossak, a White Guard, or a gunman in an American mining town."10 Another analyzes it in terms of "proletarianizing" and "preradicalizing": radicalism was the response of segments of the Finnish population to the traumas of industrialization and czarist repression combined with nascent nationalism and the socialist labor movement." Whatever the origins of Finnish radicalism, it flourished for a time in the United States. In 1906 the Finnish Socialist Federation was founded to unite Finns in a Marxist, class
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conscious organization. The largest of the foreign language federations within the Socialist Party, it boasted nearly 11,000 members and 225 local chapters in its golden year, 1912. The Finnish Socialist hall became the
center of community life for well over ten percent of the Finns in America with its variety of cultural and social functions including bands, choruses, dramatic clubs, sewing circles, sports, socialist "Sunday School", and the often overlooked "agitation" committees. In 1914 a schism developed between the "yellow" parliamentary socialists and the proponents of syndicalism and "revolutionary industrial unionism." The latter group left the Federation to join the Industrial Workers of the World, taking with them control of the Work Peoples' College and the Finnish language newspaper, the
Socialisti soon aptly renamed the Industrialisti.12
The Finns who left the Socialist Party of the I.W.W. did so, in part, to renew the militant class consciousness they felt had been lost in the comfortable congeniality of "hall socialism". However, I.W.W. Finns maintained the hall tradition in Marquette, Ishpeming, Rock, Iron River, Crystal Falls, Covington, and Bessemer, to name a few of the Upper Peninsula enclaves. Through such halls, some success was made in organizing I.W.W. miners' locals. But to a large extent attempts to organize timberworkers were limited to individual "traveling delegates" who went from camp to camp "educating the wage slave", distributing I.W.W. literature, and selling subscriptions to the Industrialisti and the Industrial Worker. The Wobblies were often
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credited with "enlivening" labor relations in the district through acts of sabotage. Not until 1936, however, did the I.W.W. make a concerted effort to organize UP timberworkers.13
When the National Industrial Recovery Administration code for the lumber industry was adopted in 1933, not a single labor organization was listed anywhere in the Great Lakes region.14
Prospects for organizing timberworkers began to brighten as the labor movement of the Thirties gathered momentum. The axe-wielding forgotten men became restless for their New Deal as news of labor's gains filtered into the woods. The President was behind them, they knew. And so was the Supreme Court which had ruled in April of 1937 that the Wagner Labor Act was constitutional; now it was their right to "bargain collectively through unions of their choice." John L. Lewis and his fledgling Congress of Industrial Organizations showed them the way to put the fear of the laborer in the hearts of the Steel Trust; now he was taking on Little Steel. His Buicks even then could be seen plying the roads of the Upper Peninsula iron ranges. Down state the auto industry was a flurry of sit-down strikes. Big changes, they knew, were ready to take place in the timber industry.
On the West Coast, the Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union, formed in 1930 with the assistance of the Workers' Unity League, had fallen under the control of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and
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Joiners.15 As a non-beneficial affiliate of the Carpenters and Joiners, the
LSWU paid dues to the American Federation of Labor without the right to speak or vote at conventions, an arrangement rankling to a membership which had fiercely guarded rank and file control. Friction between the LSWU and the Carpenters mounted after the CIO parted ways with the AFL, and
representatives of the West Coast district councils of the LSWU formed the unsanctioned Federation of Woodworkers. The Federation voted to remain in the Carpenters and Joiners, but it supported the reinstatement of those national unions suspended by the AFL for their connection with the CIO, a position which did nothing to improve relations with the mother union. The LSWU sent delegates to John L. Lewis and John Brophy who listened sympathetically to their complaints, but informed them that the CIO was set up to organize the unorganized, not to raid the AFL. By July 19, 1937, however, results of a referendum on the question of CIO affiliation having demonstrated an overwhelming rejection of the part of the membership, of the AFL, the CIO granted a charter to the Federation of Woodworkers. Harold Pritchett, timberworker activist from British Columbia, was elected president of the new organization which adopted the name, the International Woodworkers of America.16
Michigan lumberjacks watched West Coast developments with interest. They knew about the "Great Strike of 1935" in Oregon where the Federal Mediation Board had played an important role in achieving
what seemed to them an unattainable settlement: the eight-hour day and forty- hour week with a base rate of fifty cents an hour. Nearer geographically and more influential in the events that would unfold in the Upper Peninsula woods, was a strike which broke out in the camps of northern Minnesota in January of 1937.
"The general strike of woods workers has justly called attention to the plight of a neglected group of workers," was Farmer Labor Governor Elmer Benson's response to detractors who said the strike was caused by "a handful of outside agitators" and "non-voting, floating racketeers who do not own property in this state". He continued, "The strike /is/ only a natural consequence of working conditions and a depressed wage scale characteristic of an unhealthy industry." Benson and the Minnesota Farmer Labor Party supported the strike with more than rhetoric. He ordered the Duluth national guard armory heated as sleeping quarters for homeless jacks, furnished blankets to strikers at state camps set up for relief clients, and set up soup kitchens financed by state relief funds in Duluth, Virginia, Gheen, Cloquet, and International Falls. In addition, Benson assigned sufficient highway patrolmen for the unprecedented purpose of protecting the strikers and keeping logging trucks off the roads until the strike was settled. The settlement was made largely through Benson's appointment of a special committee of liberal local legislators and labor representatives who investigated camp conditions and published their findings. The settlement granted
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full recognition to the union and a six month contract stipulating much improved conditions and wages.17 In the weeks that followed the outbreak of the Michigan strike, the role of Michigan Governor Murphy would often be compared to that of Benson, unfavorably.
Minnesota Local 2776 of the Timber and Sawmill Workers,18 United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, ended the strike having negotiated an industry-wide contract with 192 logging operations. It boasted a membership of over 5,000. Its official organ, the Timber Worker, would soon be printing on a weekly basis. From its headquarters in Duluth, it planned a campaign to organize "all workers employed in and about the pulp, logging, and woodworking industry in camps, mills and other enterprises"--from stump to finished product in the Tri-State timber belt. Among the resolutions passed at its first convention were one which permitted open transfer of membership between the three states, and another which extended moral and material support to sister locals in Michigan and Wisconsin.19
One such sister local had been established in Ironwood on March 14, 1937.20 The circumstances leading to its founding are related by George Rahkonen, who served as secretary-treasurer of the local during the strike:
When the Timber Workers' strike in Minnesota happened, it was led by the progressive elements-- the communist elements. After
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they had won their strike, they knew that in order to consolidate their position, the workers of Wisconsin and Michigan had to be organized. So, who should they contact? They certainly weren't going to contact anyone else but those interested in the labor movement--the Communists and the Finnish Workers.21
In order to place the Communists and Finnish Workers into context and to explain the relationship between them, it is necessary to return to the Finnish Socialist Federation. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Federation had undergone a second, and debilitating, doctrinal split. In the spring of 1921 the majority of those members who remained after the I.W.W. schism, left to form an independent organization sympathetic to communism. This independent organization joined the Workers' (Communist) Party of America in December of that year, the largest language federation to do so with seven thousand, or about forty percent of the Party's membership. In 1925 when the Party attempted to abolish the language federations in favor of "Americanized" cell units, the Finns resisted, refusing to disband their hall organizations. Fewer that two thousand Finns joined cells. In an effort to shore up its losses the Party mandated the Center of Finnish Workers' Clubs which permitted the continued existence of Finnish workers' halls with social and cultural life unimpaired.22 "When I took over the district, Party membership was overwhelmingly the same as Finnish Federation local clubs membership,"
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writes John Wiita, who under the name of Henry Pure served as district organizer of the Communist Party in the Upper Peninsula from 1935 to 1938.23
The contact with Minnesota Local 2776 having been established, the Communist Party in Ironwood decided, and George Rahkonen continues:
We decided, "We know /organization in the woods/ is coming and we're all for it. And we want to do what is in the best interest of the workers. Let's organize a local of the AF of L here in Ironwood." So they got together enough former timberworkers and sawmill workers together and they applied for a charter from the AFL. It was issued, they had no reason to refuse us. The charter of 2530 was first issued in preparation that when organization starts, we'll have something
to organize timberworkers into.24
Why did the Communist Party adopt the conservative, craft rather than industrial union oriented American Federation of Labor as a vehicle for organizing in the Upper Peninsula? In part, the answer lies in the fact that early in 1937 the Lumber and Sawmill Workers had yet to break with the Carpenters and Joiners and the CIO at that time was making no effort to organize timberworkers. Moreover, since 1934 when Stalin, threatened by the rise of fascism in Europe, had ordered the world Communist movement to shift from an independent to
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the "Popular Front" strategy, the Trade Union Unity League and its affiliated unions, among them the National Lumber Workers Union, had been abandoned. Jack Stachel, labor spokesman for the Communist Party USA summed up the change in line when he said, "Our basic task is to win these millions within the AF of L." The task of the Ironwood local was even more basic: to bring the estimated ten to fifteen thousand timberworkers of the Upper Peninsula into any organization. Incompatibility between the communist philosophy and strategy and that of syndicalism ruled out cooperation with the
I.W.W. As the Minnesota local had determined earlier, the only viable alternative was the AFL.
Notable strides in organization did not occur in the two months after the founding of Local 2530. Unemployment was high in the Michigan camps, partly because of the seasonal layoffs that came with "spring break-up." Local 2530 was hampered by a lack of funds which prevented sending organizers into camps. Some contacts were made through the Party and through coops, but Frank Arvola, state president of the Michigan Timber Workers Local 2530, as he was billed by the Timber Worker, had little to report in an interview May 11. He expressed a limited optomism about the possibilities for organizing the lumberjacks in the state. Camps were beginning to reopen. Most organizing to that time had been carried on with sawmill workers in Gogebic County. The work was bound to be slow because, with the exception of the Workers' Alliance, no organization had been
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accomplished in the county. Mass meetings had been arranged for the sawmill workers in Marenisco and Ironwood, however, and Arvola expected good results.25
Local 2530 was nothing more than an "AFL committee--it was no union. All it had was this charter and it wasn't really representing anything... "26 when in mid-May the Minnesota local sent an organizer to assist Ironwood. That organizer was Joe Liss.
Reported to have been active in the Western timber workers' strike activity, Joe Liss was characterized by an officer of the Minnesota local as the "yeast" of the Minnesota strike. He is said to have precipitated the wildcat strike of Gheen in the fall of 1935, which though unsuccessful, led to the formation of Local 2776. During the strike in January of 1937, Liss founded and singlehandedly put out the first six issues of the Timber Worker paper from his Duluth hotel room.27 Those who saw him in action described him variously as "a firebrand", "a professional trouble maker", "an enigma", "an old Wobblie", "a good man, but...a little bit out of his head". Martin Kuusisto perhaps most accurately sums him up:
There was no organization for him... He was what the Europeans called an anarcho-syndicalist; he wasn't an I.W.W. syndicalist. /He wanted to change the whole government/ as of right now--no short cuts.28
Liss' reputation preceded him. His reception in Ironwood is related by George Rahkonen:
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...the people in Minnesota (laughs) wanted to get rid of him, so they sent him to Michigan. /No, it wasn't that he was too difficult to work with, but/ all he was interested in was strikes...The Communist Party and this local they had formed said, "What are we going to do with Joe Liss?" So we decided, "Let's send him to Marenisco. That's close by that maybe we can keep some control over the guy." He wasn't there more than a day before he called a strike!
