IWW Yearbook: 1914

This is a chronological database of campaigns, strikes, and labor related events as recorded in Solidarity and other sources. It was researched by Danielle Simmons, with additional entries by Arianne Hermida. Start by reading the highlights report. Below that is the database.

Highlights 1914 by Danielle Simmons

For the Industrial Workers of the World, 1914 was a year overshadowed by arrests, convictions, and unemployment. As the sharp recession that began in 1913 cast millions of American workers into the ranks of the unemployed, the IWW turned much of its energy to organizing demonstrations demanding relief for the hungry and unemployed. Fewer than in previous years, some strikes were successful and new free speech campaigns were launched in various western states. The arrest and trial of Wobbly troubadour Joe Hill was closely followed throughout the year in the pages Solidarity. The Industrial Worker had ceased publishing in late 1913.

What follows is a collection of notable events and situations that dominated the pages of Solidarity in 1914.

Strikes: It is tough to organize and win strikes in a climate of high unemployment, but the IWW was involved in several dozen job actions including street car workers in Buffalo, railroad workers in Sacramento, dock workers in Philadelphia, shoe workers in St. Louis, newsboys in Saskatoon, and perhaps most interesting, motion picture workers employed by Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Free speech: From Juneau Alaska to Tarrytown, New York, free speech battles continue to be an important focus. Now that the IWW is organizing unemployed workers, police crackdowns become more frequent. While several fights end badly, the IWW wins its battle with authorities in Des Moines.

[read full report/close report]

