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Subject: AEJ 98 BekkenJ HIS The labor policies of the Chicago Defender
From: Elliott Parker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:AEJMC Conference Papers <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 21 Dec 1998 04:18:15 EST

TEXT/PLAIN (502 lines)

Jon Bekken
Assistant Professor of Journalism
Suffolk University
41 Temple Street, Boston MA 02114
[log in to unmask]
March 1998
        Founded in 1905, the Chicago Defender quickly established its position as the
most influential of the city's -- and indeed the country's -- black newspapers.
While Chicago had many black newspapers over the years, including at least three
attempts to launch local black dailies (the Bulletin in 1921, the Mirror in
1932, and the Daily Post in 1952) before the Defender converted to daily
publication in 1956, the Defender dominated local paid circulation; its strong
national circulation ensured that the paper was influential nationally as
        But while the Chicago Defender consistently portrayed itself as a vigorous
defender of the race, and has been widely credited for its battles to integrate
a wide range of institutions and to encourage black migration to Chicago, the
paper's approach to labor issues was often ambivalent.  While the newspaper
vacillated between encouraging black workers to accommodate themselves to their
employers, or to join together to fight for better conditions, the publishers
never reconciled themselves to union conditions in their own operations.  Robert
Abbott, like John Sengstacke after him, resisted paying competitive wages and
battled workers' efforts to organize with a tenacity usually reserved for the
editorial columns.
        The Chicago Defender's widespread influence was in large part due to its
outspoken militancy and its determination to speak not to the relatively small
black elite but to the mass of black workers, in Chicago and (through its
national edition) across the country.  Census data indicate that Chicago's black
population surged from just 30,150 in 1900 (1.8 percent of the total population)
to 233,903 by 1930 (6.9 percent of the total), a rate of growth that has
continued to the present day.  The influx of new residents flooded the city's
segregated black neighborhoods with often desperately poor workers torn between
patronal institutions and relationships and collective struggle in their efforts
to establish an economic foothold and build their own social and communal
        By 1920, the Defender was consciously targeted to this rapidly growing
working-class black population.  But the paper largely ignored issues of class,
instead addressing its readers almost exclusively in the language of race.  "The
Defender was not a working-class organ," historian Albert Kreiling notes, "for
[founding editor Robert] Abbott was rather conservative on matters other than
        Many black papers responded to the racism and exclusion practiced by most
American Federation of Labor Unions by urging black workers to rely upon the
benevolence of their employers to advance their personal and collective
interests (even going so far as to urge black workers to seek work as
strike-breakers).  But the Chicago Federation of Labor was officially committed
to organizing black workers on an equal basis and often devoted substantial
resources to the effort, especially in the mass production meatpacking and steel
industries where large numbers of black workers worked alongside Chicago's
largely immigrant working class.
        Despite his tendency toward conservatism, Abbott's Defender often supported
those unions willing to enroll blacks on an equal basis, and even showed some
sympathy for the Socialist Party in 1913 and the Communists in the 1930s, when
these parties were pressing issues that addressed real problems facing Chicago
blacks.  Abbott spoke of his admiration and support for the packing house union
to the cheers of the assembled workers at a conference sponsored by the
Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen in September 1918.  The Amalgamated
aggressively sought to organize black workers even in the aftermath of the
city's 1919 race riots.  While competitors such as the Broad Axe rejected unions
from the start, Abbott's Defender continued to back the union until a disastrous
strike in 1921 convinced him that the packers were invincible.[4]
        Similarly, the Defender originally backed the efforts of Pullman porters to
improve their conditions.  But by the late 1920s Abbott's Defender condemned
even black-led unions such as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, instead
advising workers to "align themselves with the wealthier classes in America" and
endorsing Pullman's company union.  Brotherhood President A. Philip Randolph
derisively termed the paper the "Surrender," and charged that it was taking
pay-offs from the company.  The Brotherhood responded with a circulation boycott
and Abbott reversed course to enthusiastically embrace the union.[5]
        By the early 1930s, the desperate struggles of Black workers for unemployment
relief, jobs and living wages led the Defender to adopt a more supportive effort
toward labor struggles.  By the late 1930s, the Defender wholeheartedly endorsed
efforts to organize black steel workers, and was even willing to work with
groups tied to the Communist Party to aid the Spanish Republican cause.[6]
        But while the Defender might flip flop in its editorial policies toward labor,
it established a remarkably consistent record in its business operations.