If Joe Liss were the firebrand, conditions in the Michigan camps provided him with a goodly supply of easily ignited timber. Commonly heard complaints centered on the long working day, low wages, monotony and quality of food, and lack of sanitation and washing facilities in the bunk houses. Men worked nine or ten hours a day at the rate of twenty-seven to thirty-three cents an hour for unskilled labor and slightly higher for skilled labor.30 From the daily wage eighty cents to a dollar was deducted for board. "In the three years that I have been employed by this company," writes an employee of Cleveland Cliffs Camp No. 7 near Munising, "I saw fresh fruit only once, and that was when they served apples." He goes on to say that he was "bawled out for taking wood to heat water for washing clothes." There was no bath house and the crew bathed only when they went to town- - after three or more months had elapsed.31 The story of the jack who left his undershirt on a chair, awaking in the middle of the night to see it heading for the door is one
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of the tall tales the jacks told about the feats of the vermin which infested many bunk houses. Matt Savola, strike leader credited with the rallying cry paraphrasing Marx, "Lumberjacks, unite! All you've got to lose is your bedbugs!" sums up conditions in the camps:
There were two-man wooden bunks with hay-straw mattress ticks made out of gunny sacks. The blankets were of cheap material, just like horse blankets. They weren't washed till the spring, and they were lousy. There was no place to wash. Washing facilities was just an iron pot. They'd save up underwear for a couple of weeks and Sundays they would "boil up"--kill the lice by boiling in an iron pot. The lack of bathing facilities was terrible. Some of the heartier ones would wash themselves with snow. Some of the jobbers, especially the Finns, had saunas. They had more decent conditions and their camps were always crowded with men wanting to get in. Some camps had lousy food; some had cooks that were excellent. Men followed the camps where the food was good...The ventilation and lighting was just terrible. A terrible stench came from the haywire strung around the woodstove where the men would hang their socks to dry...It was these conditions that led to the strike and made the men very militant.32
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Symptomatic of the general dissatisfaction with conditions was the walkout of half the crew at Bonifas Camp No. 2 which occurred on May 11. Even the Ironwood Daily Globe whose editorial policy was not generally sympathetic to labor admitted that the strikers had hit a "vulnerable spot.. .for conditions at that camp left much to be complained about. 33
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On the same day as the walkout, Local 2530 staged a mass meeting at the Marenisco Town Hall. John Maki, a lumber piler at
the Bonifas Lumber Company mill, the single industry of the small company town, "talked organization" to the employees. The following Saturday he was fired. The foreman reportedly told him, "There's nothing wrong with your work...but you are trying to start a Communist organization in this town.1
Liss had arrived in Marenisco and on Monday morning, May 17, he headed a committee that went to see General Manager Lyons with the demand that Maki be reinstated. By the account of the Ironwood Daily Globe, Lyons refused to rehire Maki; by that of the Timber Worker, Lyons offered Maki, who had a high school education, a job as clerk on
the condition that he would quit the union. In either case, Maki was not rehired. Joe Liss, a veteran organizer, had a cause celebre and he made use of it.
"One-eyed" Nick Wancash, a salty Yugoslav who would later work as the union representative, tells what Joe Liss proceeded to do:
A fella from Minnesota, name of Joe Liss, come and asked about me. We was fixing the roof on the house where I was staying in Marenisco. I come down from the roof. He takes me on the side. He didn't know me. But he told me, "We're going to start pulling out the camps, gonna go on strike." I said, "That's okay with me." So we started in
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Marenisco, pulled the camps out there. Then we pulled a lot of them jobbers that was around, pretty near every camp in Gogebic County.. .The men come out very easy. It was no trick to pull them out /laughs/. It was miserable wet in the woods. They was darn ready to come to town!2
Liss and those who helped him spread the walkout distributed leaflets which listed strike demands. Both the leaflet and the demands were what the Minnesota local had used. The demands included a wage increase to fifty-five cents an hour, the forty-hour week, single rather than two-man bunks, shower baths, union recognition and camp (grievance) committees, and free meals for men looking for work. In response to the last demand the Ironwood paper quoted a jobber who viewed it as a joke. "In the Upper Peninsula are several hundred
'camp inspectors'," he said, "who won't work, but go from camp to camp for free grub."3 Most of the demands, however, were considered just. It was not the demands that would be attacked.
By Wednesday, May 19, two to three hundred striking lumberjacks had converged on Marenisco. An attempt that morning to get sawmill employees to walk out was reportedly repulsed, but the next morning the mill, normally employing 163, would close for lack of logs.4
In high spirits, the lumberjacks attended a rally that night. Speakers were Joe Liss, John Maki, and business manager
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of the Timber Worker, Ernest Tomberg. Tomberg outlined the achievements of Local 2776 and explained the concessions won by sawmill workers at International Falls, Minnesota after their recent strike. The concessions they won were what the Michigan jacks were demanding. Another of the speakers to give "encouraging talks" that night was George Rahkonen:
I was working at the Ironwood Cooperative Creamery and so was the Secretary-Treasurer of the union, Onni Kangas. He was a cheesemaker /essential to the operation of the co-op and thus, when things started to break in Marenisco/, he says he can't go there. He says, "You go over there, George, and take this job." So I says, "What do I know about timberworkers? I've never worked in the woods. I don't know about their grievances". There was a meeting held among these people that got the charter and the communists that were influential. These people trusted me and they said, "You go." So I got a car and I drove to Marenisco. The Secretary- Treasurer gave me the charter and the records and the application blanks. Reluctantly, I must say, I went, ... but having been in the labor movement and associated with the Communist Movement and so on, I thought I would do my best as far as the working class movement was concerned. I found
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Marenisco full of striking lumber workers. So I called them to a meeting at a street corner. I got up on a box and I told them I was representing the AFL local 2530 and they had sent me down there to be their secretary treasurer. I told the workers honestly, "I am not a lumberworker or anything associated with it, but the situations are so that I was sent down here." Probably the smartest thing I did, I asked them, "With your approval, I will do it." And right away, they hollered "You'll do! You'll do!" ...They accepted me...I had made arrangements with a tavernkeeper to sit down in a booth and take applications into the union. So after my speech they started piling into the tavern and joining up into the union.
Before I left Ironwood, in the discussion of this group, I told them, "We've got to get someone else in here, too. We have to get people that are really lumber jacks. My going there isn't going to do too much because I don't understand the situation." "We'll send Matt Savola," they said,... I must say that the next morning when Matt got off that bus, I was one of the happiest persons in the world.5
Newspaper photographs show him youthful and handsome as a Hollywood film star, with
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blonde hair and blue eyes capable of expressing humour, anger, and icy indignation. At 29 years of age, Matt Savola had run the gamut of Finnish working class movement experience, an involvement he attributes not to reading Marx or Lenin but to, "...the way we lived our lives, our environment, the way we were treated...and the experience I had in my family." One such childhood experience occurred when his father who was working as a mill hand in Phelps, Wisconsin, was seriously injured in a sawmill accident. The elder Savola, a Finnish immigrant and one-time member of the Western Federation of Miners, Socialists and the IWW, brought suit against the company for compensation. The company fired him and forced the family out of the company house. The family moved to Iron River, Michigan where the father worked as an iron ore miner until 1920 when he was arrested as a "radical alien" during the Palmer Raids, substantially diminishing his chances for employment in the area. When his father left them to seek work elsewhere, Matt, about to enter high school, regretfully dropped out of school to help support the family. He worked at odd jobs until at the age of seventeen he began to work underground at the Davidson Iron Mine. As a member of IWW miners' local and what amounted to its successor, the National Miners Union, Savola participated in attempts to organize at the Davidson. He was blacklisted and found work in the woods. A member of the Young Communist League, since 1930, when he was employed by WPA he actively and vocally furthered the
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organization of the Workers' Alliance. "I worked eleven days a month. I had plenty of time to carry on organization work," he recalls. Iron River residents remember his soapbox orations and his bravado in preventing evictions. In 1937 when the Timberworkers strike broke out in Gobegic County, "Some people came down and asked me if I would work with the strike...because I was working in the pulp woods near Amasa." They were Frank Walli, former National Mine Workers Union organizer in the Peninsula involved at that time with the Workers' Alliance, Raymond Garvey, Ironwood city councilman whom Wiita claimed as a product of his "Bolshevization" program, and John Wiita, himself, Communist Party District Organizer.6 As Wiita remembers it:
The strikers who were just ordinary workers, needed help very badly and immediately. I drove to Iron River, about one hundred miles from Ironwood, and asked our young Party Section organizer, Matti Savola, to come with me to help the strikers. He was somewhat hesitant, first pleading the urgency of the situation, he agreed...The strikers' meeting was called, and I had Savola introduced to them and he was elected chairman of the Strike Relief
Matt Savola's Relief Committee, charged with housing and feeding the ever increasing numbers of strikers, was one of several committees established at the meeting held
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the Marenisco Town Hall. A broad strike committee of thirty-five was elected to carry out the decision of the body to spread the strike, "pull out the whole works--all the camps in the Upper Peninsula!" Elected the first president of Local 2530 was Marenisco lumberjack, Luke Raik. Born Louis Rajkovich, the tall, thin Austrian was a former Wobblie who had come to Michigan from the woods of Maine. He had no party affiliation at the time of his election but, Rahkonen explains, "We recruited him. A lot of timberworkers were recruited into the Communist Party." Other local officers Elmer Marks, vice president; George Rahkonen, treasurer; Lawrence Pennock, vice treasurer; John W. Maki, assistant secretary; Arnold Starkweather, vice secretary.
Seven trustees were elected: Dick Pearson, Joe Liss, Paul Moran, John Ziegler, Raymond Verboe, Oakie Whitley and Jack Wilson.8
The Strike Committee set to work immediately, procuring vehicles from sympathizers they headed out for camps across the Peninsula. George Rahkonen was a member of the Strike Committee:
We had a truck load /of strikers! to pull out the Cleveland Cliffs camps in Munising...It took us about half the night to get there. "Should we wake the boys up or should we wait until morning?" We decided, "Hell, we'll wake them boys up any time."...We walked into the car camps. /Cleveland Cliffs camp employees were housed
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in converted passenger cars./ There was no room for nothing except sleeping. No room for washing, no facilities. We shouted, "Wake up, you sons of bitches and lumberjacks!" Boy, the reception you should have seen! They were so happy to see us. I can remember one guy jumping to the floor in his underwear and dancing the jig. He said, "I knew you guys would be around eventually!" As Secretary- Treasurer of the union, from there until daylight I had to sign up these guys into the union. By daylight the camp was empty. All of them had gone on strike. It seems funny now, but it was very serious business.9
The progress of the Committee was reported in local newspapers. In Gogebic County the strike had spread from Bonifas to all the camps operated by jobbers for Marathon Paper Company, John McNicholas, William (Cedar Pole) Smith, and Victor and Arvey Ahonen; the Connor mill halted operations and five hundred strikers were reported in the area east of Marenisco.10 In Iron County 125 woodsmen walked out of two Von Platen-Fox Company camps joined by jacks from the camps of the Lindhal Brothers and Joe Carlson. Iron River was said to be "filled with idle jacks" although little lumbering activity was going on in the county and camps were working with skeleton crews because of poor road conditions.11 In Alger County 250 men employed in three Cleveland Cliffs camps walked out. In
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Baraga County another three hundred lumberjacks went out from four camps of the Lake Superior Lumber Corporation. Superintendent Walter T. Gorman, referring to the corporation sawmill in Ontonagon about to close for lack of logs, declared, "We can close this plant down--permanently, if necessary." He added that the company had planned to raise the minimum wage for men in the woods from 38.5 cents to 40 cents per hour. In Baraga County six camps, four of which were owned by Ford Motor Company were reported closed. Attempts to spread the strike to Ford sawmill workers at the model logging community Ford was constructing at Alberta, were ended when strikers were "ejected by the company's service department (police) without violence." In Delta County men quit work at the camps of Bay de Noquet Company and the I. Stephenson Company sawmill at Wells halted operations when loading crews of company jobbers north of Escanaba were "prevented by union organizers from loading into cars along the Chicago and North Western railway's main line."12 Eight strike headquarters had been established and the Timber Worker tally included some four thousand strikers on June 4, when events came to a head on the eastern strike front.
"You undoubtedly have had some information in the last few days," wrote Munising attorney R. W. Nebel to Governor Murphy's executive secretary, "about the group of agitators who claim to be from Ironwood, Michigan, and who claim to represent the Carpenters and Jointers (sic) Union with no other proven affiliation".
