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Kohler Strike Poster | Poster | Wisconsin Historical Society

Poster

Kohler Strike Poster

Kohler Strike Poster | Poster | Wisconsin Historical Society
Poster urging the boycott of Kohler Company plumbing products, printed by striking Federal Labor Union No. 18545 in late 1934.  Because the Company refused to recognize it as the sole bargaining agent for the employees, the fledgling  union called a strike for July 16th.  What had been a tense but relatively peaceful strike became violent on July 27th, when heavily armed special deputies of the Kohler Village police department began breaking through picket lines and tearing down strikers' tents.  Workers responded with a barrage of rocks, and that evening the deputies fired on the crowd, killing two strikers and wounding 47. The next morning, Governor Schmedeman called in the National Guard to restore order.  On September 27th, FLU 18545 lost an election vote, which they claimed was rigged, to the company-backed Kohler Workers Association. In late October, FLU 18545 called for a boycott of Kohler products.  Although the boycott was ineffective, the union maintained skeleton picket lines at the plant for the next seven years.  In 1941, the company was eager to expand to take advantage of lucrative war contracts, but could not do so because building trades unions would not cross the picket line.  The strike ended that April, when the company agreed to re-hire any striking workers.  It did not agree to recognize the union.
DESCRIPTION
Poster urging the boycott of Kohler Company plumbing products, printed by striking Federal Labor Union No. 18545 in late 1934. Because the Company refused to recognize it as the sole bargaining agent for the employees, the fledgling union called a strike for July 16th. What had been a tense but relatively peaceful strike became violent on July 27th, when heavily armed special deputies of the Kohler Village police department began breaking through picket lines and tearing down strikers' tents. Workers responded with a barrage of rocks, and that evening the deputies fired on the crowd, killing two strikers and wounding 47. The next morning, Governor Schmedeman called in the National Guard to restore order. On September 27th, FLU 18545 lost an election vote, which they claimed was rigged, to the company-backed Kohler Workers Association. In late October, FLU 18545 called for a boycott of Kohler products. Although the boycott was ineffective, the union maintained skeleton picket lines at the plant for the next seven years. In 1941, the company was eager to expand to take advantage of lucrative war contracts, but could not do so because building trades unions would not cross the picket line. The strike ended that April, when the company agreed to re-hire any striking workers. It did not agree to recognize the union.
RECORD DETAILS
Image ID:58466
Creation Date: 1934
Creator Name:Unknown
City:
County:Sheboygan
State:Wisconsin
Collection Name:Pamphlet Collection
Genre:Poster
Original Format Type:prints, fine-art
Original Format Number:Pam 96-1384
Original Dimensions:12 x 18 inches
SUBJECTS
Strikes and lockouts
Labor unions

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