MIA: History: USA: Publications: Industrial Worker (1906-07)

Industrial Worker
Organ of the Industrial Workers of the World

The Industrial Worker

The Industrial Worker was the first official organ of the Industrial Workers of the World, launching in January 1906, several months after the founding of the organization in July of the previous year. The 16-page small format publication was issued monthly; some issues do not seem to have survived.

Although claims were made of a membership approaching 100,000, in actuality the average monthly paid membership of the organization in the initial two years did not exceed 14,000, and funds were short due to ongoing legal expenses of the Western Federation of Miners and profligate spending on travel and related expenses by President Charles O. Sherman. Consequently the Industrial Worker never exceeded monthly frequency, nor did it attain large circulation. Original issues are a bibliographic rarity.

With top leaders of the United Mine Workers in jail as part of a murder frame-up in 1906, taxing funds and diverting the attention of potentially counterbalancing leadership, the 1906 national convention devolved into a factional circus. A majority caucus led by General Secretary-Treasurer William E. Trautmann and Daniel DeLeon patched together their differences on the question of political action and deposing Sherman through extraconstitutional means. Sherman refused to surrender either the organizational name, the headquarters office, or The Industrial Worker and two parallel organizations emerged, which shortly depleted money and energy fighting one another in the capitalist courts.

The Sherman faction continued to produce the Industrial Worker until it terminated publication, apparently for financial reasons, midway through 1907.

The Trautmann-DeLeon faction issued a weekly tabloid newspaper of their own, the Industrial Union Bulletin, a publication which was initiated in March 1907 and terminated in March 1909. [LINK] DeLeon and his supporters would be expelled later in 1907, soon establishing their own version of the IWW, the Workers' International Industrial Union, with headquarters in Detroit.

A completely different publication, also known as The Industrial Worker, was launched in Spokane in March 1909, effectively continuing the run of the Industrial Union Bulletin. This second iteration of the name enjoyed a much wider circulation than the earlier publication and is far better remembered to history. The political line of this later paper, as with the later issues of the Industrial Union Bulletin, is syndicalist.

The digitization of the first variant of The Industrial Worker here, imperfect albeit legible digital photographs of an analog screen, is courtesy of IWW archivist D.J. Alperovitz. It is hoped that a superior digitization straight from microfilm will become available at some future date.

Tim Davenport
Corvallis, OR
March 2019

Table of Contents


Vol. 1, No. 1, January, 1906

Vol. 1, No. 2, February, 1906

Vol. 1, No.3, March , 1906

Vol. 1, No. 4, April, 1906

Vol. 1, No. 5, May, 1906

Vol. 1, No. 6, June, 1906

Vol. 1, No. 7, July, 1906

Vol. 1, No. 8, August, 1906

Vol. 1, No. 9, September, 1906


Vol. 2, No. 1, January, 1907

Vol. 2, No. 2, February, 1907

Vol. 2, No. 3, March, 1907

Vol. 2, No. 4, April, 1907

Vol. 2, No. 5, May, 1907

Vol. 2, No. 6, June, 1907