Because Chicago was a strong union town, the paper was initially obliged to turn
to the Chicago Typographical Union for its workforce.  (Indeed, Enoch Waters
reports that workers refused to install the paper's presses until Abbott agreed
to operate with an all-union crew in his mechanical departments.  Abbott's
biographer attributes the decision to the insistence of Abbott's plant foreman
on a union crew and to a shortage of black workers with the necessary
        For its first 28 years, the Defender employed a racially mixed (though
predominantly white) union workforce.  But in June 1934, the paper abruptly
fired all 36 skilled union workers, replacing them with non-union black workers.
Abbott's explanations varied; sometimes he claimed he wanted an all-black
workforce, at other times he said he could not afford to pay the union scale.
In October 1934, the National Labor Board upheld a decision by the Chicago
regional board that the Defender had violated section 7(a) of the National
Recovery Act, and ordered Abbott to reinstate the fired workers, reimburse their
lost wages, and bargain a new contract.  The Board noted that Abbott had never
asked the union to replace white workers with blacks even though several black
workers held union membership, that three of the discharged unionists were
blacks, that Abbott had not fired his all-white delivery crew, and that Abbott
had never sought to negotiate wages with the union.
     The Board is compelled to conclude that the company's controlling
     motive in the extraordinary action which it took was to save money. The
     wages paid the new staff were two or three hundred dollars a week less
     than the wages paid the former staff. Three days after the discharges had
     occurred Mr. Abbott wrote the Chicago Typographical Union that "the reason
     for dispensing with union labor at this time is the inability of the firm
     to pay the union wage scale."[8]
        The chair of the CTU's Defender Chapel had a more nuanced interpretation of
events, however:
     It was the belief of every member of No. 16 who worked in the
     Defender composing room in the early days of the plant that we were there
     only until such time as competent negroes could be found or graduated from
     apprenticeship to fully man the plant, and every effort was made by chapel
     members to bring about such conditions. The drawback to the consummation
     of that laudable plan was the business management of the Chicago
Walter Longwell said that managers usually chose apprentices on the basis of
their political or social connections, rather than their qualifications.  These
unqualified apprentices were generally unable to master the requirements of the
job, while Abbott repeatedly intervened to fire the more promising apprentices.
But despite this interference and the "parade of unqualified apprentices," the
union did succeed in graduating two skilled printers, a third was among the
discharged union members.[9]
        (Abbott biographer Roi Ottley's claim that the union "turned a deaf ear" to
Abbott's pleas to admit blacks so that the Defender plant could be staffed by
black printers is simply false, as Chicago Typographical Union No. 16 had long
admitted blacks to membership and had black members working in several union
shops around the city.  Ottley's claim that "Negroes were eventually brought
into the mechanical departments as apprentices and today entirely man the plant"
is similarly misleading, as is his claim that "The Defender eventually was
sustained" in the controversy.  Unfortunately, Ottley does not provide sources
for these or other assertions in what remains the only book-length biography of
the Defender's founder.)[10]
        Despite the favorable labor board ruling, the Defender never rehired the
locked-out workers -- spared by the Supreme Court decision finding the National
Recovery Act unconstitutional.  But its replacement workers soon joined the
union and were locked-out by the Defender when they demanded to be paid union
scale as they had been promised when they were recruited.  A leaflet issued by
the Chicago Typographical Union warned that scabs were being paid between 40 and
80 percent of union scale despite the paper's promises to pay scale, that many
were fired shortly after relocating at the Defender's request (Abbott repeatedly
complained about the quality of his workforce, and regularly disciplined or
discharged workers he found unsatisfactory without regard to union contracts or
individual agreements), and that many experienced printers were being obliged to
put in unpaid "training time."[11]
        Abbott repeatedly insisted that he could not afford to pay union wages.  While
the paper ran substantial profits in the 1920s, losses mounted throughout the
Depression with only a brief return to profitability in the immediate aftermath
of the mass firings of union printers in 1934.  As an arbitrator in a subsequent
dispute noted,
     Some ten years ago this employer discontinued employment of white
     newspaper craftsmen, and put on its staff of colored help, at a
     considerably decreased cost. At about that time, in 1935, a profit of some
     $10,397.15 was shown, to compare with previous years of constant losses.
