The membership of Local One showed consistent growth through the 1920’s despite the hard times of the early part of the decade from a total of 841 members in 1919 to an average of 1,854 from 1924 to 1928 and continued to improve until the effects of the 1929 depression were started to be felt in 1930.
The continuing war with the National Erectors Association was illustrated when, in 1921, almost 200 “open shop” associations met in Chicago and renamed their drive to crush the unions “The American Plan” (similar to the “Right to Work” committee today). Their motto read: “Every man to work out his own salvation and not be bound by the shackles of organization to his own detriment.” In reality, the intent of the “American Plan” was the annihilation of organized labor, whose efforts continue to this day.
Also in 1921, after a lengthy Chicago building trades strike, arbitration by Federal Judge Landis resulted in a 25% reduction in pay. Local One wages were reduced from $1.25 per hour to $1.05 per hour for a period of one year.
The response by tradesman was so heated the Judge Landis employed a “Citizens Committee” to enforce his decision with private detectives. This “Committee” established a prison-like system with guards and imported gunmen at several jobs. Many trades including Local One refused to work under a situation where free American Union men should be placed under guard like criminals and subject to the enslaving conditions of this type of job-site.
Other events in the 1920’s effected local one and it’s membership, including the following:
The revoking of Local One’s Charter.
Negotiating with the Associated Steel Erectors in about 1928.
Prohibition and the crime that grew out of it.
The Suffrage Movement, Women’s Right to Vote.