- Kenosha Retrospective: A Biographical Approach. Burckel, Nicholas C. and John A. Neuenschwander, eds. Kenosha, Wis.: Kenosha County Bicentennial Commission; 1981. xvi, 384 p.
Notes: PARTIAL CONTENTS: “C. Fred Stemm: Labor’s Political Outsider” / by Don Jensen, p. -108. — “Felix Olkives: Labor Enterpreneur” / by Leon Applebaum, p. -202. — “George Molinaro: Labor-Ethnic Politician” / by John D. Buenker, p.-294. — “UAW Local 72: Assertive Union” / by Angela Howard Zophy, p. -331.
N.B. Labor leader C. Fred Stemm, a blacksmith with the Bain Wagon works forge, was a member of the Knights of Labor and active in Kenosha city politics from 1882 to through 1913, serving on the city council and also, for part of those years, as mayor of the city; Olkives was president of the Kenosha Trades and Labor Council from the late 1920s through World War II; George Molinaro worked on the assembly line for forty-five years, first at Nash Motors and then at American Motors after the company later changed hands, while also having a prominent career in the Wisconsin State Assembly, upon which political activities this article concentrates–he was also one of the older brothers of the actor, Al Molinaro); United Auto Workers Local 72 represented the unionized workers at the Nash Motors plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
- Workers in Wisconsin History: Commemorating the Contributions and Acknowledging the Struggles of Working People Toward Making Wisconsin a Great State, A Labor History Sesquicentennial Project of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Labor Education and Training Center, Inc. Germanson, Kenneth A., editor. Milwaukee, Wis.: Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Labor Education and Training Center, Inc.; . 24 p.
Notes: “This booklet highlights presentations made at six events which were held throughout the state as part of the ‘Workers in Wisconsin History’ Project during 1998–Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial Year. The contents … include excerpts from speeches, writings or other presentations made at the events.”–inside front cover.
CONTENTS: “The Bay View Tragedy of May 5, 1886: A Look at Milwaukee’s 8-Hour March, Killings from the Workers’ Point of View” / by Howard Zinn, p. 3-5. — “The Great Oshkosh Woodworkers Strike of 1898: Women Played Heroic Role in Citywide Struggle that had National Significance” / by Virginia Crane, p. 6-8. — “The 1940s and the Union Movement in Wisconsin: Wartime Saw Unions Grow in Numbers, Enter into New Areas, Like Politics” / by Darryl Holter, p. 9-12. — “Labor in the Upper Wisconsin River Valley: From Paternalism to Cooperation, Workers, Companies Built Prosperity” / by James Lorence, p. 13-15. — “Labor in Stevens Point, 1880-1998: From $1 a Day for 12 Hours, Unions Made a Difference in Area” / by George Rogers, p. 16-20. — “Superior’s Labor History Hall of Fame: A Century of Labor’s Struggles Told in the Stories of Five Leaders” / by Joel Sipress, p. 21-23.
Another edition: Also available on the web at URL http://my.execpc.com/~blake/table.htm.
- Bayley, Edwin R. Joe McCarthy and the Press. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press; 1981. 270 p. Notes: An in-depth look at how Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin from 1947-1957, affected the newspaper and television press and how he was affected by the press, both nationally and in Wisconsin. One substantial chapter is devoted to McCarthy’s 1952 U.S. senatorial re-election campaign in Wisconsin, which was after he had become well-known because of his “communist infiltration” issue.
Another edition: Bayley, Edwin R. Joe McCarthy and the Press. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982. 270 p. ISBN: 0394712463 (pbk.)
Reviewed: Heren, Louis (reviewer). “Craven Images.” The Times [London], December 31, 1981, p.13.
- Beck, Elmer A. The Sewer Socialists: A History of the Socialist Party of Wisconsin, 1897-1940. Fennimore, Wis.: Westburg Associates ; 1982. 2 v.
- Berger, Victor L. Voice and Pen of Victor L. Berger: Congressional Speeches and Editorials_. Milwaukee, Wis.: The Milwaukee Leader; 1929. 753 p. ??
Notes: Source: Bolerium Books Wants System: SKU 128165; “Keywords: Labor – American Wisconsin Socialist Party USA 1900S 1910S 1920S.”
- Buenker, John D. “The Politics of Mutual Frustration: Socialists and Suffragists in New York and Wisconsin”. IN: Miller, Sally M., editor. Flawed Liberation: Socialism and Feminism. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press; 1981; pp. 113-144.