Book Page 26
The leading citizen continued, "They have shut down the Munising Woodenware-Piqua Products Company. They have closed the sawmill yards of both the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company and Jackson & Tindle. They have closed down all major lumber operations in this county and apparently are making Munising their headquarters for raids on other counties, such as Luce, Schoolcraft, Marquette, Delta, etc." Citing the "Communistic leanings" and "subversive threats and actions" of the principle agitators, Nebel cautions, "You know that the average man that works in the woods is not fortified against the future. He is usually a single man and lives up pretty close to what he receives. In other words, very shortly, a large number of men, approximately 1200, will be hungry with no one to take care of them. That will mean trouble
Only the night before at a "peace conference" between Cleveland Cliffs executives and a delegation of thirteen union men which Munising Mayor John Hannah and a committee of businessmen had arranged, Joe Liss had reportedly threatened that if relief funds of 60 cents a day for each striker were not forthcoming the strikers would hold a general U.P. wide strike meeting in their fair city, picket the only major wood products industry still operating--the Munising Paper Company 411, and march on Lansing to demand relief.14 For three days lumberjacks of Luce and Alger counties had been inundating Munising. The union had brazenly, citizens felt, opened an office in a vacant store on the main street of town. Committees were
Book Page 27
appointed to actively dun food from local merchants and farmers. Vacant buildings were appropriated for sleeping quarters though many of the jacks camped in the woods on the edge of town. Union funds, raised through memberships, were used to set up a commissary at the Finnish Labor Hall. Daily rallies and marches were held, picket lines maintained and the hauling of logs prevented, all adding to the apprehensiveness of Munising' s citizenry. "The public didn't know what it was all about," recalls Charles Symon, reporter for the Marquette Mining Journal who covered the strike for the
Marquette Mining Journal who covered the strike for the Associated Press wire service.
"These men with their rough clothes and rough talk came to town--not to one town, but all these towns--and put out their demands. 'What are we going to do with them?' these people said. 'They'll take over our homes, they'll attack our women, they'll march on the courthouse.' They were very much concerned and they were on the side of law and order."15
Mayor Hanna wired Governor Murphy that the strike was assuming "dangerous proportions" and appealed for help to "maintain peace and order in the city".16 Help was soon to
In Munising as elsewhere, there was little public criticism of the strikers' demands. The criticism, rather, was directed at the strike leadership for the manner in which the strike was being conducted. The walkout was unfair, maintained John M. Bush, head of Cleveland-Cliff s Lumber Department, because the union had not conferred with the company or
Book Page 28
presented its demands prior to striking.17 The bravado and martial displays of Joe Liss were thought uncharacteristic of the AEL. Alger County Sheriff Louis Pelletier wired William Green, president of the AFL asking the status of the man who "claimed to be an organizer of the AFL...called several hundred men out on strike without completing organization or electing officers or without conferring with employers. Believe he is an imposter... Believe this is not AF of L tactics.. ."18 Green's answer was inconclusive, but Peter Martel, painters' union member since 1907 and AEL organizer, was brought from Marquette. The Mining Journal reported:
Martel questioned the status of Joe Liss when, that morning /May 31/, the strikers paraded to the plant of Piqua-Munising. Sheriff Pelletier and Martel stopped the parade, took Liss out of line, and demanded his credentials. Liss showed an AFL membership card. At a mass meeting in the baseball park that afternoon, Martel said he was satisfied that Liss was a member of the Federation. Martel expressed hope that the strike would not be of long duration and urged that the strikers get together and present their demands to their employers.
If Martel were satisfied, public opinion was perhaps more closely approximated by the resident who said, "If these guys that came here to start a strike are affiliated
Book Page 29
with the AFL, what in hell are they doing sleeping in a hall where Stalin's picture hung on the wall?"19
In response to numerous requests for aid, Governor Murphy called upon Oscar Olander, State Police Commissioner, and George A. Krogstad, State Director of Labor and Industry, to investigate the strike situation in an effort to preserve order and hasten settlement negotiations. Olander sent State Police reinforcements. Krogstad conferred by phone with representatives of each side, suggesting that a committee of five workers and five employers be named to try to reach a temporary agreement and resume work until a settlement could be reached. A meeting was scheduled for Friday, June 4, to be presided over by Krogstad's representative, Joseph Ashmore. Another longtime member of the AFL Painters' Union, Ashmore had served as president of the Jackson Federation of Labor and as deputy labor commissioner before Murphy promoted him to Secretary of the State Department of Labor and Industry in June of 1937. Attending the conference representing employers were Ralph Beir for the Newberry Lumber and Chemical Company, George N. Harder for the I. Stephenson Company,
G. Harold Earle for Wisconsin Land and Lumber, and John M. Bush for Cleveland Cliffs. Representing the Lumber and Sawmill Workers Local 2530 were its president, Luke Raik, Vice President Elmer Marks of Ironwood, Jay Speilmacher, a Munising Woodenware employee, and Joe Liss--who arrived a dramatic hour and forty minutes after the session began.
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Ashmore convened the meeting by submitting a proposal by which men would return to work pending negotiations. The plan was immediately endorsed by the employers, but Raik and the union representatives did not care to "Take the responsibility of negotiating in Liss' absence." A few minutes after Liss arrived, however, he led the union delegation out of the building declaring that his action was in protest of what took place in Newberry earlier that day. "Since the government permitted attacks such as that which occurred this morning," he reportedly said in parting, "the government cannot be trusted." Ashmore concluded that the conference was "not particularly resultful."20
We've been silent as trees
in the forests
While you moved us like
wheat from the stalk
But how do you feel, Gods
of lumber and steel
Now the trees are
beginning to talk:
How do you feel, Gods of
lumber and steel
Do your great iron hearts
miss a beat:
Do you think you can smother
by killing our brother
The thunderous march of
. . . . .
March brothers! The Union
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March brothers, with heads
in the sun!
We'll show them our worth,
we the giants of earth!
We'll march 'till our
These lines from "In Memory of Our Murdered Brother" by "Calamity Jane", pen name of Irene Paull, Federated Press and Timber Worker reporter and wife of union attorney, Henry Paull, appeared in the Timber Worker to commemorate Local 2530's first martyr.21 He was a lumberjack identified only by a card found in his clothing, "Joe Kds, Bissell Ridge, March 19, 1885," who died according to the Luce County coroner "from natural causes aggravated from over-exertion." Joe Kds or Kist as he was identified in other accounts, was one of the delegation of one hundred unarmed strikers who marched to the Newberry Lumber and Chemical Company plant at 6:00 on the morning of June 4. As the strikers approached the yard, the plant's fire whistle was sounded. Shortly after this prearranged signal a crowd of several hundred assembled outside the mill, including the local sheriff, the Plant Manager Philip Hamilton, who was also president of the village of Newberry, seven foremen, a group of nightshift employees and townspeople. Members of this crowd were "generously armed with clubs, iron bars, gate handles, rubber hoses, hose couplings, and iron bolts," fact finders for the subsequent National Labor Relations Board trial reported. Their report continues:
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As the column of strikers neared this group, the sheriff halted them with the admonition that they were on private property, and that trouble would ensue unless they left. /Paul/ Moran, leader of the strikers, replied that all his men desired was an opportunity to talk with the respondent's Newberry Lumber and Chemical employees to ascertain if they wished to vote to join the strike. Moran and the sheriff then agreed that the strikers should withdraw and later send a committee back to talk with the employees. Thereupon the sheriff took Moran by the arm and led him about 50 feet down the road away from the plant, as the other strikers followed. At this juncture, the sheriff dropped Moran's arm and stepped aside. Foremen immediately shouted, "Let's go," and swung a club in the air. The marching strikers were then set upon and brutally attacked.
One of the marchers named Joseph Kist stumbled and fell.
Another marcher, Edward Evans, turned to help Kist, but was beaten off with a club. Evans last saw Kist rising to his knees only to be pounded to the ground again by Foreman __________ who wielded a club and was assisted by an unidentified person. Kist died soon after...Numerous other union members or sympathizers were
Book Page 33
injured and beaten at the time. No arrests were made. None of the respondent's foremen, agents or employees were disciplined for their participation in these events. No damage was done to the respondent's property.
As a result of this violence, a number of the marchers were driven out of town; others, closely pursued by the attacking mob, took refuge at the Workers Hall. The mob...thereupon evicted them from the Hall and proceeded to demolish the interior of the structure...As a result of this activity the interior of the Hall was completely wrecked and the Hall rendered useless as a meeting place. In addition, Local 2530 records in the Hall were confiscated.
As each man was evicted from the Hall he was struck on the head with a rock... Following this treatment, the beaten men were bodily loaded on a truck commandeered from a striker and driven out of town...22
Tension in the town of 2,500 had been growing fed by reports from Munising sixty miles distant and rumors that a contingent of strikers planned seizure of Newberry Lumber and Chemical operations. Since late March a handful of employees associated with the Finnish Workers Hall had attempted to organize the 325 men working at Newberry's largest employer. Their efforts intensified as the strike spread across the Peninsula
Book Page 34
and when all of the lumberjacks at the Company's Shingleton camp walked out on May 24, followed on May 28 by those at Camp No. 9, strike headquarters were established at the Newberry Workers Hall. The "Finn Town Hall" as it was known, equipped with kitchen, stage, and "the best dance floor in Newberry" had been center for village social gatherings-- including dances sponsored by the American Legion, since its construction in 1915. When strikers and sympathizers, a number of them arriving in trucks and cars from points west of Newberry, gathered at the hall for a strike benefit dance on the evening of June 3, citizens prepared for the threatened invasion.23
Responsibility for originating the plan to rout the strikers lay, according to the Newberry News, with the employees themselves who "simply resented the attempt of dictation on the part of outsiders and took matters into their own hands to protect their jobs." The paper applauded them as "red blooded Americans who cannot be driven around like a bunch of sheep. Their plans were well laid and they did a mighty good job."24 The paper's assertion was later disputed by the National Labor Relations Board which ruled that company officials had in fact encouraged and participated in mob violence directed against union members. An admitted though not particularly enthusiastic participant in the attack affirmed that the planners were "all up in the bosses category, supervisors," but "the whole town was behind the plan. They thought it was the Communists was coming
Book Page 35
in and they didn't want 'em. They backed us up. We did our part; we chased them out."25
The community of Newberry had tolerated the Finnish Workers as "a small band of misguided fanatics." That the Hall had to be "requested" to hoist the American flag at the height of First World War patriotic fervor, was neither forgiven nor forgotten. (National Labor Relations Board investigators noted that the Hall appeared to have no flag pole.) But if the Hall had "long been a sore spot in the Community", the community utilized the facility and its sacking was lamented as "a regrettable incident". The destruction of the Hall was understandable, however, for "When they /the Finnish Workers/ extended aid and comfort to a crowd of invading bolsheviks of their own kind, they were inviting trouble and they got it." The editor concludes, "Newberry should get the credit for breaking the strike wide open and showing it up for what it was--a communistic movement."26
In Munising the afternoon of the same day, June 4, after Joe Liss walked out of negotiations, Joseph Ashmore addressed a mass meeting of strikers and implored them to return to work pending negotiations. At Ashmore's request, Liss called a meeting of the strike committee for a vote. While vigilantes waited outside, 54 of 62 members voted to continue the strike.
The next morning "taking a leaf from Newberry's book", the Munising constabulary
Book Page 36
arrested Joe Liss and his "lieutenant", French-Canadian teamster David "Double- Breasted Joe" LeClaire. Munising activist Jay Speilmacher was released after questioning. Liss' charge was "attempting to incite a riot" and bond was set at 3,000 dollars.27 Joe Liss had lead yet another march on the courthouse the preceding afternoon to demand strike relief. This time the march was stopped by police.
Liss reportedly asked the marchers to raise their fists in the clenched-fist salute of the Communists if they agreed to "use violence if necessary to see that we and our families get food."28 Another march "no police will stop" was scheduled for Saturday morning. It never materialized.
Strike relief was an ever increasing problem. Over two thousand dollars had been expended on food, according to Liss, and union funds were exhausted. A contingent of strikers had been sent to solicit funds in Minnesota but they would return too late. Alger County emergency relief funds for that month were exhausted as well, and a U.P.-wide meeting of EPA administrators reached the decision that no preference would be given to requests of strikers for relief. Applications for relief would be accepted from individual strikers who would be investigated according to the usual procedure, and if funds were available, relief would be given to persons found in need.29 In desperation Liss and Francis "Curly" Lincoln, Munising Strike Relief Committee Chairman had sent the following telegram to President Roosevelt and Governor Murphy:
Book Page 37
In a huge gathering yesterday in Munising of the Sawmill and Lumber Workers...it was unanimously decided that we request you to make a personal investigation of conditions that brought about the strike...Unless relief is granted serious complications will arise. The lumberjacks are determined to better their conditions and will not permit their children to starve. Unless provisions are made for relief tomorrow we will be compelled to open and take charge of local food warehouses in Upper Michigan... We also request that you personally appear at our meeting next Sunday and immediately call on the operators to negotiate for a scale of wages and on specifications of camp conditions.30
Part of their desperation may have stemmed from erosion of support among their following of lumberjacks. A memo from State Police Commissioner Olander to Governor Murphy earlier that week stated "...everything is quiet in Munising. There are only 150 to 200 lumberjacks in town; they are leaving one by one."31 The Mining Journal reported that the numbers of strikers had been thinning because the "idle lumberjacks were without money and hungry and many had been openly expressing disgust with Liss' leadership and his unsuccessful demands upon county, state and federal authorities for relief." Other reasons are given for the dispersal of the lumberjacks, however.
