General Secretary-Treasurers of the IWW
Note: Originally the constitutional provisions were that GSTs served from when they were elected and installed to when their successor was elected and installed. From 1924 to 1939 the term was one year from March 1st. From 1939 on it is one year from Jan 1st. The terms "acting" and "Pro Tem" were terms taken from IWW publications noting the various GSTs. These terms do not appear in any versions of the IWW Constitution reviewed to date, any difference in meaning between the two terms is unclear.
This is a work in progress, and will be subject to revision as proper documentation dictates. We hope this information will be used to help date documents, as well as give a better picture of the union that entrusted these individual men and women with this office and responsibility.
[b] or [e] indicate uncertainty as to beginning or ending date, or estimate from Convention date or stray document.
[r] indicates that the term ended through resignation
[*] next to the number of succession indicates a candidate who served as GST previously.
(1) William E. Trautmann July 1905 - Dec 1908
- Charles O. Sherman actually held the office of "President" until the 1906 Convention, at which time the office was abolished, and most of the powers of that office were transferred to the General Executive Board rather than the General Sec'y Treas.
(2) Vincent St. John Jan 1909 - Dec 1914
(3) William D. Haywood Jan 1915 - Sept 1917
(4) Fred Hardy (acting) Oct 1917 – Feb 1918 [e]
- Frank Hardy issued a statement as Acting GST in the Oct. 6, 1917 issue of the Industrial Worker
(5*) William D. Haywood Feb 1918 - Dec 1918 [e]
- Upon his release from prison, Haywood resumed his position as GST.
(6) Peter Stone (acting) Jan - Mar 9, 1919 [e]
(7) Thomas Whitehead Mar 10, 1919 - Aug 1920 [e]
- "Acting" GST Mar-May. He was also briefly editor of the Industrial Worker in 1916, and some of his activities are discussed in McGuckin, Memoirs of a Wobbly (Source: Charles H. Kerr 1987).
(8) George Hardy Sept 1920 - July 1921 [b],[e]
- Went as part of delegation to Russia. In his absence, GEB Chair Roy Brown assumed his duties in opening the Convention. However, it does not appear that Hardy either resigned or was suspended during this period, and as he was still officially GST, and as it does not appear the GEB appointed FW Brown to fill this role, he is not noted as having held the GST position. Notably, the July 1921 Convention passed a resolution stating that “ we insert in Art. 2, Sec. 4, under duties of the Secretary-Treasurer: 'Except in case he shall resign or be removed, if he does vacate office longer than a period of two weeks, except in case of sickness or being in jail, his place shall be filled by the chairman of the G. E. B." Hardy was later expelled from the union.
(9) John Grady July 1921 - Nov 1922 [b],[e]
(10) E. W. Latchem (Pro Tem) Dec 1922 - Feb 1923 [b],[e]
(11) Jack Gillis March 1 1923 - June 30 1923 [r]
(12) Harry G. Clark (Pro Tem) July 1 1923 - Nov 1923 [e]
(13) A.W. Sodling Nov 10 1923 - Nov 17 1923 [b],[e]
- Listed as GST on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, 1923 in Industrial Solidarity. He was appointed GST by the GEB on Nov. 10, 1923. This is probably Axel W. Sodling, IU510 (b. ca. 1893 Norskoping, Sweden – 1982 near Portland, OR), who remained in contact with IWW members until his death.
(14) Sam Forbes (Pro Tem) Nov 24 1923 - Feb 1924 [b],[e]
(15) Tom Doyle Mar 1, 1924 - Oct 17, 1924 [b],[e],[r]
- Elected per Industrial Solidarity, Feb. 23, 1924. Resigned at request of Convention in wake of “Emergency Program” split. On Nov. 5th Tom Doyle was discharged from office per Convention minutes.
