Samuel Gompers Papers

1. Lew Morton was secretary of Actors' Protective Union 1 of New York City from about 1899 and secretary of the Actors' National Protective Union (after 1909, the Actors' International Union) from 1900 until 1910. (SG sent similar letters to most of the AFL's affiliated national and international unions; reel 100, vol. 122, p. 123, SG Letterbooks, DLC).

2. Actors' Protective Union 1 of New York City was formed in 1894 and received an AFL charter as local 6453 later that year. It subsequently became part of the Actors' National Protective Union, founded in 1895 and chartered by the AFL in 1896. When the national organization was unsuccessful in maintaining itself, Actors' Protective Union 1 received a new AFL charter in 1900 as local 8605 and soon adopted the name "Actors' National Protective Union" (ANPU). The ANPU changed its name to the Actors' International Union (AIU) in 1909, and in 1910 it merged with the White Rats of America, Inc., a union composed primarily of vaudeville actors, to form the White Rats Actors' Union (WRAU). In 1912 some former AIU members left the WRAU and reorganized the AIU, which existed for several years.

3. In 1905 SLP members at the Schenectady plant of General Electric (GE) organized some twenty-five hundred metal workers--including members of several unions affiliated with the AFL--into craft affiliates of the IWW's Industrial Council of Metal and Machinery Workers. When two International Association of  Machinists (IAM) locals left the IAM to join the IWW, IAM 204 instructed its delegates to the Schenectady Trades Assembly (TA) to vote against seating their representatives. The assembly subsequently expelled its president, a longtime member of IAM 204, as well as other delegates when they presented credentials from the IWW.

In November 1906 GE fired draftsmen who had organized an IWW union. In response three thousand GE employees stopped work on Dec. 10, some staging a sit-in strike; by the following day, almost all of the workforce in eleven departments had walked out. The Schenectady TA repudiated the strike, however, and AFL affiliates instructed their members to continue working. Rivalry between factions of the IWW also weakened the strike, which the IWW called off on Dec. 20 after the company hired two hundred new workers.

4. In February 1906 members of Amalgamated Sheet Metal Workers (ASMW) 5 of Youngstown, Ohio, a tinners' and staters' local, sought a raise of 25 cents a day from local contractors. In April, after the contractors rejected the proposal, the local seceded from the international and affiliated with the IWW as Haywood Local 310. The new local made its demand industry wide and voted to strike on May 1. In early May ASMW president Michael O'Sullivan went to Youngstown and organized a new local, ASMW 39, claiming that seceding members had violated the constitution. He also negotiated a closed-shop agreement that raised wages 25 cents. When IWW members refused to join the new union in order to regain their jobs, however, O'Sullivan brought in union workers from Pittsburgh to replace them.

IWW secretary-treasurer William Trautmann arrived in Youngstown on May 15 to oversee the strike and distribute financial aid and, by the end of the month, the IWW announced plans to annex existing building trades unions. In response, several AFL affiliates sent organizers to Youngstown. IWW 310 called off its strike on July 2.

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