Category: Law Essay

The Boston police strike went on September 9, 1919, after the officers returned from World War I. They were denied a right to form own trade union, wage increment and better working conditions. During the strike, Boston faced several nights of property damages, noises, and other lawlessness. However, public coordinating with state guards tried to restore peace in the city. Strikes had serious consequences, especially those touching state security organs. The aim of this research paper is to address the effects of a police strike in Boston.

Specifically, the paper provides a synopsis of the events leading up to the Strike, the main people involved in the strike on both sides, synopsis of the Strike itself and finally the prediction of what would happen if a strike were to happen today. In short, what could have been the implications of witnessing similar police strike in the city today?

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A Synopsis of the Events Leading up to the Strike

Several events led to the police strike. The police officers were dissatisfied with poor wages and working conditions over the decades. In order for their grievances to be met, they decided to submit an application to join the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which was later rejected. If they were allowed, they could have gained support from other unions in their negotiations for higher wages with the commissioner. The charter was requested on August 11, but Edwin Upton Curtis issued a general order forbidding the police officers from joining an organization or body from their department. He directed that such claims might trigger a conflict of interests between police officers and other members of the union.

Later on August 15, the police officers applied for an AFL charter through the Central Labor Union of Boston that welcomed the move. The Union denounced Curtis’s decision that police should not unionize. Later, a meeting was held between the union and police officers. Curtis failed to come to the meeting and later he suspended eight members of the police union committee claiming that they violated the General Order.

Mayor Andrew James Peters decided to mediate the two sides of police units. He appointed James Storrow’s group that ended up recommending that Curtis and police should meet and have police union formed. In addition to that, the group stated that no action should be taken against suspended officers. Moreover, they should be reinstated in their positions. Later, four of Boston’s five newspapers back the police officers. Curtis went further to reject Storrow’s proposals revealing that he had personal interests in the matter.

On September 8, Curtis proceeded with the trials and found the suspended officers guilty. The police officers were dismissed from the police force. The rejected police union acted in parallel and ordered all police officers to vote. 1134 out of 1136 police officers voted in favor of a strike. The strike started on September 9, 1919, and it touched on three main issues such as poor wages, poor working conditions and protest against the commissioner’s denial for strike and union.

The Main People Involved in the Strike on both Sides

Several people were involved in the strike. On one side, there was the Boston police unit, which had a lot of backing from the Central Labor Union, James Storrow, who was heading the groups investigating police grievances, the 4 newspapers, New Hampshire Association of manufacturers and Boston Mayor Andrew James Peters. Peters played a key role in mediating the two sides in agreement. On the other side, there was Curtis, who was a police commissioner. He had gre