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Ernest T. Weir - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ErnestT.Weir
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ErnestTenerWeir(August1,1875June26,1957) wasanAmericansteelmanufacturerbestknownfor havingfoundedbothWeirtonSteel(whichbecame NationalSteelCorporation)andthetownofWeirton, WestVirginia.Hewaswellknowninthe1930sfor opposingPresidentFranklinD.Roosevelt'sNewDeal program,forresistingunionorganizingdrivesbythe AmalgamatedAssociationofIronandSteelWorkersand itssuccessor,theUnitedSteelworkers,andforchallenging thelegalauthorityoftheNationalLaborRelationsBoard. Hewascalledthe"lonewolf"oftheAmericansteel industryforhiswillingnesstoopposeunionizationand refusaltosacrificehisbusinessinterestsinfavorofthe steelindustryatlarge.[1]

ErnestT.Weir

Contents
ErnestT.Weirin1913

1Earlylifeandcareer 2WeirtonSteel 3Death 4Culturalreferencesandlegacy 5References 6Bibliography

Born

ErnestTenerWeir August1,1875 Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania,U.S.

Died

June26,1957(aged81) Philadelphia,Pennsylvania,U.S.

Earlylifeandcareer

Occupation Founder,WeirtonSteel founder,NationalSteelCorporation Yearsactive 19051956 Spouse(s) MaryKline(1901?herdeath)

WeirwasborninAugust1875inPittsburgh, AeolaDicksonSiebert(19251940 Pennsylvania,toJamesandMargaretMansonWeir.[2]His divorced) parentswereScotchIrishAmericanswhohadonly MaryHaywardWeir(1941hisdeath) recentlyimmigratedtotheUnitedStates.[3]Hisbrother, DavidMansonWeir,wasbornin1880.[4]Hewas educatedinthecity'spublicschools.Weir'sfatherranaliveryyard,andthefamilywaspoor.[4]Weirwould laterdescribehisfatherasafailureandhorsefancierandhismotherasasaint.[5] Heleftschoolattheageof15,whenhisfatherdied.[6]Heobtaineda$3aweekjobasanofficeboyatJohn WarneGates'BraddockWireCompany(whichmanufacturedbarbedwire),[7]butafterayeartookajobasa clerkattheOliverWirecompany.[6]Hetravelednationwidesellingbarbedwire.[5]Herosetothepositionof chiefclerkatOliverWire(similartothepositionofchieffinancialofficertoday),thenjoinedtheAmerican

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SheetandTinPlateCompany.[8]Hewaspromotedtothepositionofgeneralmanagerofitsplantin Monongahela,Pennsylvania.HebecameclosefriendswithJamesR.Phillips,whoranthetinplatesales divisionforUSSteel.[8] In1901,WeirmarriedMaryKlineofPittsburgh.[9]Thecouplehadadaughter,Dorothy,andtwinsons, HenryandErnestJr.[6][10]ThedateofMaryKlineWeir'sdeathisnotknown,butitwasafterthebirthofher twinsonsin1906.