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Learning of Liss' arrest, union attorney Henry Paull went to the office of the Justice of Peace. Paull, born in Kiev in 1900 the son of Michael Polinsky, graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1926. He established a " progressive" practice in Duluth often coming to the defense of dispossessed farmers and the Timber Workers Local 2776. He played an active role in the negotiations at International Falls. He was no stranger to the loyal citizens of Alger County having defended three years earlier Eric Burman and Unto Immonen who were arrested and subsequently convicted to jail terms for raising a red flag in the settlement of Eben.32
Timber Worker attorney he was part of the ''moral and material support extended sister locals" by Local 2776.
Accompanying Paull were Luke Raik, Sam Davis, the editor of the Timber Worker, and Paull's wife, Irene. They were met at the office door by Sheriff Pelletier who reportedly gave them "five minutes to get out of town" and "escorted" them to the Alger County line. Irene Paull later writes of the incident:
I remember.. .how the lynch mob gathered around us. Yes, I remember the feeling of being closed in by a mob gone mad with hysteria, how much it feels like being cornered defenseless by a crowd of the criminally insane. And how the prosecuting attorney and the sheriff led the mob. And how they snarled, "We'll get you, Jew b---- . We'll get you, you
Book Page 39
dirty kike. You're the one who defended the Communists down here four years ago. We don't forget." We stood there, waiting, the mob indecisive, clasping their iron pipes and clubs in white knuckled fists. I leaned over and picked up a puppy from the arms of a little boy who was part of the mob. I stroked its head and calmed my nerves by the comfort of the dog's eyes which were so much warmer, so much more compassionate than the eyes of
these, my fellow men. And somehow my presence broke their spirit. They were not prepared to lynch a woman...so they said later. ..33
From Marquette Attorney Paull immediately telephoned Joseph Ashmore who was conferring with representatives of the strikers and asked him for police escort to Munising so he and Raik might take part in the negotiations. Ashmore reportedly promised to do so but did not act on his promise. The "union representatives" meeting with Ashmore voted unanimously to return to work. Offering to open an AFL headquarters in Munising, Ashmore promised, "We will assist the workingmen to organize in a proper manner. Their present organization had adopted methods th at even Soviet Russia would not tolerate."34 In a telegram to Governor Murphy, Luke Raik condemned Ashmore for trying to break the union, hand-picking the negotiation committee which voted to send the men back to work without any conditions, and for his efforts
Book Page 40
toward a dual union.35 The oustered union leaders viewed as a violation of the Wagner Act the negotiations carried on in a "terroristic atmosphere".
In the meantime, Munising constabulary searched the town for other officers of the union. Finding none, they ordered the strike headquarters and Labor Hall cleared and proceeded to padlock them. Small groups of lumberjacks trudged out of town carrying their "turkeys" on their backs, encouraged to "keep moving" by citizens who followed them in cars. Cleveland Cliffs manager John Bush supplied truck transportation back to his camps. That afternoon the Munising-Piqua plant resumed operations after the twelve day hiatus. By nightfall only a handful of jacks remained in Munising. Ashmore remarked, "Everything looks set for resumption of work in the woods and the mills Monday."36
Book Page 41
Vigilante activity brought a "definite settlement" of the strike in the eastern counties of the Upper Peninsula. But if Newberry and Munising could report business as usual Monday morning, the Ironwood Daily Globe could report no change in the strike situation in Gogebic County. Logging operations remained at a standstill and no logs were hauled. Each day brought word of more mill closings. "The strike is on," The Jacks' New Deal was quoted, "and it will continue until an agreement is reached; until the agreement is discussed by the rank and file." Local 2530's strike bulletin termed the "so-called negotiations" held by Ashmore in Munising "a joke". The union expressed its willingness to negotiate and in a wire to Governor Murphy urged him to send an "impartial representative" to meet with the "legitimate strike leaders" Tuesday afternoon. Who did Murphy send but the very man the union repudiated as a strike breaker, Joseph Ashmore. The meeting held in Marenisco June 8 lasted five minutes. An unnamed strike leader from Duluth asked the two hundred strikers gathered in the Town Hall if they wanted to negotiate with Ashmore. Their response was to get up and walk out of the building.1
The union initiated the next attempt at negotiations by calling a meeting of strikers and jobbers which was held on Friday, June 11 at the Gogebic County Court House in Bessemer. In the brief session, Clifford Trethewey, counsel for the 29 operators who had banded to form the Gogebic County Loggers' Association, demanded proof that the union really represented the
Book Page 42
majority of strikers. Henry Paull agreed to supply the information and when the
session reconvened the following Monday the process of comparing union pledge cards against payrolls began. Fearing that jobbers would discriminate against strikers whose names they learned, the union reluctantly started to read its roster on the condition that no written record be taken. Nine names were read, all of strikers who gave Bonifas Camp No. 2 as their place of work. Negotiations were broken off when only one name was to be found on the employer's list. Company representatives refused to read their list first or to allow a third party to compare the lists.2
Union supporters quickly accused the companies of doctoring their payrolls; union detractors were equally hasty in accusing the union of signing on "imported strikers." A clue to the difficulty in reconciling lists may lie in the observation of George Corrigan, jobber for Marathon Paper Mills at the time of the strike. It took so long to settle, he said, because the strike began when there were few men in the camps working. Most were in town for spring breakup, and thus would not be found on May payrolls. Nevertheless, the winter's cuttings lay decked at the landings and the jobbers were increasingly desperate to get their logs to the mills. Corrigan explains:
The companies like to have their logs loaded in upper May or June after the roads dry up. Hardwood logs depreciated after the first of July--basswood especially--and
Book Page 43
the jobbers would have to absorb a loss. /The jobbers/ wanted to get them out. /The strike leaders/ knew that...3
Drying logs would split at the ends, necessitating "butting"--lopping off perhaps two feet from a log sixteen feet in length.
On June 17 jobbers announced that they would resume hauling logs after the four week interruption. Fourteen special deputies were hired to assist the county sheriff and the State Police in patrolling the roads. Despite the patrols few trucks made it through to the mills. George Rahkonen relates:
All of these attempts of the companies to run their logs to the mill was notified to us in union headquarters by supporters of the strike along the road... so we stopped them. It wasn't hard to stop them. We lined the sides of the roads /with pickets/. Where there was a little hill where the trucks had to shift to low gear, it was nothing to jump on their running boards and tell them to stop. If they didn't stop, there was other strikers who threw stones against the windshield...and that was it. The truck was stopped and the loads were unloaded...Some of the strikers drove the trucks into people's yards in Marenisco and said, "If you need a bunch of wood
Book Page 44
for the winter, just saw up these logs!"4
He adds that the trucks were displayed in Bessemer and other towns to arouse public support.
The tension and animosity which mounted as trucks were dumped and as July 1 approached was mitigated for a time by the arrival of William Houston in Ironwood June 19. A conciliator in the U.S. Department of Labor, he was sent to investigate a complaint filed by Local 2530 that employers were importing strike breakers from Wisconsin and other states in violation of the Rayburn Act.5 The veteran of thirty years as an AFL organizer and official arranged numerous conferences with each side, and on June 22 a joint conference seemed to make concrete gains. Explaining that he had no authority to conduct an election and with the backlog of strikes it was unlikely that a NLRB representative would be available for a month. Houston ruled that pledge cards would be checked against payrolls, and not vice versa, in determining whether a majority of a camp's employees were represented by the union. Until such determination could be made, jobbers agreed not to move logs. The union, in turn, agreed that it would permit men to work "unmolested" in camps not having majority representation. When the jobbers objected to the participation of Joe Liss, back in action after charges of conspiracy in the Newberry riot were dropped, the union agreed to delete his name from the strikers' committee. The process of checking pledge
Book Page 45
cards against payrolls was to begin the following day.6
Begin, it did. But whether the jobbers objected when it became apparent that the union had the majority, as the Timber Worker maintained, or whether it was in response to the incident which occurred on the morning of June 23, the jobbers abruptly ended negotiations.
On June 23 a convoy of logging trucks left the Ahonen camp with police escort. As it approached Marenisco more that 300 lumberjacks swarmed around the trucks forcing the drivers to the side of the road. The windshields were smashed and three loads of logs were dumped. Two drivers sustained minor injuries and the Deputy Sheriff burned his hand attempting to throw a tear gas bomb.7
"We can't get anywhere with the union," said the jobbers as they broke off negotiations. In a conciliatory call to the men to come back, they voiced no objection to holding an election once work resumed. They offered improved wages and conditions; an increase in minimum wage to between 35 and 38 cents an hour; single beds spaced four feet apart within a reasonable length of time; bathing and washing facilities; washing of blankets at least once every two months, and not less than three blankets per bed in winter. They refused, however, to bargain with "outsiders". Houston left Ironwood the next day, expressing disappointment that his efforts had been in vain. His parting proposal, that all 31 jobbers' payrolls
Book Page 46
be checked collectively so collective bargaining could begin if the union proved to have a majority of the strike ended, if it did not, fell on deadlocked ears.8
In the meantime striking lumberjacks settled in for a long summer. In the shelter provided by Finnish Workers' or I.W.W. Halls in Amasa, Covington, Green, Ironwood, North Ironwood and Bessemer-- in Marenisco strikers constructed a barracks and commissary, an orderly and comradely routine established. "Calamity Jane" described the organization of the Bessemer strike headquarters: a relief committee of 17 men scoured the neighboring farms for donations; a transportation committee of five picked up donations and another five transported strikers to and from picket duty; the picket squad itself was as large a body of men as could be mustered with rotating captains and four lieutenants; an amusement committee of six arranged programs, speakers and horse shoe tournaments, and provided reading materials; and last but not least, there was a scrubbing committee.9 The strikers policed themselves allowing no drunks in the headquarters. Everything of importance was translated into Finnish, Polish, and German.10
Obtaining food enough to satisfy the appetites of hundreds of hungry lumberjacks was more of a problem. Small farmers were generous with their produce. Local Finnish cooperatives extended liberal credit and large donations of money were received from co-ops in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Strikers violated the game laws supplying fish and venison for stew. The story is told that
Book Page 47
the Gogebic County Sheriff eventually despaired of enforcing restrictions on deer hunting. His jail was filled with violators whom he had to feed. He released them telling them to go feed themselves. The strikers, in turn, invited him to a venison feed.11
Such sources could not sustain a strike for a long period of time. Relief was vital, but repeated demonstrations and numerous wires of protest to Governor Murphy yielded little until the final days of the strike. Matt Savola who was acutely aware of the problem in his role as general Relief Committee Chairman, recalls:
We called upon the relief director for the Upper peninsula, Walter Barry...to come and see the strike headquarters /at Marenisco/. He said he was going to see that we got some food and some clothing. The first batch that came up by truck was unloaded at the strike headquarters in Marenisco and the whole town turned out. There was the Smokey Bear hats from the First World War sent up by boxfulls. Some of the lumberjacks tried them on. It was comical. They paraded around like they were soldiers. Then they sent grapefruit juice. Must have been about a hundred cases or more of grapefruit juice. Then there was old army paants, wool pants and jackets /the summer of 1937 was unusually hot
Book Page 48
and dry/. These were hung up because U.S.2 runs through the village of Marenisco and there were signs put up that this was the kind of relief support that the government was giving in the struggle for human conditions and human rights.12
The dire poverty of the strikers and the failure of Governor Murphy's administration to give the strike the material support the Farmer Labor Party had given Minnesota strikers, had a great impact upon the outcome of the strike.
