PUBLIC OPINION AND THE STEEL STRIKE

THE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

ON September 27, the fifth day of the strike, an advertising campaign was begun to induce the striking steel workers to abandon their protest. While the advertisements were apparently intended for the strikers themselves, they had, unquestionably, by reason of their prominence, an important influence in forming public opinion on the causes and issues of the strike. Between September 27 and October 8 over thirty full-page advertisements denouncing the leadership of the strike and calculated to undermine the morale of the strikers, appeared in the various Pittsburgh newspapers. They were printed in English and generally in four or five foreign languages as well. In sum, the purport of these advertisements was that it was un-American for the steel workers to be on strike.

These advertisements, obviously prepared by competent professional skill, were carefully designed and were characterized by an effective display. A number of them contained a half-page cartoon of "Uncle Sam," garbed in stars and stripes, with his hand to his mouth calling in the direction of steel mills pictured in the background: "Go back to work!" This exhortation was printed in eight languages. The page-wide streamer line in heavy black type at the top read: " America is calling you." The line at the bottom read: "Go back to work!". . .

The full-page advertisements as carried by the Leader on October 5 and 6 and by the Chronicle-Telegraph on October 6, exhibited in heavy type in the body of the advertisement the following statements:

The steel strike can't win. It is uncalled for and un-American. It is led by men who apparently are trying to establish the "red" rule of anarchy and bolshevism in this land of opportunity and liberty. The American institution of majority rule is threatened by a malicious, radical group of agitators. They are trying to throw hundreds of thousands of wellpaid, prosperous workmen out of employment because of the whims of a very small minority.

Don't be fooled any longer. Stand by America and all that America means. Stick to your job and keep up "good times."


"GO BACK TO WORK"

On Saturday, September 27, the Chronicle-Telegraph carried a page advertisement with a slogan three times repeated across the full width of the page in large type: "GO BACK TO WORK MONDAY." Besides quotations from the booklet "Syndicalism" by W. Z. Foster, the advertisement displayed such statements as these:

Yesterday the enemy of liberty was Prussianism. Today it is radicalism.

Masquerading under the cloak of the American Federation of Labor a few Radicals are striving for power. They hope to seize control of the industries and to turn the company over to the "red" rule of Syndicalism.

Among the slogans presented in the advertising campaign were the following, printed in type an inch to two inches high:

____________________

From The Interchurch World Movement, Report on the Steel Strike of 1919. Copyright, 1920, by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

-54-

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