The ten most important events in American industrialhistory

Hinrich Kuhls kls at
Tue Mar 14 23:20:32 PST 2000

Tom, the reason why I picked up the "punch" was not to validate its 'anecdotal content', but just to point to the fact that in a 12 minute's film on American industrial history a "punch" in the 1930ies and a healf-hearted hand-shake in the 1950ies would effectively illustrate two highlights in that history as far as the American trade union movement is conerned. However, I have to admit that my knowledge of American industrial history is rather restricted, not to mention cinematic art.

Hinrich Kuhls.

At 18:31 14.03.00 -0500, you wrote:
>Hinrich--I'm not trying to demean the intensity of the moment or the
gravity of
>the situation; poetic license and publicity have their places in the
history of
>American labor.
>I'm sure that Dr.Yates is portraying the intensity and gravity of the
>it was a defining moment in a public break with the old order of the AFL.
>Tom Lehman
>Hinrich Kuhls wrote:
>> At 15:32 14.03.00 -0500, you wrote:
>> >Sorry Max. Your thinking about the time Lewis allegedly punched the
>> President
>> >of the carpenters union in the nose at an AFL convention in the early 30's
>> >before the founding of the CIO. And from what I've been told that was
>> >much newspaper hype. They might of bumped belly's or something on that
>> order of
>> >conflict. But, the punch in the nose story sounded better back in the
>> >coalfields.
>> Lewis really did punch Hutcheson:
>> "In 1935 the American Federation of Labor held its annual convention in
>> Atlantic City. It was a tumultuous meeting. Workers throughout the nation's
>> mass production industries were in a state of revolt against the
>> devastation wrought by the Great Depression. Within the AFL there was a
>> sharp split between the craft unionists like Bill Hutcheson, who found the
>> organization of unskilled industrial workers repugnant, and the radicals
>> like John L. Lewis, who understood that only massive industrial
>> unionization would save the labor movement from extinction. During
>> acrimonious debate, Lewis threw his famous punch into Hutcheson's face, and
>> the split soon became a secession, marked by the birth of the CIO. The
>> rest, as they say, is history."
>> Michael Yates in the first paragraph of his article "Does the Labor
>> Movement have a future?" (Monthly Review, February 1997).
>> HK

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