On 2 March 1937 the United States Steel Corporation, throughout its history a fierce opponent of organized labor, signed a preliminary agreement recognizing the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) as a legitimate bargaining agent for employees who were members of that organization. The two parties signed a formal contract on 17 March. These agreements were the culmination of secret talks between Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) president John L. Lewis and U.S. Steel chairman Myron Taylor. The agreement was the first victory for SWOC in its efforts to represent the entire steel industry. That violence was not used to prevent unionization made the victory even more surprising. The agreement with U.S. Steel led directly to many other steel firms recognizing SWOC, even though the so-called Little Steel firms, large competitors of U.S. Steel, continued to resist unionization until after World War II began.
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