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Toledo Edison Strike Is Called Off
After Paralyzing Industry

Press Frantic

Enormous Pressure Causes Cave-In of Strike

(June 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 25, 8 June 1935, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).


As we go to press news comes from Toledo that the power strike which threatened to shut down power in a radius of 800 square miles and effecting twenty-three cities in three states has been called off pending negotiations on their demand for a 20 percent increase in wages. It is understood that these negotiations are to start Monday with officials of the Henry L. Doherty Company in New York, parent company of the Toledo Edison. Oliver Myers, business agent of the union, attributed the sudden termination of the strike to pressure “from many sources,” The union workers voted 237 to 22 to end the strike. The men are to be paid in full for the day of the strike.

* * *

TOLEDO, Ohio, Jane 5. – A strike of employees of the Toledo Edison Co., which supplies the electrical power for Toledo, northwest Ohio, northeast Indiana and southeast Michigan. Including a score of communities, began at 7:00 A.M. this morning. 500 maintenance, production and technical workers, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 245, were the first to walk out. 126 office workers also struck and picketed the Toledo Edison Building. Plans for the strike, announced by Oliver Myers, business agent of the local, indicated that it will not be totally effective until tomorrow morning, as the shut-down will be progressive, only a portion of workers having been called on strike today.

Hysteria has struck the local press, as well as all the other agencies and groups of the capitalist class of the city. Operation of industrial plants, street cars, street lights and other major sources of electrical consumption has not as yet been seriously curtailed.

Frenzied Attack on Strike

There is a strong possibility that the strike may be suspended or terminated before morning. Terrific pressure is being exerted from every side, press, government, “outstanding citizens,” business and church groups – and the international officers of the union – upon the local strikers and their representatives to suspend the strike for arbitration or pending negotiations. A meeting of striking electrical workers will be held at midnight tonight to act upon the suggestion of the international officers that the strike be suspended pending further negotiations.

The striking office workers have already voted in meeting tonight to return to work if the maintenance, production and technical workers decide to accept the proposal of the international officers.

There is a strong feeling in organized labor circles here that such a move may prove to be disastrous for the strikers, as arbitration or negotiations without picket lines will mean another shell-game settlement which will give the workers nothing. Edward F. McGrady, Assistant Secretary of Labor, and notorious government strike-breaker who did such effective work here just three weeks ago in the Chevrolet strike, is expected on the scene momentarily.

Press Demands Violence

The company has already announced its intentions of operating the power and transmission plants in the face of mass picket lines. The newspapers are openly calling for police force and demanding that the plants be operated under any conditions. Should the strike continue and go into full effect, a certain amount of power will be brought into the city from outside Ohio communities. This will be sufficient only for emergency maintenance of electric power for hospitals and similar institutions, it is believed.

The question of the maintenance of the strike rests largely at present upon the position taken by Oliver Myers, in whom the almost sole leadership of the strike now rests. While Myers has been known to have strong progressive and militant tendencies, it is felt that his long association with the old-line A.F. of L. officialdom may influence him to agree to suspension of the strike under this terrific pressure.

The strike was called following lengthy negotiations with the Toledo Edison management, when union requests for a 20 percent wage-increase were flatly turned down. The Toledo Edison Co. is one of Henry L. Dougherty’s holdings. It has been making enormous profits and has been exacting terrifically high rates from the consumers.

Failure of the strikers’ representatives to issue statements or a strike-bulletin or leaflets to offset the unrestrained lies and frenzied distortions of the press has been a distinct weakness of the strike tactics so far.

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