Connecticut Labor Press/News
LCCN: sn92051282, The Connecticut Labor Press (New Haven, Conn.), 191?-1921
LCCN: sn92051283, The Connecticut Labor News (New Haven, Conn.), 1921-1925
The masthead of the Connecticut Labor Press of 1920 declared the 3-cent weekly “Organized labor’s only newspaper in New Haven” and “A newspaper for the people.” While certainly a manifestation of the political and social power of the New Haven Trades Council, the paper covered not only local, but also state, national, and international labor news.
The Labor Press editors identified strongly with the relatively moderate craft union and “non-partisan” political perspectives of the president of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, as well as the related positions of the Connecticut Federation of Labor (CFL). Numerous editorials identified anti-union employers and Bolsheviks as the twin enemies of trade unionism. Other opinion pieces expressed consternation at the attempts of state legislators and manufacturers to associate the Labor Press with “the radical element” and reminded labor’s detractors that the CFL had eradicated the influence of the factory militants who had gone on strike during the war in Bridgeport. Still other editorials chastised the activists of the Hartford Central Labor Union, a group that insisted on running candidates under the umbrella of the American Labor Party.
On January 21, 1921, the publication of the Labor Press was taken over directly by I. M. Ornburn, long a leader of the New Haven Trades Council, now also president of Ornburn Press. The Labor Press was renamed the Labor News. The announcement of the transfer of ownership hinted at troubling developments that “forced the new publishers (All Organized Labor Men) to get away from the ‘has been,’” reaffirm the newspaper’s essentially “official” relationship with the CFL and the local Trades Council, and put out a “bigger and better” paper. The new publisher’s statement said that the Labor News would be “an exponent of justice to all, a square deal to employer and employee alike, with a desire to serve the best principles of trade unionism and at the same time create a better understanding and co-operation between capital and labor.”
Nonetheless, the content of the Connecticut Labor News reflected the deep divide between moderate trade unionists and the Connecticut legislators, manufacturers, and Chambers of Commerce who advocated the “American Plan” for ridding the state of the closed shop, the 40-hour week, and certain conditions of work. Each issue of both the Press and the News described ongoing employer efforts to increase productivity and lower costs in various branches of construction and industry, including textile and brass, as well as union efforts to organize a defense of the status quo. Political struggles over the post-war re-privatization of the railways, high prices and “profiteering,” a state “anti-strike bill,” the open shop, the use of the court injunction against collective labor action, attempts to install “city manager”-type municipal governments, and the Child Labor Amendment of 1924 were the kind of topics treated in-depth weekly. Connecticut visits by prominent American Federation of Labor leaders sent to rally the troops, and sermons by clerics opposed to the open shop, were given much attention. Syndicated fiction, feature columns, cartoons, sports, and a women’s page offered some respite from all this deeply serious news.
On March 14, 1925, the Ornburn Press announced that the Connecticut Labor News would suspend publication and reopen later in the year under new management, but no successor publication is known to exist.