Document 20: Lumber Managers Fret about Striking Millworkers, 1907

Edwin G. Ames to R. H. Alexander, 15 March 1907, folder 6/28, Edwin G. Ames Papers, accession 3820-1, Special Collections,
University of Washington Libraries.

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March 15, 1907

B. C. Mills, Timber & Trading Co.,
Vancouver, B. C.

Dear Mr. Alexander:

I am in receipt of your favor [letter] of March 14th and would say that the strike in the lumber mills at Portland appears to be a very serious thing. As I understand the matter the men who are bringing this strike are transient day laborers, and they want something like $2.50 per day instead of $1.75 and $2.00 per day which they have been receiving.

A new association has been formed and is called the International Association of Workmen. [He was probably referring to the Industrial Workers of the World.] We understand the labor federation [the Portland Labor Council] has no sympathy with this new association or with the strike; and as the new association is not affiliated with the building and trades council, they are not in sympathy with the strike.

This strike has already closed down the Northern Pacific, Eastern & Western, Portland Lbr. [Lumber] Co., and Inman & Poulsen mills, and now I understand is extending up and down the river [the Columbia River]. A great many of the mills are affected by the strike, and on account of inability to get lumber all building trades are affected.

The strikers also ask for a nine hour day instead of the usual ten hour day for which they have been paid.

The Portland mills seem to be standing well together, and I understand are quite anxious for outside mills to assist them in putting down the strike. What the result will be I cannot tell at the present time. I am watching the situation very carefully and if I hear of any reliable information which I think would be of interest to you, I will let you know without delay. . . .

The strikers say if they win out on the Columbia River that they will extend their operations to Grays Harbor, Puget Sound and British Columbia.

Yours respecfully,

E . G. Ames

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest