University of Pittsburgh | About Labor Legacy | Archives Home | Contact Us  
Home Databank Document Sets Labor Through the Years People, Places, Commemorations Special Features Union Profiles Site Map     


The struggle for union recognition at the H.J. Heinz Co. in Pittsburgh is a not well known but unique and important aspect of worker history in Pittsburgh. Labor priests, from the Catholic Church of Pittsburgh and left-wing organizers helped bring about a union election victory in 1937. But, four more turbulent years elapsed and a Supreme Court decision had to be entered before the union achieved clear cut recognition and a signed contract. This development had repercussions for Westinghouse in East Pittsburgh which also deferred a contract for four years, prior to the resolution of the Heinz case.

John Koontz, Founding Member of Heinz Union
Charter member and former officer of Canning and Pickle Workers Union
Union Organizer Frank Kracik
Read newspaper articles (1940 and 1944) about Frank Kracik as organizer for Local 325 and of his death.
"Heinz Company Sees 'Red' Again!"
Flier circulated during union election campaign [1938?].
Catholic Priests Walked the Picket Line at H.J. Heinz in 1937
Pamphlet Regarding Dance Hall Bombing, 1937
Read scanned images from an original pamphlet detailing the bombing.
Letter from PCLU Regarding Dance Hall Bombing, 1938
Read a scanned image of the Central Labor Union's response to the bombing.
H.J. Heinz v. Labor Board, December 17-18, 1940
Opinion of the court decided on January 6, 1941
Executive Board 1948
View a photo of the Executive Board
Strike at H.J. Heinz Co. [1940's?]
See a photo of the striking workers lined up outside the plant.