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Episode Info: In the 1940s, Boston was still an industrial city, and when the US entered World War II, that industrial might would be turned to wartime production. With industry comes labor disputes, and a new government agency was given extraordinary powers to resolve them. In other early cases, the National War Labor Board used its authority and the might of the military to break strikes by organized labor. However, in August 1942, they would step in to force an employer to honor their union contract, using the US Army to enforce workers’ rights. That employer was the SA Woods Machine Company of South Boston, and this Wednesday marks the anniversary of the military takeover of their plant, setting up an epic battle of wills between the SA Woods corporation and the US government, and between the company’s cantankerous president and the young major sent to take over his company. Please check out the transcript and full show notes at: And support the show on Patreon. Army Takeover of SA Woods The MPs arrive at SA Woods Nailing Executive order 9225 to the door Guarding the front gates Meet the new management Lining up to go to work Checking IDs Fake labor negotiations A help wanted ad from the Murray company’s operation of SA Woods Industrialists in Olive Drab, by John Ohly Executive Order 9225 “The Closed Shop Issue in World War II,” by T. T. Hammond “The S.A. Woods Story,” via Wood-Worker Magazine, May 1956 Solomon A Woods Obituary Damrell Ave smokestack demolished Washington Village to be constructed on SA Woods site Boston Globe Coverage (subscription required) August 15: Harry Dodge says defying the NWLB is defending democracy August 17: SA Woods seeks court test August 18: SA Woods denies obstructing war effort August 19 (evening): FDR orders plant seizure, not expected today August 20: Plant seized last night, Army sets up perimeter cordon August 20 (evening): Army auditing SA Woods books August 21: SA Woods calls seizure of woodworking and electric motor plants “punitive” August 22: Harry Dodge fired August 24: Army officials make a show of negotiating with the union October 13: Troops to be withdrawn from SA Woods Pictures above from the Boston Globe and Digital Commonwealth Boston Book Club During the 1983 Boston City Council race, WGBH was given extraordinary behind-the-scenes access to one candidate’s campaign, as he ran for office for the first time. The council had just been restructured, introducing a new District Councilor seat. Before this, all nine city councilors were elected at large, meaning that they had to run city-wide. With the restructuring, there would now be four at-large councilors and nine district councilors, who would be elected by the residents of specific neighborhoods. This first time candid...
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