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About 250 cigarmakers were brought into the union before it, too, collapsed in a failed strike 10 months later.Part of the reason for the failure of cigar maker strikes was the lack of concentration of the industry.Prior to the American Civil War of 1861-1865, cigar makers were typically independent proprietors. The cigar roller or craftsman worked for himself, buying tobacco in small quantities as he needed it, using only his hands and a cutting blade to fabricate finished cigars in the place in which he lived."In every community where the demand for cigars was sufficient to warrant, the cigar maker worked and sold his own cigars direct to the consuming public.High union initiation fees further limited the size of the unionized workforce.
If the journeyman became dissatisfied for any reason, he needed but small capital to become his own employer." In New York City, one of the leading hubs of cigar production in the 1860s, it was typical for cigar manufacturers to furnish the raw material to the cigar makers they employed, who would pay a deposit of nearly double the value of the tobacco supplied.
In 1875, the cigar makers' local in St Louis tried to encourage consumers to buy union-made cigars by using a red label.