The opening salvo in the committee's investigation was its subpoena in January 1941 of the membership lists and all records of the New York Teachers Union and the New York College Teachers Union. Founded in 1916, the New York Teachers Union was one of the first locals of the American Federation of Teachers, established that same year. Its long-time leaders, Abraham Lefkowitz and Henry Linville, were Socialists. But in 1935 a coalition rank and file caucus took control of the union and Lefkowitz and Linville walked out, vowing to capture its AFT charter for their group of several hundred disaffected teachers, the Teachers Guild. The newly invigorated Teachers Union was living up to the allegations of its enemies by vigorously organizing all teachers regardless of rank, sending observers to the National Negro Congress, supporting students in a peace strike, fighting racism in Harlem schools, and organizing new members in its college section.