- Ettenheim, Sarah C. How Milwaukee Voted, 1848-1968. Milwaukee, Wis.: Institute of Governmental Affairs, University Extension, University of Wisconsin; 1970. 144 p.
Notes: An incredibly useful compilation of data showing the voting patterns for elections held in Milwaukee County with vote tallies provided by ward for the following offices: U.S. President (from 1848 through 1968), Wisconsin Governor (from 1848 through 1968), U.S. Senator (from 1914, when Wisconsin began direct election of U.S. Senators, through 1968), U.S. Representatives (from 1872 through 1968), Mayor of Milwaukee (from 1900 through 1968), and Milwaukee County Executive (from 1960 through 1968). Detailed maps are provided for significant changes to the political boundaries of the Milwaukee districts and wards to ensure that comparisons of the voting patterns can be followed over time. The tally figures given are based upon biennial reports published by the City of Milwaukee Election Commission for the period from 1912 through 1968, with the figures prior to 1912 coming from the Wisconsin Blue Book or reports filed with the Wisconsin Secretary of State’s office. An index to the candidates’ names is also included.
- Foner, Philip S. U.S. Labor and the Viet-Nam War. New York: International Publishers; 1989. 180 p. Notes: See the section titled, “Madison Labor Against the War” (p. 129-132) and also p. 135-136.
- Fure-Slocum, Eric. “Cities With Class?: Growth Politics, the Working-Class City, and Debt in Milwaukee During the 1940s”. Social Science History. 2000 Spring; 24(1):257-305.
- Gavett, Thomas William. “The Development of the Labor Movement in Milwaukee”; 1957. Notes: Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1957. 450 p.
- Gavett, Thomas William. Development of the Labor Movement in Milwaukee. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press; 1965. 265 p.
Notes: A revision of his thesis (Ph.D.)–University of Wisconsin, 1957. This history looks at unions in Milwaukee from their earliest development in the 1840s up to about 1960, paying particular attention to the effects of a long alliance between the Milwaukee trade unions and the Socialist Party (led locally by Victor Berger).
Reviewed: The Milwaukee Journal, July 11, 1965.
- Goldberg, Bettina. “Radical German-American Freethinkers and the Socialist Labor Movement: The Freie Gemeinde in Milwaukee, Wisconsin”. IN: Keil, Hartmut, edited by. German Workers’ Culture in the United States, 1850 to 1920. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press; 1988; pp. 241-260.
- Hauser, Stephen K. “Frank Zeidler, Milwaukee’s Presidential Candidate”. Milwaukee History. 1980; 3(2):47-58.
Notes: America: History and Life, 18A:8751
- Hillquit, Morris. History of Socialism in the United States. 5th rev. and enl. ed. ed. New York: Funk and Wagnalls; 1910. 389 p. ???
Notes: [recommended by Edwin Witte, “Labor in Wisconsin History,” Wisconsin Magazine of History, v. 35, no. 2 (Winter 1951), p. 83]
- Holter, Darryl. “The Founding of the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor, 1893”. IN: Holter, Darryl. Workers and Unions in Wisconsin: A Labor History Anthology. Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin; 1999; pp. 40-41.
Notes: The genesis of the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor, the enduring statewide political voice of Wisconsin working men and women, is described; the three-day convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin met for three days in June 1893. Attending were thirty-five delegates from unions in Wisconsin representing brewery workers, carpenters, cigar makers, coal heavers, coopers, electrical workers, furniture workers, horseshoers, iron molders, plasterers, tanners, trunk makers, typographers, and machine woodworkers; six Wisconsin central labor councils were represented with delegates (Ashland, Madison, Marinette, Milwaukee, Oshkosh and West Superior).
- —. “Labor Spies and Union-Busting in Wisconsin, 1890-1940”. Wisconsin Magazine of History. 1985 Summer; 68(4):-265.
Notes: In 1925 Wisconsin union leaders, after twenty years of effort, were able to get significant restrictions placed in state law on the union-harassing activities of employers, especially regarding labor spies; other states later followed Wisconsin’s lead and enacted similar legislation. Besides exploring the legislative and organizational tactics used from 1890 to 1940 by the Wisconsin labor movement to combat labor spying, this fascinating article discusses how labor spies actually operated, how detective agencies began offering this specialized service, and how the 1925 law affected the operation of detective agencies doing this type of work in Wisconsin.
