Monday, July 5, 2010

Republic Steel

Founded in Youngstown in 1899, the headquarters of Republic Steel were relocated to Cleveland in 1936, and the company entrenched itself as the nation's Number Three steelmaker, behind US Steel and Bethlehem Steel.

Thomas Patton, a private attorney who worked on the merger that formed Republic Steel was hired in 1936 to form Republic's internal legal department. As general counsel in the 1930s and 1940's, he negotiated for Republic during the steel strikes.

Thomas Girdler became Republic's first president and board chairman. Republic became a major producer of light alloys, with profits exceeding $87 million between 1936-43. Girdler first supported Pres. Roosevelt's Natl. Industrial Recovery Act, establishing a representation plan for Republic's employees, but when the Wagner Act outlawed such plans and promoted negotiations with regular unions, Girdler lost all affinity for the New Deal. He refused to bargain with the CIO; though conceding the need for collective bargaining, Girdler refused to do so by government edict.

Source: Teaching + Learning Cleveland
The Western Reserve Historical Society
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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