Celebrating 100 years - 29

WORLD

An era of prosperity settled upon America
after the Great War. Warren G. Harding
won the presidency in 1920, and his administration's policies were unabashedly
pro-business. When Harding died suddenly
in 1923, Calvin Coolidge, his vice president,
succeeded him. Coolidge inherited a buoyant
economy. Over the decade, corporate profits,
stock dividends and wages all rose. People
think of the 1920s as a playful, materialistic
era. In truth, the decade brought only "a
modest level of comfort" to most people,
Encyclopædia Britannica says. Still, many
enjoyed buying a radio, telephone, refrigerator or motor car. On the cultural front, the
image of the flapper-a young women who
loved jazz and bob haircuts-took hold in
the media. Charles Lindbergh flew across
the Atlantic. The world seemed stable, until
the stock market crash of 1929.

INDUSTRY

After an 18-month recession ended in July
1921, the U.S. economy grew steadily.
According to The Plasterer (October 1922),
a building boom was in effect, though
plastering mechanics were in short supply.
By 1922, the construction industry was
brimming with projects, but the boom was
short. Construction growth peaked in 1925.
Here are four developments that affected
CPIA during the 1920s.

"The American Plan." After the war, big
business renewed its opposition to organized
labor. Led by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and
inspired by Canadian MacKenzie King,
"employers created a plan to roll back the
wartime gains of the labor movement," a
reference work says. They called it "The
American Plan." It was a public relations
campaign that labeled union shops as
un-American. Employer organizations in

Union membership
totaled 5 million in 1920.
Members were active,
pushing for higher pay
and shorter workdays.
44 states supported it. Many employers
refused to sign union contracts.
The problem was, "The American Plan"
did more harm than good. Skilled tradesmen
were in short supply, so developers couldn't
be picky in wanting open shop workers.
"I denominate it the most un-American
plan that ever came to my notice," said
a plastering supervisor working on San
Francisco schools in 1922.
There, suppliers allegedly refused to sell

the contractor materials because he had not
met a certain quota of non-union mechanics.
The labor movement. Union membership
totaled 5 million in 1920. Members were
active, pushing for higher pay and shorter
workdays. The American Federation of
Labor was one of the largest and most
powerful unions. The AFL had agreed
to a no-strike pledge and to not organize
open shops during the war. In return, the
government supported collective bargaining
and higher wages. Most employers complied
and raised their pay.
Unfortunately, employers challenged labor
after the war ended. When workers walked
off their jobs in one of the largest waves of
strikes in the country's history, the backlash
was swift and widespread, says Encyclopedia
of American History. Unionism "remained
in a weakened state throughout the 1920s,"
it says. The Plasterer (October 1922) said it
was "a national battle with ... employers,
waged for more than a year."
"Big-hearted men ... Master Builder,
General Contractor, Engineering Company"
tried to lower the plaster mechanic's wage.
They "refuse to allow their sub-contractors
to deal directly with their employees," The
Plasterer said.
Growing influence of trade associations.
"General contractors and sub-contractors,
who, because their interests on many matters
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Celebrating 100 years

AWCI's 100th Anniversary Video
i. Table of Contents
ii. Forward
iii. Acknowledgements
Chapter 1. 1918-1919 : The Master Minds
Chapter 2. The 1920s: Choosing Sides
Chapter 3. The 1930s: Unity Prevails
Chapter4. The 1940s: Dormancy and Revival
Chapter 5. The 1950s: Plaster vs. Drywall
Chapter 6. The 1960s: Other Lines of Endeavor
Chapter 7. The 1970s: Consolidation
Chapter 8. The 1980s: The Growth Years
Chapter 9. The 1990s: Money
Chapter 10. The 2000s: Exceptional Times
Chapter 11. The 2010s: We the Industry
Chapter 12. The Future
Chapter 13. The Sponsors
Appendix 1. AWCI’s Presidents
Appendix 2. AWCI Awards (the E.F. Venzie Award and the Pinnacle Award)
Appendix 3. Lifetime Members
Appendix 4. Longtime AWCI Members
Appendix 5. AWCI Board of Directors
Appendix 6. The Organization Behind the Leadership
Celebrating 100 years - AWCI's 100th Anniversary Video
Celebrating 100 years - Cover1
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Celebrating 100 years - 1
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Celebrating 100 years - i. Table of Contents
Celebrating 100 years - ii. Forward
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Celebrating 100 years - 10
Celebrating 100 years - iii. Acknowledgements
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 1. 1918-1919 : The Master Minds
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 2. The 1920s: Choosing Sides
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 3. The 1930s: Unity Prevails
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter4. The 1940s: Dormancy and Revival
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 5. The 1950s: Plaster vs. Drywall
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 6. The 1960s: Other Lines of Endeavor
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 7. The 1970s: Consolidation
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 8. The 1980s: The Growth Years
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 9. The 1990s: Money
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 10. The 2000s: Exceptional Times
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 11. The 2010s: We the Industry
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 12. The Future
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Celebrating 100 years - Chapter 13. The Sponsors
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 1. AWCI’s Presidents
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 2. AWCI Awards (the E.F. Venzie Award and the Pinnacle Award)
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 3. Lifetime Members
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 4. Longtime AWCI Members
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 5. AWCI Board of Directors
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Celebrating 100 years - Appendix 6. The Organization Behind the Leadership
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