The Anaconda Wire and Cable plant E. 31st St. employing between 400 and 500 persons, is one of Anderson's
leading substantial industries. Its officials are R. E. Wolford, mill manager; William E. Schofield, superintendent;
Wilbur R. Martin, office manager, and Myron Thomas, assistant superintendent.
The local plant was built in 1927 with Eshelman and Son having the general contract. Numerous large
additions have been erected in the expansion of the industry, which was first built as a branch of the Maring Wire Company, 32nd
and Noble St. The history of Anaconda and he local mill, as gathered by E. ?. Carzon, follows:
The Anaconda Company, the first company in the copper industry to make use of vertical integration within
its organization, saw that substantial economies in manufacture could be effected if several large concerns operating in the
field of wire and cable could be brought together under unified management.
Consequently the Anaconda Wire and Cable Company was organized in February, 1929. One of the
independent plants included in the merger was the Maring Wire Company with plants at; Muskegon, Mich., and at Anderson.
The Anderson Mill began as a small branch operation of the Maring Wire Company of Muskegon, Mich.,
in 1527. The mill manager was William Gaddis, who managed the Anderson Mill from 1927 until his death in 1946.
Expansion of the Anderson mill became necessary in order that it could adequately meet customers
scheduled and also install modern equipment. Expansion took place in 1930, and again in 1937 when manufacturing space
was increased 50 per cent.
During World War II, in order to meet heavy production schedules, a building was rented on Fairview
St., to house production facilities.
Following the war the original milt was enlarged by 32,000 sq. feet in 1947-1948., so that all
manufacturing facilities could be consolidated under one roof. In 1949, a 100,000-gallon water sphere was
installed on a 100-foot pedestal. This was one of the first modern water spheres in the state and has become an
In 1952 four lots were purchased on the corner of 31st and Noble St., to prepare the way, for a
new manufacturing and office building. In 1954 three lots were purchased on the southeast corner of 31st and Noble
St., to expand employee parking facilities. A third loading dock was also installed at this time.
In 1954 a new enameling building, 110 feet by 130 feet, and a two -story office building was
completed. In 1956 four additional lots were purchased on the north and south sides of 32nd St., to expand
In 1958 a 20x183 foot addition, four stories high was added to the north end of the building to
accommodate vertical production equipment. At the present time the Andersen mill properties contain slightly more
than six acres and cover a floor area of 133,218 square feet. The plant employees 400 people and uses from seven
million to fourteen million cubic feet of gas per month, two million cubic feet of water per month, and seventy-five
thousand to one million kilowatt hours of electricity per month.
The Anderson mill is one of the most modern factories in the United States producing copper magnet
wire, which is wound into electric motors, transformers, coils, condensers, generators and starting motors for the
automobile and appliance industries.
High wages, benefit cost behind decision
Anaconda leaves city after 21 month strike
By STEVE SMITH
Bulletin Staff Writer
October 9, 1976.
On Oct. 6, 1975, Anaconda plant manager John F. Tidgewell wrote a letter to striking members of
UAW Local 1444. What Tidgewell predicted in that letter came true yesterday.
In Tidgewell's letter, he stated, "Unless we reach a quick agreement to operate at Anderson on a
competitive basis and end this long strike, we face the probability of having to close the Anderson plant.
Anaconda Wire & Cable Division, which came to Anderson in 1927 and supported more than 200 UAW
workers and supplied Delco-Remy Division with 90 per cent of its requirements for magnet wire, officially closed
the doors of the local plant for good yesterday.
The termination of local operations by the giant firm killed the hopes of the remaining 15 members
of UAW Local 1444 that the 21-month strike might be settled.
Negotiations for a new contract began on Nov. 1, 1974 between the union and plant management.
Negotiations stalemated during December over the company's refusal to grant broader insurance coverage and further
The company, which has 50 other plants in the country and extensive investments, abroad, offered
to grant union workers a pay raise of 35 cents an hour on a three-year contract with an additional 30 cent increase
the second and third years of that pact. To receive this raise, however, the union would have had to give up
its cost of living index raises.
As of mid-December 1974, 63 of the plant's 220 workers were laid off, some with as much as 24
years seniority. The workers did not receive their holiday pay for the 1974 Christmas; thus on Jan. 3, 1975,
the remaining workers walked out on strike. In January of this year, one year after the strike, Bob Dwiggins,
negotiations chairman for the union said, "They've got us over a barrel... but we're going to keep
hanging in as long as we can."
Shortly after the union went on strike, the company stopped unemployment benefits, even though
the 160 receiving the benefits were on indefinite layoff at the time of the strike. The management sent letters
out to the workers calling them back to work on Jan. 8, 1975, but the workers refused.
On Feb. 3, 1975, a hearing was held by a referee of the Indiana Employment Security Division (IESD)
to determine whether those workers were, in fact, eligible for
unemployment benefits. In the meantime, workers were still allowed to sign vouchers for benefits.
On Feb. 28, 1975, a decision was made to pay 139 of the 160 laid-off workers benefits totaling
$60-$100 a week for seven weeks. Payment of benefits was halted again, however, on March 19, when management
officials claimed the workers had failed to look for other work.
Another hearing was held, and on April 2, 1975, it was decided that benefits would be paid to 168
workers retroactive to March 15, due to the scarcity of jobs in the area.
Anaconda Inc. began operations in 1895 with a small mining facility near Butte, Montana.
Since that time, it has invested interests in several other major firms, as well as having 50 other plants in the
country. At the time the workers went on strike locally, stockholders were informed that 1974 sales had
exceeded $1.5 Billion internationally.
Throughout the strike, management officials refused to comment on negotiations, on what would
happen to the local plant and so forth. Several trucks removed equipment from the local facility earlier
this year, but when contacted by the Bulletin, management officials still refused to comment. It was later
discovered that the, equipment was transferred to plants in Muskegon, Mich., Sycamore, Ill. and LaGrange, Ky.
Following the strike call in January of 1975, the LaGrange plant expanded its facilities to increase
production of magnet wire by 40 per cent. The Kentucky facility provided local Delco-Remy Division plants with
the needed wire.
See Page 2, Column 3
An unnamed management source told the Bulletin last October that it was costing Anaconda a “hunk of
money“ to pay salaries for remaining management personnel, a guard service, utilities and other expenses.
Tidgewell told the Bulletin yesterday that exceptionally high wage rate and benefit cost were the
main motivation behind the board of director’s decision to close the local facility. Tidgewell also charged there
were inefficient work practices at the local plant. Union officials were out of town and unavailable for comment
on these charges today.
Research director for the Anderson Chamber of Commerce, Pat Kiely, told the Bulletin yesterday,
“I’m glad they decided to do something out there. I think we can sell that building and get a profitable
industry in there.” All remaining machinery in the plant will be transferred to other Anaconda facilities
and the building will then be put up for sale by the owners.