February 12, 1920
Hon. T. W. Bickett,
Governor of North Carolina,
Our client, the Ranlo Manufacturing Company, requested me to write you particulars regarding the strike at the plant of this company.
Some two or three weeks since a committee representing that they were coming from a local textile union to which a large number of the operatives belong, approached the superintendent of the plant, Mr. Dean, requesting that he sign a contract or agreement recognizing the union and recognizing the right to the union to dictate or regulate the employment and discharge of the operatives. The superintendent, after consultation with the officers of the plant, refused to sign such contract or agreement, but stated that there would be no discrimination at the plant against employees because they belonged to a union or did not belong to a union, and after some parleying, most of the operatives went out on a strike and the officers and superintendent endeavored at first to get them to return to work. They refused to return except upon the conditions imposed or offered by the union being accepted and signed.
After the plant had stood some couple of weeks, I think or some little time, summary proceedings in ejectment were instituted, and the attorney, Mr. Flowers, of Charlotte, representing these defendants or these people who were defendants in such proceedings, came to Gastonia to appear for them before the Justice of the Peace, and made some counter proposals. In the meantime, a number of operatives were working in the mills, some who had gone back and new ones who had come to the plant, and there were certain leaders of this strike who were not only objectionable to the management of the plant but also to those employees and possibly others who would go back to work if allowed to do so. The management learned that they had been interfering with the hands working in the mill, demanding that they run fewer machines than they had been doing, and, in a sense, assuming authority which they did not have, and they becoming so seriously objectionable as employees, subsequent overtures which included the return of such objectionable employees, were rejected and after earnest request and demand that these employees vacate the houses, they refused to do so, and more than forty proceedings were instituted against those who had not returned to work or refused to return to work or vacate, and judgments were obtained. After such judgments were obtained and before executions were placed in the hands of the officer, these defendants were notified and earnestly requested to surrender the premises, and as they seemed to be determined to remain in the houses, executions were then placed in the hands of the officer and yesterday, he went to the plant with a few of the executions for the most objectionable ones; and, as it appeared that some members of the families were sick in some of the houses, we directed them not to serve them, and finally before any execution was served or anyone ejected, a meeting of the employees was held and they returned and informed the officer that they had decided that the employees who desired to do so would go back to work in case and management of the plant were willing to accept them, and such others who did not desire to go back to work or would not be accepted further as employees, would vacate the houses. The officer then reported these facts and the management did not insist on the ejecting of anyone, intending to give them an opportunity to carry out their promises, when it seems another meeting was soon thereafter held and they defiantly refused to leave. A large number of employees from another plant about a mile away came up in force to the plant of the Ranlo Manufacturing Company, and with demonstration and flags evidently were endeavoring to intimidate the officer and management in the execution of the legal process, so two deputy sheriffs of this county and three policemen were summoned as special officers and have been at the plant but no effort has been made to eject anyone today, and there has been no serious disorder other than what has been mentioned that has taken place with the exception of some firing of pistols last night and possibly some cursing and abusing of some employees who desired to work.
With kindest regards, I remain
A. G. Mangum