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The Mohawk Valley formula is a plan for strikebreaking purportedly written by the president of the Remington Rand company James Rand, Jr. around the time of the Remington Rand strike at Ilion, New York in 1936/37.

The plan includes discrediting union leaders, frightening the public with the threat of violence, using local police and vigilantes to intimidate strikers, forming puppet associations of "loyal employees" to influence public debate, fortifying workplaces, employing large numbers of replacement workers, and threatening to close the plant if work is not resumed.[1][2]

The authenticity of the written plan has never been clearly established. Although it was allegedly published in the National Association of Manufacturers Labor Relations Bulletin, no original copy has been found, nor does NAM list it among its pamphlets from that era.[3][non-primary source needed] Parts of the plan use language sympathetic to the views of labor organizers. The Remington Rand company did indeed ruthlessly suppress the strikes, as documented in a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, and the plan has been accepted as a guide to the methods that were used. At least one source names the strikebreaker Pearl Bergoff and his so-called "Bergoff Technique" as the origin of the formula. [4] Rand and Bergoff were both indicted by the same federal grand jury for their roles in the Remington Rand strike.

Noam Chomsky has described the formula as the result of business owners' trend away from violent strikebreaking to a "scientific" approach based on propaganda. An essential feature of this approach is the identification of the management's interests with "Americanism," while labor activism is portrayed as the work of un-American outsiders. Workers are thus persuaded to turn against the activists and toward management to demonstrate their patriotism.[5][6]

Elements of the formula[edit]

The following is the text of the Mohawk Valley formula as quoted in the labor press:

  1. When a strike is threatened, label the union leaders as "agitators" to discredit them with the public and their own followers. Conduct balloting under the foremen to ascertain the strength of the union and to make possible misrepresentation of the strikers as a small minority. Exert economic pressure through threats to move the plant, align bankers, real estate owners and businessmen into a "Citizens' Committee".
  2. Raise high the banner of "law and order", thereby causing the community to mass legal and police weapons against imagined violence and to forget that employees have equal rights with others in the community.
  3. Call a "mass meeting" to coordinate public sentiment against the strike and strengthen the Citizens' Committee.
  4. Form a large police force to intimidate the strikers and exert a psychological effect. Utilize local police, state police, vigilantes and special deputies chosen, if possible, from other neighborhoods.
  5. Convince the strikers their cause is hopeless with a "back-to-work" movement by a puppet association of so-called "loyal employees" secretly organized by the employer.
  6. When enough applications are on hand, set a date for opening the plant by having such opening requested by the puppet "back-to-work" association.
  7. Stage the "opening" theatrically by throwing open the gates and having the employees march in a mass protected by squads of armed police so as to dramatize and exaggerate the opening and heighten the demoralizing effect.
  8. Demoralize the strikers with a continuing show of force. If necessary turn the locality into a warlike camp and barricade it from the outside world.
  9. Close the publicity barrage on the theme that the plant is in full operation and the strikers are merely a minority attempting to interfere with the right to work. With this, the campaign is over—-the employer has broken the strike.[2]

A similar, although more nuanced and longer, version was published in The Nation in 1937.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stolberg, Benjamin (Aug 1937). "Vigilantism, 1937". The Nation 145 (7): 166–168. 
  2. ^ a b Rodden, Robert G. (1984). The Fighting Machinists: A Century of Struggle. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  3. ^ "National Association of Manufacturers. Pamphlets, 1908-1969". Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  4. ^ From Aristotelian to Reaganomics: A Dictionary of Eponyms With Biographies ... by R. C. S. Trahair, page 54
  5. ^ Chomsky, Noam (Nov 2002). Chomsky on Democracy & Education (Social Theory, Education, and Cultural Change). RoutledgeFalmer. ISBN 978-0-415-92632-4. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  6. ^ Barsamian, David; Chomsky, Noam (May 2001). Propaganda and the Public Mind. South End Press. ISBN 978-0-89608-634-0. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohawk_Valley_formula — Please support Wikipedia.
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10 news items

 
Firedoglake
Wed, 25 May 2011 06:37:12 -0700

This strike by a federal union affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) against the Remington Rand Company spawned the Mohawk Valley formula, a corporate plan for strikebreaking to discredit union leaders, frighten the public with the ...
 
The Argus
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:08:33 -0700

The classic early example of the truth being distorted to fit a certain viewpoint was the Mohawk Valley formula – supposedly used by the Remington Rand company to discredit striking workers in Ilion, New York, in 1937. “They used newspapers and radio ...

Salon

Salon
Sat, 23 Nov 2013 07:47:38 -0800

NC: Some of them are called the Mohawk Valley formula. Say there is some town in Pennsylvania where there's a strike going on. The idea is to saturate the town with propaganda whose basic theme is Americanism: We're all Americans, we all work together, ...
 
Shelton Herald
Fri, 26 Apr 2013 12:07:50 -0700

“The strike saw the company introduce a draconian strike-breaking plan called the Mohawk Valley Formula, which used a combination of traditional bare-knuckle strike-breaking tactics and emerging science of propaganda to break the strike,” Smith said.
 
Truth-Out
Thu, 13 Dec 2012 07:42:15 -0800

Then they immediately turned to other methods to block the labor movement: recall the scientific methods of strikebreaking, the Mohawk Valley formula and things like that. Well, the war came along - everything got put on hold - but immediately after ...

rabble.ca

rabble.ca
Wed, 19 Jun 2013 04:43:40 -0700

The notorious Mohawk Valley formula, for instance, outlines tactics to guide strikebreaking, including purposeful discrediting of union leaders, barricading site properties, and the heavy use of police and outside security to demoralize workers. The ...
 
Forbes
Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:35:36 -0700

In the 1930s, American industrialists fought labor unions by explicitly calling them Communist-backed. In 1936 the National Association of Manufacturers promulgated the “Mohawk Valley Formula,” which was first used to break a strike at the Remington ...
 
한겨레
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 19:21:19 -0700

박근혜 정부는 '경제민주화, 복지국가, 국민통합'을 핵심 공약으로 내세웠었다. 그런데 지금은 공약의 수정, 후퇴, 폐기와 친기업정책의 조짐만 보이고 있다. 그래서 사람들은, '민주주의는 선거 당일에만 작동 한다'고 자조도 하고, 또 '민주주의와 자본주의는 동 ...
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