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[Life Magazine, page 21, August 1st, 1938]
Transcribed by ©Carrol Mick for Genealogy Trails


strike melee

Strike melee at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Co. sprays tear gas over pickets, police, photographers and onlookers. In the foreground is a masked deputy firing tear-gas bullets. His gun is capable of projecting them about 100 yd.


The pattern of U.S. industrial strife is one of the most homogeneous features of this heterogeneous nation. While investigators in Washington were recreating scenes of a three-year-old Ohio strike, strikers and police in North Chicago, Ill., spent July 19 enacting a new Labor drama for future committees to investigate.

On this occasion the action involved the
Chicago Hardware Foundry Co. and C.L.O's Amalgamated Iron, Steel & Tin Workers. In evidence were the same familiar white puffs of tear gas, the same stumbling excited crowds, the same bleeding heads, and shirt-sleeved police.

For six weeks the plant had been strike-bound. Trouble started June 6 when a 10% wage reduction was decreed for all employes. The union, sole bargaining agent for the plant's 450 workers, rejected the cut, began picketing when negotiations collapsed. On July 19 Sheriff Lawrence A. Doolittle, backed by a court order and 60 policemen, warned 300 pickets outside the plant they had just five minutes to "break it up." When the time limit expired the officers closed in. Tear-gas bombs and stones passed in flight. No one was seriously injured. Seven pickets were arrested.
After 25 minutes of brisk fighting the street was cleared and 150 loyal employes returned to work. Next day the company announced jobs were still open to strikers willing to accept the specified cut.

prisoner pix
A prisoner is led away by a trio of police, grimacing in pain as one of his captors twists his arm. He is equipped with a homemade gas mask, a new sight on Labor's battle front.

Flag-bearer is ushered from the battlefield, eyes streaming from the tear-gas bombardment. Other pickets succumbed to vomiting gas, effects of which last longer than those of tear gas.

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