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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

IWW Yearbook: 1905-1906

This is a yearbook of campaigns, strikes, and other IWW events as recorded in newspapers indexed in the Chronicling America, the Library of Congress's searchable collection of American periodicals. A few of the entries are from two classic secondary sources: Melvin Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World (1973), and Paul Brissenden, IWW: A Study of American Syndicalism (1919). This yearbook was compiled by Arianne Hermida.


Founded in a moment of remarkable coalition building in June 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World spent its first eighteen months defining itself and struggling with divisions, expulsions, and defections. The organization's first and only President, Charles O. Sherman, was removed from office at the second convention in 1906, and, not long after that the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) withdrew. Eugene Debs and many members of the Socialist Party also drifted away, leaving the organization with few of the affiliations that had seemed so promising at the founding convention.

The IWW attracted press attention right from the start. The newspapers indexed in the Chronicling America published 349 articles mentioning the IWW in 1905-1906, from which we gleaned the events listed below. They show that organizers were busy in many communities, especially in western states but also in Cleveland, Youngstown, Detroit, Schenectady, and New York City where IWW's new Silk Ribbon Weavers was active. Other reports point to the growing struggle between the IWW and the American Federation of Labor. In some cases, AFL locals defected to the IWW; other articles accused IWW members of scabbing on AFL strikes.

Early in 1906, the IWW launched its first official periodical, the monthly Industrial Worker based in Joliet, Illinois. The journal lasted less than a year, but in 1909, wobblies in Spokane, Washington, began publishing a weekly newspaper bearing the same name.

Two campaigns dominated attention in 1906. One was the effort to win freedom for William Haywood, Charles Moyer, and George Pettibone, WFM and IWW leaders who had been charged with conspiracy to murder the former governor of Idaho. The other was the great struggle that developed in Goldfield, Nevada, the mining camp that had become the second largest city in that state. A joint effort by the WFM and IWW turned Goldfield into a showcase for industrial unionism by the end of 1906.

Dates in most cases are the date of publication.