     Even this drastic method of reducing costs apparently kept the firm "out
     of the red" for only that and one more year.[12]
The Defender staved off bankruptcy in 1939 only with the help of a loan from the
Metropolitan Funeral Association.[13]
        But if the Defender felt it could not afford union wages or working conditions,
successive generations of workers quickly learned that they could not afford to
work for the low wages (typically about half the prevailing rate, and sometimes
much less) and long hours Abbott preferred.  Each time the Defender broke their
union, their replacements established an independent union within a few years.
And when these company unions proved too weak to win the improvements workers
wanted, workers turned to stronger unions such as the Chicago Typographical
Union or the Chicago Newspaper Guild.
        In a series of contracts with a company union established in the Defender plant
in 1938, just a few years after the 1934 lock-out and the subsequent strike by
the replacement workers, Abbott established pay scales well below the CTU scale
and gave himself the unlimited right to penalize or fire workers on charges of
incompetence.  These policies continued even after Abbott's death in 1940.  The
Defender's 1942 agreement selected two workers for special treatment; while the
contract provided for a $42 weekly wage, one named engraver received only $40
while a mailer was singled out to get only $30 a week.[14]
        Workers joined the Chicago Typographical Union the next year, and went to
arbitration when they could not agree on a contract.  Arbitrator Clarence
Updegraff rejected Defender claims that its workers were less skilled than those
on daily papers, and so should be paid less, ruling that, "The colored employees
... are excellent craftsmen, and in their actual work measure up to the
craftsmen in similar lines employed by the big Chicago daily newspapers."  But
he found that the paper had lost nearly $150,000 in the preceding decade (see
Table I), and might have difficulty affording the union scale.
Statement of Comparative Operating
Profit or Loss for 10 Years[15]
                Year              Profit                  Loss
                1931                                    $11,831.81
                1932                                     57,925.80
                1933                                     58,395.31
                1934                                      2,625.31
                1935            $10,397.15
                1936              9,492.08
                1937                                     16,215.29
                1938                                     13,823.11
                1939                                      7,281.90
                1940              4,949.04
                1941             22,971.90
Abbott's biographer suggests the losses were even larger, claiming that after
years of drawing against the paper's funds for personal expenses Abbott
transferred "exactly $261,751.40" from his personal bank accounts to the
Defender between 1930 and 1935.  However, it is difficult to reconcile this
claim with the paper's sworn submissions to the U.S. Conciliation Service.[16]
        Updegraff found that the Defender would have to increase salaries by 40 percent
to meet the industry-standard wages paid union workers under the Chicago
Newspaper Publishers Association contract, but noted that the Defender's past
efforts to increase profitability by breaking the Typographical union had
resulted only in modest, short-term savings.  He ruled that pay should be
increased to 90 percent of scale over the next eight months.  A few years later,
in June 1944, the Defender adopted the full CNPA scale and publisher John
Sengstacke requested permission to use the Allied Printing Trades label.[17]
        But the Defender locked out its production workers again four years later, as
part of a full-scale war between the Chicago publishers and the typographers
union. The dispute began on the typesetting side, when the Defender abandoned a
short-lived agreement with the union a few days after the union and the
publishers association entered the two-year struggle that ultimately destroyed
the typographers union's control over its jurisdiction, leading to decades of
gradually declining membership as new technologies for production bypassed the
        The CTU struck the daily newspaper publishers on Nov. 24, 1948, after five
months of negotiations resulted in a stalemate in which publishers refused to
discuss wage increases until the union acceded to their interpretation of the
Taft-Hartley amendments (restricting union jurisdiction, closed shop, and
control over work rules) to the National Labor Relations Act.  The Defender and
several smaller papers (including several foreign-language dailies) initially
agreed to cost of living increases and were not struck, but the Defender changed
its mind after a few days and locked the typographers out.  Many newsboys then
refused to carry the paper, and several black unionists and clergymen issued
statements condemning the Defender's use of scabs and calling for a boycott of
the paper.[18]  The dispute spread to the Defender mailing room in June 1948,
when the Defender informed mailers (also represented by the Chicago
Typographical Union) that it was increasing hours, cutting wages, and would no
longer recognize union work rules.[19]
        While the 23-month-long strike never halted production of the struck papers,
they were forced to turn to primitive justo-written type.  When the Defender
hired non-union typographers after months of barely readable type, the
Typographical Union seized on the development to file unemployment claims for
the strikers.  (Similar claims were filed against all the publishers, but
prevailed only against the Defender, where the Illinois Director of Labor ruled
that the locked-out mailers had been immediately replaced and hence there was no
