At first glance we see a worker sitting a top a tower in what looks to be an oil field. He is eating a sandwich and he looks pretty happy and content with his current situation. At the bottom of the picture we have a more powerful man that looks as if he is angry with the worker. The powerful man could be possibly yelling at the worker. When we read the text given in the picture we see “East Texas Oil Fields” posted on the tower. So we know that our location of this cartoon is most likely in East Texas. Right next to the sandwich in the worker’s left hand says, “Liberal Wage” which could possibly mean that the workers are only getting paid enough to eat. There is a bucket of food sitting next to the worker on the tower and the text next to that says, “Harmonious relationship with employers.” As we look at the man at the bottom he is holding a paper that says “John L. Lewis” at the bottom and “C.I.O.” on the top. We can assume that this man is in fact John L. Lewis. The cartoonist John Knot does a wonderful job in this piece by simplifying what is going on and still creating a brilliant cartoon.
Let’s start with who John L. Lewis is. John L. Lewis was considered to be one of the most powerful men in the U.S. during his time. He was described as something of a maverick because he made sure that the CIO ignored sex, color, and race when it came to employing workers. This persuaded women, immigrants, and blacks to join his new organization. The CIO stands for the Committee for Industrial Organization. This is an organization that helped changed our country in a great way. This was somewhat a start to equality though at the time, equality was far for from being true.
The article that goes along with cartoon comes from The Dallas Morning News on April 4th, 1937. The article entitled “Oil and the C.I.O.” states that it is the beginning of John L. Lewis’s committee’s plan to unionize a great East Texas oil field. The writer expresses the worry of East Texas and Dallas workers that unionization or any attempt to unionize might prolong ongoing labor problems in the oil industry. In the past, attempt to unionize has failed. East Texas is a section of the C.I.O.’s plan to bring together 1,000,000 workers in its efforts to produce, transport, refining, and distributing petroleum. The C.I.O. looks to be a good organization in creating jobs for East Texas residents. There was no attempt made to match John L. Lewis’s competition by other companies. The consequence, working with a field that has not been touched or worked on, and having inexperienced workers in the work force from the East Texas area. The writer expresses his opinion on the possible hazard that workers would neglect and be late on signing up and paying their union dues. The article in all shows that there are mixed feeling on whether East Texas oil fields should follow the path of unionization. In the grand scheme of things, John L. Lewis is attempting to make things more organized in East Texas.
As we can see from the article and the cartoon itself, John L. Lewis has an agenda. The cartoon is funny because it shows that John L. Lewis is growing impatient while East Texas workers just go about there day as if there is no need to be rushed or organized. The cartoon’s depiction of John L. Lewis represents the C.I.O., John L. Lewis and his determination to execute the plans on his agenda. The depiction of the man atop the tower in the field represents the East Texas community. The community is not making it exactly easy for the C.I.O. to go about their plans. When I look solely at the cartoon, I see a simple, uneducated looking man sitting atop an oil rig getting yelled at by an angry, powerful man. It is just a funny site to see because it looks like a father yelling at his innocent child to get out of a tree.
The cartoon is entitled “Come Down and Be Organized.” This is basically saying that John L. Lewis wants East Texas to change and become unionized. The C.I.O. believes that unionization is organization in a sense. A big part of Lewis’s plan was to helping non-skilled workers through collective bargaining. Some of these non-skilled workers were the people of East Texas.
“The CIO and the Triumph of Unionization.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 4: 1930-1939. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
“The Cio, 1936–1938.” Social History of the United States. Ed. Daniel J. Walkowitz and Daniel E. Bender. Vol. 4: The 1930s. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009. 196-216. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.