American Zinc Company strikes…

“The American Zinc Company in Fairmont City, Illinois, formerly known as the “Granby”, had one of the longest and most violent strikes in the history of the American zinc industry. This strike cost the company thousands upon thousands of dollars as it tried to break the union that had been started several years before World War II. As soon as the war was over, every effort was made to sabotage the membership. Fellow workers were paid off to do everything in their power to break the union’s back. There was violence pitting brother against brother, father against son, relative against relative. Goons were brought in from different parts of the country. Scabs tried to get in and do the work of the striking workers, without success. Airplanes were used to fly as low as regulations would allow in order to disseminate information by dropping leaflets over the neighborhoods of the workers. Loud speakers were used from the air to tell them that their efforts were in vain, that the plant would shut down permanently if the men didn’t return to work within the next few days. Fist fights, shootings, bomb threats-anything was tried. Threats of governmental reprisal against persons the company tried to say were “communists” or some other kind of “anti-American” were hurled.
Religion was even brought in as one of the factors in the strike. The company claimed that striking Catholics were disobeying their church. Any and everything the company felt would work to break the strike was used. After thirteen months, the company finally had to admit defeat and sign a union contract recognizing the union’s rights to represent the men.
While all of this was going on, the company was secretly getting its new Electrolitic plant ready for operation. It was also preparing to sell its Fairmont City plant to Goldfieds Limited of London, England, which proceeded to dismantle the plant.”
(extract -page 245- of Pinnick Kinnick Hill. An American Story, by G.W. González). Picture news: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 19 June 1949)