Date Article title Place State event description Source
1/2/1914 Capitalist Murder in Shelton Shelton Connecticut A two-month-old child is dead of exposure and starvation after police and armed thugs broke into a striker's house and drag him and his wife to the police station, leaving their children alone in a house with broken windows. In addition, a rent strike is declared when a number of landlords send eviction notices to a number of strikers. Solidarity
1/2/1914 Free Speech and Brutality in Kansas City Kansas City Missouri After a week of demonstrations in the streets by local 61, policed begin to violently beat and arrest demonstrators. To escape police brutality, the local takes the event to a nicer neighborhood and arrests become more peaceful. 85 men are presently in jail and men and money are needed to support. Solidarity
1/5/1914 Start Boycott on Free Eating House San Francisco California IWW members boycott the free eating house because the kitchen employs non-union workers. Salt Lake Tribune
1/10/1914 The Case of J. Hill Salt Lake City Utah On January first, a former police officer, J.G. Morrison and his son were shot in their grocery store by two men wearing masks. Joe Hill, an I.W.W. member, was arrested four days later. He had been treated for a gunshot wound the day of the shooting. Solidarity
01-10-1914 Joe Hill Arrested After Seeking Treatment for a Gunshot Wound  Salt Lake City Utah Joe Hill, an IWW member famous for his songs, sought treatment for a gunshot wound to the chest following an argument over a woman. Three days later he was arrested for the murder of a grocer and his son that had occurred the same night as his injury.   Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 307-8
1/12/1914 Ettor Addresses the Strikers at Tacoma Tacoma Washington IWW organizer Joseph Ettor addresses a crowd of striking smeltermen, encouraging them to continue their strike until they win their demands. Salt Lake Tribune
1/24/1914 Hamilton-Brown Shoe Strike St. Louis Missouri Strike still in progress Solidarity
01-24-1914 Ford and Suhr Convicted for Murder of District Attorney Marysville California Following the death of Yuba County District Attorney Manwell during a clash between workers and authorities, IWW members Richard Ford and Herman D. Suhr were convicted of starting the riot. Despite Suhr's mental handicap, both men were sentenced to life in Folsom State Penitentiary.   Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 298
1/30/1914 Shelton Strike Ended Sheltion Connecticut Mill worker's strike ends when a neutral committee headed by a socialist, S.E. Beardsley, decides that I.W.W. tactics are not helpful in the strike. Author calls out the committee a group of strike-breakers. Solidarity
1/31/1914 Ford and Suhr Convicted Marysville California Richard Ford and Herman Suhr are convicted of second degree murder for their part in leading the Wheatland hop riot. Solidarity
2/12/1914 Hungry Unemployed Clubbed in Detroit Detroit Michigan A riot breaks out at a demonstration in Detroit after a demonstrator raises a red sign that reads "BREAD OR REVOLUTION -- WHICH?" on one side and "WE WANT WORK -- NOT CHARITY" on the other. Police destroy the sign and a fight breaks out between police and demonstrators. Solidarity
2/27/1914 Leather Workers Strike in St. Louis St. Louis Missouri Several hundred trunk and bag workers vote unanimously to strike for an eight hour day, the abolition of the contract system, the abolition of piece work, a minimum wage of $10 for women, and a 40 cents per hour scale. Solidarity
3/4/1914 Jobless Army Begins March San Francisco California One company of 90 men, mostly Wobblies, in Kelly's unemployed 'army' is discharged and independently reorganized. They, too, will continue marching to Washington D.C. The Sun
3/5/1914 Enter Church and Are Taken out by Police New York New York Hundreds of men following the lead of IWW organizer Frank Tannenbaum enter St. Alphonsus' Roman Catholic church as part of an unemployment demonstration. They were arrested in the church shortly after their arrival. Salt Lake Tribune
3/13/1914 Sacramento's Brutal Treatment of Hungry Army of Unemployed Sacramento California "Men on march to east driven from city at point of gun and marooned on river islands. Many unarmed out of works clubbed, jailed, or sent to hospital. Several reporters killed." Solidarity
3/14/1914 Detroit Messenger Boys' Tactics Detroit Michigan Young, striking against Western Union workers, throw rotten eggs at strike-breakers in Detroit. Solidarity
3/25/1914 The Gould Coupler Strike in Buffalo Buffalo New York 1000 strikers from the Gould Coupler Works attack a train that has scabs on board. Nine men are killed and two are fatally wounded. The strike began in January in order to re-instate discharged workers. Solidarity
3/28/1914 Buffalo Car Men Refuse to Haul Soldiers Buffalo New York Street car men refuse to take the militia to the Gould strike and choose to quit rather than to scab. Solidarity
3/28/1914 Silk Workers Vote to Strike Paterson New Jersey Silk workers agree to strike for the 9 hour day. Bemidji Daily Pioneer
4/1/1914 California Strike Sacramento California Strike declared on the S.P. railroad tunnel by construction workers demanding the eight hours to constitute a days work, no more than 12 men to one bunk house, higher wages, proper bedding, and free showers with hot and cold water for all. Solidarity
4/1/1914 Ohio Miners Also Revolt Against A. F. of L. Belaire Ohio Miners are locked out after bosses refuse the workers' terms for a new contract. Solidarity
4/1/1914 Heavy Guard New York New York IWW to hold mas meeting of the unemployed in Union Square. Daily Missoulian