Date Article title Place State Event description Source
6/1/1905 Founding Convention Chicago IL 203 delegates gathered for what Bill Haywood termed "the Continental Congress of the Working Class." Notable attendees included Eugene Debs, Daniel DeLeon and Charles Moyer as well as Bill Haywood and Thomas J. Hagerty. The group chose the name Industrial Workers of the World, adopted Thomas J. Hagerty's "Wheel of Fortune" organizational plan and produced a constitution that granted membership regardless of skill, country of origin, race, age or gender.  Dubofsky, 81-87
7/7/1905 Industrial Workers Chicago IL IWW adopts constitution with over forty-two thousand voting in favor and almost seven thousand against. Salt Lake Herald
7/8/1905 Eugene Debs Beaten; Socialists Downed Chicago IL IWW elects officers with Charles Sherman as general president, William E. Trautmann as secretary and treasurer. The new officers reject Eugene Debs' hope that the IWW affiliate with the Socialist Party. Walla Walla Evening Statesman
7/22/1905 Anti-Gompers Garment Workers New York NY De Leon Socialists move to organize local garment workers in a union to be affiliated with the IWW. New York Sun
8/5/1905 Socialists Organizing Anti-Gompers Union New York NY IWW calls for meetings of millinery, buckram, wire frame, garment, and carpentry workers. New York Sun
8/21/1905 City News Minneapolis MT IWW President Sherman to appear in a mass meeting. Minneapolis Journal
8/24/1905 Labor Notes OH The National Flint Glass Workers numbering 1500 agree to affiliate with the IWW. Hocking Sentinel
8/31/1905 New National Labor Body Rally New York NY IWW President Sherman holds a "ratification" meeting. New York Sun
9/2/1905 Industrial Workers Cleveland OH IWW creates a cigar makers' union. Labor World (Duluth)
9/2/1905 Industrial Workers Indianapolis IN Eleven machinists formerly in the C.I.A. of M. leave their organization to join the IWW. Labor World (Duluth)
10/18/1905 Proletarians Uniting Salt Lake City UT In a meeting of socialists and others, 26 volunteer to join the IWW. Montana News
10/21/1905 I.W.W. Organize Bisbee AZ Workers create IWW local In a "secret" meeting. Bisbee Daily Review
11/1/1905 Magic City Gossip Omaha NE IWW President Sherman to give a speech on unionism. Omaha Daily Bee
11/1/1905 None Braddock PA IWW creates local union. Evening Star
11/1/1905 None Youngstown PA IWW creates local union. Evening Star
11/12/1905 Industrial Workers Salt Lake City UT IWW holds a meeting to organize a local. Salt Lake Tribune
11/15/1905 Labor News Cleveland OH Cigar makers' union ends their strike after winning all demands. Montana News
11/20/1905 Knowledge the Real Need Salt Lake City UT Several attendees of a Socialist propaganda meeting apply for membership In the IWW. Salt Lake Tribune
12/17/1905 Wage Workers' Meeting Oakland CA B. H. Williams of the IWW to speak at a meeting of wage workers. San Francisco Call
12/19/1905 Labor Fight in Schenectady Schenectady NY IWW has "secured" four unions of the local trade assembly and more are considering joining. New York Tribune
12/21/1905 Bartenders Form Union Globe AZ IWW creates Bartender's Union No. 210 with 15 initial members. Arizona Silver Belt
12/30/1905 Delegates Expelled Schenectady NY Delegates of trade assembly union affiliated with the IWW are expelled by AFL members for unconstitutional election. Salt Lake Herald
12/30/1905 None Detroit MI IWW members allegedly scab on striking Detroit Cap Company workers. Labor World (Duluth)
1/14/1906 Free Lecture on Unionism Salt Lake City UT Local union no. 202 holds an educational meeting. Salt Lake Tribune
1/17/1906 Report of Murray King Havre MT IWW holds two meetings. Montana News
1/21/1906 Parade and Mass Meeting Washington D.C. DC IWW locals participate in a memorial parade for Russia's Bloody Sunday. Evening Star
2/1/1906 Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone Arrests Denver CO WFM leaders and IWW delegates, Bill Haywood and Charles Moyer along with former WFM member George A. Pettibone were arrested after being implicated in a rehearsed confession from the assassin of Frank Steunenberg, the former governor of Idaho.  Dubofsky, 97-105
2/9/1906 Organizer Veal Speaks Canton OH National organizer Philip Veal speaks at a meeting of the I.W. Education club. Stark County Democrat
2/11/1906 Dalton to Lecture Salt Lake City UT W. S. Dalton of the IWW to speak on "The Rights and Wrongs of Unionism." Salt Lake Herald
2/14/1906 Social and Dance Salt Lake City UT IWW holds a free social gathering. Salt Lake Herald
2/15/1906 Labor Debate Between Organization Leaders Pittsburgh PA IWW and AFL hold a joint meeting in response to recent attack on the IWW by AFL leaders. Albuquerque Evening Citizen
2/25/1906 Workers to Meet Salt Lake City UT IWW to hold a meeting to discuss unionism and its needs. Salt Lake Herald
2/27/1906 None San Francisco CA Local 173 calls a meeting to protest the arrest of Moyer, Pettibone, and Haywood who are accused of involvement in the assassination of Fmr. Gov. Steunenberg. San Francisco Call
2/28/1906 In the Field of Labor Easton PA IWW establishes a local. Fulton County News
3/4/1906 Socialists Take Up Cuase [sic] of the Idaho Suspects Chicago IL IWW holds a meeting in protest of the arrest of Moyer, Pettibone, and Haywood and raises $200 for the cause. Salt Lake Herald
3/6/1906 To Aid Accused Murderers New York NY IWW locals call a meeting to support the arrested Moyer, Pettibone, and Haywood. New York Sun
3/7/1906 With Laundry Workers Havre MT Laundry workers hold meeting for clerks to encourage them, women, to join the IWW.  Montana News
3/10/1906 City News Minneapolis MN IWW and Social Labor Party hold a joint meeting to protest the deportation of officers of the Western Federation of Miners. Minneapolis Journal