The author provides an in-depth example of each of the two situations in which labor spies were used; the strike discussed is that against the Allen-A Hosiery company in Kenosha, Wisconsin from 1928 to 1930 by members of Branch 6 of the American Federation of Full Fashioned Hosiery Workers, United Textile Workers of America and, for the second situation, he uses the Western Paper Makers Association (a manufacturers’ association led by David Clark Everest) and their activities to suppress unions among paper mill workers in central Wisconsin along the Fox, Wisconsin, Marinette, Eau Claire and Peshtigo Rivers. The article also examines the helpful role of congressional hearings held from 1936 to 1940 by the U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Robert La Follette, Jr.
The State Historical Society of Wisconsin named this article as the winner of the annual William Best Hesseltine Award for the best article to be published in the Wisconsin Magazine of History during the year.
Also: Holter, Darryl O. Labor Spies and Union Busting in Wisconsin, 1890-1940. [Milwaukee? Wis.: D.O. Holter?, 1987?, c1985. 24 p. Article reprinted by permission from the Wisconsin Magazine of History, v. 68, no. 4 (Summer 1985).
- —. “Wisconsin’s ‘Labor Disputes’ Files, 1937-1939: A Profile of State Intervention in Labor Relations”. Labor’s Heritage. 1989; 1(4):46-57.
- Keil, Hartmut. “Appendix: List of Editors/Journalists of German-American Radical Papers, 1865-1914”. IN: Shore, Elliott; Fones-Wolf, Ken, and Danky, James P., editors. The German-American Radical Press: The Shaping of a Left Political Culture, 1850-1940. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press; 1992; pp. 213-219.
Notes: Although none of the essays contained in this volume focus on the German-American press in Wisconsin, the volume’s one appendix, which identifies the editors and journalists who worked on German-American radical papers in the United States, does cover several published in Wisconsin, including: Amerikanische Turnzeitung (Milwaukee); Arbeiterzeitung (Milwaukee); Arminia (Milwaukee); Freidenker (Milwaukee); Das Freie Wort (Milwaukee); Leuchtkugeln (Milwaukee); Lucifer (Milwaukee); Milwaukee Journal (1880-1881); Milwaukee Volksblatt; Milwaukee Volkszeitung; Milwaukee Vorwaerts; Milwaukee’r Arbeiter-Zeitung; Milwaukee’r Arbeiterzeitung; Milwaukee’r Sozialist; Reformer (Milwaukee); Die rothe Laterne (Milwaukee); Sheboygan Volksblatt; Volksblatt Sheboygan; Volkszeitung Milwaukee ; Vorwaerts (Milwaukee); Wahrheit (Milwaukee); and, Wisconsin Vorwaerts (Milwaukee).
- Klueter, Howard R. and Lorence, James J. Woodlot and Ballot Box: Marathon County in the Twentieth Century. Wausau, Wis.: Marathon County Historical Society; 1977. 414 p.
Notes: In the first half of this volume, economic development in Marathon County (in the Wisconsin River Valley) is covered from the earliest development of lumbering there in the 1830s and up through the transformation of the city of Wausau into a general business and industrial center well into the 1960s (with both the organization of management and the workers being analyzed). The second half of the book focuses on how culture and ethnicity affected the political landscape of the area from the 1890s up to the early 1970s.
- Kneevers, Earl E. Jr. and Charmaine Chopp Kneevers. The Sheboygan Socialists. Zeidler, Frank P., foreword by. Sheboygan Falls, Wis. : Sheboygan County Historical Research Center; 2003. xvii, 184 p. Notes: An overall picture of the political and social activities of the Socialist Party of Sheboygan is provided, primarily based upon a minute book of the meetings of the party during the period from 1924 through 1939; over fifty related illustrations are provided. The authors also analyzed the issues of The Wisconsin Comrade, published from March 1914 to June 1916 by the Social-Democratic Party of Wisconsin, for any news related to members of the Socialist branches located in both the city and county of Sheboygan..
- Lause, Mark A. The Civil War’s Last Campaign: James B. Weaver, the Greenback-Labor Party & the Politics of Race & Section. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America; 2001. 246 p.
Notes: A narrative look at the 1880 U. S. Presidential campaign of the National Greenback party, including discussion of Wisconsin’s significant role in this national third-party effort. First organized in 1876 and active through the 1884 Presidential race, the Greenback party wanted the federal government to increase the supply of paper money in circulation that was not backed by gold or another metal, in order to make credit more easily available during the troubled economic periods around 1873 and 1877 in the United States. Nationally, the Greenback party received one million votes and elected fourteen Congressional representatives in 1878; the party’s support came primarily from workers and farmers around the country, with the socialist organizations of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, having a strong impact on the party. The Greenback party also had some support from the Midwest’s business community, which tried to get Edward P. Allis, of Milwaukee’s Reliance Iron Works, for the top spot on the Greenback’s 1880 national ticket, but James B. Weaver, of Iowa, was selected instead. After the Greenback party faded, the Populist party incorporated much of Greenback party’s message about the political and social costs of monetary policies into the platform of the Populist party and James B. Weaver even ran as the 1892 Presidential candidate for the Populists.