"The strikers are acting in a peaceful manner," Luke Raik said in a telegram to Governor Murphy. "...the strike is effective and the violence is intended to break the strike."13 The wire was one of several the union sent protesting sporadic outbreaks of violence which occurred in Iron, Baraga, and Ontonagon counties during the month of June. A bullet shattered the windshield of a car driven by union representative, August Heino, near Amasa where vigilantes burned a cross within view of union headquarters. The Ontonagon County Sheriff deported strike chairman George Twienchy to Marenisco and the Ontonagon Herald advocated Newberry's solution for ending the strike. Lumberjacks in Green repulsed some two hundred vigilantes who returned in the middle of the night to throw dynamite into the tent colony where strikers lay asleep.14 The dynamite reportedly bounced after striking the canvas of a tent and exploded in the air leaving no
Book Page 49
serious injuries. Such incidents would seem tame in comparison to those which occurred in Gogebic County on June 30
and July 1.
On the morning of June 30 a convoy of six Ahonen logging trucks slowed to climb the hill on U.S. 2 at the outskirts of Marenisco. The strikers, lying in wait along the road overcame and unloaded five of the trucks.15 It might have been a repeat performance of the scenario that took place a week before except for one important detail: not an inexperienced Deputy Sheriff, but several car loads of State Police led the convoy. The State Police, augmented by local law enforcement officers and "deputies", armed with tear gas, clubs and guns dispersed the mob. What followed is described by Mary Pavlovich, strike sympathizer on whose property the strikers had erected their barracks and kitchen:
At the time they had that riot on the hill, I was out walking with the baby in my arms when I saw some men running down the highway and into my yard. /A deputized sheriff/, __________ and three or four State Police were after them, clubbing them and trying to get them into the truck. I told __________ to get out of my yard and let those men alone. He raised his club and told me to shut my mouth and he probably would have struck me if I didn't have the baby in my arms. When he got out of my yard, he
Book Page 50
called me a communist and a lot of bad names...I am not a communist. I am too good a church member for that...He told me not to let those men into my yard. I said I would let them. He flagged a car that came along with ten or eleven police in it. They stopped and pushed me and the baby into the gate, and ran through my property chasing the jacks ahead of them into the woods like they were animals. Then the Sheriff came into my yard. I said to him, "That isn't right to treat those men like wild animals." He said he couldn't do anything about it. I said, "Then you're a mighty poor sheriff." So he called them back. Some of the police had caught some of the men. They kept beating them at every step. He said, "Boys, you've gone a little bit too far." Some of the men had to wade across the river. A lot of them didn't come back till about eleven o'clock that night. They were afraid... .16
When the roundup was called off, 46 lumber jacks had been hurded into a truck belonging to a strike sympathizer. They were taken to the State Police barracks in Wakefield, held without charge or on charges of disturbing the peace, for 72 or more hours, and finally released with threats to leave the county.17
Vigilante groups had openly organized in Munising, Ontonagon, Crystal Falls, and Ironwood in the weeks following the Newberry
Book Page 51
riot. They found their support among the ranks of the American Legion, the Rotary Club, businessmen and jobbers. Elaborately worded resolutions were formulated and sent to state and local office holders, calling for an eradication of "those un-American activities and acts of violence which are being nurtured and effected by undesirable and destructive elements and agencies." To the end that "the specific American constitutional rights of persons and property be made secure" such organizations pledged to "support to the limit the efforts of police departments to maintain security."18
According to testimony gathered by the strike investigating committee Governor Murphy would appoint, the Ironwcod band of vigilantes was organized at a meeting of the Ironwood Association of Commerce on June 26. Of the twelve citizens who formed the steering committee of the effort to "take this matter into our hands", six were lumber jobbers.19
On the evening of June 30 after the incident at Marenisco, the vigilantes congregated at the ball park at the Gogebic County fairgrounds in Ironwood. A large crowd, many of them idle sawmill workers, were allegedly supplied two-by-fours and pick handles, as well as a plentiful supply of whiskey and beer, through the benificence of the mill owners.20 Their first objective was the strike headquarters at the North Star hall in North Ironwood. After attacking the hall there, they went on to strike headquarters at the Swede-Finn hall in Bessemer where vigilantes threw
Book Page 52
rocks through windows, damaged furniture, and drove strikers through a gauntlet. Going on to Ironwood, they entered and ransacked the union office. Across the street in a restaurant they found Henry Paull, Luke Raik, and James Rogers who, unbeknownst to the mob, had just finished drawing up a petition asking the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an election with the aid of Regional Director, Nathaniel Clark, who was in Ironwood for that purpose. The mob swarmed into the restaurant and fell upon the three men. They dragged them onto the street, beating them with their clubs. Paull broke loose and ran for help but was recaptured by another converging arm of the mob. Repeatedly hit, he was dragged down the street by the legs to a waiting car. Raik received similar treatment, but Rogers, an Indian, was spared because vigilantes feared federal authorities might intervene in the aftermath. In a letter to Nathaniel Clark written four days after the incident, Paull relates a bit of the attitudes held by his captors:
They began driving me out of town and a jobber of some note told me that they were going to run me out of town and I should never come back. I told them that I was badly hurt and should be brought to a doctor as quickly as possible. He said, "I haven't got a goddam bit of sympathy for you...not a damn bit." He said, "We 're going to break this strike and we are going to run out every one of your gang. Us Americans
Book Page 53
aren't going to stand for a bunch of foreigners stopping our trucks and keeping us from hauling and taking the bread from our babies' mouths...You can bet your life that we are going to haul tomorrow. We are going to finish up these bastards tonight so that they won't be able to interfere with us any more."21
Paull and Raik were released in Saxon, Wisconsin some eight miles west of Ironwood. The strikers took Paull to St. Joseph's Hospital in Ashland where he remained for three days. The two victims brought charges against the vigilantes who participated in the assault and kidnapping, but the Gogebic County prosecuting attorney failed to issue warrants. He was not reelected. Some time later two former vigilantes were arrested and held under the Lindbergh Act. The Connor Lumber and Land Company was implicated in the proceedings. One of them jumped bond and reportedly went to Canada.22
The night's work was not yet finished.
The last stop of the vigilantes was Palace
Hall, the Ironwood strike headquarters. Matt Savola recalls:
They came shortly after some kind of doings there. /Viola Turpienan, popular accordian player, had played for a dance/. There were hundreds of people who saw this disgraceful attempt to break the strike...The mayor pro temp of Ironwood got on the steps of the Palace Hall and pleaded in the name of humanity and human dignity
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and responsibility as American citizens to understand the nature of the strike. That these jacks were fighting for a New Deal, for better conditions; that the demands they had made were not something that the lumber operators couldn't take. And he called out the names of the jobbers /among the vigilantes/. He called them and he told them that they should be ashamed of themselves as leading citizens, that they weren't responding as American citizens, as decent people. He gave a very good, very good talk. The people there cheered him.23
Ashamed, the vigilantes seemed to shrink away. But the appeal to patriotism of a different kind only temporarily dampened their fervor. After the dancers had left, they again approached the hall. Shots were exchanged and the lumberjacks who were staying there were forced from the hall and hurried on their way to Hurley, Wisconsin by way of another gauntlet.
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The "Vigilante Terror" continued into the next day as police and "deputies" scattered strikers who sought refuge in the woods or fled into Wisconsin. Alex Savola, Ontonagon County strike leader mistaken for Matt Savola, was stopped by State Police who subjected him and his two passengers to repeated beatings with the dull side of pole axes, and after forcing them to wade into Lake Gogebic to rise the blood from their clothing, jailed them on a charge of "reckless driving" in Bessemer.1 Union vehicles were stopped, confiscated, and sabotaged. A total of 64 strikers or strike sympathizers were incarcerated.2
STRONGLY PROTEST MISUSE OF STATE
POLICE AT IRONWOOD STOP SURELY
IMPARTIAL POLICING DOESNT INCLUDE
PROVISION OF ARMED ESCORTS FOR
PRIVATELY OWNED LOGGING TRUCKS STOP
CONSIDER SUCH AN ESCORT AN INCITEMENT
TO VIOLENCE BY THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
AND PARTICULARLY SHOCKING IN VIEW
OF THE STRIKERS FINE RECORD FOR
ORDER...IT WAS POLICE WHO USED
GUNS TEARGAS STOP IS THE STATE
PREPARED TO ACT AS ARMY FOR
PRIVATE INDUSTRY QUESTIONMARK
IF NOT SUGGEST THOROUGH INVESTIGATION
AND PROTECTION OF RIGHT TO STRIKE
The Detroit-based Conference for the Protection of Civil Rights sent the above, forcefully-worded telegram to Governor Murphy. It was one in a chorus of protest
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which included Minnesota Governor Benson, Farmer Labor Congressman John T. Bernard-- soon to visit the Marenisco strike head quarters, and Local 2776. The protest centered on the role of the State Police, in particular, and that of the State Executive office, in general, in the settlement of the Timber Workers' strike.4
Having assumed office on January 1, 1937, at the beginning of the most turbulent year in industrial relations since 1919, Frank Murphy had earned the reputation as a friend of labor for his empathetic role in the settlement of the Flint Sit-down strike. The youthful and attractive New Dealer whose Irish politico ambitions were flattered by the talk of being chosen FDR's third term successor, summed up his labor policy as the necessity for "a broadminded realization by the employer of the justice of the workman's demands, and in a recognition by labor of the fact that irresponsibility will only hurt itself."5 That Murphy failed to take more definitive action on behalf of the Timber Workers might have been illustrated in the cartoon captioned "No Vacation for Him". It depicted a weary Murphy wiping the sweat from his brow as a hotel lobby full of bell boys, each wearing the banner NEW STRIKE, shouted "Call for Governor Murphy!"6 To the over taxed governor the Timber Workers' strike was yet another call, and not one of the most pressing. Labor and operators alike felt that Murphy's non-interference, or at most, delegation of authority to the Department of Labor and the State Police, was not an adequate response from the chief executive to the strike which was now entering its seventh week.
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Murphy responded to his critics by announcing on July 3 the appointment of a strike investigating committee. Upon the recommendation of Labor Commissioner Krogstad, the committee was to have full subpoena power to conduct a "complete and impartial investigation as to conditions in the camps and the reasons for the recent strikes." While its members were all Gogebic County residents, the committee would not restrict its investigation to that county alone.7 Five appointees were selected from a list of "civic and liberal minded (read: Democratic) people" prepared by Krogstad with the cooperation of Ironwood councilman Raymond Garvey who had made the trip to Lansing to spur Murphy to action.8 They were Father C. J. Petranek of the Holy Trinity Church in Ironwood; Harry K. Bay, Ironwood attorney and New Dealer; Democratic State Representative Ralph Rowell, a Bessemer farmer; Reverand C. A. Brostrom, a Lutheran minister; and as chairman, Superintendent of Schools, Arthur E. Erickson, a recent candidate for State Superintendent of Schools. Nathaniel Clark, NLRB Regional Director whose office was in Milwaukee, also accepted appointment to the committee, commenting that the work would dove-tail with his labor board duties.9
"Our first duty is to hold friendly conferences with both sides and if possible to arrange a settlement of the dispute," Chairman Erickson announced at the close of the committee's first meeting, July 7. "If this attempt fails, the committee will go forward with an impartial investigation of
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a fact finding nature and make a complete report setting forth these facts to Governor Murphy."10
As the committee began its work an uneasy calm hung over Gogebic County. The Daily Globe could report that logs were being hauled by a number of jobbers, but not nearly at the normal rate and under heavy police protection. Another detachment of 25 State Troopers arrived in Wakefield to "keep highways open and preserve order." As for the union, the Timber Worker reported that the ranks of the strikers were being reorganized and guerilla picketing by small squads scattered in the woods lining the logging roads was continuing. Forced underground, the strike leadership had met in the basement of the Ironwood co-op on the morning of July 1 to "Put together pieces and see what we were going to do next." George Rahkonen was there:
We phoned as many people as we could to discuss the situation. It was decided to notify all these strikers by word of mouth and the grapevine--it would spread around quick enough--to get back to Marenisco...We concentrated the activity of all these headquarters back in Marenisco. The vigilantes hadn't attacked there. They knew through their stooges that the place was well prepared. /People had loaned their deer rifles to the union and the lumberjacks had prepared an arsenal of Molotov cocktails made of pop bottles filled with gasoline/.. .Marenisco became the fortress of unionism.11
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It was in Marenisco, what one lumberjack called "a real stand of people" for their staunch support of the strike, that the Governor's committee began its inquiry. Among those attending the July 8 hearing were Henry Paull, bruised and bandaged, and a score of strikers who gave graphic accounts of their treatment at the hands of the peace officers. It was in Marenisco a week later that the committee staged an election to gauge union support. Its unanimous opinion, based on a po11 of 102 employees of Bonifas Camp No. 2 and a large number of men from camps throughout the county, was that the union represented more than a majority of the men who were working on the day of the strike and that they went out "willingly and in full understanding of what they were doing."12 The ruling was arrived at without checking the names of employees against company records; despite threats of NLRB action against them if they refused to comply, the Bonifas Company had refused to furnish the records that the committee requested. The Timber Worker immediately heralded the committee as a "fearless voice in a terror-striken community."13 The Daily Globe and the Gogebic Loggers Association were more guarded in their appraisal.
