Next Time We Strike
Publication Year: 1992
Published by: Utah State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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I am indebted to many friends and colleagues for their assistance in the preparation of this book. Philip F. Notarianni, Helen Zeese Papa nikolas, and Charles S. Peterson have given unfailing support since I first began my study of labor in the Utah coal fields nearly a decade and a half ago. Each has made available valuable research notes and sources, ...
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Over fifty years ago, in 1933, Utah coal miners were organized by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), and an agreement was negotiated with coal operators marking the first official recognition of the right of Utah miners to organize. Residents of Utah's coal region and others interested in Utah history have assumed that no union existed in ...
I. A Legacy of Labor and Coal
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Union-organizing efforts in the Utah coal fields took place in a state well known for its anti-union attitudes and where class tension and labor discord existed. Although the state's economy was founded on agriculture, commerce as well as mines, railroads, and developing cities constituted its future. Utah's leaders recognized that agriculture provided only a subsistence ...
II. The Winter Quarters Mine Disaster
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On May 1, 1900, at least 200 men lost their lives in what was then the most disastrous mine explosion in the history of the United States.1 The explosion at the Winter Quarters mine-located in a narrow, remote canyon more than eight thousand feet above sea level, and a mile west of Scofield in Utah's Carbon County-affected the course of labor not only ...
III. The 1901 Strike
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The tragedy of the Winter Quarters mine disaster was a primary cause of Pleasant Valley labor unrest, which in 1901 erupted in an open confrontation between miners and the Pleasant Valley Coal Company when a strike was called. The Winter Quarters disaster worked in two ways to promote labor unrest. First, it illustrated the high costs in human life and suffering ...
IV. The 1903-4 Strike
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The first years of the twentieth century were a time of tremendous growth for the labor movement in the United States.1 In 1900, nationwide union membership was 868,500, and by 1904, it had more than doubled to 2,072,700.2 Unionism moved forward on two fronts: an increase of membership in already existing unions and an increase in the number of...
V. Intermission for the United Mine Workers of America, 1905-17
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The controversial end and bitter aftermath of the 1903-4 strike angered Utah coal miners about the role of the UMWA. This hostility and the union's preoccupation with other issues halted all UMWA activity in Utah until 1918. Nevertheless, worker unrest continued in the Utah coal fields as the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) attempted to ...
VI. A New Opportunity: World War I and Afterwards
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A new and dynamic era of growth began in 1916 bringing with it the opportunity for important shifts in the labor relations of the coal fields. The demands for coal caused by the Great War in Europe were enormous. Coal was needed to fuel warships and transport ships and to run the railroads; it was essential for manufacturing the steel used in armaments. ...
VII. The 1922 Strike
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The American coal industry did not prosper during the 1920s. New mines, opened to meet the demands of World War I, glutted the market as the peacetime need declined. Competition was intense, and coal production shifted from union mines in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio to the nonunion mines in western Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and ...
VIII. The Castle Gate Mine Disaster
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March 8, 1924, considered themselves fortunate. Theirs was only the third eight-hour shift to work during the month. The miners were, for the most part, married men and older employees who had been given work over younger, single men in the No.2 mine when the No.1 mine closed March 1 At 7: 30 a.m., within an hour of entering the Castle Gate No.2 mine, ...
IX. Retrenchment and Disenchantment, 1924-32
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Throughout the remainder of the 1920s, union efforts in Utah coal fields were subject to much the same intolerance and reaction that characterized the rest of the country. In the first legislative session to be held after the 1922 strike, a Right-to-Work Act was passed and signed by Governor Charles Mabey that guaranteed workers the right to ...
X. The Battle for Control. 1933
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John L. Lewis is credited with immediately realizing labor's potential under Section 7a of the National Industrial Recovery Act and with carrying out the organizing campaign that dramatically reversed the downhill course American labor had followed since 1919.1 In assessing the significance of the National Industrial Recovery Act, Lewis declared, "From the standpoint of human welfare and economic ...
XI. The Union Legacy
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With the organization of the American coal miners virtually completed, John L. Lewis announced in 1935 his more ambitious goal to "organize the unorganized."1 The vehicle for this expanded effort was to be the Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO), established in 1935 under the principal leadership of John L. Lewis, who was elected the ...
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Speaking to the delegates of the Western Federation of Miners at their Sixteenth Annual Convention held in Denver, Colorado, Roderick MacKenzie remarked "the average native of Utah is ... the hardest biped to unionize in all America."1 Although MacKenzie's perception was accurate, especially for 1908, it did not consider the complex issues that ...
Images [14 unnumbered pages]
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Page Count: 306
Publication Year: 1992