The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also commonly known as the "Wobblies," was a radical labor union formed in 1905. The Wobblies wanted an alternative to the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Unlike the AFL, the IWW opened its membership to all workers, regardless of skills, race, or gender. Its goals were similar to the Knights of Labor, a socialistic union from the nineteenth century. The IWW’s leader was "Big Bill" Haywood.
The IWW supported striking workers in Akron, Ohio’s rubber industry during a strike in 1913. Most Americans during this era were not sympathetic to strikes, and Akron residents proved to be no different. They were suspicious of the strikers’ connections to the radical IWW and rallied support behind the companies instead. The strike ended unsuccessfully.