The Governor's committee did, in fact, have a quieting effect on the strike battle front. There would be no more outbreaks of the magnitude of those which occurred at Newberry and Ironwood. There were, however, numerous incidents of sabotage reported. A jammer cable was cut here; the old Wobblie trick of alum in the railroad gear box was
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pulled there. In Iron County, "Sabotage bristled from the ruts of logging roads... as sharp nails pointing upward...menaced the tires of timber trucks." And on July 14, a log bridge near L'Anse was reported dynamited. "It wasn't much of a bridge," union sympathizers will say, "just two planks over a ditch." But Ero Maki, a 25 year old Baraga County strike leader was sentenced to a ten to twenty year prison term over it.14 Maki would be the last of the strikers in prison when in March of 1939 Governor Murphy commute d his sentence before leaving office. 15 Later, in August as the strike wore on into its thirteenth week, seven strikers, Joe Liss among them, would be charged with the intent to commit a felony, carrying dangerous weapons, malicious threats, and breaking and entering, after lumberjacks working in a camp near Covington had invited them to enter. The charges would eventually be withdrawn for lack of evidence. 16 Both incidents point to the great distance it would be necessary to traverse before Murphy's "broad-minded realizations" would be accepted on both sides, bringing justice and peace to the beleaguered industry.
The Governor's committee worked indefatigably, conferring with jobbers and jacks, taking testimony, touring camps, working toward a truce. On July 16 negotiations foundered over the issue of union recognition. Jobbers agreed to meet various other demands, but refused to grant any degree of recognition, while the strikers refused to bargain individually, insisting that any agreement be made
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through the union.17 As might be predicted, opposition to union recognition among the operators varied greatly, roughly corresponding to the size of the concern. Cleveland Cliffs, in a notice to employees posted in its Munising Camps, stated in no uncertain terms that it would not sign a union contract because,
The real object of these outside agitators is to force you into a union and then make you pay dues to them for the privilege of working. This company is not going to compel any employees to pay dues to them for the privilege of supporting himself and his family... Such a contract would bring about constant disturbances and stoppage of work in our industry with great loss of wages to all our employees.18
In general a more moderate position was taken by medium--sized jobbers of whom George Corrigan is representative. Corrigan' s opposition to a union settlement was based on the fear that the union wage scale would raise costs unduly:
The Marathon Company knew about what price they could take the logs out. They were afraid that they would be tied up too much and they'd have to stop their operations. Our company didn't feel that they could pay jobbers that amount of money. /It wasn't that the company pressured its jobbers against signing/, the company told the jobbers how far they could go...You've got to
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remember we were just coming out of a decade of depression.19
When Marathon and other companies agreed to an "escalator" clause in their contracts which provided additional payment to jobbers to cover
increased costs, opposition to the union recognition on this basis diminished.
Finally, among the small independent jobbers were those, many of them Finns, who supported the union. Hjalmer Turpeinen writing to the editor of the Daily Globe was one of them:
I believe the woodsmen have the right to organize and believe in unions and I believe it will benefit the operator that wants to be fair. It will mean a uniform wage scale and working hours. Conditions at some camps should and can be improved...
If this strike is not settled soon, in a day or so, we logging jobbers should get together and I mean jobbers only (not lumber company heads) and settle this strike with the union leaders... In the end we will have to recognize the union anyway, so why waste time and wait until the government will force us to, which will happen in the end. We jobbers are the losers and the men are the losers. The higher ups lose nothing, so why hurt ourselves?20
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Four such jobbers--Arvid Jacobson, Andrew Havola, Eli Kostenmaki, and Joe Linbeck, all of Baraga County, were the first to recognize the union. At a meeting of the Governor's committee in Covington July 20, they signed the proposed contract which provided for union recognition, forty cents an hour minimum wage, increased piece rates, the installment of single beds within thirty days, dry rooms and wash rooms in camps of thirty men or larger, and the arbitration of grievances through a committee of three including one operator, one employee, and a third person agreeable to both parties.21 Another important provision considered piecemakers as employees rather than as independent contractors, making them eligible for workmen's compensation. The union ratified the contracts almost unanimously, hailing them as a victory.22
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stipulated that binding elections were to be held after January 1, 1938 and no later than June 1, 1938. The
union made a significant concession when it withdrew the petition it had filed with the NLRB requesting an election. Other major provisions of the Labor Policy were a minimum wage of forty cents an hour, the eight-hour day and forty-eight hour week with time and a half overtime, the demanded camp improvements, and camp grievance committees elected by the men. "Of course there is no comparison with the agreements that are in existence here and on the West Coast," wrote Harold Pritchett who advised acceptance of the Labor Plan. "The Executive Board /of the International Woodworkers/ realizes, however, your position and the tremendous problem that you are faced with. In accepting the proposed agreement we realize that this is a tactic to accomplish an end.. .consolidation in preparing for a stronger agreement..."25 On August 12 after
an eight hour negotiation session, Harris made the announcement that representatives of both sides had accepted the policy to be submitted to their respective bodies for ratification. The Loggers' Association made it clear from the start that the agreement would be binding only to those jobbe
r s who ratified it on an individual basis.26 The union assented, long since having given up hope of an industry-wide settlement.
Chairman Erickson expressed pleasure at the outcome of Harris' negotiations. He expressed hope that both sides would "loyally live up to this agreement." In
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view of the success of the negotiations, he continued in a statement to the press, the committee had decided that its service was no longer necessary.27
The decision to dissolve the committee was rendered premature and hopes of a mutual settlement dimmed by the failure of the Gogebic County loggers to ratify the agreement. In what came to be seen as a tactical blunder, the union immediately and enthusiastically endorsed the Labor Policy. The results of the Marenisco vote, an overwhelming 327 in favor, 1 opposed, were broadly publicized on August 13. The meeting of jobbers set for that night to discuss acceptance of Harris' plan was delayed indefinitely for lack of a quorum. A week later only one Gogebic County jobber, Leppanen & Rein, had signed up. In Ishpeming on August 23 a conference to which Harris invited all Upper Peninsula operators turned down the proposal.28
"NO HONOR AMONG THIEVES--Treachery is Latest Crime of Michigan Timber Barons" blazed the Timber Worker in reporting the operators' withdrawal of support for the Labor Policy.29 "The companies had no intention from the beginning of making a settlement under the Wagner Act," George Rahkonen contends in retrospect. Of the Governor Murphy's strike committee which un-Benson-like "hoped" rather than enforced a settlement, he comments bitterly "...all they were interested in /was/ white-washing Governor Murphy."30
Adding to their feeling of betrayal was the announcement that week of the
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formation of the Upper Michigan Woodworkers Association, an "independent" union which claimed 1,500 members in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties.31 Denying that the Association was a company union, H. A. Savage, president stated:
Its principles, instead of being a detriment to real American trade unionism, are in fact a spontaneous expression of the employees who have been exploited by Communist organizers. The U. P. Woodworkers Association takes credit for the solution of the strike caused by agitators imported from other states and our membership is increasing daily.32
The Timber Worker interpreted this "spontaneous expression" as the chicanery
of the Timber Barons, a company union "which has all the earmarks of being a budding vigilante outfit with exclusion on non-citizens."33
Local 2530 had other independent unions to contend with. In Newberry where organization attempts had resumed subrosa, the Independent Industrial Union of Newberry was formed, the NLRB was to determine, with the ba cking of the Lumber and Chemical Company. Striking employees of Connor Land and Lumber Company formed the Wakefield Township Timber Union and voted to return to work at the Connorville mill near Thomaston after the company offered them an increase in pay.35 In the subsequent trial on charges of unfair labor practices the NLRB ruled that the company had
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"interfered with the administration" of the union, ordered Connor to cease and desist and reinstate with back pay Ed Evans, who had been fired for his activity on behalf of Local 2530.36
Competition with the I.W.W. had been settled to Local 2530's satisfaction. In 1936 I.U. 120 had launched an organizing drive in response to the inroads being made by the AFL and CIO, both of which the I.W.W. criticized as "class Collaborationist" and because they lacked control by the rank and file.37 Early in 1937 a branch office was established in Iron River after some difficulty in getting together the requisite twenty members for the charter.38 Through the efforts of Wayne and Eli Hill and Nels Kanerva of Iron River, and Bill Hill of Marquette, several camps were almost completely organized around the "One Big Union" demands of the eight-hour day camp to camp, wages at not less than four dollars a day, living and working conditions on a par with those gained by the I.W.W. on the West Coast, union "job committees" and "job action".39 When the Timber Workers' Strike began in May, the Wobblies supported it and in July closed their office in Iron River. With the assistance of the NLRB they might have preserved their jurisdiction over camps they had organized, but when an appeal to the NLRB was suggested to Eli Hill, he responded in characteristic Wobblie fashion: "We don't want to mess around with politicians...If we have to join the AFL we will, but we'll still act like Wobblies."40
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To complicate jurisdictional matters further, Peter Martel, AFL organizer from Marquette, came to Gogebic County and on August 5 claimed to have organized several Ironwood area camps to be chartered by the AFL. The formation of the International Woodworkers of America some two weeks earlier accounts in part for Martel's efforts to establish a dual union. His one-time qualified support of Joe Liss and Local 2530 in Munising had become an unqualified condemnation. Now he called the local a "bogus outfit...not a responsible bargaining agent because it has no head."41 Ostensibly Local 2530 was still an AFL affiliate; it had not relinquished its Lumber and Sawmill Workers charter. But the "unexplained strike contributions" from Harry Bridges' Longshoremen and the UAW and the Federation of Woodworkers and other unions which had broken or soon would break with the AFL, the speeches supporting timberworkers made by SWOC organizers in the district, and the election of several Local 2530 members to leadership positions of the newly forme d CIO District Council of Woodworkers,42 cast further doubt on the AFL orthodoxy of a union whose origins were viewed as dubious from the start. Not until August 19, however, did Luke Raik announce that the rank and file of Local 2530 voted to affiliate with the CIO.43 Local 2530 of the Lumber and Sawmill Workers became Local 15 of the International Woodworkers of America.