(16) Ed Fahey (Pro Tem) Oct 18, 1924 – Nov. 16, 1924 [b],[e]
- Ed Fahey GST, Pro Tem issued an official notice, in Industrial Solidarity Oct. 22, that all General Administration Officers had been suspended by the Convention. 16th Convention Oct 13-Nov 10 '24.
(17) P.J. Welinder (Pro Tem) Nov 17, 1924 - Feb 1925 [b]
- He chaired the 1924 Convention, and appears to have been active with the SAC, ironically leading a large segment of their union in a split to form the Syndicalist Labor Federation (SAF) in 1929, which later rejoined the SAC in 1938. The SAF refused sign collective bargaining agreements or maintain strike funds. Welinder died of tuberculosis in 1934. See http://www.sac.se/en/syndicalism.html and http://runeberg.org/authors/welindpj.html for further information.
(18) Arthur Coleman Mar 1 1925 - Feb 1926
(19) John I. Turner Mar 1926-Feb 1927
(20) Lee Tulin Mar 1927- Feb 1930
- Had two brothers also active in the IWW, Herbert (who wrote poetry for the Industrial Worker), and Benjamin. They were Swedes from North Dakota, and settled in Seattle. FW Lee Tulin also served as Secretary of the Ford Defense Committee in California ca. 1915. He was re-elected by large majorities, and it is possible he would have served several more years were it not for term limits.
(21) James Sullivan Mar 1930 - Feb 1931
(22) Herbert Mahler Mar 1931 - Nov 1932 [r]
(23) Joseph Wagner Dec 1932 - Feb 1936
(24) Fred W. Thompson Mar 1936 - Feb 1937
(25) Walter H. Westman Mar 1937 - Dec 1939
(26*) Joseph Wagner Jan 1940 - Dec 1940
(27*) Walter H. Westman Jan 1941 - Dec 1946
(28) W.A. Unger Jan 1947 - Dec 1947
(29) A.J. Farley Jan 1948 - Dec 1948
(30*) Walter H. Westman Jan 1949 - Dec 1964
(31) Carl Keller Jan 1965 - Apr 1969 [r]
(32) Allan H. Just May 1969 - Jul 1970 [r]
(33) Lionel Bottari Aug 1970 - Dec 1971
(34) Patrick Murfin Jan 1972 - Jul 1972 [r]
(35) Goddard C. Graves Jul 1972 - Dec 1972
(36) Michael D. Brown Jan 1973 - Dec 1973
(37) Craig Ledford Jan 1974 - Dec 1975
(38) Kathleen L. Taylor Jan 1976 - Dec 1977
- First woman to serve as GST of the IWW.
(39) Michael Hargis Jan 1978 - Dec 1980
(40) Carol F. Mason Jan 1981 - Aug 1981 [r]
(41) Dan Pless Sep 1981 - Dec 1981
(42) Mary H. Frohman Jan 1982 - Dec 1982
(43) Dave Tucker Jan 1983 - Dec 1983
(44) Jon Bekken Jan 1984 - Aug 1984
(45) Rochelle Semel Sep 1984 - Nov 1984
(46*) Jon Bekken Dec 1984 - Dec 1985
(47) Mark Kaufman Jan 1986 - Dec 1986
(48) Penny Pixler Jan 1987 - Dec 1987
(49) Paul Poulos Jan 1988 - Dec 1988
(50) Jeff Ditz Jan 1989 - Dec 1990
(51) Jess Grant Jan 1991 - Dec 1992
(52) Harry Siitonen Jan 1993 - Dec 1993
(53) Robert Rush Jan 1994 - Dec 1994
(54) Fred Chase Jan 1995 - Dec 1999
(55) Alexis Buss Jan 2000 - Dec 2005
(56) Mark E. Damron Jan 2006 – Dec 2008
(57) Chris Lytle Jan 2009 - Dec 2009
(58) Joe Tessone Jan 2010 -
List and supplementary information compiled by Robert Rush with assistance of E.W. Wolfson. Additional editing by x344543.