WeirtonSteel
In1905,WeirandPhillipstookoutloansof$10,000and$15,000(respectively)andorganizedthePhillips SheetandTinPlateCompany.[2]TheypurchasedthefailingJacksonSheetandTinPlateCompanyin Clarksburg,WestVirginia,for$190,000.[3][11]Phillipsdiedinatraincrashafewmonthsafterthecompany wasformed,andWeirtookasanewpartnerJohnC.Walsh,aWelshimmigrantwhowasinchargeofalltin plateoperationsattheplant.[8]Theyrapidlyexpandedtheeightmillfacility,addingfourmoremillsin1908. Asecondplantwith10millswasopenedinHolliday'sCove,WestVirginia,in1909,andexpandedby another10millsin1910.[2]Thatsameyear,WeirbeganbuildingacompanytownnexttoHolliday'sCove, namingitWeirton.[2]In1912,WeirpurchasedthePopeSheetandTinPlateCompanyinSteubenville, Ohio.[2]By1913,hiscompanywasthesecondlargestmanufactureroftinplateintheUnitedStates(behind USSteel).[2]Weirfocusedonverticalintegration,purchasingcoalmines,cokingplants,furnaces,ironmines, ships,andtinmines.OnAugust1,1918,(Weir's43rdbirthday),herenamedhisfirmtheWeirtonSteel Company.[3] In1925,WeirmarriedAeolaDicksonSiebert.[9]Thecouplehadnochildren.In1941,accompaniedby HenryandErnestJr.,shemovedtoOkeechobeeCounty,Florida,andobtainedadivorcefromWeironthe basisofmentalcrueltyanddesertion.[12] In1929,Weirengineeredthemergeroftwoothersteelcompaniestoformanewconcern,NationalSteel. Weirwasconvinced,inthefaceofgrowingcompetitionaswellastheworseningeconomicsituationinthe U.S.,thatWeirtonSteelneededtoquicklygrowmuchlarger.[3]WeirhadbecomeclosefriendswithGeorge M.Humphrey,chiefexecutiveofficeroftheM.A.Hannasteelcompany,andGeorgeR.Fink,thechairman oftheboardofdirectorsoftheMichiganSteelCompany.InFebruary1929,FinkhadformedtheGreatLakes SteelCompanytosupplysteeltotheautomotiveindustryinDetroit,Michigan.[13]OnSeptember27,1929, Weir,Humphrey,andFinkagreedtoformanewholdingcompany,NationalSteel,throughastockswap.[14] WeirtonSteelheld50percentofthestockofthenewcompany,[3]whichwasformallyorganizedon December1,1929.[15]Weirwasnamedchairmanoftheboard,Humphreywasnamedchairmanofthe board'sexecutivecommittee,andFinkwasnamedpresident.[15]OnNovember25,1930,NationalSteel purchasedFink'sMichiganSteelCompanyfor$10million.[16] NationalSteelbecamethefifthlargeststeelproducerintheUnitedStates,andneverlostmoneyduringthe GreatDepression.[7]NationalSteelbuilta$40millioninvestmentfundtoimproveitsplantandsupplychains, andbeganprovidingcheap,highqualitysteeltomostoftheAmericanautomotiveindustry.[7]

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In1933,10,000workersatWeirtonSteelwentoutonstrikeinprotestagainstacompanyunionwhichWeir hadimposedonworkers.[17]Section7(a)oftheNationalIndustrialRecoveryActguaranteedworkersinthe UnitedStatestherighttoformaunion.Weirsuedtohavetheactoverturnedonconstitutionalgrounds.On May29,1934,theUnitedStatesDistrictCourtfortheDistrictofDelawareheldinUnitedStatesv.Weirton SteelCo.,7F.Supp.255(1934),thattheactviolatedtheUnitedStatesConstitution.[18]Thefederal governmentappealedtotheSupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates.Thecasewasawaitingresolutionwhenthe SupremeCourtdeclaredtheNationalIndustrialRecoveryActunconstitutionalonothergrounds.[19] WhenCongresspassedtheNationalLaborRelationsAct(NLRA)in1935,Weirsaidhewouldrefuseto obeythelaw.[20]LaborscholarJamesA.GrosssaysWeirwaspreparedtouseviolencetooppose unionizationathisplants.[21]WeircalledtheNLRA"oneofthemostviciouspiecesoflegislationever proposed."[22]Weirestablishedan"employeerepresentationplan"(athinlydisguisedcompanyunion)and theWeirtonSteelEmployeesSecurityLeague(whosepurposewastodiscourageunionizationthrough physicalintimidationandviolence)tobeatbackunionizationeffortsbytheUnitedSteelworkers.Theeffort succeeded,buttheunionfiledanunfairlaborpracticecomplaintwiththeNationalLaborRelationsBoard (NLRB).InJune1941,theNLRBorderedWeirtonSteeltodisbandbothorganizations.Weirdidso,butthen supportedtheformationofthenewWeirtonIndependentUnion(WIU)andquicklysignedacontractwithit. TheNLRBwenttocourt,accusingWeirofillegallydominatinghisemployees.In1946,theUnitedStates CourtofAppealsfortheFourthCircuitappointedaspecialmastertocollectevidenceinthecase.Hearings wereheldin1947and1948.OnFebruary1,1950,thespecialmasterreportedthatwhileWeirtonSteeldid notcreatetheWIU,itdiddominateitillegally.Additionally,thespecialmasterfoundthatWeirtonSteelhad blatantlyinterferedwithworkers'organizingrightsatitsplants.[23]OnJuly28,1950,FourthCIrcuitupheld thespecialmaster,orderedWeirtonSteeltowithdrawrecognitionoftheWIU,andorderedWeirtonSteelto endallviolenceagainstworkersattemptingtoorganizeanindependentunion.[24]Weircalledthecourt's ruling"purenonsense"buthereluctantlyagreedtocomplywithit.[25]Butintheinterveningyears,Weir attemptedtoportraylargeunionsasantiAmerican.Hiscampaignhadaneffect.Anew,independentunion theIndependentSteelworkersUnionformedandbattledwiththeUnitedSteelworkerstorepresent employeesatWeirtonSteel.OnOctober27,1950,theIndependentSteelworkersUnionwonafederally supervisedunionorganizationelection,7,291to3,454.[26](TheUnitedSteelworkersmergedwiththe IndependentSteelworkersUnioninApril2007.) OnDecember11,1941,the66yearoldWeirmarried25yearoldMaryEmmaHayward.[9]Haywardwas Weir'ssecretary.Shedivorcedherhusband,DonaldReeve,tomarryWeir.[27]Thecouplehadoneson, DavidMansonWeir.[7]WeircontinuedtoremainactiveasleaderofWeirtonSteelthroughoutthe1950s.[7]In 1956,heservedasnationalfinancechairmanfortheRepublicanNationalCommittee.[7]

