Depression Magazines Photo Essay Photojournalist Fortune Home Page Communism Strikebreaking Wards Wool
(Roy Aikins, January 1935)
    . . . is the business of Pearl Bergoff, who makes hims money in large but vague amounts as a byproduct of industrial warfare--and who lists the federal government as a "reference." A glimpse at a profession, permitted to exist nowhere outside the U.S.A.
Strikebreaking      This essay from the June 1935 edition of Fortune is striking because it precedes "The Store and the Catalogue" (Montgomery Wards). The Wards story includes images of efficient, orderly laborers enjoying their work and excelling at it, yet labor was far from quiet during the 1930s. In 1935, leaders of eight unions in the American Federation of Labor founded the Committee for Industrial Organizations to include unskilled workers in the labor movement. Strikes were plentiful and the government passed legislation in support of unions' demands. "Strikebreaking" is not written from the perspective of laborers or the owner of a business (although we have a brief insight into his thoughts at the opening), but from side of Pearl Bergoff, who directs a business to end strikes. Fortune proudly adds that his profession exists no where outside the United States. While most readers do not need his services and might not agree with Bergoff's tactics, photographer Russell Aikins gives a heroic quality to Bergoff's profession and encourages readers to sympathize with him and the "Bergoff Babies," or scabs. Considering Fortune's audience, the article may have served as advertisement for a few executives reading the business magazine. Note how the writers on this article made effective use of captions on each picture, advancing both the story and our understanding of the ruthless actions of strikers.

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