- Lawson, Elizabeth. The Struggle against White Chauvinism. Milwaukee, Wis.: Communist Party, Wisconsin State Education Department; 1948? 9 leaves .
- Lorence, James J. “Dynamite for the Brain: The Growth and Decline of Socialism in Central and Lakeshore Wisconsin, 1910-1920”. Wisconsin Magazine of History. 1983 Summer; 66(4):251-273.
- —. “Gerald J. Boileau and the Politics of Sectionalism: Dairy Interests and the New Deal, 1933-1938”. Wisconsin Magazine of History. 1988 Summer; 71(4):276-295.
Notes: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin named this article as the winner of the twenty-third annual William Best Hesseltine Award for the best article to be published in the Wisconsin Magazine of History during 1987-1988.
- —. Gerald J. Boileau and the Progressive-Farmer-Labor Alliance: Politics of the New Deal . Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press; 1994. 324 p.
Notes: A close look at the public career of Gerald J. Boileau from Marathon County, Wisconsin, who played a key role in Wisconsin’s Progressive movement through his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1930 to 1938, where he represented Wisconsin’s Seventh District (comprised at that time of the state’s central counties of Adams, Green Lake, Langlade, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood). Lorence details how Boileau “tried to fashion economic and political institutions that would meet the needs and protect the interests of the district’s farmers, workers, and small businessmen” (p. 1). From the start of his congressional career, Boileau worked in coalition with others in the U.S. Congress “in an effort to move a sometimes cautious Roosevelt administration toward peace, prosperity, and reform measures often more sweeping than those entertained by the president” (p. 1). Although the Wisconsin Progressives during the 1930 and 1932 Congressional races had nominally run on the Republican ticket, for the election of 1934 they formed their own third party ticket (under the leadership of Robert M. La Follette, Sr.’s two sons, Robert M. La Follette, Jr. and Philip F. La Follette). During the next four years the Wisconsin Progressives and the similarly-minded Minnesota Farmer-Laborites in the U.S. House of Representatives banded together into a caucus known as the ‘Progressive Group’ (with Boileau serving as their floor leader); this caucus played a key role in what was known at that time as the ‘Liberal’ voting bloc in the U.S. House and enabled the Progressive Group to advance their broad reform program of providing “maximum opportunity for individuals to climb the ladder of success in an open economy” (p. 38). Lorence ably explains the tactics dictated by the Progressives’ third party political strategy and analyzes how the strategy enabled the ‘Progressive Group’ to be an effective force on national policies.
Reviewed: Tweton, D. Jerome (reviewer). American Historical Review October 1995 100(4):1323. Reviewed: Glad, Paul W. (reviewer). Journal of American History June 1995 82(1):321-322. Reviewed: Gay, James T. (reviewer). History: Reviews of New Books Spring 1995 23(3):110. Reviewed: Myers, R. David (reviewer). Wisconsin Magazine of History Spring 1995 78(3):221-222. Reviewed: Reference and Research Book News, June 1, 1994.
- —. “The Milwaukee Connection: the Urban-Rural Link in Wisconsin Socialism, 1910-1920”. Milwaukee History. 1980 Winter; 3:102-111.
- —. “Socialism in Northern Wisconsin, 1910-1920: An Ethno-Cultural Analysis”. Mid-America . 1982 Oct; 64:25-51.
- Marsden, K. Gerald. “Patriotic Societies and American Labor: The American Protective Association in Wisconsin”. Wisconsin Magazine of History. 1958; 41:287-94.
- Meyer, Stephen. “Stalin Over Wisconsin”: The Making and the Unmaking of Militant Unionism, 1900-1950. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press; 1992. 263 p. (Cantor, Milton and Laurie, Bruce. Class and culture).
Notes: The story of the workers and their union at the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Corporation from 1900 to 1950 is eloquently explained here. The company, located in West Allis, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee), was one of the largest employers in Wisconsin and specialized in a wide variety of metal and electrical manufacturing (from small electric motors to large steam engines, from tractors to artillery shell casings); the union, United Auto Workers Local 248, played a significant role in the Milwaukee and Wisconsin labor movement as well as nationally within the UAW. The author analyzes the process by which the employees built up the strength of the union at the job through the principles of industrial unionism and how the forces of power were able to tear it apart with the red-baiting tactics of the McCarthy period.