4/2/1914 I.W.W. Solicitors Arrested New York New York Two IWW members arrested while soliciting contributions. One charged with disorderly conduct, one dismissed. Arizona Republican
4/11/1914 Tobacco Workers Win in Chicago Chicago Illinois After 19 weeks of striking, tobacco workers in Chicago win their demands. Solidarity
4/18/1914 Strike in California Oil Fields Taft California In the first strike against the Standard oil Co., workers demand an eight hour day, 50 cents more pay, and for their work to be the same as before the strike. The strike has been on for about a month after the company's attempt to add 10 more feet of rivets to the daily tasks of the workers. Solidarity
4/18/1914 Battling Against Southern Lumber Trust Bently Louisiana The strike of lumber workers is in its 13th week after being called in response to the boss discharging several members of the I.W.W. Solidarity
5/2/1914 Speech Fight in Denver Denver Colorado Free Speech fight begins April 22nd at 8 o'clock. 25 men arrested so far.  Solidarity
5/2/1914 News of the Textile Locals Lawrence Massachusetts Non-unionized dye house workers shut down the Pacific mill. I.W.W tactics are reported to have been used. Solidarity
5/2/1914 Police Club Way in I.W.W. Crowd New York New York Massive May Day demonstration leads to the injury of many as police "club their way through the crowd." New York Tribune
5/7/1914 Marie Ganz Gets 60 Days New York New York IWW speaker Marie Ganz sentenced to 60 days in the work house for her threats against John Rockefeller. Bismarck Daily Tribune
5/10/1914 Strike Called Off Naramata British Columbia Strike called off after winning only "small concessions." Industrial Worker 05-15-1913
5/23/1914 St. Louis Shoe Workers St. Louis Missouri The fight between shoe workers and Hamilton-Broen Shoe Company continues and the company's stocks are dropping. Solidarity
5/23/1914 Help Wakefield Strikers Wakefield Colorado The 1000 men, women and children on strike at the Heywood Bros. and Wakefield Co. factory in Wakefield need support to win against the capitalists. Solidarity
6/3/1914 More Police to Resist Workers Tarrytown New York In order to quell future demonstrations against John Rockefeller, police add 50 to their ranks and pave the usual protest location with soft tar. Rock Island Argus
6/9/1914 Jane Est Again Put Under Arrest Tarrytown New York IWW speaker Jane Est arrested for interrupting a religious meeting of the peace forum. El Paso Herald
6/10/1914 Joe Hill's Trial On Salt Lake City Utah Joe Hill, the I.W.W member accused of murder in Salt Lake City, begins his trial. The author notes that the weapon used to kill the grocer is said to be a 38 caliber Colt revolver, while Hill carries a No. 7 Luger automatic. Solidarity
6/13/1914 Westing Plant Tied Up Pittsburg Pennsylvania The Westinghouse plant is tied up. The demands are the recognition of the union, the abolition of the premium and bonus system, distribution of work instead of layoffs, and reinstatement of men discharched for their involvement in the A.C.I.U. Solidarity
6/13/1914 Revolt of Rebel Miners in Butte Butte Montana On "Miners' Union Day" A group of rebel workers raid the union hall, smashing windows, throwing things into the street, and blowing open a safe. The author applauds these actions, stating that all other options for dealing with bad union leadership have been tried. Solidarity
6/20/1914 South Carolina on the Move Easley South Carolina New Local, 537, won a small fight in four hours the previous week. Solidarity
6/26/1914 Temporary Injunction Is Declared Permanent Flagstaff Arizona The temporary injunction against the IWW in Flagstaff is made permanent. Coconino Sun
06-26-1914 Joe Hill Found Guilty of Murder Salt Lake City Utah Despite a lack of evidence, Joe Hill was convicted of the murder of a grocer and his son. The trial occurred in a hostile environment where Hill was repeatedly tied to the IWW.   Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 307-8
6/27/1914 Strike Against Motion Picture Company Los Angeles California The I.W.W is carrying out a strike against the Universal Motion Picture Film Co. Their demands are $3 a day, an eight hour workday, places to wash with soap and towels, good drinking water within 150 feet of work spaces, and toilets at least 6 feet deep. Solidarity
6/27/1914 Joe Hill Convicted Salt Lake City Utah I.W.W. Joe Hill is convicted of murder in the first degree. In response, his supporters call for funds to take appeal his case. Solidarity
7/1/1914 Placed on Trial Paterson New Jersey Jury acquits IWW organizer Carlo Tresca of charges  of inciting violence during he silk mill workers' strike. Grand Forks Daily Herald
7/4/1914 Murder Probably Committed in N.Y.  New York City New York Four people are killed in an explosion in New York City. The Press and the authorities suggest that the deceased were I.W.W. agitators who had created the explosives. It is suggested that the explosion was, in fact, caused by other nefarious forces. Solidarity
7/4/1914 Lexington Ave[n]ue Bomb Explosion New York City New York Elizabeth Gurley Flynn responds to a previous article in which Joseph J. Ettor repudiates Arthur Caron and the other anarchists killed in the New York City explosion, suggesting an alternative way of discussing violence and innocence. Solidarity
07-08-1914 Joe Hill Sentenced to Death Salt Lake City Utah Joe Hill is sentenced to death after being convicted for the murder of a grocer and his son.   Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 312
7/18/1914 Big Westinghouse Strike Comes to End Pittsburg Pennsylvania Striking workers decide to return to work en masse. Many are refused employment. Solidarity
7/18/1914 Strike Ties Up Montana Road Deer Lodge Montana Workers strike against the Milwaukee Railroad Company. 15 men arrested. Solidarity