Death
WeirsufferedasevereheartattackathisvacationhomeonJupiterIsland,FloridainmidJanuary1957.[28][29] Aftersomerecovery,hewastakentoNewYorkCity,andunderwentwhatthepressdescribedas"minor" surgeryinApril.[7][29]Hishealth,whichhadbeenvigorousuptothattime,quicklydeclined,andheretiredas chairmanofNationalSteelonApril24,1957.[30] Weirsufferedacerebralhemorrhage,andonApril21hewashospitalizedattheInstituteofthePennsylvania HospitalinPhiladelphia.[7]Hereturnedhome,butsufferedadditionalcerebralhemorrhagesandwas hosptilizedinmidJune.[29]HediedattheInstituteonJune26,1957.[7]
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HisfuneralwasheldatTrinityCathedralinPittsburghonJune28,1957.[29]Thefuneralwasspare:There wasnoeulogy,andnopallbearers.[31]HewasburiedinaprivateceremonyinHomewoodCemeteryin Pittsburgh.[29]

Culturalreferencesandlegacy
AfterWeir'sdeath,hiswidowMaryHaywardWeirmarriedtheauthorJerzyKosinski.ThecharacterofBen RandinKosinki'snovel,BeingThere,isbasedonWeir.[32] WeiralsofoundedPeople'sBankandtheBankofWeirton(nowknownasWesBanco)donated$450,000to buildtheMaryH.WeirPublicLibraryinWeirtonin1956builtafootballstadiumatWeirHighSchoolco foundedtheWilliamsCountryClubandbuilttheMargaretMansonWeirMemorialPoolandParkin Weirton.[11] InNovember1952,theGreatLakesEngineeringWorkslaunchedtheSSErnestT.Weir,astraightdeckbulk carrier.[33]CommissionedbyNationalSteel,[33]at690feet(210m)inlengthshewasthelongestshipofher classatthetimeofherconstruction.[34]

