During the late 1930s, Red River Lumber Company was plagued with labor problems. There were be two major strikes, one in 1938 that caused the “purge” and a second the following year.
On January 23, 1939, the local union published a two-page newsletter called the Westwood New Dealer. In it they cited the January issue of the West Coast Lumbermen. This publication contained an article Best News of the New Year which stated that orders for western pine was up 47% from last year. This is turn meant there would be a substantial increase in logging and manufacturing, which the CIO interpreted as meaning that the lumber industry in general and more particularly Red River would see increased profits. They sent a letter to the local AFL with the following resolution, “That a joint committee of Local 53 and Local 2386 be formed to negotiate wage scale to be effected as soon as possible.”
Red River was not amused when they saw the first issue of the Westwood New Dealer. Clinton Walker thought not only it was imperative that they obtain copies of future editions, but equally important to designate someone to answer the “miserable statements” contained in it. Clinton noted that it was true that there had been an increase in orders, but the price for lumber had not increased.
Thus, the stage now set, and the second strike would shut down the mill for over two months. One can learn more about this and other labor issues in Red River: The Turbulent Thirties.