Today in Labor History

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November 23, 1903

Cc_martiallawDetermined to the crush the Western Federation of Miners union, Colorado Governor James Peabody sends the state militia to Cripple Creek to provide protection for scabs during a strike by mine and smelter workers. Soldiers rounded up union members and their sympathizers, imprisoned them without any charges, and deported the majority of the union’s leaders. By mid-1904, the strike was over.

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2 thoughts on “November 23, 1903

  1. Reblogged this on TL;DR Civics and commented:
    In the History of Colorado – Volume I. (edited by Wilbur Fisk Stone) from 1918, chapter 41 is titled Labor Wars of Half a Century. That chapter outlines both of the major labor events at Cripple Creek. This was the 2nd major Cripple Creek strike. The first was in 1894 and called, simply, The Cripple Creek Strike of 1894.

    The 1894 strike was over pay rates for 8 and 9 hour days (different mines used different shift lengths). It began when some mine owners ignored a prior agreement that miners should earn at least $3.00 per 8 hour shift.

    On January 17, 1894, a notice was posted at the Pharmacist mine to the effect that all miners who desired to continue working on that property would be required to work ten hours a day and lunch on their own time, or work eight hours for $2.50 per day. A few days later similar notices were posted at the mines of the Isabella property, owned by J. J. Hagerman, and at the Victor and Anaconda mines, owned chiefly by D. H. Moffat and Eben Smith. These mines were the largest producers, employing nearly one-third of all the miners at work in the district for wages.

    As part of efforts to end the strike, Governor Davis H. Waite and mine owners J. J. Hagerman and D. H. Moffat agreed on the following terms of settlement with the Free Coinage Miners’ Union, No. 19 on June 4, 1894:

    That eight hours’ actual work shall constitute “a day,” divided as follows: Four hours’ work, then twenty minutes for lunch, then four hours’ work, for which said eight hours of labor there shall be paid three ($3) dollars. In the employment of men there shall be no discrimination against union men or against nonunion men. The undersigned, J. J. Hagerman and David H. Moffat, earnestly urge upon other mine owners and employers of mining labor in said Cripple Creek mining district to accede to and act upon the foregoing agreement.

    By June 23rd things had settled down and the few criminal trials associated with protest activities were over or charges were dropped.

  2. Pingback: November 23, 1903 | NH Labor News

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