"stoppage of work"; he similarly ruled that once the striking typographers were
replaced the stoppage of work had come to an end.)[20]
        Nor was the Chicago Typographical Union the only union to run into trouble with
the Defender. In 1943 the newspaper fired two Newspaper Guild members, though
the Guild had a contract with the Defender by August 1945 and was seeking
recognition for workers on the business side.  In January 1945, editorial
workers protested the installation of a time clock in the newsroom. And in
February 1945 the paper fired four more Guild members who worked in its
advertising department after they refused to sign a management-dictated contract
including pay cuts.[21]  But the Guild's ability to take industrial action was
hampered by the continuing presence of several volunteers who wrote up local
news for (at best) expenses in hopes of breaking into the paid staff, and by the
reluctance of many Defender journalists to insist on union conditions.  "Not
being union-minded," reporter Enoch Waters later recalled, "we operated on the
principle that as long as we were on the staff we were on duty, obligated to be
reporters any hour of the day or night."  No one ever asked for overtime pay,
Waters boasted, and reporters regularly worked evenings without pay after
putting in a regular 8-hour day shift.[22]
        The Defender's conversion to daily publication in 1956 may have increased the
paper's attractiveness to advertisers (especially given the collapse of the
paper's national circulation), but it did little to smooth relations with the
newspaper's workers.
        The Newspaper Guild ran into trouble with the Defender again in 1960, after
production workers voted to dissolve yet another of the paper's company unions
and join the Guild local representing editorial and business employees.  The
Defender refused to negotiate a joint contract and challenged the production
workers' decision to join the Guild.  After the Guild won a NLRB representation
election 72 to 2, the Defender refused to open the paper's books to substantiate
its claims that it could not afford pay raises.  The Guild struck in April 1961,
making an unconditional offer to return to work after eight days (during which
it became clear that Sengstacke could continue production with nonstriking
workers and subcontractors).  But management refused to take any of the strikers
back, explaining that it had reorganized its mechanical department and no longer
had places for the 58 workers still on strike when the Guild offered to return.
The Defender was ultimately ordered to reinstate the strikers and pay some
$450,000 in back pay by the National Labor Relations Board, but publisher John
Sengstacke refused to pay competitive wages. In 1962, Sengstacke budgeted
$110,000 for the daily's 15-person reporting and editorial staff.[23]
        The Defender's labor problems were hardly unique among black newspapers.  When
veteran black journalist P.L. Prattis was in New York when a strike broke out at
the Amsterdam News, he volunteered to help get the paper out, being added to the
payroll after a couple of days.[24]  Black newspapers and journalists alike were
typically impoverished.  The papers of the Associated Negro Press are filled
with correspondence regarding the inability of subscribing papers to pay their
bills for the news service, and requests that A.N.P. head Claude Barnett funnel
G.O.P. money to them to compensate them for carrying articles urging blacks to
support the Republican ticket.  When black conservatives became alarmed at a
Defender campaign against a segregated air unit being organized under the
auspices of the Tuskegee Institute, Barnett arranged to deliver cash payments to
the Defender editor and reporter responsible for the articles in hopes of
putting an end to the campaign.  Another Defender journalist was paid $10 to run
a photo and article supporting the unit.  As late as 1947, Defender reporter
Enoch Waters was offered (and declined) an interest-free $10,000 loan by local
numbers racketeers, while editor Ben Burns recalls that the advertising
department sold editorial space along with advertising contracts in the
        But one cannot attribute the Defender's labor problems simply to the difficult
economics intrinsic to publishing specialized newspapers.  Chicago's
Polish-language newspapers, for example, argued in 1914 that they could not
afford to pay union scale.  But a campaign of agitation in the Polish community
by the Allied Printing Trades Council quickly led to decisions by the mutual aid
associations that published the leading Polish papers to agree to union
contracts.[26]  The Polish dailies negotiated joint contracts with the Chicago
Typographical Union and other unions for decades which mirrored the wages paid
by the leading Chicago dailies and at times actually offered shorter hours (for
the same weekly pay) than those worked in other union shops.  The Polish
newspapers continued publishing under CTU wages and conditions throughout the
1948-1951 strike, paying the higher wages that the major dailies (and the
Defender) had refused to concede.[27]
        The Defender was willing to defend the rights of black workers to join unions,
to publish sympathetic (as well as critical) articles about the Communist Party
(even as McCarthyism was heating up) and the Soviet Union, to publish verbatim
press releases from the CP-dominated International Labor Defense, and to allow a
Young Communist League float in the Defender's annual Bud Billiken parade.  The
Chicago Defender praised the Congress of Industrial Organization's record of
supporting equal rights, and urged black workers to support unionization efforts
in the 1930s.  While bitterly skeptical of the policies of the American
Federation of Labor, it repeatedly urged black workers to refuse to work as
scabs, and to join those unions willing to admit them on an equal basis.
