During the 1930s, employers across the United States organized against the National Labor Relations Board and the renewed labor movement. These employers utilized several different strikebreaking techniques, including vigilante violence. California, an economic powerhouse with an established history of vigilantism, produced a particularly robust antilabor network. A cluster of corporations and employer associations formed connections with local vigilante organizations, and mobilized them against workers during periods of labor unrest.

Secondary sources on vigilantism in 1930s California tend to focus on antilabor violence in Central and Southern California. However, the strikebreaking techniques and vigilantism typically associated with these regions carried over to Northern California as well, highlighting the sheer effectiveness of the state's antilabor network. The pervasive nature of this network meant that antilabor violence was an omnipresent threat, hazarding the labor movement and dealing a blow to the greater social fabric.

This paper provides an overview of antilabor violence in California. The latter half of the paper surveys episodes of antilabor violence in Northern California specifically, with an emphasis on towns typically omitted from secondary sources.


Spring 2024




Labor History


Professor Robert Cliver

Citation Style

Chicago Style

Included in

Labor History Commons



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