7/19/1914 Jail Six for Shooting St. Louis Missouri IWW headquarters raided by police searching for the man responsible for shooting a St. Louis Terminal Railroad worker. Though all people present denied any knowledge of the shooting, six were arrested. Evening Star
7/22/1914 I.W. Worker Is Held on Charge of Treason Steubenville Ohio Local IWW leader Joseph Coblatz jailed on charges of treason. Omaha Daily Bee
7/25/1914 Shall Joe Hill Be Murdered? Salt Lake City Utah Joe Hill is scheduled to be put to death on September 4th, 1914 after being found guilty of murder. Solidarity
7/29/1914 Tarrytown Judge Sends Six to Jail Tarrytown New York Six of the nine Wobblies on trial for holding meeting sentenced to two months in jail. Daily Missoulian
8/1/1914 Phila. Longshoremen Maintain Solidarity Philadelphia Pennsylvania Longshoremen in the Marine Transport Workers Union have beaten back an employer attempt to break the union's control of the Philadelphia waterfront. 500 pickets greeted a ship that tried to use a scab longshore crew. Solidarity
8/8/1914 I.W.W. Clashes With Police in Aberdeen, S.D. Aberdeen South Dakota I.W.W. members are arrested in when street agitation unintentionally turns into a free speech fight.  Solidarity
8/15/1914 Hop Barons Worried Over Labor Sacramento California The Ford and Suhr defense strike is just around the corner. Hindu workers refuse to scab despite being offered high wages. Solidarity
9/1/1914 Results of Hop Pickers Strike Wheatland California Picket line disbands. Solidarity
9/3/1914 Strike at Pickens Mill Pickens South Carolina IWW coordinates a strike of 125 operators against the Pickens Cotton Mill. It is the town's first strike. Pickens Sentinel
9/3/1914 Military Officers Making Arrests Butte Montana Police raid IWW headquarters in the middle of the night and arrest seven. Fergus County Democrat
9/12/1914 Hill's Case Appealed to Supreme Court Salt Lake City Utah Judge Ritchie denies an argument for a new trial for Joe Hill. Solidarity
9/19/1914 Newsboys Strike in Saskatoon, Canada Saskatoon Saskatchewan Newsboys destroy newspapers in reaction to the rise of the price of the paper. The I.W.W. holds street meetings on their behalf. Solidarity
9/26/1914 Fight Breaks Out in Des Moines Des Moines Iowa Five men are arrested for speaking without a permit and obstructing traffic. Help is needed to continue the free speech fight. Solidarity
10/3/1914 What Happened in the Ohio Coal Strike Rush Run Ohio Coal Miners involved in the continuing seven month long strike are arrested. Seven men are charged with inciting a riot. Solidarity
10/7/1914 Des Moines Fight Won Des Moines Iowa Des Moines free speech fight ends quickly because of fast and effective support. Solidarity
10/8/1914 Four Men Killed in Montana Riots Great Falls Montana Four people killed in two fights between citizens and alleged IWW members along the Great Northern Railway line. Hayti Herald
10/8/1914 1,500 men Marching to Butte Butte Montana 1500 IWW men expected to ride trains to Butte to help with the current struggle. Bismarck Daily Tribune
10/17/1914 Sioux City Organizing Sioux City Iowa I.W.W. are needed in Sioux City to organize migratory workers. Solidarity
10/22/1914 The Tonopah Free Speech Fight Tonopah Nevada I.W.W. members are attacked by police while singing and talking in the street. There are no arrests. Solidarity
10/24/1914 Practical Way to Aid Unemployed Summit New Jersey When 50 weavers lose their jobs in the silk industry, 100 fellow workers divide the remaining work between all to safeguard the workers and their jobs. Solidarity
10/30/1914 I.W.W. Leader Exonerated Tarrytown New York IWW member Becky Edelson found not guilty of disorderly conduct, which she was charged with for conducting protest meetings.  El Paso Herald
11/1/1914 Unemployed Active in Minneapolis Minneapolis Minnesota After a demonstration of the unemployed, a meeting is held at which the participants resolve to demand that the city employ all unemployed workers and that the work day for employed workers be reduced to eight hours. Solidarity
11/6/1914 I.W.W. Try to Wreck a Train San Francisco California IWW members allegedly tamper with a switch in order to cause a train accident. The crash was avoided due to the automatic block system.  Hawaiian Gazette
11/14/1914 Active Women Pickets Entertain I.W.W.'s Stockton California Solidarity
11/21/1914 Benj. Legere On Speaking Tour I.W.W. Benj. J. Legere is on a speaking tour. Lectures include "The Workers' Advance to Industrial Control," "The European War and the Working Class," and "Prison: Capitalism's Reply to Rebellion." Solidarity
11/23/1914 Thanksgiving Spread in K.C. Kansas City Missouri The night before Thanksgiving, some I.W.W.s stood on the street corner to share the events that led to the fall of the Western Federation of Miners. The next day, there was a big feast in the I.W.W. hall. Solidarity
12/12/1914 Revolt in Cloak Makers' Union New York City New York A new organization of cloak makers, the Cloak Makers' Propaganda League, forms in order to persuade fellow cloak makers to feelings of solidarity and collective power. Solidarity
12/12/1914 Seattle Unemployed Organize Seattle Washington Unemployed workers in Seattle form The Unemployed League of the Pacific Coast. The League is explicitly against strikebreaking. Solidarity
12/19/1914 Ohio Miners Need Aid Dillonvale Ohio Miners who have been out of work for nine months need assistance. Solidarity
12/19/1914 I.W.W. Men Bring Boss to Time Philadelphia Pennsylvania The Longshoremen's branch of the Transport Workers' union held a three hour strike to reinstate dismissed worker Daniel Jones. Solidarity
12/19/1914 Important Conference Baltimore Maryland The Lithuanian branch of Local 192 is holding a conference to select an organizer to go out and organize workers. Solidarity