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Anti-union force: the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association

Photo caption: Employees of the Opera House carrying in the show of Maude Adams as Peter Pan, May 1907.

Men such as General Harrison Gray Otis, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, are spurred by economic decline in Los Angeles to create a plan to rebuild the city into a major industrial power.  These men created the Chamber of Commerce, trying to lure businesses to town by keeping wages low and breaking existing unions.

They also wanted to recruit new residents from the East.  The twofold goal: stimulate real estate sales and glut the labor pool.  This artificially large labor pool was estimated to have helped keep wages as much as 40 percent lower than the next biggest market, San Francisco.  Central to the plan was that Los Angeles labor must be kept unorganized.  The Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association (M&M) and Otis’s L. A. Times were used as outlets for venomous attacks on organized labor.

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