The Labor Standard
LCCN: sn92051523, The Labor Standard (Hartford, Conn.), 1908-192?
LCCN: sn92051407, The Weekly Examiner, Hartford, Conn.), 188?-190?
LCCN: sn93059286, The American Standard (Hartford, Conn.), 192?-19??
The Labor Standard began publication of Hartford, Connecticut on September 5, 1908 as a monthly. It described its audience as “the breadwinner and his family” and aimed to acquaint “working people, especially the unorganized, with what Labor Organizations have done and are doing for humanity.” In 1910, the publisher’s statement listed as manager Robert Pyne, a well-known advocate for labor rights who was previously the editor of another labor newspaper in Hartford, the Weekly Examiner. Prominently listed as well were the “official endorsers” of the Labor Standard: the Connecticut Federation of Labor (CFL); the New Haven Trades Assembly; the Central Labor Unions of Hartford, Waterbury, Meriden, Danbury, South Norwalk, Derby, Norwich; and “Local Unions generally.”
By 1918, The Labor Standard came out semi-monthly and described itself as “An Advocate of the Principles of Organized Labor as Expounded by the American Federation of Labor and the Connecticut Federation of Labor.” Some issues provided an up-to-date directory to 50 Hartford unions, documenting for contemporary researchers the trades and occupations of the organized section of the city’s working classes. In 1919, the editors provided detailed coverage of the historic strike at the Underwood Typewriter Company. National and local labor news, as well as notes from the female suffrage movement, made up most of the content. Editorials commented critically on the actions and pronouncements of state legislators and the organizations of Connecticut manufacturers.
During World War I, the Labor Standard promoted the American Federation of Labor’s perspectives on the war, urging workers to avoid strikes and chastising the Industrial Workers of the World and other groups opposed to the conflict. The Labor Standard also printed the program of the National Party of Connecticut, the state affiliate of a national grouping that split with the pacifist Socialist Party.
In the post-war period, however, the Labor Standard seems to have veered somewhat from the CFL path, joining more radical elements of the state’s labor movement to publicize the new American Labor Party, which was founded in Connecticut by the dissident machinists of Bridgeport who did hold a strike during the war. In fact, the Labor Standard gives extensive coverage to the plans of the Hartford Branch of the American Labor Party to conduct educational work around the “reconstruction” program of the British Labor Party, as well as around the plan put forward by the National Catholic War Council. Both of these blueprints for reforming the social and industrial order were considerably to the left of the plan ultimately adopted by the AFL and CFL.
Although the Labor Standard was published in Hartford, regional editions appeared also in New Haven, Bridgeport, New Britain, Waterbury, Danbury, Meriden, Middletown, Derby, Ansonia, Norwalk, Torrington, and Stamford in some months of 1918 and 1919. Special editions were also issued at intervals for other cities, at least in 1919. The Labor Standard was continued by The American Standard at some point in the 1920s.