Western Federation of Miners

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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 employeesâ‚‚ 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

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Western Federation of Miners. Miner's Bulletin Newspaper, 8/13/1913-4/14/1914. Michigan Technological University, J.R. Van Pelt & Opie Library; Michigan Tech
referencedIn Ole Ranmael Papers, 1890-1911 University of Montana--Missoula Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Gold Hill Miners Union records, 1866-1925 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Videen, Clayton A., 1911-. Clayton A. Videen research notes, 1887-1920. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Colorado Prospector : historical highlights from early day newspapers, v. 9, n. 6, 1978 May. Boulder Public Library
referencedIn Paull, Irene, 1908-1981. Irene Paull papers, 1934-1981. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Victor Miners' Union, No. 32 (Victor, Colo.). Ledger, 1894-1903. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Wells, Merle W. Miner's unions in British Columbia and Idaho, 1899-1902, [by] Merle Wells, Idaho State Historical Society : typescript, 1984. University of Idaho Library
referencedIn Parker, Daniel. Paradise lost : the unionization of the copper industry in Michigan, 1985. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Derickson, Alan. Alan Derickson western mining microfilm collection [microform], 1880-1935. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Western Federation of Miners. Pinkerton's National Detective Agency : [collection] : 1906-1907. History Colorado
referencedIn Jackling, Daniel Cowan, 1869-1956. Daniel Cowan Jackling papers, [ca. 1909-1955] UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Livermore, Robert, 1876-1959. Papers, 1890-1968. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Jensen, Vernon H.,. Series 2. Files on the history of the non-ferrous metals industry, 1945-1952. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Western Federation of Miners. International Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers. Parker Trial Proceedings. CD 1904. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Western Federation of Miners. Western Federation of Miners Collection, 1901-1935. Michigan Technological University, J.R. Van Pelt & Opie Library; Michigan Tech
referencedIn Orchard, Harry, 1866-1954. Confession of Harry Orchard, 1906 [microform]. Denver Public Library, Central Library
referencedIn Finnish Socialist Federation National Executive Committee and Eastern District Committee Records, 1913-1925 University of Minnesota Libraries. Immigration History Research Center [ihrc]
referencedIn Busarello, Feeney, 1891-. Oral history interview with Feeney Busarello, 1975 March 3. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Western Federation of Miners. [Constitutions, agreements, etc.] Wisconsin Historical Society
referencedIn Pony Miners Union (Pony, Mont.). Western Federation of Miners, Pony Miners Union records, 1891-1910. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Galloway, Thomas C. The Idaho trials and Clarence Darrow : typescript, [1967]. University of Idaho Library
referencedIn Leadville strike reports : [collection] : 1896-1899 ;. History Colorado
referencedIn Pony Miners' and Millmen's Union (Pony, Mont.). Pony Miners' and Millmen's Union records, 1891-1910. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn George A. Pettibone photographs collection [graphic], circa 1895-1908. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Edward Boyce Papers, 1881-1941 Eastern Washington State Historical Society/Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives
referencedIn Jensen, Vernon H.,. Series 6. Files on the Steunenberg murder trials and Cripple Creek, Colorado strike, 1903-1907. [microform] Cornell University Library
referencedIn James McParland Letter, 1906 Eastern Washington State Historical Society/Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives
referencedIn Finnish Socialist Federation. National Executive Committee (Chicago, Ill.). Eastern District Committee (Fitchburg, Mass.). Records, 1913-1925. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Western Federation of Miners. Western Federation of Miners : archives. Michigan State University Libraries, Main Library
referencedIn Irene Paull papers., 1934-1981. Minnesota Historical Society.
referencedIn Gold Hill Miners' Union. Gold Hill Miners Union records, 1866-1925. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Hawley, James H. (James Henry), 1847-1929. Papers, 1887-1945. Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historical Society
referencedIn Ellis, Henry Day. Papers, 1885-1994. Eastern Washington State Historical Society
referencedIn Oinas, Arthur, 1893-1976,. Arthur Oinas interview, 1972 Aug. 3. Finnish American Historical Archive and Museum
referencedIn Borah, William Edgar, 1865-1940. Papers, 1890-1907. Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historical Society
referencedIn Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Report, 1906-1907 [microform]. Denver Public Library, Central Library
creatorOf Spaulding, Frank W. Frank W. Spaulding papers, [ca. 1875-1938]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Brissenden, Paul F. (Paul Frederick), 1885-1974,. Paul Brissenden. "The First Decade of the I.W.W." Notes. Cornell University Library
referencedIn McParland, James. Letter, 1906. Eastern Washington State Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Borah, William Edgar, 1865-1940. person
associatedWith Boyce, Edward, 1862-1941 person
associatedWith Brissenden, Paul F. (Paul Frederick), 1885-1974, person
associatedWith Busarello, Feeney, 1891- person
associatedWith Derickson, Alan. person
associatedWith Ellis, Henry Day. person
associatedWith Finnish Socialist Federation. National Executive Committee (Chicago, Ill.). Eastern District Committee (Fitchburg, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Galloway, Thomas C. person
associatedWith Gold Hill Miners' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Hawley, James H. (James Henry), 1847-1929. person
associatedWith Jackling, Daniel Cowan, 1869-1956. person
associatedWith Jensen, Vernon H., person
associatedWith Livermore, Robert, 1876-1959. person
associatedWith McParland, James. person
associatedWith Oinas, Arthur, 1893-1976, person
associatedWith Orchard, Harry, 1866-1954. person
associatedWith Parker, Daniel. person
associatedWith Paull, Irene, 1908-1981. person
associatedWith Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith Pony Miners' and Millmen's Union (Pony, Mont.) corporateBody
associatedWith Pony Miners Union (Pony, Mont.) corporateBody
associatedWith Ranmael, Ole person
associatedWith Spaulding, Frank W. person
associatedWith University of Colorado, Boulder corporateBody
associatedWith Victor Miners' Union, No. 32 (Victor, Colo.) corporateBody
associatedWith Videen, Clayton A., 1911-. person
associatedWith Wells, Merle W. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan
Michigan
Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
Houghton County (Mich.)
Hancock (Mich.)
Michigan
Subject
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
Labor unions
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1875

Active 1938

Italian,

English,

Croatian

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6061900

Ark ID: w6061900

SNAC ID: 11204475