Steel Workers’ Organizing Committee

(SWOC)
   In June 1936, the newly formed Committee of Industrial Organization targeted a bastion of antiunionism since the late 19th century—the steel industry—as their focus for trade union membership drives. They established the SWOC, led by Philip Murray, and on 2 March 1937 the “Big Steel” companies agreed to recognize the unions rather than face strikes. Smaller companies led by Republic Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and Youngstown Sheet & Tube, however, refused to such an agreement, and a bitter strike ensued. One of the worst episodes in U.S. labor history occurred in the Memorial Day Massacre outside the Republic Steel plant in South Chicago, Indiana, when 10 people were killed. Despite a wave of public sympathy for the strikers, the “Little Steel” companies did not recognize the unions until 1941.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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