1600 members of the Local 194 failed to report to work on July 1, 1929. The strike of 1929 had far reaching consequences for the union. The Carmen strike of 1929 was the death knell of the union. Many factors brought the Local 194 to its breaking point in 1929. The loss of political and public support, leadership both by the Carmen\'s union and trolley car companies and financial burden cost Local 194 their union.\r\n As stated in the latter, this was not their first strike. By 1929, the union had many successful and hard fought gains through the use of strikes. As a result of the 1884 strike of the Local 194, union workers were able to shorten their workday. In 1892 Local 194 were able to yet again reduce their work day through the use of a strike. Another successful strike occurred in 1901. The Local 194 were able to renegotiate wages and hours. The following year in 1902, the Carmen union gave the trolley car companies an ultimatum to accept a new contract by the union. \r\nThis was the turning point for Local 194. Local 194 established itself as a force and had means to back itself up with substantial public and political support. An agreement was reached in 1903, between the union and trolley car companies. \"The strike of 1902 and the agreement of 1903 marked a significant point in the history of the local 194\" Leadership was key for the success of the 1901 strike. William D. Mahon, President of the union, was instrumental in the compromise between the union and the trolley car companies. Mahon was then able to usher in a period of cooperation between the union and the trolley companies.\r\nAn example of the spirit of cooperation between the union and the trolley car companies can be seen in the Jitney issue of 1914. Jitneys were busses or private cars , that were used for transportation and whose fares were lower than the street car. The Jitneys were cutting directly in to the profits of the street car companies. The union and the trolley companies gathered political support to put their rivals, the Jitneys, out of business. The Local 194 enjoyed a conciliatory relationship with the trolley car companies till 1929.\r\nThe spirit of cooperation was abandoned in 1929. The tide began to change for the Local 194. By the time the Public Service Company took over the trolley car companies in 1922, the trolley car companies were bankrupt. The tide had turned away from the railways. In 1922 \"paved streets mileage in New Orleans surpassed street railway track mileage for the first time.\" Busses had now come into use in the city. Busses only relied on one operator unlike the street car which relied on two operators. \"Bus lines were growing at the expense of the trolleys\". The company found the elimination of the Local 194 an economic necessity to cut cost. The New Orleans Public Service, that now ran the trolleys, saw the Local 194 as an obstacle and were not interested in any conciliation with the union. A.B Patterson, the president of the New Orleans Public Service Company, \" was assured of the capital to back whatever losses might be entailed in the strike\" by their parent company Electric Bond and Share. As a result of this assurance A.B Patterson and the Public Service Company was in a very powerful position. In essence, the Public Service company was able to use the force necessary to break the union and not suffer the financial lost. The financial impetus by the Public Service was a part of the unraveling of the once powerful local 194. This combined with the loss of public and political support was the death knell of local 194.\r\nPublic and political support had been one the cornerstone of the union. But by the 1920\'s there was a wave of change that spread not just in New Orleans but also on a larger national scale. By the 1920\'s ,The position of American labor was weakened \"by the defensive tactics of A.F. of L. during the decade. Particularly after 1924, when William Green became president, the federation seemed to determined to show organized labor was not a threat to the prerogatives of the employer.\" The leadership of William Green , undercut the union attempts to rally support for their cause. The position taken by Green was a part of local 194 unraveling. He failed to support the union demands and his attempts to intervene in the strike undermined the union support from the public. \r\nThe feeble and detrimental leadership of Green was not the only part of Local 194\'s undoing. During the 1920\'s the union lost a lot of political ground. Even though the Public Service Company was chartered by the state and the State had power to regulate its activities ,they remained aloof in the strike on both the state and local levels. Even Governor Huey Long, who had blatant contempt for the company remained silent during the strike. \"The governor had only recently blocked impeachment proceedings against himself and wanted to placate rather than antagonize the powerful Old Regular organization in New Orleans.\" \r\n On the local level, the union did not fare any better. The Public Service Company gained substantial influence on city government. City government officials had an alliance with the Public Service Company. The company provided much of the graft to the city Government. The local New Orleans government \"could not afford to break its alliance with the rich and politically active corporation, especially after the Carmen committed themselves to the opposition.\" \r\nThe defeat of Local 194 brought organized labor to its lowest point since the turn of the century. The collapse of the union demonstrated the power of the Utility company. The Local 194 was in the fight of its life in 1929, a fight which it lost. Why did the strike of 1929 failed? The forces were against the union and its survival. As a result of modernization, street cars became more expenses to operate. This resulted in the loss of conciliatory attitude shared with the trolley company. Leadership also contributed to the downfall of the union. Patterson, was assured by the Public Service parent Company, that there would be no financial lost. \"Thus, its directors could act in the short run with complete confidence in their long run security. In essence, A.B. Patterson was willing to pay a very high price for the extermination of the local 194. \" Detrimental leadership by Green depleted any gains that the Carmen might have made during the strike. Public and political support waned for the union on both city and state level. The combination of the loss of public and political clout, the leadership of both the union and the Public Service Company, and financial factors cause the Local 194 dissolve.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n

Citation

“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed June 19, 2024, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/38342.