- Mikkelsen, Robert. “The Social Democratic Party of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: A Study of Ethnic Compostion and Political Development”. 1976: 161 leaves.
Notes: This paper considers various elements which contributed to the strength of the Social Democratic Party of Milwaukee, Wisconsin from its creation on July 9, 1897, sparked by a speech by the Eugene V. Debs, the leading socialist in the United States, and then discusses the party’s growth over the next decade or so, followed by its decline during the period of World War I through 1924.
The author–a scholar from Oslo, Norway–argues that the widespread ethnic homogeneity of the working class in Milwaukee had more to do with the relatively long success of the Social Democratic Party there, than did “the specific German cultural and political heritage of Milwaukee’s working class” (p. 1) and is persuaded that elsewhere much more “heterogeneous ethnic communities making up the urban working class in most American cities acted as channels for the integration of these elements into the associational and parliamentary political system of the nation” (p. 1).
A copy is available in the library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (see call number JK2391.S58/M54)
- Miller, Sally M. “Milwaukee: Of Ethnicity and Labor” . IN: Stave, Bruce M., editor. Socialism and the Cities. Port Washington, N.Y.: National University Publications/Kennikat Press; 1975; pp. p. 41-71.
- —. Victor Berger and the Promise of Constructive Socialism, 1910-1920. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press; 1973. 275 p. (Contributions in American History; no. 24).
Notes: Reviewed: Haney, Richard C. (reviewer). Wisconsin Magazine of History Spring 1974 57(3):234-235.
- Muzik, Edward John. “Victor Berger, Congress, and the Red Scare in Wisconsin”. Wisconsin Magazine of History. 1964 Summer.
Notes: Source: Holter’s “Wisconsin and American Labor History: An Annotated Bibliography,” p. 3.
- Muzik, Edward John. “Victor L. Berger, A Biography”; 1960.
Notes: Ph.D. thesis, Northwestern University, 1960. 486 p. Victor Berger (1860-1929), a Milwaukee journalist was an important labor leader and socialist politician, including serving as the first Socialist member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1911-1913. After Congress prevented him from taking the Congressional seat to which he had been elected in 1918 and again in 1919, he won his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and then went on to serve a second time in the U.S. House of Representatives (from 1923 to 1929). For a fuller abstract, see Dissertation Abstracts International, 21/05, p. 1027-A, July 1967.
- Olson, Frederick I. “The Milwaukee Socialists, 1897-1941”; 1952.
Notes: Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University, 1952. (American Doctoral Dissertations, W1952)
- Olson, Frederick I. “The Socialist Party and the Unions in Milwaukee”. Wisconsin Magazine of History. 1960; 44(2):110-116.
Notes: “On April 19, 1960, when Frank P. Zeidler retired from the Milwaukee city hall, Socialist party members had occupied the mayor’s office for thirty-eight of the previous fifty years, making Milwaukee one of the most successful and durable examples of local Socialist party strength in the nation.”–p.110.
- Oshinsky, David M. “Labor’s Cold War: The CIO and the Communists”. In: Griffith, Robert and Theoharis, Athan, editors. The Specter: Original Essays on American Anti-Communism and the Origins of McCarthyism. New York: Franklin-Watts; 1974; p. -151.
Notes: This essay sets the national context of McCarthyism within which the struggles were played out of United Auto Workers Local 248 (located in West Allis, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee).
Another edition: Griffith, Robert and Athan Theoharis. The Specter: Original Essays on the Cold War and the Origins of McCarthyism. New York: New Viewpoints, 1974. 368 p. ISBN: 053106493X (pbk.)
- Oshinsky, David M. Senator Joseph McCarthy and the American Labor Movement. Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press; 1976. 206 p.
Notes: A revision of his thesis (Ph.D.)–Brandeis University, 1971. A close look at Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957), the controversial U.S. Senator from Wisconsin from 1947 to 1957, and how his policies impacted on the U.S. labor movement, including the specific situation in Wisconsin.
“Part of Chapter 8 appeared as “Wisconsin Labor and the Campaign of 1952′ in Wisconsin Magazine of History 56:2 (Winter 1972-1973):9-18. Part of Chapter 6 was included in ‘Labor’s Cold War: The CIO and the Communists’ in The Specter: Original Essays on American Anti-Communism and the Origins of McCarthyism (New York: Franklin-Watts, 1974).”–title page verso.
