‘Rubber Workers On The Firing Line at Akron’ from Industrial Worker. Vol 4 No. 50. March 6, 1913.
Bidding fair to eclipse the record of the Great Lawrence textile strike the rubber strike at Akron, Ohio, is holding the center of the industrial arena at the present time.
With 26,750 workers employed in the one industry in Akron there are over 20,000 of them who have laid down their tools because of the unbearable conditions. Those rebellious workers are battling against six great rubber firms whose capital stock totals to the enormous sum of $110,000,000. The companies are the Goodrich, $90,000,000; the Goodyear, $15,000,000; the Firestone, $4,000,000; the Swineheart $800,000; the Miller $1,000,000, and the Buckeye $200,000.
If the stock market is any indication of the gravity of the strike, then the workers have certainly dealt a powerful blow to the huge water-stocked corporations, for the stocks of these concerns have been steadily dropping since the strike began.
The A.F. of L. as usual, is on the scene, doing the work of the employers by casting discredit on the strike leaders and the I.W.W. Organizer Cal Wyatt of the A.F. of L. is said to be the one who Is doing the most to spread lies about the strikers and those who are on the strike committee. As Wyatt is a member of the secret inner circle of the Typographical Union and is denied admittance to his own hall in Pittsburg, any charges from that source are not very reliable.
The I.W.W. are in charge of the situation. General Organizer George Speed Is on the scene, Haywood left the west hurriedly to aid in the work. Trautman dropped his work in the Pittsburg district to take part, Giovannatti is also reported as on his way, and Clover, Swasey, Spangler, Bessemer, Mrs. Marguerite Prevey, and C.E. Ruthenberg arc lending all their efforts to the winning of the great battle.
As Akron Is but about 7 miles from New Castle. Pa., where Solidarity Is published. Editor B.H. Williams took a trip to the scene to get material for the paper and also to deliver a talk.
The usual bombastic articles about the dangers to the flag, to the home, to religion, etc.. have made their appearance in the Akron Times (why is it always the Times?) and according to reports everyone in Akron Is organized into a regular San Diego patriotic league to guard the flag and all the freedom guaranteed by the rubber trust’s $5 weekly wage.
The spirit of revolt Is spreading to many nearby cities and the winning of this strike will mean an era of organization throughout that section of the country.
Akron. Ohio, Feb. 27. The sixteenth day of the great strike of rubber workers here finds the workers standing firm with ranks unbroken. All attempts to create dissension and break their solidarity have failed. According to the most reliable Information approximately 20000 are on strike. Of these about 1000 are girls and 4000 are foreign born workers, mostly Hungarians and Germans. The rest are native born Americans, the flower of the youth of the country recruited from almost every state by the employment agencies of the Rubber Trust. This last is a very encouraging feature which indicates that the American is beginning to line up in the great class war.
Public sentiment Is strongly in favor of the strikers. The Governor has refused to send the militia and not a single act of violence has occurred so far.
The Los Angeles Times bus a worthy competitor in the local paper of the same name. It comes out every day with the most atrocious lies and misrepresentations that the rotten, cankerous, puss-filled brain of the mental prostitute who is editor can concoct. The usual “patriotic”‘ stuff is trotted out dally to the amusement of the strikers. They haven’t succeeded in alarming anybody except some of the cockroach business men. They are making frantic efforts to have the “alien agitators” run out of town, but it is too big a proposition.
They are greatly assisting our educational campaign by printing some of the “songs to fan the flame of discontent.” extracts from the “History of the I.W.W,” “Why Strikes Are Lost,” and Solidarity. Sabotage and the C.G.T. have been fully explained. Lots of free advertising. All speeches are reported by a stenographer and printed in full.
The mayor issued a proclamation forbidding parades and meetings but the strikers wouldn’t stand for It, so it is a dead letter. Last day we regarded as the crisis of the strike and the I.W.W. organisers on the job made every effort to get a great picket line for the following morning. A cold drizzle interfered with this plan and the line was not as large as the previous ones. This was the opening the Times had been waiting for, and they announced under big headlines that the strike was broken. Papers were given away all over the city in a desperate effort to cause a stampede. A copy was mailed to every house in town, paid for by the officials of the Rubber Companies. The attempt fell fiat and the next day saw the biggest parade of the strike.
Great enthusiasm and solidarity has been manifested throughout the strike. The meetings held at Grace Park were the largest ever seen in Akron. Fully 16,000 strikers stood in the mud to hear speakers in many languages tell about the I.W.W. and to hear the wage scale read by the chairman of the committee. “Political action” was used at the end of the meeting when the strikers unanimously raised their right hands and voted for more pay as called for by the new scale.
The big problem looming up now Is the question of relief for the strikers conditions in the rubber factories have been terrible. Most of the strikers have been living from hand to mouth on the paltry wages paid them and are in no position to stand out without aid from the outside. We have promised them that the rebels of the west would stand by them to the bitter end in their fight for better things. It’s up to you to make good on this promise and do it quick.
Yesterday evening about 2000 picketed the Goodrich plant in a blinding snowstorm, which invited as it fell. The streets were slush and all were soaked, but the enthusiasm was not dampened. It was certainly an Inspiring demonstration. This revolt has brought to the front a large number of real rebels and some good speakers. The most revolutionary speeches at the dally meetings are wildly applauded by the strikers
The A.F. of L. butted in early in the strike and today claimed one hundred members. The I.W.W. in in complete control of the situation and has 14,000 already on the books with numbers signing up dally. Nothing can take them away from us except our failure to make good with the relief work.
The Rubber Companies are maintaining fight to a finish attitude, the State Arbitration Board has entered the strike. They held a conference with the strike committee this morning. We are not chasing them; they come to us. Business of the town is on the bum completely and the cockroaches are commencing to squirm and holler for a settlement.
Endless chain picketing is being employed with tremendous effect. Tuesday night 5,000 marched in military order around the great Goodyear plant. The police and about 200 deputies (wearing yellow badges to show their colors) were on hand for the purpose of stopping the parade. It was led by a fourteen-year-old boy striker. The “law” attempted to turn them back, but the crowd kept on coming. The next day the bunch went to the Goodrich plant and walked all over the place.
The Ohio State Senate has appointed a committee to probe the Rubber Trust. If this Is carried out some startling facts will be brought out. However, the strikers are not depending on this. They know that only by their own Industrial solidarity can this strike be won; and they are out to win.
The foreign clement hold some great meetings in their own hall. You ought to hear some or those Hungarian and Servian S.L.P, men talk sabotage, direct action and the “Chicago” I.W.W.
The latest move is a campaign to get the I.W.W. organizers driven out of town. This indicates the desperate straits of the masters.
All together for the Akron Rubber Workers! Rush on the funds to help the strike! Hit the bosses in the pocket book and hit them hard.
JAMES P. CANNON, & GEO. H. SWASEY.
Send all funds to J.W. Hoyd, 140 So. High St., Akron. Ohio.
The Industrial Union Bulletin, and the Industrial Worker were newspapers published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from 1907 until 1913. First printed in Joliet, Illinois, IUB incorporated The Voice of Labor, the newspaper of the American Labor Union which had joined the IWW, and another IWW affiliate, International Metal Worker.The Trautmann-DeLeon faction issued its weekly from March 1907. Soon after, De Leon would be expelled and Trautmann would continue IUB until March 1909. It was edited by A. S. Edwards. 1909, production moved to Spokane, Washington and became The Industrial Worker, “the voice of revolutionary industrial unionism.”
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/industrialworker/iw/v4n50-w206-mar-06-1913-IW.pdf