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response from the larger operators. Without the resources to hold on much longer, the strikers at all headquarters voted to end the strike on August 29. George Rahkonen offers the rationale:
The operators must have figured, "Come fall, come winter, this union that just started with no treasury, we're going to break
it. So why to hell make a settlement. We'll just freeze them and starve them out." We realized that. We got together, us who were in the leadership with the old labor leaders and strugglers in the Communist movement, and we discussed the problem seriously...The Communist Party pointed out, "Well, you have conducted a struggle for the betterment of the workers. The people have been with you. We have done all we can to support you. Why let this strike peter out?...Let's call off the strike temporarily. Let's propose to the timberworkers...that under the law of the land they have the right to organize. We'll go back in the camps an organized force." We proposed that to the strikers. Naturally they accepted it. Naturally the press and the companies were jubilant, declaring that the strike has been lost. But we knew different...44
In its statement to the press IWA Local 15 listed its accomplishments. For the first
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time trade unionism had established a firm foothold in the Upper Peninsula; an estimated one-third of the timberworkers in the Peninsula were organized into a union of their own.45 Though the 77 jobbers who
had signed union contracts were not the large ones, operators throughout the region had been forced into paying higher wages, cleaning up camps, establishing the eight-hour day and improving food. "You bet things are better since the strike in the Cleveland Cliffs camp," a Munising jack was quoted. After ennumerating the ways conditions had changed for the better, he said, "And best of all, they treat us with some
As determined and optomistic as the union leaders were that they would establish "unionism l00% through the Upper Peninsula", the Michigan Timber Workers would never attain the strength of their Minnesota and West Coast counterparts. Opposition to labor organization continued with unabated intensity. Locals subsequently established in Newberry, Ontonagon and Phelps were short-lived and weak, due in part to lack of funds. The union was never to fully recover from the estimated $40,000 dollar debt accrued during the strike. As a consequence of the failure to obtain an industry-wide settlement, the basic unit of organization was the camp. The trend of large timber holders to divest themselves of large camps by subcontracting to jobbers, was hastened, many maintain, by their unwillingness to deal with the union and their desire to avoid the strictures of labor legislation. Camp crews continued to have a high rate of turnover which made
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necessary constant reorganization and close attention by a union field staff that was all too limited.47
There were a few victories. The National Labor Relations Board ruled favorably in cases against Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company, Connor Land and Lumber, and Newberry Lumber and Chemical, ordered disestablishment of company unions and reinstatement with back pay of some sixty blacklisted lumberworkers.48 In 1941 aided by UAW organizers and heartened by the recent Rouge Plant triumph, Local 15 won closed shop contracts providing for dues check-off, seniority, and union camp conditions with fourteen Ford jobbers.49 World War II, tightening as it did the labor market and expanding the market for forest products, placed the union in a strong bargaining position. But the war was only an artificial stimulus which prolonged the industry and the union for a few more years.
For the age of the lumber camp and the lumberjack came to an end in the early Fifties. The one-man power saw, replacing its bulky two-man predecessor first used as early as 1937, gained wide-spread acceptance. The new woodsman drove to work in his own car and lived in his house with a family of his own. Where did the others go? Joe Liss, who felt that he had done what he came to do, left to organize lumberworkers in Maine. No one in Michigan knows what became of him. George Rahkonen and Matt Savola found places in the Party and the Finnish cooperatives. Henry Paull went to an early death. And the old breed
Book Page 72
lumberjack? He shouldered his "turkey" to follow the timber west or lingered in a tar paper shanty, transcient camp, or the skid row of a dying mill town surrounded by cut-over lands. And when he thought back to the "Big One", the Timber Workers' strike of 1937, perhaps he knew it as George Rahkonen does to this day:
It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen...that comes about when a group of people /one of the lowest classes of people on the totem pole of laborers/ begin to express their desires-- and do something.50
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1 Vernon H. Jensen, Lumber and Labor (New York, N.Y., Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. 1945), pp. 151-152.
2 Ken Hafeli, "Henry Ford's Timber Operations in the Upper Peninsula", MS. Dr. Larry Rakestraw, March 3, 1976.
3 National Labor Relations Board, Decisions and Orders. (Washington D.C.Government Printing Office, 1936 printed periodically), Vol. XXX, March 1941, p. 1098.
4 National Labor Relations Board, op. cit., Vol. XVII, Nov. 1939, p. 796.
5 National Labor Relations Board, op. cit., Vol. IX, Oct., 1938, p. 1288.
6 Vernon Jensen, Lumber and Labor, pp. 65-66.
7 Vernon Jensen, Lumber and Labor, pp. 58-59.
8 The Lumber Industry and Its Workers (Chicago: IWW Publisher, 3rd ed., n.d.) IWW Collection, Box 165, Walter Reuther Library, Detroit, Michigan, p. 83.
9 George Rahkonen, untranscribed interview, Phelps, Wisconsin, August 18, 1977.
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10 Arne Halonen, "The Role of Finnish- Americans in the Political Labor Movement" (M.A. thesis, University of Minnesota. 1945), p. 17.
11 Al Gedicks, "The Social Origins of Radicalism Among Finnish Immigrants in Midwst Mining Communities", Review of Radical Political Economics, 8-3 (Fall 1976) 1-31.
12 Douglas Ollila, Jr., "From Socialism to Industrial Unionism (IWW): Social Factors in the Emergence of the Left- labor Radicalism among Finnish Workers in the Mesabi, 1911-19", Michael G. Karni, et. al. The Finnish Experience in the Western Great Lakes Region: New Perspectives (Vammala, Finland: Institute for Migration, Turku University, 1975), pp. 156-71.
13 While it is not within the scope of this essay to do more than summerize I.W.W. activity in the Peninsula, future researchers should explore more thoroughly its role in organizing timber workers, aided by the archives of I.U. 120 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This paragraph was pieced together from conversations with several Wobblies, including Hannah Vireen and Fred Thompson, correspondence with Sulo Peltola, and letters translated from the Finnish in Box 18, Folder 9, IWW Collection, Walter Reuther Library.
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14 Cited by George B. Engberg, "Collective Bargaining in the Lumber Industry of the Great Lakes Region", Agricultural History 24 (October 1950) 205-11, p. 210.
15 Denis Ottewell, "The I.W.A.", Labour History PSA, 1-1 (March 1977) , p.6.
16 Vernon Jensen, Lumber and Labor, chap. 11, passim.
17 Vernon Jensen, Lumber and Labor, p. 190, and James M. Shields, "The Amazing Timberworkers", North Country Anvil, n.d., p. 22.
18 Timber and Sawmill Workers, Sawmill and Lumber Workers, and Timber Workers are used interchangeably to denote the affiliate of the Carpenters and Joiners.
19 Duluth Timber Worker, 2 April 1937. Listed as fraternal delegates from the Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union Local 2530 at Local 2776's founding convention are William Johnson, Roy Johnson, Robert Salo, Sulo Kaari, John W. Maki, and Onni Kangas. Brother Salo, representing the Michigan delegation is quoted: "We can learn a lot from this convention for our work among the lumberjacks and sawmill workers in Michigan. The strike here aroused interest among lumber workers in Upper Michigan. The Michigan workers will join with the Minnesota workers when the agreement with the bosses terminates September 1, to renew the agreement. The conditions in our camps prompted organization there."
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20 Duluth Timber Worker, 2 April 1937.
21 George Rahkonen, interview, July 29,1977, Phelps, Wisconsin, p. 2.
22 Auvo Kostiainen, "The Finns and the Crisis over 'Bolshevization' in the Workers' Party 1924-25", Michael G. Karni. et. al. The Finnish Experience in the Western Great Lakes: New Perspectives, passim.
23 John Wiita, "Some Experiences of My Work at Upper Michigan as Communist Party District Secretary" Memoir, Immigration Hi story Re search Center, St. Paul, Minn.
24 George Rahkonen, interview, July 29, 1977, p. 3.
25 Duluth Timber Worker, 14 May 1937. Frank Arvola, a "progressive" was soon to leave for Spain joining the ranks of the Lincoln Brigade with some two hundred lumberjacks from the tri state area.
26 George Rahkonen, interview with Al Gedicks, Mesaba Park, Minnesota, June 29, 1975, p.4.
27 Martin Kuusisto, interview conducted by Irene Paull, October 1968, Audiovisual Library, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota, passim; Also, Timber Worker 2 April 1937 quoted Liss, "I happened to be the editor, distributor, manager, all except printer /It was
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printed in the Tyomies shop in Supenior/. It can't be put out by one man but will be the duty of every lumberjack in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin."
28 Martin Kuusisto, interview, p.6.
29 George Rahkonen, interview, p.4.
30 Charles Symon, draft of Green Bay Press Gazette feature article, 28 May
31 Duluth Timber Worker, 2 April 1937.
32 Matt Savola, interview, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 30, 1977, p,6.
33 Tyomies, 21 May 1937; Timber Worker, 21 May 1937; Ironwood Daily Globe, 21 May 1937. They are quick to add, "Camp Two was to be operated only two weeks more, however, said Robert Lyons, general manager for the company at Marenisco. All new camps, he said, are a decided improvement over Camp Two."
1 Timber Worker, 28 May 1937.
2 Nick Wancash, interview, Wakefield, Michigan, August 23, 1977.
3 Ironwood Daily Globe, 21 May 1937.
4 Ironwood Daily Globe, 21 May 1937; Timber Worker, 21 May 1937.
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5 George Rahkonen, interview, p. 4.
6 Matt Savola, interview, Minneapolis, June 30, 1977 pp. 1-5.
7 John Wiita, "Some Experiences of My Work at Upper Michigan as Communist District Secretary," p. 5.
8 George Rahkonen, interview, p. 6; Timber Worker, 4 June 1937; Tyomies, 25 May 1937.
9 George Rahkonen, interview, p. 7.
10 Ironwood Party Globe, 21 May 1977.
11 Iron River Reporter, 28 May 1977.
12 Marquette Mining Journal, 24, 31 May 1937; 4 June 1937.
13 Letter, R. W. Nebel to Norman Hill, May 28, 1937, Frank Murphy Collection, Box 17, Folder 14, Michigan Historical Collections, Bentley Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
14 Marquette Mining Journal, 27 May 1937.
15 Charles Symon, untranscribed interview, Gladstone, Michigan, September 21, 1977.
16 Telegram from John W. Hannah to Governor Murphy, May 28, 1937, The Frank Murphy Papers: Box 17, Folder 40, Bentley Library.
17 Marquette Mining Journal, 24 May 1937.
18 Marquette Mining Journal, 31 May 1937.
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19 Marquette Mining Journal, 1 June 1937.
21 Timber Worker, 11 June 1937. A courageous, colorful and talented woman, Irene Paull is deserving of more than a footnote. She first became active with the Timber Workers in December, 1936 when Joe Liss enlisted her. As she recalls, "I was working for Hank as his secretary. He came up to the office and said to me, "What are you doing up here working in an office when we need you down in strike headquarters?" (I had never met the man before.) He said, "Would Anna Louise Strong do that?" (p. 5, Martin Kuusisto interview)
22 National Labor Relations Board, Decisions and Orders, Vol. XVII, Nov. 1939, pp. 799—800.
23 U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 6th District, Transcript of Record, NLRB vs. Newberry Lumber and Chemical Company, January 13, 1941, passim.
24 Newberry News, 11 June 1937.
25 Norman Barry, untranscribed interview, Newberry, Michigan, September 20, 1977.
26 Newberry News, 11 June 1937. Two apocryphal anecdotes repeated again and again by union sympathizers about Newberry bear recounting: The first, as a new piano at the Finnish Workers Hall was being hacked to pieces, a
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townsman with a crowbar is said to have shouted, "It's the Internationale I'm playing. How do you like it?" The second, after the attack on the strikers' delegation one striker is reported to have commented, "There's an insane asylum and all the crazy people were let loose."
27 "There isn't much against him /Liss/ here from a legal standpoint," admitted Attorney Nebel in a follow-up letter to the governor's executive secretary two weeks later. "The chances are he will be permitted or invited to leave the county. Perhaps both." Murphy Papers, Box 17, Folder 49.
28 Milwaukee Journal, 6 June 1937 The Daily Globe quoted an operator of 25 years who said that talk of 'Wives and children in distress" was so much nonsense. He said that in all of his years in the woods, the only married men he employed were cooks and foremen. The real distress, he said lay with the married mill employees who were forced out of work by the strike. His point is supported by the sample of 910 strikers who applied for relief in Gogebic County: 793 were single men, 77 were married, 21 widowed and 19 divorced.
29 Marquette Mining Journal, 4 June 1937; Iron River Reporter, June 1937, quotes Walter Berry, Field Representative for the ERA: "If we feed them, we will be accused of being in sympathy with the strikers, and if we do not, they will
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say we favor the logging operators... We will have to regard these men as any other unemployed individuals. We are interested in them not as strikers, but as needy persons."
30 Telegram of Raik, Lincoln to Murphy, June 2, 1937, Murphy Papers: Box 17, Folder 42, Bentley Library.
31 Memorandum, Oscar Olander to Governor Murphy, June 2, 1937, Murphy Papers: Box 17, Folder 42.
32 University of Michigan Alumni Records Office; Marquette Mining Journal, 6 June 1937.
33 Irene Paull, "Farewell, Sweet Warrior, To my husband, Henry Paull, Attorney for the People," May 1944. Irene Paull Collection, unprocessed, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota.