- —. “Wisconsin Labor and the Campaign of 1952”. Wisconsin Magazine of History. 1972; 56(2):109-118.
- Ozanne, Robert W. “The Effects of Communist Leadership on American Trade Unions”; 1954. Notes: Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1954. 329 leaves. (American Doctoral Disserations, W1954.)
This dissertation consists of two major divisions. Part I (p. 1-184) is an overview of the “Effects of Communist Leadership on American Trade Unions” nationally. In his first chapter Ozanne reviews what he characterizes as a well-established pattern throughout U.S. history of various reform groups distracting the American labor movement from the unions’ primary mission of ‘bread and butter unionism’ which he defines as “a term used to designate the attempts to improve the living standards of the workers within the existing economic system as differentiated from movements which seek improvement by abolishing the wage system through development of producer cooperatives or state ownership as in socialism or communism or such other reforms” (p. 4); among such reform groups he includes the women’s suffrage movement, the Knights of Labor, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the political movement of socialism. In his second chapter he provides in more depth “An Evaluation of Communist Leadership of American Trade Unions” during the period from 1934 to 1953 and argues that any union leaders found to adhere to the tenets of communism would have to be subordinating the interests of their union’s members to the “necessity of following the twists of the Soviet foreign policy” (p. 99). In his third chapter, Ozanne analyzes the “Techniques of Communist Control in Unions” at both the local union level and the international union level and relies heavily on testimony at Congressional hearings held in 1952 by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities, as well as similar hearings of the period held before various other Congressional committees.
Finally, in Part II (p. 185-324) Ozanne turns his attention to a Wisconsin local union and provides a “Study of Local 248 UAW-CIO 1937-1947: A Case Study of a Communist-Led Local Union”. United Auto Workers Local 248, the union at the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Corporation in West Allis, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee) was the largest local union in Wisconsin, important both for the leadership role it had within the Milwaukee labor movement as well as the impact it had nationally within the United Auto Workers international union. Ozanne spends the next five chapters describing UAW Local 248’s collective bargaining, grievance handling, and local union administration. Throughout these chapters he characterizes the local’s leadership as “Communist leadership” and spends considerable time giving his assessment of how these political sentiments of the local’s leadership affected the essential activities of the local union and its members, conceding that the leadership of UAW Local 248 remained faithful to trade union principles and often went against the wishes of the Communist Party. Ozanne’s overall conclusion in this section is that the “vulnerability of Communist leadership invites employer attacks” (p. 253) and unnecessarily weakens a union which has such leaders. In his conclusion to the dissertation as a whole, Ozanne further surmises that “Communist leadership” of a local union will generally have to be eventually rejected by the union members they represent because “their political and propaganda activities are an affront to the patriotism of the American worker” (p. 321). For an assessment of Ozanne’s interpretation of this period in UAW Local 248’s history, be sure to see Steve Meyer’s book, “Stalin Over Wisconsin”: The Making and Unmaking of Militant Unionism, 1900-1950 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1992), p. 13-14.
Two strikes by UAW Local 248 against the Allis-Chalmers company are discussed by Ozanne in some detail. One strike was over the issue of union security, brought about by an organizing drive by the rival American Federation of Labor; this was a national news story as it occurred during World War II (from January 22 to April 7, 1941) resulting in national concern that the critically-needed generators and propulsion machinery for a number of naval vessels being built for the war effort would be delayed. The other strike occurred from April 29, 1946 to March 23, 1947 and was set off when the company unilaterally withdrew the maintenance of membership agreement which the local union had won from the War Labor Board in 1943; during this strike the company was able to use anti-communist hysteria to viciously smear the leadership of UAW Local 248 in the local press.
- Perlman, Selig. “History of Socialism in Milwaukee (1893-1910)”; 1910 .
Notes: B.A. thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1910. 48 p.
A copy is available both in paper and on microfilm in the library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (see call numbers at Pamplet Collection 73-1507 and at Microfilm P35872/N12983)
- Rasmussen, Susanna. “A Silent Legacy: Understanding My Grandmother’s Refusal to Testify Before HUAC in 1955”. Illumination: the Undergraduate Journal of Humanities [University of Wisconsin-Madison]. 2005 Spring; 29-35. Notes: In this initial issue of this new periodical, the granddaughter of Darina Rasmussen explores her grandmother’s refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1955. At the time that she was called to testify before HUAC, Darina Rasmussen was a secretary and receptionist in the Milwaukee office of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America’ later, she was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Labor History Society and of the Wisconsin Slovak Historical Society.