References
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. ^"ThreatenedStrikeinSteelDeferred." AssociatedPress. April8,1941. ^ a b c d e f TheBookofProminentPennsylvanians,p.137. ^ a b c d eHallettandHallett,p.479. ^ a bKelly,EileenP.andZoric,JosephA."LoneWolfatWeirton:ErnestTenerWeir." JournalofManagerial Issues. Winter1994,p.445. ^ a bLieber,p.20. ^ a b c CurrentBiography,p.908. ^ a b c d e f g h i"ErnestT.WeirDies." NewYorkTimes. June27,1957. ^ a b cVarano,p.42. ^ a b c"NationalSteelChairmanandBride." NewYorkTimes. December12,1941. ^"Mrs.DorothyMansonWeirBreckMarriedtoLieut.CliftonColemanCarter,U.S.A." NewYorkTimes. June7, 1936. ^ a bDickson,Angela."E.T.WeirtoBeInductedIntoHallofFame." (http://www.weirtondailytimes.com/page/content.detail/id/536245.html) WeirtonDailyNews. March14,2010. ^"Mrs.E.T.WeirObtainsDivorce." NewYorkTimes. November21,1941. ^"NewIndependentSteelConcern." NewYorkTimes. February27,1929. ^"DetailsofSteelMerger." NewYorkTimes. September28,1929"SteelCompaniesPlanBigExpansion." New YorkTimes. November18,1929. ^ a b"NationalSteelCharter." NewYorkTimes. November9,1929. ^"MichiganSteeltoGotoNational." NewYorkTimes. November26,1930. ^"SteelStrikeAimsatCompanyUnion." NewYorkTimes. September28,1933. ^Bernstein,p.177179. ^Hennen,John."E.T.Weir,EmployeeRepresentation,andtheDimensionsofSocialControl:WeirtonSteel. 19331937." LaborStudiesJournal. September2001,p.2549. ^Bernstein,p.349. ^Gross,p.8. ^FonesWolf,ElizabethandFonesWolf,Ken."ColdWarAmericanism:Business,Pageantry,andAntiunionism inWeirton,WestVirginia." BusinessHistoryReview. 77:1(Spring2003),p.66.
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23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

^FonesWolfandFonesWolf,p.7071. ^FonesWolfandFonesWolf,p.8081. ^FonesWolfandFonesWolf,p.82. ^FonesWolfandFonesWolf,p.89. ^Sloan,p.144. ^Gross,p.312. ^ a b c d e"ErnestT.WeirDiesAt81." WallStreetJournal. June27,1957. ^"WeirRetiring,ProposingMillsopAsChiefOfficerofNationalSteel." AssociatedPress. April25,1957. ^Hicks,p.238. ^Lupack,p.139. ^ a bLewis,BertramB."TheGreatLakesBulkFleet." TheMarineNews. December1953,p.26,65. ^Thompson,p.74.

Bibliography
Bernstein,Irving.TheTurbulentYears:AHistoryoftheAmericanWorker,19331941.Reprinted. Chicago,Ill.:HaymarketBooks,2010. TheBookofProminentPennsylvanians.Pittsburgh,Pa.:PittsburghLeaderPublishing,1913. CurrentBiography.Bronx,N.Y.:H.W.WilsonCo.,1941. Gross,JamesA.TheMakingoftheNationalLaborRelationsBoard:AStudyinEconomics,Politics, andtheLaw.Albany,N.y.:StateUniversityofNewYorkPress,1974. Gross,Michael.740Park:TheStoryoftheWorld'sRichestApartmentBuilding.NewYork:Broadway Books,2005. Hallett,AnthonyandHallett,Diane.EntrepreneurMagazineEncyclopediaofEntrepreneurs.New York:Wiley,1997. Hicks,Jack.IntheSinger'sTemple.ChapelHill,N.C.:UniversityofNorthCarolinaPress,1981. Lieber,JamesB.FriendlyTakeover:HowanEmployeeBuyoutSavedaSteelTown.NewYork,N.Y.: PenguinBooks,1995. Lupack,BarbaraTepa.InsanityasRedemptioninContemporaryAmericanFiction:InmatesRunning theAsylum.Gainesville,Fla.:UniversityPressofFlorida,1995. Sloan,JamesPark.JerzyKosinski:ABiography.NewYork:Dutton,1996. Thompson,MarkL.Steamboats&SailorsoftheGreatLakes.Detroit:WayneStateUniversityPress, 1991. Varano,CharlesS.ForcedChoices:Class,Community,andWorkerOwnership.Albany,N.Y.: SUNYPress,1999. Retrievedfrom"http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ernest_T._Weir&oldid=578365890" Categories: 1875births 1957deaths Deathsfromcerebralhemorrhage PeoplefromPittsburgh,Pennsylvania Americansteelindustrybusinesspeople PennsylvaniaRepublicans Thispagewaslastmodifiedon23October2013at05:19. TextisavailableundertheCreativeCommonsAttributionShareAlikeLicenseadditionaltermsmay apply.Byusingthissite,youagreetotheTermsofUseandPrivacyPolicy. WikipediaisaregisteredtrademarkoftheWikimediaFoundation,Inc.,anonprofitorganization.

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