ATU Local 752
ATU Local 752

The Founding of ATU Local 752:

In 1917, after an almost 20 years of effort, streetcar workers successfully formed Local 752 of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Workers. The streetcar system, the Bloomington & Normal Railway & Light Company, was owned by U.S. Congressman William B. McKinley, who controlled over 60 mid-western trolley systems, including the Illinois Traction System interurban railroad. These companies would eventually become the Illinois Power Company.

The streetcar workers had struck in 1902, winning some improvements, but their union was defeated in 1904 after a six month strike. In 1917 they were working nine-and-one-half hour days, seven days a week, at $1.75 per day. At a midnight meeting that April the workers formed local 752. The company immediately fired all 13 meeting participants.

On April 28 the workers called a strike, despite a company offer of a 20 percent pay increase. The company refused to negotiate; Mayor Jones refused a request to mediate. 51 of 200 employees stayed on the job, still operating the trolleys, while the Trades & Labor Assembly organized a boycott. The company stationed armed guards on the streetcars, whose main activity was chasing children who threw rocks at the cars.

On June 10 the company won a court injunction forbidding picketing, boycott effort, button and leaflet distribution or congregation by supporters at the corners where trolleys stopped. Illinois Federation of Labor President addressed a June 11 rally and the company's 20 powerhouse workers walked out in sympathy that night (Matejka).*


1952 - First female Driver for Bloomington-Normal City Lines.
Picture and article (from The Pantagraph).


We, the Amalgamated Transit Union, this day and date assembled in Convention, in order to secure and defend our rights, advance our interests as workers, create an authority whose seal shall constitute a certificate of character, intelligence and skill, build up an organization where all working members of our craft can participate in the discussion of those practical problems upon the solution of which depends our welfare and prosperity, to encourage the principle and practice of conciliation and arbitration in the settlement of all differences between labor and capital, establish order and harmony, promote the general cause of humanity and brotherly and sisterly love, and secure the blessings of friendship, equality and truth, do ordain and establish this Constitution and these Laws for the government of said International Union.