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Prelude to the Bombing of The Times

May 26, 2010 |  2:11 am

Hall of Records, 1929

The Los Angeles County Hall of Records, which survived a 1910 bombing attempt, as it appeared during the realignment of Spring Street in 1929. 

Sept. 10, 1910, Bombing Plot  

In the months leading up to the bombing of the Los Angeles Times by union agitators on Oct. 1, 1910, the city had endured several overlapping strikes. The first one was against local breweries, which began on May 19, 1910, and was followed by another against local foundries and ironworks on June 1.

Famous for its support of the open shop, The Times staunchly focused on companies’ efforts to continue operations rather than on labor’s demands, so there is far more information about employers than about what was being sought by unions.

The Times reported May 20, 1910: "The bottlers are asking $2 [$45.48 USD 2009] a man a week," said Secretary Kraemer of the Southern California Brewers' and Bottlers' Assn.  "They are now getting $17 to $18 [$386.56- $409.30] a week as against $12 and $13 [$272.87-$295.60] a week in Eastern breweries. The drivers demand a raise of $3 [$68.22] a week. They are receiving $18 to $20 a week, and the scale in Eastern breweries is $16 to $18 [$363.82-$409.30] a week."

A June 2, 1910, story said that metalworkers wanted a minimum of $4 [$90.96 USD 2009] a day, an eight-hour day and double pay for working holidays. The average wage was 37 1/2 cents [$8.53] an hour and most employees worked a nine-hour day.

The Times seems to have been premature in declaring the brewery strike over, although the strike seems to have dissipated in about a month. The strike against the foundries and metal shops was fought with far more determination, and on Sept. 10, 1910, The Times reported a plot to dynamite the Hall of Records, which was then under construction, because it was being built with non-union steel.

May 22, 1910, Brewery Strike

May 22, 1910: Stand Fast, Stand Firm!

May 26, 1910, Brewery Strike

May 26, 1910: The Times editorializes against the brewery strike.

May 28, 1910, Brewery Strike

May 28, 1910: The Times reports the brewery strike is virtually over.

June 2, 1910, Iron Workers Strike

June 2, 1910:  The metalworkers’ strike begins.

June 7, 1910, Police

June 7, 1910: The Los Angeles Police Department, which was not yet unionized, orders officers to arrest picketers.   

June 16, 1910, Picketing

June 16, 1910: Men picket saloons on Broadway and Spring Street, The Times says in an update on the brewery and metalworkers’ strikes.

June 19, 1910, Editorial

June 19, 1910: A typical Times editorial on labor.

 July 21, 1910, P.E. Strike

July 21, 1910: The Pacific Electric Railway promises to fight any attempt at union organization.

Sept. 10, 1910, Bombing Attempt

Sept. 10, 1910: Supporters of the metalworkers’ strike try to dynamite the Hall of Records, which was being built with non-union steel. Hey, look! It’s future Police Chief – and Mayor – Charles E. Sebastian!

Sept. 10, 1910, Bomb Plot