"Capital has not played square with us," the Defender noted; "it has used us as
strikebreakers, then when the calm came turned us adrift."[28]
        The workers who wrote and produced the paper might well have raised a similar
complaint.  But whether because of the paper's economic interest in maintaining
an ill-paid workforce that could be compelled to work long hours under
substandard conditions or because of founding editor Robert Abbott's paranoia
(tellingly illustrated in a 1930 article where Abbott wrote of the "vicious
conspiracy ... fostered by the people whom I had considered to be my most
intimate friends who had conspired not only to destroy the Defender as an
institution but also to bring about my death," going on to complain of
stool-pigeons in his office and attempts to commit him to an insane asylum) and
his insistence on unfettered control, neither Abbott nor his successor willingly
tolerated a unionized staff.[29]
        Former editor Ben Burns concludes his memoir by noting his disenchantment at
realizing that the Defender "was as fully dedicated to profits as any other
business venture."[30]  As Sengstacke's heirs once again battle over control of
the Defender properties, valued at $10 to $12 million, daily circulation has
fallen to 16,000 and many community activists say the paper has little influence
in Chicago's black community.[31]  The paper's decline surely has several
causes, but the publishers' treatment of its staff was surely a contributing
[1] A 1938 survey of southside newsdealers found that the Defender sold more
than four times as many papers as its three leading competitors combined. In
1939, 23,470 copies of the Defender's 81,082 weekly circulation were sold
locally. Ralph Davis, "The Negro Newspaper in Chicago" (M.A. Thesis, University
of Chicago, 1939), pp. 134-37; Claude Barnett to R. Bruce Jones (N.W. Ayer &
Sons), Nov. 18, 1952, Claude A. Barnett papers, box 149, folder 1, Chicago
Historical Society.
[2] Twelfth Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1900 vol. I
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902), pp. 613, 651, 796-99; Fifteenth
Census of the United States: 1930 vol. III (Washington: Government Printing
Office, 1932), pp. 628-44;
[3] Albert Kreiling, "The Commercialization of the Black Press and the Rise of
Race News in Chicago," in William Solomon and Robert McChesney, editors,
Ruthless Criticism: New Perspectives in U.S. Communication History (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1993), p. 181.
[4] Stephen Tallackson, "The Chicago Defender and Its Relation to the Communist
Movement in the Depression Era" (M.A. Thesis, University of Chicago, 1967);
James Barrett, Work and Community in the Jungle (Urbana: University of Illinois
Press, 1987), pp. 205, 213; Mary Stovall, "The Chicago Defender in the
Progressive Era," Illinois Historical Journal 83 (Autumn 1990), p. 170.  For the
1919 riot see William Tuttle, Race Riot (New York: Atheneum, 1970).  For the
policies of the American Federation of Labor see Shelby Shapiro, Unions and
Racism (Oldham: Industrial Workers of the World, 1980); and Philip Foner,
Organized Labor & The Black Worker (New York: International Publishers, 1981).
