Hellraisers Journal: Sluggers of Chicago Garment Strike Cut Off Bosses Payroll, Crime Wave Follows

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age.
Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Sunday December 19, 1915
From the Chicago Day Book: Laid-Off Sluggers and Gunmen Causing Crime Wave

Now that the Chicago Garment Workers Strike is winding down, citizens of Chicago are finding that crime is up in their city. The Day Book of December 17th cites evidence that this is due to the 600 to 800 sluggers and gunmen who have recently been released from duty by the private detective agencies and garment shops who had employed them as strikebreakers:

Chicago Garment Workers Strike of 1915, Day Book headline, Dec 17.png
Chicago Garment Workers Strike of 1915, ISR, December.png

Between 600 and 800 special policemen, sluggers and gunmen were released from duty in the garment strike yesterday and the day before. And when they were cut off the payrolls of private detective agencies and garment shops employing them this was the crime report total for Chicago which law on Chief Healey's desk today as the record for yesterday:

Two murders (one a policeman), nine stickups, four robberies, two burglaries, one job of safeblowing by yeggmen.

[Said Ald. Robert M. Buck of council police committee:]

It always happens...What else does anybody expect when a big strike is ended and the sluggers and gunmen, who have been violating the law under the eyes of authorized policemen, are turned loose for some new way to get money for whisky and women? Did you ever know of a big strike in Chicago but was followed by amazing crime records like the one in Chicago yesterday?

Buck says he will push for council action soon on his plans for a special strike bureau in the police department. As things go now, the handling of strikes is an under-cover, secret work by the police. Every attempt of Buck and others to force Chief Healey and Deputy Schuettler to make public their orders to the policemen under them on how to handle the garment strike has failed.

[Said Buck further:]

Criminal records of men employed as special policemen on strike duty should be known...The purpose of the strike bureau is in part to save the city from their illogical position of issuing stars and guns to unfortunates who have their pictures in the rogues' gallery.

[Said Ald. Wm. E. Rodriguez:]

When the garment strike was at its worst and at the time Deputy Schuettler was rushing into the newspapers with figures on strike violence I raised the question on the floor of the council: What will the 600 or 800 sluggers and private detectives do when the strike is over?...Private police duty during a strike is a training school for crime.

At Chicago Federation of Labor offices it was freely stated there is a direct connection between the end of a strike and a rise in crime and violence. The case was cited of Ed Myers, strikebreaker in the newspaper strike of 1912. Myers, a Record-Herald truck driver, tried to hold up Sec'y Cook of the Chicago National league ball club. Cook had $300 cash on him and an automatic gun. He sent a bullet through the heart of Myers. When the police unbuttoned Myers' coat and came to the vest they found pinned on it the badge of a deputy sheriff of Cook county, duly sworn in for strike duty.


[Photograph added.]


From The Day Book of December 18, 1915, Strike Still on, Donation Still Needed:



Chicago Garment Workers Strike, Parade on Oct 12, ISR of Nov 1915.png
Chicago Garment Workers Strike of 1915, Day Book on strikers fund, Dec 18.png

Employes of the composing room of the Chicago Herald know the garment strike is not over. They hear first-hand reports from the reporters who know the strike is still on, no matter what these newsgatherers write to suit the viewpoint of the Herald, with care to offend no advertiser.

Typographical union members employed in the Herald composing room today sent in $23.25 for the strike fund.

The strike is not over. A member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers was sent to a hospital with a split head last night, the result of a blow from a cop's club. There was a street brawl when scabs tried to insult strikers last night. Most emphatically, the strike is not over, except at the places where the 48-hour week with the old 52 to 54 hours' pay has been granted.

Day Book Student, a Public Forum contributor, sent in $3 more today. That makes $10 this man has given to the strike fund.

The strikers have an excellent chance to gain victory for 10,000 more workers if they can get pennies enough to hold out a little longer.


Send Contributions to Strike Fund Editor, Day Book, 500 S. Peoria, Chicago, Ill.


[Photograph added.]


The Day Book
(Chicago, Illinois)
-Dec 17, 1915
-Dec 18, 1915

Chicago Garment Workers Strike of 1915, Day Book headline, Dec 17
Chicago Garment Workers Strike of 1915, ISR, December
Chicago Garment Workers Strike, Parade on Oct 12, ISR of Nov 1915
Chicago Garment Workers Strike of 1915, Day Book, strikers' fund, Dec 18


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