The Toledo Union Journal was a publication hard-won by the 26,500 Local 12 members of the United Auto Workers-Congress of Industrial Organizations (UAW-CIO) in Toledo, Ohio, who struggled for years to gain critical mass in membership and funds to start the paper. The Local 12 of the UAW-CIO, formerly known as Federal Labor Union 18384, is famous for its participation in the Auto-Lite Strike and Battle of Toledo. In May 1934, automobile employees at Auto-Lite, the Spicer Manufacturing Company, Logan Gear and Bingham Stamping unanimously voted to strike for increased wages and formal recognition of their newly formed union. Because only Spicer Manufacturing honored their promise to negotiate when the union members returned to work, strikes resumed, and the Ohio National Guard was called to break the strikes. After weeks of conflict, the remaining employers agreed to negotiate resolutions, and the Local 12 gained enough traction in the Toledo labor force to publish their own newspaper eight years later.
In its November 27, 1942 inaugural issue, the Toledo Union Journal pledged to “[express] our opinions fearlessly, and fight to preserve and extend the gains which we have so painfully accumulated over the past nine years.” It also sought to restore public confidence in journalism generally, citing distrust toward “one newspaper towns,” whose monopolizing publisher often misrepresented and disparaged labor sentiments. In many issues, it heavily criticized the Toledo Blade for printing disparaging stories about labor interests to the general public. Sometimes it presented clippings from the Toledo Blade to point out unfair language and challenge its editors to write in, as it said, “good taste.” It aimed to cover both political and social interests to its readers, primarily unionized Toledo workers and their families. In addition to local affairs, the Toledo Union Journal also printed entire policy updates from national union leaders to keep local members informed and involved during meetings.
The Toledo Union Journal was printed as an eight-column paper that averaged six to eight pages each Friday. On October 20, 1950, it switched to a smaller format, five-column paper that averaged 10-12 pages on the same schedule. The Toledo Union Journal still publishes today as a monthly digital newsletter.
Researched and written by Jen Cabiya