- Reese, William J. “‘Partisans of the Proletariat’: The Socialist Working Class and the Milwaukee Schools, 1890-1920”. History of Education Quarterly. 1981 Spring; 21(1):3-50.
Notes: You won’t want to miss this fascinating look at how the Socialist working class in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, brought about changes in the public school system in Milwaukee during the Progressive era in the United States. In this award-winning article, by using “a social analysis of organized labor, socialism, and the Milwaukee schools during the Progressive era” (p. 3), the author argues against the generally-accepted academic interpretation that most early twentieth-century school reforms during the Progressive period were largely imposed upon the public schools through the mechanism of a new “professional” group of conservative and middle-class school officials.
Instead, Reese explores the relationship between the Milwaukee Federated Trades Council (founded in 1887 to represent the skilled trade unionists in the city) and Branch One of the Social Democratic Party of America (founded in Milwaukee in 1897 after the Socialists in Milwaukee had been forced out of Wisconsin’s Populist Party due to their more leftist political orientation) and how the two groups worked together to effect changes in the local schools. Included in the first platform of Milwaukee’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) was a demand for free textbooks for poor children and by 1909 the SDP had elected a member to the school board in Milwaukee.
The author also details how the Socialist workers allied themselves over time in a fruitful coalition with various Milwaukee voluntary associations and civic groups, mostly composed of middle-class women who had been inspired by the social activism of the Progressive era. Reese explains how such civic associations campaigned for school reforms as an over-all strategy to bring about improvements in the lives of those living in poverty; examples of some of their programs include distribution of free clothes and food to school children, better sanitation in the schools, smaller class sizes, provision of school libraries, opening up the school buildings as community centers, direct election of school board members, and encouraging better environmental conditions about school buildings. Eventually, this willingness to partner with such middle-class groups to achieve such concrete improvements led to the Milwaukee Socialists being given the approbation of “Sewer Socialists” by Socialists in other parts of the country.
It is impossible to innumerate all of the interesting points of discussion in this article ranging from the effective political use of “indignation meetings” as a protest technique (p. 26); the news that Milwaukee had a Girl’s Trade School (p. 32); and, that during the World War I period, even the local school children were pressured to sign “loyalty oaths” in their classes (p. 36).
“This paper received the Henry Barnard Prize of The History of Education Society (1978-79).”–p. 3.
- Schmidt, Lester Frederick. “The Farmer-Labor Progressive Federation: The Study of a ‘United Front’ Movement Among Wisconsin Liberals, 1934-1941”; 1954.
Notes: Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1954. 418 p. (American Doctoral Dissertations, W1955).
- United States. House of Representatives. Committee on Un-American Activities. Annual Report for the Year 1955. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office; 1956. 48 p. ??
Notes: “Contents include investigation of Community Party activities in … Milwaukee [Wisconsin], etc.”–Bolerium Books’ Want System for “Labor–American,” SKU: 128098.
- Usher, Ellis Baker. The Greenback Movement of 1875-1884 and Wisconsin’s Part in It. Milwaukee, Wis.: E. B. Usher; 1911. 92 p. ???
Notes: [recommended by Edwin Witte, “Labor in Wisconsin History,” Wisconsin Magazine of History, v. 35, no. 2 (Winter 1951), p. 83]
- Wachman, Marvin. “History of the Social-Democratic Party of Milwaukee, 1897-1910”; 1942.
Notes: Ph.D. thesis, University of Illinois, 1942. 184 leaves. Cited in Anderson, Byron, ed., A Bibliography of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations on Milwaukee Topics, p. 100.
- —. “The History of the Social-Democratic Party of Milwaukee, 1897-1910”. Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences. 1945; 28(1):1-90.
Notes: This very readable study, based on the author’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois, looks at how the Social-Democratic Party came to dominate the local political scene in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the period from primarily 1897 up through the Spring and Fall elections of 1910, when candidates of the party “gained complete control of the city and county, both in administrative and legislative capacities, and had elected a congressman in the person of their able guide, Victor L. Berger” (p. 72). Wachman details how the Milwaukee Socialists achieved their electoral successes by first securing the political support of the city’s trade unionists and then broadening their political constituency to the small business community as well. The author ably brings to life the thrill of electoral politics on the Milwaukee scene during this period when the two mainstream parties, the Democratics and the Republicans, were forced in Milwaukee to combine their electoral efforts and field just one ‘fusion’ candidate per office for whom the members of both their parties would vote in the elections, in order to overcome the voting strength and organization of the local Social-Democratic Party.
