Steel Workers Organizing Committee

Steel Workers Organizing Committee

Steel Workers Organizing Committee

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The Steel Workers Organizing Committee was one of two precursor labor organizations to the United Steelworkers. It was formed by the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) in 1936. It disbanded in 1942 to become the United Steel Workers of America.

Early union organizing in steel

A wide variety of unions had formed in the brand-new steel industry in the 1900s. Local steel unions formed in steel mills here and there, but no national organization existed.

The Long Depression of 1873-79 forced a number of unions to merge in order to survive. In 1876, the Sons of Vulcan (a puddlers union), the Iron and Steel Heaters Union (a union of workers who operated roughing and rolling machines, and who acted as catchers for still-hot rolled steel), the Iron and Steel Roll Hands Union (another union of roughers, rollers and catchers) and the Nailers Union (riveters) merged to form the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (the AA).

The AA was a founding member of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (FOTLU) and its successor, the American Federation of Labor (AFL).

While the AA had a good degree of success organizing steel workers, it also had some significant failures. In 1882, the union fought and lost the Homestead strike, which nearly bankrupted the union and cost it a majority of its members. It attempted a recognition strike at......
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