Unions Boycott Lehigh Stores

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 9, 1903

Unions Boycott Lehigh Stores

Deadlock is On as Result of Establishment of Cash System by Lehigh Merchants

Buy All Goods Elsewhere

Unions are Purchasing Goods by Carload. May Establish Co-Operative Store

A deadlock is on at Lehigh between the merchants and the laborers and the outlook is a very serious one for the store keepers of the city.

The trouble all arose over the establishment of the cash system on February 15. The merchants of Lehigh held a meeting some weeks ago and decided to adopt the cash system, putting themselves under bonds to stick to the cash basis.

The miners, brick makers, and other laborers took exceptions to this move and immediately made arrangements for trading elsewhere, going to Dayton, Burnside, Homer and Fort Dodge for all their goods, while the business men and clerks of the town were left with nothing whatever to do.

the labor unions of the city got together immediately after February 15, and ordered a car of flour, while each individual family sent to Chicago m ail order houses, cutting out entirely the home trade. The laborer unions have even invited the farmers tributary to Lehigh to join with them and take advantage of the wholesale prices they get in their car load lots of flour, potatoes, feed, etc., and many of them have done so, thus still farther hurting the trade of the merchants. The business men still hold to their agreement, but all or nearly all of them are willing to sell out. N.H. Tyson, who has always been a leader in a business way in Lehigh, has sold his general store and will move to Fort Dodge, according to report.

It is understood that as soon as a building can be obtained, the labor unions will start a co-operative store, and claim that they will effectually put a stop to other business enterprises in the town.

Lehigh has always been a credit town since its establishment, and the sudden adoption of the cash system came as a shock that upset the business tranquility of the town and brought on the crisis which now threatens. It has been the custom for the merchants to carry the people from the fifteenth of one month to the next. It is understood, also, that the state organization of the united Miner Workers of American have $750,000, a part of which they will invest in establishing a wholesale house at Des Moines for the distribution of supplies to the members of the labor unions at actual cost. The outcome of the present difficulty at Lehigh will be awaited with much interest, as the situation is considered a serious one. More orders are bening (sic) sent out for car load lots of flour, feed, potatoes, etc., every day or two, and neither side will give an inch.

There was an unusually large crowd of Lehigh people came to Fort Dodge on Saturday to trade as a result of the business situation there. The Great Western morning train brought about one hundred and fifty passengers.

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