Durward Long


Labor problems in Tampa’s cigar industry began almost simultaneously with the beginning of the enterprise in 1885. Although the industry enjoyed phenomenal growth during its first fifteen years it suffered an expensive strike in 1901 when La Resistencia, the labor society of the Spanish-speaking workmen, demanded a union shop. La Resistencia lost the strike because of a lack of strike funds and because the Tampa Cigar Manufacturers’ Association and a group of businessmen calling themselves the Citizens Committee combined to fight the society. Following La Resistencia’s defeat local unions of the Cigar Makers’ International Union became the dominant labor group in the Tampa industry. Its demands for a “union shop” in 1910 produced a strike which lasted seven months and whose violence, murder, and lynchings attracted national attention. The demand for a union shop was again defeated, and the issue was laid to rest for nearly ten years.