[5] Roi Ottley, The Lonely Warrior: The Life and Times of Robert S. Abbott
(Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1955), pp. 261-266.
[6] Foner, Organized Labor & The Black Worker, pp. 180, 220.
[7] Enoch Waters, American Diary: A Personal History of the Black Press
(Chicago: Path Press, 1987), p. 147; Ottley, The Lonely Warrior, pp. 194-195.
[8] National Labor Relations Board decision, Chicago Defender Inc. and Chicago
Typographical Union #16, Chicago Mailers Union #8, Chicago Web Pressmen's Union
#7, Chicago Stereotyper's Union #4, Oct. 20, 1934.  Copy in Chicago
Typographical Union No. 16 papers (Chicago Historical Society), Box 12, folder
[9] Walter Longwell to CTU President George Chiles, no date (summer 1934), CTU
#16 papers, box 12 folder 6.
[10] Ottley, The Lonely Warrior, pp. 194-195, 300-304.
[11] Enoch Waters, American Diary, pp. 147-55; Defender Strike Committee, The
Facts (no date, 1936?), Chicago Typographical Union No. 16 papers, Box 12 folder
        In one of several cases over the years involving competence claims, the CTU won
an arbitration decision in 1947 for four pressmen the Defender was claiming were
incompetent.  The CTU was representing the pressmen even though they normally
would have been enrolled in the International Pressmen's and Printing
Assistants' Union.  However, that union refused to enroll black members.  Thomas
Canty to John Franks, Defender pressroom, April 14, 1947, CTU papers, box 13
folder 1.
[12] Commissioner Clarence Updegraff, Decision In the Matter of Arbitration
between the Robert S. Abbott Publishing Co. and Chicago Typographical Union,
June 1 1943, p. 8, CTU #16 papers, box 13 folder 1; "Bronzeville Finds It [sic]
Voice," September 1940, unsigned, unpaginated manuscript in the Barnett papers,
box 149, folder 4.
[13] Juliet Walker, "The Promised Land: The Chicago Defender and the Black Press
in Illinois: 1862-1970," in Henry Lewis Suggs, editor, The Black Press in the
Middle West, 1865-1985 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 40.
[14] Contract of Wages and Terms of Employment Between the Robert S. Abbott
Publishing Company, Incorporated and The Brotherhood of Printers and Allied
Craftsmen (Representing the Mechanical employees of the Robert S. Abbott
Publishing Company), Jan. 21, 1942. CTU papers, box 11 folder 1.
        The paper was widely regarded as being on the verge of collapse in the 1930s.
When a group of white Republicans led by Alf Landon offered (through
intermediaries) to buy a majority interest in the paper for $50,000 (keeping
Abbott on the payroll as publisher) in 1938, Associated Negro Press owner (and
Republican operative) Claude Barnett responded that while the paper was clearly
in financial difficulty, Abbott did not seem inclined to give it up.
Correspondence between P.L. Prattis and Claude Barnett, June 1938, Barnett
papers, Box 139, folder 1.
[15] Commissioner Clarence Updegraff, Decision In the Matter of Arbitration
between the Robert S. Abbott Publishing Co. and Chicago Typographical Union,
June 1 1943, p. 4, CTU papers, box 13 folder 1.  Table I is reproduced from his
[16] Ottley, The Lonely Warrior, page 301.
[17] Sengstacke to CTU President Thomas Canty, Oct. 31 1945, CTU papers, box 13
folder 1.
[18] Chicago Typographical Union, Negro Leaders Blast 'Defender,' April 1948,
CTU papers, box 13 folder 1.
[19] Chicago Typographical Union, Defender Fights Organized Labor. CTU papers,
Box 16 folder CNPA - Strike & Lockout Literature, Sept. 1948.
[20] Frank Annunzio, Decision in the matter of the Appeal of George Christly and
Other Claimant-Employees of the Robert S. Abbott Publishing Company (No.
49-DL-134), Sept. 8, 1950, and in the matter of the Appeal of Truhart E. Branch
and Other Claimant-Employees (No. 48-DL-1GI), Sept. 8, 1950, CTU papers, box 61,
folder 1.
