Labor and Liberty at Jones & Laughlin: A Depression-Era
W. J. Pattison, a supervisor at Jones & Laughlin's Pittsburgh Works,
wrote this "memo for the files,"which describes a restless and rebellious
steelworker in Depression-era Pittsburgh.
We reproduce the original document (or pages thereof) and a complete transcription.
Transcription of Document
"Albert Louis # 11941, 1-26-33"
"Albert Louis lost a lot of time in the last
few months due to the fact that pipe shop could not get hold of him. He made
trips to Youngstown, Connellsville & Uniontown
without letting the pipe shop know that he had gone away. It was hard for
the pipe shop and the welfare dept to get him when he was working on Soho
Blast Furnace to come to work. He lived near #18 mill & was instructed
to call every day from #18 mill to find out if he was to work. This he did
not do regularly. He went to see Mr. Collier at the city office to get additional
"Mr. Pattison and Mr. Hogsed went to see Mr. Kalback at the P.M. Co. & told
him that Louis would get at least 8 turns or $32.00 per month & to give
him credit for at least $20.00 of food which amounted to his pay less $10.00,
Rent in Company House & insurance. Mr. Kalback said
(p. 2 ->) that Louis owed the P. M. Co. over $300.00 but would give Louis
credit for his wages which he could spend for food, etc.
Louis told Pattison & Hogsed he could get along on 8 turns & was
informed that we would try to give him more than 8 turns. In the meantime
Louis received coal, food, shoes and clothing from the Welfare Dept."
"On the 18 th Mr. Hogsed told Louis that he was to work January 20 th ,
21 st , and 22 nd . Louis said he would not work for nothing as the P.M.
Co took all his money. He said he wanted relief & would not work.
Mr. Griffith gave him food on January 20 th . Louis came to Mr. Morris & Mr.
Pattison on January 20 th & asked to be allowed to quit as he said he
could get along better by getting relief from the city & he could not
get city relief as long as he worked for J & L."
"Mr. Morris tried to talk him out of quitting, pointing out he had made
an average of $41.00 per month in 1932, had received clothing, Coal& food
from the welfare, & could
have made more if he had not gone away & could have been reached. Louis
said that the relief J & L was giving did not cost J&L anything & came
from the city. Mr. Morris told him he was all wrong. Louis said he wanted
Mr. Morris said he would see what he could do to grant his wish. In the
meantime Mr. Morris talked to Mr. P.P. Walsh."
"On the night of Jan. 24 th Louis and a negro communist* (see note at bottom)
came in to see Mr. Griffith & in violent terms demanded that Louis be
allowed to quit. On January 25 th Louis came to Mr. Morris & again demanded
he be allowed to quit. Mr. Morris talked to Louis, pointing out that he could
never work for J&L (4->) again, that if he quit, he would stay out,
that he would have to move from the Company house and that he would lose
the benefits of insurance, sick benefits, disability, & his 12 years
service, & pension rights. Mr. Pattison told him he was making a mistake,
that it would [be] hard for him to get a job, & his family would have
no protection. Mr. Morris called attention to the fact that he was a friend
of Mr. P. P. Walsh & that Louis was married to a niece of Mr. Walsh's & he
wanted Louis to do the right thing.
Mr. Louis said Walsh never did anything for him & to Hell with him.
said he wanted to quit. Mr. Morris then made out the discharge slip & told
Louis to see Griffith so that Louis could get relief from the city. (5 à )
Messrs. Morris & Pattison & Hogshed tried to help Louis by giving
him work & relief such as coal, clothing & food, by arranging credit
at P. M. Co., by trying to show him he was making a bad mistake in quitting,
by holding up his quitting for a week, & by trying to advise & counsel
However, due to his association with a negro communist & his adherence
to communism, he preferred (sic) to accept relief rather than work. This
led him to work poorly when called out to work, & to finally decide not
to work at all, quit J & L & get
relief from the city."
W. Pattison 1-26-33
*Could the "negro communist" be Benjamin Careathers?