One of the hardest organization battles ever fought by this Local Union was the one with the city of Flora, Illinois, in the organizing of the municipal employees of that city.
As is the case in organized jobs, the working conditions, salaries, and benefits were low for their class of work in that section of the state.
They realized that these things could be corrected only by organization, so they petitioned Local 702 to become their bargaining agent. Reactionary city officials objected. Local Union 702 accepted the challenge and the fight was on.
It should be said now, that if these men had not been sincere in the belief, and had not had confidence in this Local Union, the fight would have stopped early.
It was necessary that these brothers go on strike, and remain on one for several months. They walked the picket lines for 107 days. Their families suffered, their homes and cars were jeopardized, but they continued the fight.
One of the newspapers of this city printed the truth about conditions, salaries, and benefits. The owner of this paper, being like a lot of other business places, had a mortgage on his business. Some of the anti-union people of this town bought the mortgage and were going to put the publisher out of business. Our International officer, believing in free speech and freedom of the press, stepped in and bought the mortgage, thereby permitting the publisher to stay in business.
The next step was that a petition was presented to the city council to hold an election and let the citizens decide if the city employees should have their union. The majority of the people voted to order the city officials to bargain with the Union.
Next step was that an injunction was filed in the circuit court, objecting to the validity of the election. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled this out. Now, the Flora city employees are getting better conditions, benefits and higher salaries.