A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

History: Jacob Geissenhainer (D-NJ) Incurs Labor's Wrath (1894)

The 3 Nov 1894 edition of The Matawan Journal (page 8, col 3) has this penetrating missive (below) from the Buffalo Central Labor Union to their brethren in the Garden State. The union from Buffalo, NY had enlisted Jacob Augustus Geissenhainer, an incumbent Democrat representing the 3rd US Congressional District (portions of Middlesex, Monmouth and Somerset counties) of New Jersey, in the fight against the so-called Tramp Acts. As chair of the Immigration and Naturalization Committee, Geissenhainer was the perfect sponsor for their legislation to protect unemployed immigrants traveling the northeastern US in search of work, at least until he betrayed them.

The Buffalo union leaders wrote an open letter seeking New Jersey labor's help in removing the Congressman from office "using all honorable means." The Journal reprinted the letter, albeit on the last page of the paper. Result? Geissenhainer was out of Congress in four months.

Labor Unions Oppose Geissenhainer

The attention of workingmen is called to the following address, issued by the Buffalo Central Labor Union and published in the Peterson Labor Standard:

We, the undersigned, members of the Legislative Committee of the Buffalo Central Labor Union have been authorized and instructed by the above named body to forward to you the following:

Some time ago the different labor organizations of Buffalo appointed a joint committee, who framed the bill known aa the Lockwood Immigration bill, and it was submitted to tho different labor organizations from the coast of Maine to the southern shores of California, and in every instance was heartily endorsed. The bill was then introduced before Congress and referred to the Committee on Immigration of which Congressman Geissenhainer of your State was chairman. The bill was progressing nicely, and Mr. Geissenhainer was favoring every movement until the last moment, when by some unknown cause to us, he suddenly changed, and working in a capacity for the dilrect interests of the Steamship corporations and lake-faring monopolies, he by his skilled trickery caused the defeat of the bill in committee.

Now in view of the above facts and that the bill had its origin and emanated directly from the laboring forces of Buffalo, had been endorsed by the same throughout the United States, we as the people of the whole have denounced Mr. Geissenhainer and believe him an unfit person to represent the working masses, not only in Congress, but in any way pertaining to the welfare of the people. Accordingly we implore you to use all honorable means in defeating this man By so doing you not only sanction our request but that of every laboring man throughout the United States. This you can do, as we well know, and trust you may leave no stone unturned until you gain the result, as we believe you will do. Resolutions will be forwarded to every labor organization in the State of New Jersey. 

Very truly yours, 

The Legislative Committee of the Buffalo Central Labor Union
E E Russell, Chairman
Joseph Moss
J M O'Malley

When Geissenhainer appeared on the Labor Party ticket in Monmouth County in 1902, the Matawan Journal pointed out his bad reputation with organized labor and their utter surprise at his selection by that party. See pg 4 col 3 of the 23 Oct 1902 edition for details. 


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