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Communist orator addressing striking laborers, Bismarck, N.D.
Communist orator addressing striking laborers, Bismarck, N.D.
TitleCommunist orator addressing striking laborers, Bismarck, N.D.
Date of Original1933-06
CreatorRisem, Andreas, 1876-1957
Creator RolePhotographer
DescriptionA man identified as a Communist orator addresses a crowd of striking capitol construction laborers on the capitol grounds in Bismarck.
Ordering Information
General SubjectWork Life
Politics & Government
Subject (LCTGM)Public speaking
Organization NameNorth Dakota State Capitol (Bismarck, N.D.)
LocationBismarck (N.D.)
Item Number30275-1-8-09
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
NotesTitle created by staff.
Relation[Is Part Of] North Dakota History textbook materials
Biography/HistoryOn May 16, 1933, after more than ten months on the job, unskilled laborers walked out on strike. At 4:30 in the morning, picketers stood in front of the Liberty Memorial Building to prevent other workers (those not on strike) from entering the capitol construction area. Striking unskilled laborers asked for a raise in their hourly wage from thirty cents to fifty cents. The wages of the unskilled laborers were the lowest on the construction site. Bricklayers and stone masons earned the highest wage of $1.10. Other skilled workers earned between eighty cents and one dollar per hour. Rough carpenters earned seventy cents per hour. From there the wage scale dropped to thirty cents for "Common Laborers." The strike idled all workers. Only foremen and watchmen or guards entered the grounds, though delivery trucks were usually allowed in. Lundoff-Bicknell supervisors and capitol commissioners suspected that communists were leading the strike. Adjutant General Herman Brocopp posted National Guard troops on the capitol grounds at night to protect against damage to the property. The strike remained largely peaceful until violence (often referred to as the "riot") broke out on May 24. After several workers who approached the construction site were injured and five strikers taken to jail, the site shut down for two days. By Friday, May 26, strikers and contractors were engaged in contentious negotiations. With the Memorial Day holiday coming up on the following Tuesday, May 30, both sides decided to wait until after the holiday to seek a settlement. Then, on June 1, Governor William Langer became directly involved in the strike and settlement quickly followed. Langer declared martial law in Bismarck which allowed National Guard officers to order the strikers off the capitol grounds. The next day, June 2, leaders of the Hod Carriers Building and Common Laborers' Union which represented the strikers sat down with contractors' representatives to discuss a settlement with Governor Langer. By 5 p.m., the strikers were offered a contract with a wage increase to at least forty cents per hour. The strike was over, but twelve work days had been lost in the construction of the new capitol.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionNorth Dakota Board of Capitol Commissioners Daily Procedure Memoranda (Series 30275)
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota (30275-1-8-09)
Rights ManagementCopyright transferred to the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Digital IDsh302751809
OCLC number18374963
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