Western Federation of MinersAlternative names
The Western Federation of Miners, which in 1916 became the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, was from its founding in 1893 to its merger into the United Steelworkers of America in 1967 the major American union in the nonferrous metals industry. The WFM was involved in many of the important labor disputes during the turbulent period from 1893-1915, including the two Cripple Creek strikes, the Leadville strike of 1896, the Coeur d'Alene labor troubles, the Goldfield, Nevada strike of 1908, and the Copper Miners' Strike in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in 1913-1914 (excerpted from "A Guide to Manuscript Collections," University of Colorado at Boulder, Archives, http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/archives/guides/manuscript2008.pdf, accessed January 2011).
From the description of Western Federation of Miners Collection, 1901-1935. (Michigan Technological University). WorldCat record id: 717324189
After hard rock miners made sporadic and often unsuccessful efforts to organize during previous decades, the Western Federation of Miners was created in 1893. The federation was formed with the merger of several miners' unions representing copper miners from Butte, Montana, silver and lead miners from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, gold miners from Colorado and hard rock miners from South Dakota, and Utah.
In July 1913, locals of the Western Federation of Miners called a general strike against all mines in the Michigan Copper Country. The strike was called without approval by the national WFM, which was extremely low on funds after the recent strikes in the west. The union supported the strike, but faced great difficulties providing pay and supplies to the strikers. Hundreds of strikers surrounded the mine shafts to prevent others from reporting to work. Almost all mines shut down, although the workers were said to be sharply divided on the strike question. The union demanded an 8-hour day, a minimum wage of $3 per day, an end to use of the one-man drill, and that the companies recognize it as the employees₂ representative. The mines reopened under National Guard protection, and many went back to work. The companies instituted the 8-hour day, but refused to set a $3 per day minimum wage, refused to abandon the one-man drill, and especially refused to employ Western Federation of Miners members. On Christmas Eve 1913, the Western Federation of Miners organized a party for strikers and their families at the Italian Benevolent Society hall in Calumet. The hall was packed with between 400 and 500 people when someone shouted "fire." There was no fire, but 73 people, 62 of them children, were crushed to death trying to escape. This became known as the Italian Hall Disaster. Shortly after the disaster, WFM president Charles Moyer was shot and then forcibly placed on a train headed for Chicago. The strikers held out until April 1914, but then gave up the strike. The WFM was left with almost no funds to run its operations or future strikes.
From the description of Miner's Bulletin Newspaper, 8/13/1913-4/14/1914. (Michigan Technological University). WorldCat record id: 514206061
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Upper Peninsula (Mich.)|
|Houghton County (Mich.)|
|Strikes and lockouts--Copper mining|
|Strikes and lockouts--Copper mining--History|
|Copper miners--Labor unions--Newspapers|
|Copper Miners' Strike, Mich., 1913-1914|
|Copper miners--Labor unions--History|
|Strikes and lockouts--Labor unions--Newspapers|