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Men of Steel: 1938

Men of Steel: 1938

July 1938. Veteran steelworkers in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration.

 

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SWOC

Note the S.W.O.C. label on the window with "Lodge 1211." Below you can see writing on the window about "PM" and "attend." The Steel Workers Organizing Committee, precursor to the United Steelworkers of America, was formed by the CIO in 1936. It organized at Jones & Laughlin Steel in Aliquippa as an "industrial union" unlike the AFL which was a trade union. Aliquippa was one of the handful of steel towns where union organizers risked their lives by merely entering the city limits.

On the night of May 12, 1937, 25,000 workers went on strike at Jones and Laughlin. It turned out to be one of the shortest strikes in the history of the steel unions. Within 36 hours J&L capitulated and agreed to a union. The 1937 strike was the benchmark by which the United Steelworkers of America would be measured.

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