34 Milwaukee Journal, 6 June 1937; The Daily Globe stated that the Munising jacks voted to accept the AFL plan of organization and Peter Martel was to meet with them to organize the union under a new charter. June 9, 1937.
35 Telegram of Luke Raik to Murphy, June 7, 1937, Murphy Papers: Box 17, Folder 44.
36 Milwaukee Journal, 6 June 1937.
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1 Ironwood Daily Globe, 5 June 1937.
2 Timber Worker, 18 June 1937; Ironwood Daily Globe, 15 June 1937.
3 George Corrigan. untranscribed interview, Saxon, Wisconsin, October 7, 1977.
4 George Rahkonen, interview, p. 11.
5 George Corrigan, jobber, admits, "Some of us did put on a few men... We put them back in the woods quite a ways, let them alone, figure by the cord /doing piece work/. They'd come in for supper but if there'd be any strangers in the camp, why somebody would go out then and tell them to wait till the strangers left. We had about ten farmer boys from down around Wausau." Interview, October 7. The Timber Worker distainfully dismissed what scabbing was done as the puerile efforts of farmboys and college kids.
6 Ironwood Daily Globe, 19 June 1937. The membership of the strikers' committee was left with Henry Paull, Luke Raik, Matt Savola, George Rahkonen, John "Murphy" McMonagle, Bill Toomey, Arnold Starkweather, and James Rogers, the Vice President of Minnesota Local 2776.
7 Ironwood Daily Globe, 23 June 1937.
8 Timber Worker, 25 June 1937.
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9 When the State Health Commissioner sent an inspector to Marenisco at the behest of John McNicholas, township supervisor and incidentally, a jobber, who feared "an epidemic" about the strike headquar ters, the Sanitary Officer reported, "The lumberjacks are cooperative in matters of sanitation; no serious health problem exists in the village." Ironwood Daily Globe, 19 June 1937.
10 Timber Worker, 18 June 1937.
11 James M. Shields, "The Amazing Timberworkers", North Country Anvil.
12 Matt Savola, interview, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 29, 1977, p. 14.
13 Telegram of Luke Raik to Governor Murphy, June 11, 1937, Murphy Papers, Box 17, Folder 44.
14 Timber Worker, 18 June 1937.
15 Ironwood Daily Globe, 30 June 1937; George Rahkcnen, interview, p. 11.
16 Governor's Strike Committee, transcript of July 8, 1937, hearing held at Marenisco. Murphy Papers: Box 56,Folder 25.
18 Ironwood Rotary Club resolution to Governor Murphy, June 30, 1937, Murphy Papers: Box 56, Folder 25.
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19 Governor's Strike Committee, proceedings of June 17, 1937. Murphy Papers: Box 56, Folder 25.
20 Matt Savola, interview, p. 15.
21 Letter of Henry Paull to Nathaniel Clark, July 4, 1937. Murphy Papers: Box 18, folder 2.
22 International Woodworkers of America, Convention Proceedings - 1938, p. 363.
23 Matt Savola, interview, p. 15.
1 See Governor's Strike Commission transcripts of Marenisco hearing, June 8, 1937.
2 Timber Worker, 2 July 1937.
3 Conference for Protection of Civil Rights telegram to Governor Murphy, July 1, 1937. Murphy Papers: Box 18, Folder 1.
4 Two weeks before the outbreak of violence in Gogebic County, Raik had wired, "We feel that the spread of violence continues because the state executive office does not interfere with illegal actions by mobs led by sheriffs." Timber Worker, June 18.
Book Page 85
5 Letter from Murphy to B. B. Hutchinson, June 24, 1937, Murphy Papers, Box 17, Folder 51.
6 South Bend Tribune, June 11, 1937.
7 George Krogstad, memorandum to Governor Murphy, July 1, 1937. Murphy Papers: Box 18, Folder 1.
8 George Krogstad, memorandum to Governor Murphy, July 2, 1937. Murphy Papers:
Box 18, Folder 1.
9 Ironwood Daily Globe, 2 July 1937.
10 Ironwood Daily Globe, 7 July 1937.
11 George Rahkonen, interview, p. 13.
12 Ironwood Daily Globe, 15 July 1937; also in Murphy Papers: Box 56, Folder 26.
13 Timber Worker, 23 July 1937.
14 Timber Worker, 23 July 1937.
15 Timber Worker, (Midwest Labor) 24 March 1939.
16 Timber Worker, (Midwest Labor) 13 August 1937.
17 Ironwood Daily Globe, 16 July 1937; also in Murphy Papers: Box 56, Folder 26.
18 Cited in Timber Worker, 9 July 1937.
Book Page 86
19 George Corrigan, untranscribed interview, Saxon, Wisconsin, October 7, 1977.
20 Cited in the Timber Worker, 30 June 1937.
21 Governor's Strike Committee, minutes of the meeting at Covington, July 20, 1937, Murphy Papers: Box 56, Folder 20; Ironwood Daily Globe, 20 July 1937; Timber Worker, 23 July 1937.
22 Ironwood Daily Globe, 24 July 1937.
23 Timber Worker, 6 August 1937; Tronwood Daily Globe, 5 August 1937.
24 Members of the employers committee were Adolph Mueller, C. L. Anderson, Clarence Kane, John Hautar en, Arvey Ahonen, and C. A. Trethewey, attorney. Ironwood Daily Globe, 12 August 1937.
25 Timber Worker (Midwest Labor), 3 September 1937.
26 Ironwood Daily Globe, 12, 14 August 1937; Timber Worker, 13 August 1937.
27 Governor's Strike Committee, statement to the press, August 12, 1937. Murphy Papers: Box 56, Folder 26.
28 U. S. Court of Appeals, transcript of Newberry Lumber and Chemical vs NLRB, January 13, 1941. Matt Savola testimony, p. 208.
Book Page 87
29 Timber Worker, 20 August 1937.
30 George Rahkonen, interview, p. 16.
31 Ironwood Daily Globe, 17 August 1937.
32 Ironwood Daily Globe, 20 August 1937.
33 Timber Worker, 20 August 1937.
34 National Labor Relations Board, Decisions and Orders, Vol. XVII, Nov. 1938,
35 Ironwood Daily Globe, 12 June 1937.
36 See National Labor Relations Board, Decisions and Orders, Vol. X, May, 1938.
37 General Organization Bulletin, January 1937, IWW Collection: Box 32, Folder 26.
38 Correspondence translated from the Finnish, IWW Collection: Box 18, Folder 9.
39 IWW Demands in the Lumber Industry, leaflet, n.d. IWW Collection, Box 165.
40 Fred Thompson, The IWW: Its First Fifty Years (Chicago: IWW Publications, 1955), p. 174; conversation with Fred Thompson, April 31, 1977.
41 Ironwood Daily Globe, 3 August 1937.
Book Page 88
42 The first convention of the tni-state Mid-West Woodworkers was held August 7-8 in Duluth. Matt Savola was elected secretary-treasurer. Local members on the executive board were George Rahkonen, Lester Stolberg and Wilho Wilkkila.
43 Ironwood Daily Globe, 19 August 1937.
44 George Rahkonen, interview, page 16.
45 At the end of 1937 membership as reported by Local 15's first president, Matt Savola, was 3,200. A year later it had increased to 4,800. (Midwest Labor, 6 January 1939.
46 Midwest Labor, 3 September 1937.
47 Nick Wancash, interview, passim.
48 See National Labor Relations Board Decisions and Orders.
49 Midwest Labor, 12 September 1941.
50 George Rahkonen, interview, p. 8.
Book Page 89
Engberg, George B. "Collective Bargaining in the Lumber Industry of the Upper Great Lakes." Agricultural History, 24: 205-11 (October 1950).
Gedicks, Al. "The Social Origins of Radicalism Among Finnish Immigrants In Midwestern Mining Communities." Review of Radical Political Economics. Vol. 8, no. 3 (Fall 1976).
Kostiainen, Auvu. "The Finns and the Crisis over 'Bolshevization' in the Workers' Party 1924-25." Michael Karni, et.al., eds. The Finnish Experience in the Western Great Lakes Region: New Perspectives. (Vammala, Finland: Institute for Migration, Turku University, 1975).
Ollila, Douglas, Jr. "From Socialism to Industrial Unionism (IWW): Social Factors in the Emergence of the Left-labor Radicalism among Finnish Workers in the Mesabi, 1911-19." Karni, et. al., New Perspectives.
Ottewell, Denis, "The I.W.A." Labour History PSA, Vol. I, no. 1, March 1977. Shields, James M. "The Amazing Timberworkers." The North Country Anvil, n.d.
Book Page 90
Bernstein, Irving. Turbulent Years: A History of the American Worker 1933-1941. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1971
Corrigan, George A. Calked Boots and Cant Hooks. Park Fall, Wiso.: MacGregor Litho, 1976.
Halonen, Arne. "The Role of the Finnish- American in the Political Labor Movement." Masters thesis, University of Minnesota, 1945.
(Industrial Workers of the World). The Lumber Industry and Its Workers. 3rd ed. Chicago: IWW Publishers. n.d.
Jensen, Vernon. Lumber and Labor. (New York, N.Y.: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1945.)
Karni, Michael G., et. al. eds. The Finnish Experience in the Western Great Lakes Region: New Perspectives (Vammala, Finland: Institute for Migration Turku University, y, 1975).
Karni, Michael G., et. al. For the Common Good: Finnish Immigrants and the Radical Response to Industrial America. Superior, Wisc.: Tyomies Society, 1977.
Thompson, Fred. The IWW: Its First Fifty Years. (Chicago: IWW Publications, 1955).
Book Page 91
Oral History Interviews
Barry, Norman. Interviewer, Debra Bernhardt. Newberry, Michigan. September 19,1977.
Cordish, Louis. Interviewer, Debra Bernhardt. Munising, Michigan. September 20, 1977.
Corrigan, George. Interviewer, Debra Bernhardt. Saxon, Wisconsin. October 7, 1977.
Kuusisto, Martin. Interviewer, Irene Paull. October 1968. Audio-Visual Library, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Rahkonen, George. Interviewer, Debra Bernhardt. Phelps, Wisconsin. July 29, 1977.
________________ Interviewer, Al Gedicks. Mesaba Park, Minnesota. June 29, 1975. (In the possession of Al Gedicks)
Savola, Matt. Interviewer, Debra Bernhardt. Minneapolis, Minnesota. June 30, 1977.
Symon, Charles. Interviewer, Debra Bernhardt. Wakefield, Michigan. August 23, 1977.
Duluth Timber Worker, succeeded by Midwest Labor. Files at the Immigration History Research Center, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Book Page 92
Iron River Reporter
Ironwood Daily Globe
Marquette Mining Journal
South Bend Tribune
Superior, Wisconsin Tyomies; translated from the Finnish by Arthur Puotinen.
Manuscripts and Collections
Hafeli, Kenneth. "Henry Ford's Timber Operations in the Upper Peninsula." n.d. In the possession of Dr. Larry Rakestraw, Houghton, Michigan.
IWW Collection, Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.
Frank Murphy Papers, Michigan Historical
Collections, Bentley Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Irene Paull Collection, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota.
University of Michigan Alumni Records Office
Book Page 93
Manuscripts and Collections (Cont.)
Wiita, John. "Some Experiences of My Work at Upper Michigan as Communist Party District Secretary." Unpublished memoir. Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota.
International Woodworkers of America, Convention Proceedings - 1938.
National Labor Relations Board, Decisions and Orders. Vols. XIX, X, XXX, XVII.
U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 6th District. Transcript of Record. NLRB vs. Newberry Lumber & Chemical Company, January 13, 1941.
Book Page 94
Debra Bernhardt earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and Literature and History of Ideas at the University of Michigan Residential College in 1975. In 1974 she received the Hopwood Award for Creative Writing for her short stories. Working under grants from the Michigan Historical Collections and the Michigan Council for the Arts she compiled an Oral History of Mining in Iron County. The project took final form in the play "Black Rock and Roses" which was performed as a Bicentennial observance. For her "innovative work as a researcher and writer of the history of Iron County" she was one of eight individuals to be selected to receive the Historical Society of Michigan Award of Merit in 1976.
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