William Trautmann Photo

William Trautmann

Born: Jul 1, 1869

Death: Nov 18, 1940

Birthplace: New Zealand

Nationality: United States

William Trautmann

Date of Birth : Jul 1, 1869
Date of Death : Nov 18, 1940
Birth Place : New Zealand

William Ernst Trautmann was founding general-secretary of the U.S. Industrial Workers of the World and one of six people who initially laid plans for the organization in 1904. He was born to German parents in New Zealand in 1869 and raised in Europe. After completing a brewing apprenticeship in Poland, he worked as a masterbrewer in Germany before being expelled for labor activities under Bismark's anti-socialist laws. In 1890 he moved to the United States, where he joined the Brewers Union. Trautmann was a key figure in the United Brewery Workers' Union in Milwaukee and the editor of the United Brewery Workers' German-language newspaper, Brauer Zeitung. He was expelled from that union for his participation in the founding IWW convention. In 1905, he joined with other industrial unionists to found the Industrial Workers of the World. Between 1905 and 1912, he mostly worked in the field as an organizer. In 1912, he broke with the IWW leadership over strike tactics and the alleged misuse of funds collected for the "Bread and Roses" strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

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