With such tactics Rand was able to get the Ilion plant back into
partial operation by the end of the first month. He applied the same
tactics at other struck plants. The company got judges to limit
picketing, landlords to raise rents and police to arrest pickets on
most flimsy charges. In Syracuse, for example, two girls were
sentenced to thirty days for waving a rubber rat at scabs going
through their picket line. In Elmira the mayor refused to permit
circulation of the national labor newspaper, Labor, while in
Syracuse the mayor assured the company unlimited police protection.
At the Middletown, Ohio plant police arrested peaceful pickets
and judges hit them with long prison sentences. Every week the
pressure increased. Rand devised diabolic strategies to demoralize
and divide the workers. "For Sale" signs appeared in front
of the factories. "Citizens committees" were formed.
Workers and their wives were visited in their homes and urged to
join highly publicized "back-to-work" campaigns. The
company also leaned heavily on locally elected officials. On one
occasion the mayor of Ilion met secretly with the strikers and
tearfully confessed that he was being forced into actions he did not
want to take. Although he was one of the wealthiest men in town the
mayor had been warned by a citizens' committee that included his
banker that if he defied the company he would be ruined and run out
of town "with nothing left but his hat, coat and pants."
Citizens committees visited merchants and warned them not to help or
give credit to strikers.
At Tonawanda, Rand planted a rumor that the strikers were
deserting and most were ready to go back to work. The National Metal
Trades Association sent in eighty-five professional thugs to play
the part of the alleged deserters. They arrived at the plant gate
armed to the teeth with clubs and bricks and, as Rand hoped, a
free-for-all broke out. He stood on the sidelines snapping pictures
of the fighting and violence. The next day, after the thugs had been
slipped quietly out of town, the newspapers printed Rand's pictures
to show how picketing labor goons had attacked honest working men
who wanted only to return to their jobs.
When Rand finally gathered enough scabs to reopen the Ilion
plant on June 12, he gloated about his new formula for
strikebreaking. At a victory celebration he trumpeted that "two
million business men have been looking for a formula like
this." and indeed the next day representatives of the NAM
arrived in Ilion to study Rand's union-busting success. The next
issue of the NAM's Labor Relations Bulletin immortalized
the "Mohawk Valley Formula" as a classic blueprint for
union busting. Neither Rand nor the NAM had taken the Wagner Act
into account. When the NLRB handed down its decision in April, 1937,
eleven months after the strike began, 4,000 of the original 6,500
were still on the picket lines.
In a monumental 120-page decision the Board found Rand had
arrogantly place himself above the law, subjecting 6,500 workers and
their families to the miseries of a prolonged strike, the people of
six communities to extreme economic hardship, turning neighborhoods
into warring camps and unleashing unreasoning hatreds. The NLRB
ordered reinstatement with back pay of the union workers discharged
prior to the strike, reemployment of the 4,000 workers still on
strike, disestablishment of all company unions and recognition of
bona fide unions in the six affected plants as well as in the new
Elmira plant. Rand fought the order all the way to the Supreme Court
but was eventually forced to recognize the union and make
restitution to the workers.
The Mohawk Valley Formula
First: When a strike is threatened, label
the union leaders as "agitators" to discredit them with
the public and their own followers. Conduct balloting under the
foremen to ascertain the strength of the union and to make possible
misrepresentation of the strikers as a small minority. Exert
economic pressure through threats to move the plant, align bankers,
real estate owners and businessmen into a "Citizens'
Second: Raise high the banner of "law
and order", thereby causing the community to mass legal and
police weapons against imagined violence and to forget that
employees have equal right with others in the community.
Third: Call a "mass meeting" to
coordinate public sentiment against the strike and strengthen the
Fourth: Form a large police force to
intimidate the strikers and exert a psychological effect. Utilize
local police, state police, vigilantes and special deputies chosen,
if possible, from other neighborhoods.
Fifth: Convince the strikers their cause
is hopeless with a "back-to-work" movement by a puppet
association of so-called "loyal employees" secretly
organized by the employer.
Sixth: When enough applications are on
hand, set a date for opening the plant by having such opening
requested by the puppet "back-to-work" association.
Seventh: Stage the "opening"
theatrically by throwing open the gates and having the employees
march in a mass protected by squads of armed police so as to
dramatize and exaggerate the opening and heighten the demoralizing
Eighth: Demoralize the strikers with a
continuing show of force. If necessary turn the locality into a
warlike camp and barricade it from the outside world.
Ninth: Close the publicity barrage on the
theme that the plant is in full operation and the strikers are
merely a minority attempting to interfere with the "right to
work". With this, the campaign is over--the employer has broken