1919 October 17

Striking Steel Workers Seek to Enjoin Police from Interfering with Meetings


Striking steel workers in the Pittsburgh area it was reported today plan to seek an injunction against the police to stop them from interfering with strike and union-related meetings.

A strike-related meeting had been banned by Pittsburgh authorities three days earlier. The strike involved a massive nationwide union organizing effort involving over 500,000 steelworkers. It was one of many strikes across the country in the conflict-ridden year of 1919, which also included a coal miners strike, the famous Boston police strike, race riots in Washington, DC (July 19, 1919), Chicago (July 27, 1919), Omaha, Nebraska (September 28, 1919), and other cities, and the first of two infamous “Palmer Raids,” in which the Justice Department rounded up thousands of alleged radicals (November 7, 1919).

The president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Labor also wrote a letter to the governor of Pennsylvania charging the State Constabulary with breaking up union meetings and clubbing and jailing people.

Read: Cameron McWhirter, Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America (2011)

Read the classic work on labor injunctions: Felix Frankfurter and Nathan Greene, The Labor Injunction (1930)

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