        Boxes 60 and 61 are dedicated to the unemployment compensation cases.  Although
Illinois law barred payment of benefits where a stoppage of work stems from a
labor dispute, the union contended that the strikers had been displaced by
different production technologies and thus there had been no stoppage.  In
detailed testimony, the newspapers testified to the devastating impact the
strike was having on their advertising and editorial processes, while the unions
argued that the strike had been wholly ineffectual.  Each argued radically
different positions in public.
[21] Justin McCarthy, untitled circular, Feb. 14, 1945, CTU papers box 13,
folder 1; Chicago Newspaper Guild, Report to Midwest District Council, American
Newspaper Guild, August 26 1945; Chicago Newspaper Guild Executive Board Meeting
Minutes, Jan. 30, 1945, March 28, 1945, Chicago Newspaper Guild papers, box 6
(Chicago Historical Society).
        Defender staffer Ben Burns states in his memoirs that there as no Guild unit at
the Defender when he joined the staff in 1942. "I helped to recruit a handful of
members into the union, even though I myself was ineligible to function openly
in the Guild because I was in 'management.' When an attempt was made to win
union recognition, publisher John Sengstacke balked..." Ben Burns, Nitty Gritty:
A White Editor in Black Journalism (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi,
1996), p. 92.
[22] Enoch Waters, American Diary, p. 160.
[23] Associated Negro Press, "NLRB Orders Chicago Defender to Rehire 58
Strikers," Dec. 7, 1962, Barnett papers, box 149 folder 9; Chicago Newspaper
Guild, The Chicago Defender Story, April 27, 1961, Barnett papers, box 149,
folder 8; Burns, Nitty Gritty, pp. 211-212.
[24] P.L. Prattis to Claude Barnett, no date, Barnett papers, box 139 folder 3.
[25] For examples of dunning letters see Claude Barnett to Illinois Plain
Dealer, March 8, 1927, Barnett papers, box 149, folder 1, and to Al Benson
(Chicago Chronicle), May 8, 1953, box 149, folder 2; for the Tuskegee affair see
Claude Barnett to F.D. Patterson, Jan. 22, 1941, and Jan. 26, 1941, and Barnett
to J.A. Kennedy, Feb. 27, 1941, Barnett papers, box 149 folder 7; the Barnett
papers contain extensive documentation on Barnett's work for the Republican
party, including several letters from editors complaining that they were not
being paid properly for printing the party's material: see, e.g., L.E. Austin
(Carolina Times) to National Feature Service, Sept. 27, 1932, Claude Barnett to
L.C. Austin, Oct. 8, 1932, Barnett papers, box 334, folder 4; Waters reports the
attempted bribe in his American Diary; Burns, Nitty Gritty, p. 213.
[26] Chicago Allied Printing Trades Council, Minutes, Dec. 3, 1914, and March 4,
1915, Chicago Historical Society.
[27] Copies of contracts and correspondence between the Chicago Typographical
Union and the Polish-language publishers can be found in boxes 54 and 55 of the
Chicago Typographical Union No. 16 papers.
[28] editorial of April 27, 1919, cited in William Tuttle, Race Riot: Chicago in
the Red Summer of 1919, p. 149; Christopher De Santis, ed., Langston Hughes and
the Chicago Defender, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995, pp. 163-90;
Philip Foner, Organized Labor & the Black Worker, p. 313; Tallackson, "The
Chicago Defender and Its Reaction to the Communist Movement."
[29] Robert S. Abbott, "Editor Robt. S. Abbott's Story of Early Struggles and
Success of The World's Greatest Weekly," Chicago Defender, May 3 1930 (25th
anniversary issue), taken from clipping in the Barnett papers, box 149, folder
[30] Burns, Nitty Gritty, p. 216.
[31] Dana Coleman, "Sale of Chicago Defender looms," Baltimore Afro-American,
August 30, 1997, p. 6; "Sengstacke, a legend, dies after illness at 84,"
Michigan Chronicle, June 10, 1997, p. 1; Sunya Walls, "Demonstrators Protest
Defender's Endorsement of Daley," Chicago Citizen, March 5, 1995, p. 9; Jeff
Borden, "An uncertain Defender," Crain's Chicago Business, August 25, 1997;
Nichole Christian, "Heirs Try to Keep a Black Press Heritage Alive," New York
Times, March 9, 1998.

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