The proud organizational history of the Milwaukee Socialists begins with Eugene V. Debs speaking in Milwaukee on July 9, 1897 at the formation of Branch One of a new national political party called the Social Democracy of America. Less than a year later in June 1898 in Chicago, however, during the first (and what was to be the only) national convention of the Social Democracy of America, the new organization was to be riven over a question of the major long-term strategy to be used by the organization to accomplish its goals. Within a few hours of losing a crucial convention vote, Eugene V. Debs and Victor Berger led many of the party delegates to another venue within the city and formed a new organization named the Social Democratic Party, which was to be dedicated to achieving its platform through political action at the ballot box, rather than through the creation of utopian social communities.
The Milwaukee Socialists, up through the January 30, 1904 issue of their official publication, The Social Democratic Herald, did not use a hyphen between the words ‘Social’ and ‘Democratic’ in the name of their party or in reference to their party. With its next issue on February 6, 1904, however, the publication’s title was changed to The Social-Democratic Herald and the Milwaukee Socialists always thereafter referred to their organization as the Social-Democratic Party. Frederic Heath, who was the paper’s editor when the change in usage occurred, told Wachman “that the hyphen was added to de-emphasize the word ‘Social’ (p. 51, note 81).
Another edition: Wachman, Marvin. The History of the Social-Democratic Party of Milwaukee, 1897-1910. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1945. 90 p. (Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences; v. 28, no. 1)
- Wisconsin State Federation of Labor. Labor’s Rights Under the 1939 Wisconsin Labor Laws. Milwaukee, Wis.: Wisconsin State Federation of Labor; 1939? 11 p.
Notes: Written and distributed by the Wisconsin Federation of Labor, this pamphlet discusses the new legal requirements for Wisconsin unions found in Chapters 25 and 57 of the Wisconsin Laws of 1939 and presents the position of the Wisconsin Federation of Labor’s views regarding the unconstitutionality of many of the provisions of the two new laws, which the federation intended to challenge in the courts. Chapter 25, known as the Catlin Bill, made amendments to Wisconsin’s Labor Code to greatly restrict the lawful instances in which pickets and picketing could be used in labor disagreements; while Chapter 57, known as the “Wisconsin Employment Peace Act,” essentially nullified passage of the “Wisconsin Labor Relations Act” passed just two years earlier. The Wisconsin Labor Relations Act, passed in 1937 by the previous Wisconsin Legislature, was also known as “Wisconsin’s Little Wagner Act” because its provisions were modeled on those the the federal government’s “National Labor Relations Act” of 1935 (known informally as the Wagner Act, in honor of its key sponsor, Sen. Robert F. Wagner, D-N.Y.)
- Wyman, Roger E. “Agrarian or Working-Class Radicalism? The Electoral Basis of Populism in Wisconsin”. Political Science Quarterly. 1974; 89(4):825-848.
- Zeidler , Frank. Essays in More Effective Urban Renewal. Madison, Wisc.: Institute of Governmental Affairs, University Extension Division, University of Wisconsin; 1964. 32 p.
Notes: Table of Contents: I. “Municipal Land Policy in Urban Renewal and Redevelopment.” — II. “Code Enforcement: Indispensable Tool in Urban Renewal.” — III. “Political Problems of Redevelopment.” — IV. “Aesthetics in Urban Renewal.”
“These essays are extracted from more extensive papers that Mr. Zeidler wrote (entitled Making Urban Renewal More Effective) for the American Institute for Municipal Research, Education, and Training, Inc. of Washington, D. C., during the period 1960-1961.”–Foreword, p. [iii]. 52. Zeidler, Frank P. Socialism in Milwaukee and America–Discussion with Frank P. Zeidler, Former Milwaukee Mayor: [remarks at the] Wisconsin Labor History Society, 25th Annual Conference, May 13, 2006, Turner Hall, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (72 minutes); Frank Zeidler Remarks at [the] Bay View Tragedy Commemoration, May 7, 2006, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (6 minutes) ; with moderator, Aims McGuinness for the remarks at the Wisconsin Labor History Society meeting. [Milwaukee, Wis.] : Wisconsin Labor History Society; 2006 78 mins.).
Notes: This compact disc contains what are believed to be the last two public appearances of Frank P. Zeidler, the Socialist most recently elected to be mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (serving from 1948-1960). N.B. Zeidler’s name is misspelled (as “Ziedler”) in both places where it appears on the compact disc; also, the word commemoration is misspelled on the compact disc (as “commeration”).