Montgomery WardVariant names
Montgomery Ward, the world's first general merchandise mail-order business, issued its first single sheet catalog in 1872. By 1887, the Chicago based company had annual sales exceeding $1,000,000 and in 1889 it became a privately held corporation. In 1893, founder Aaron Montgomery Ward sold his controlling interest to partner George R. Thorne, and the company became a public corporation in 1919.
In 1931, Sewell L. Avery became chairman and chief executive officer. His tenure was marked by labor troubles in the 1940s which culminated in two government seizures of the company in 1944. In 1968 Montgomery Ward merged with Container Corporation of America to form Marcor Inc. Mobil Oil Corporation gained a controlling interest in Marcor in 1974, and Wards became a subsidiary of Mobil. In 1988 senior management led a drive for a levereged buyout and Wards became a privately-held company.
From the description of Montgomery Ward records, ca. 1860-1993. (University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 30675555
On December 7, 1940, the clerks and warehousemen at Ward's Portland plant struck over the terms of settlement in a labor dispute. When the negotiations over the terms of settlement broke down on December 20, the Teamsters Union, representing the warehousemen, called for a general boycott of the goods being shipped to and from the plant.
A contract clause in the Agreement between the Teamsters and the Carriers servicing Wards stated that the Union was not in favor of sympathetic strikes and further provided that the Union would not interfere with interstate commerce or in the intrastate commerce moving over the lines of the operator. Despite the language in this provision, there were innumerable instances of direct coercion of employers and employees to restrict handling of Ward's merchandise. After a brief period of struggle with the boycott, the carriers abandoned all attempts to service Wards.
In addition to the general boycott, a secondary boycott was developed against the Company which exhibited equal strength. Major oil companies refused to sell or deliver fuel oil to the struck plant, longshoremen refused to handle Ward's merchandise, the Post Office refused to handle any more goods than had been customary before the strike, and railroads did not switch cars onto Ward's sidings.
Only after hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission did the carriers resume service. Soon afterward, Ward's entered suit against the carriers involved in the District Court for recovery of damages as a result of the strike and boycott.
Since the case was finally ruled upon in 1951 (approximately nine years after the occurance of the strike), the decision was more concerned with carrier liability than with the actual award of damages. The judge, Honorable J. Alger Fee, ruled on the basis of common law that the "carriers were each responsible for the acts and defaults of their own servants...and that 'tertiary' boycotts to isolate a single business from the facilities of commerce...(is) against the labor policy of the United States." As the carriers had consciously withheld their services from use by Wards, they were in violation of the law and, as such, "they should pay for the natural and probable consequences of having failed their duty."
From the guide to the Montgomery Ward and Co. vs. Northern Pacific Terminal Co. of Oregon, et al. Files, 1940., (Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.)
|Consolidation and merger of corporations
|Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer (Fictitious character)
|Strikes and lockouts
|World War, 1939-1945
|World War, 1939-1945