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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

Archives & Special Collections: Republic Steel Arbitration Cases: The Files of Tom H. Gregory [1938-1960]

The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center

Republic Steel Arbitration Cases: The Files of Tom H. Gregory [1938-1960]

These files were secured by Professor James McDonnell for microfilming by the Buffalo State College History Department’s local history microfilming project. The files contain case records regarding arbitration and came in nine file boxes.  

Republic Steel was once the third largest steel producer in the United States. It was founded as the Republic Iron and Steel Company in Youngstown, Ohio in 1899. After rising to prominence during the early 20th century, Republic suffered heavy economic losses and was eventually bought out before re-emerging in the early 2000s as a subsidiary.

Republic Steel was known for its labor problems during the Depression. On Memorial Day, May 26, 1937, a strike escalated into the Memorial Day massacre of 1937, in which Chicago police fired into an unarmed group of protesters, and killed ten, four outright. This was documented by the 1937 short film Republic Steel Strike Riot Newsreel Footage.

Girdler never signed the labor contract. When Girdler retired in 1945, Charles M. White was named chairman of the company. White was a protégé of Girdler's at Jones & Laughlin Steel, and was appointed assistant vice president in charge of operations at Republic Steel in May 1930. Five years later, when Girdler was appointed president of Republic Steel, White was promoted to take over Girdler's role as vice president of operations. In 1945, White was elected president of Republic Steel by the company's board of directors.

Thomas Patton, a private attorney who worked on the merger that formed Republic Steel was hired in 1936 to form Republic's internal legal department. As general counsel in the 1930s and 1940s, he negotiated with workers on behalf of management during the steel strikes. He went on to become president, then chief executive and chairman.

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