3/13/1906 Workers Are Revolutionary Los Angeles CA Over 500 attend an IWW meeting in protest of the arrests of Pettibone, Moyer, and Haywood. Los Angeles Herald
3/19/1906 Washington Aids Accused in Steunenberg Murder Washington D.C. DC IWW and socialists hold a meeting in protest of the Idaho arrests. Washington Times
3/21/1906 The World of Industry Joliet IL IWW launches its first official paper. Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, OK)
4/21/1906 Industrial Workers Fight Cigar Makers Butte MT Striking cigar makers in the AFL accuse the IWW of scabbing. Labor World (Duluth)
4/29/1906 May Day Celebration Salt Lake City UT Socialists and the IWW hold a joint meeting in celebration of May Day. Deseret Evening News
5/5/1906 Picnic Sunday Spokane WA IWW to hold a picnic to raise money for the arrested in Idaho. Spokane Press
5/8/1906 None New York NY IWW members scab on actors on strike for securing a closed shop. San Francisco Call
5/17/1906 None Helena MT IWW president Sherman delivers a speech. Montana News
5/18/1906 A Battle Between Labor Unions Youngstown OH Striking tinners and slaters join the IWW. Perryburg Journal
6/5/1906 Sparks Goes to Mining Region Goldfield NV Local IWW members hold a special meeting to discuss their stance on the Goldfield strike. Salt Lake Herald
6/13/1906 The World of Industry Chicago IL The IWW are "now engaged in a bitter war with the electricians' and machinists' unions of Chicago, Ills." Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, OK)
6/22/1906 None Chicago IL The IWW indefinitely postpone their annual convention on account of the trial of Haywood, an elected delegate, and others. San Francisco Call
6/27/1906 Gave a Lecture Prescott AZ B.H. Williams of the IWW holds a street meeting and lecture. Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner
6/28/1906 None Butte MT The Butte Miners' Union leaves the Montana State Federation of Labor for the IWW even though this will require paying the former $5000 in deferred assessments. San Francisco Call
7/1/1906 Secret Societies Salt Lake City UT Local IWW holds a meeting and elects new officers. Salt Lake Herald
7/7/1906 Foes of Unionism! Detroit MI United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers' Union issue a pamphlet accusing the IWW of "initiating" workers brought in by factories during strikes and using their leverage to establish open shops and bust the existing union. Labor World (Duluth)
7/25/1906 None San Francisco CA Street sweepers organize a union with the IWW. San Francisco Call
8/1/1906 Paper Makers Strike New Haven CT Strike in response to discharge of IWW members.  Brissenden, , 368 
8/13/1906 Ribbon Weavers Locked Out New York NY The IWW's Silk Ribbon Weavers' Union is locked out after requesting the workers be given a reprieve due to the extreme heat and humidity. New York Sun
8/18/1906 Union War on I.W.W. Tonopah NV Tonopah Trades and Labor Council declares they will not patronize any business displaying and IWW card. San Francisco Call
9/1/1906 Second Annual Convention Chicago IL The second annual IWW convention was defined by conflict between President Sherman and more "revolutionary" delegates led by Daniel DeLeon. The majority of delegates questioned Sherman's leadership, however, a vote for constitutional amendments and new elected officials proved too radical for several WFM delegates such as convention chair Charles Mahoney, who promptly exited the convention. The office of president was abolished and William Trautmann filled the newly formed position of lead organizer. This marked a move from traditional trade unionism at the leadership level. Dubofsky,  110-113
9/3/1906 Goldfield Sun Defies Enemies Goldfield NV IWW issues an ultimatum to the staff of the Goldfield Sun, the town's newspaper, to either join the union or leave town. Four IWW members are reported to have kidnapped a staff member belonging to the Typographical Union. Los Angeles Herald
9/4/1906 Boycott a Failure Goldfield NV Despite their threats, the Goldfield Sun was able to circulate without disturbance. Salt Lake Herald
9/7/1906 Walking Delegate Sent Up Tonopah NV IWW delegate sentenced to six months in jail for assaulting an AFL member. Deseret Evening News
9/13/1906 Goldfield Is Quiet Goldfield NV Mine owners shut down the miners until the Western of Federation of Miners withdraw support for the IWW. Salt Lake Herald
9/14/1906 Injunction Issued Goldfield NV A judge in Nye county issues an injunction against the IWW, the WFM, and the Newsboys' Union of Goldfield and Tonopah. Salt Lake Herald
9/15/1906 Mines Will All Reopen Today Goldfield NV Possibly in response to the injunction against the IWW, mine owners reopen all mines. Salt Lake Herald
9/16/1906 Western Labor Notes Spokane WA Wire and iron workers in the IWW notify their employer they will walk out if not granted the nine hour day. Labor World (Duluth)
9/21/1906 Labor Notes South Omaha NE Coopers' International Union of North America local leaves their union for the IWW. Evening Times
10/3/1906 Miners Bolted Chicago IL WFM delegates leave the IWW convention. Salt Lake Herald
12/1/1906 Goldfield Strike Goldfield NV The  IWW Local 77, which represented a variety of town workers, and WFM Local 220 of organized miners, merged to form the WFM-IWW 220 and struck for better wages and shorter hours. Despite the official split of these groups in early 1907, they continued to function collectively and gain eight hour days for among all local businesses by March.  Dubofsky,   121 
12/1/1906 Silk Workers Strike West New Brighton CT Strike in response to discharge of IWW members.  Brissenden, 368