Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “miners”

December 19, 1907

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An explosion in the Darr Mine in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, kills 239 coal miners, most of whom are Hungarian immigrant laborers. Some came from the nearby Naomi Mine, which had closed after at deadly explosion several weeks earlier. Only one person is thought to have survived the Darr Mine explosion. December 1907 was the deadliest month in U.S. coal mining history.

December 6, 1907

MON14LGExplosions rip through the Fairmont Coal Company’s No. 6 and No. 8 mines in Monongah, West Virginia. It is estimated that 362 coal miners — men and boys as young as 8 years old — died in what remains the worst mine disaster in U.S. history, but the actual number is unknown. Over 3,200 miners were killed on the job in 1907 because mining companies persistently disregarded recognized safety practices.

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.

November 22, 1900

BLSP02Nearly 3,000 quarry workers in northern Wales walk out of Penrhyn Quarrry on strike over union recognition and other issues and are subsequently locked out for three years. Scabs and police eventually broke the strike and most of the workers returned to work in 1903, their issues unresolved.

November 6, 1922

image003An explosion in the Reilly No. 1 Mine in Spangler, Pennsylvania, kills 79 coal miners. The mine had been rated gaseous in 1918, but at the insistence of the new operators it was rated as non-gaseous even though a fire boss was employed and workers had been burned by gas on at least four occasions.

March 5, 1984

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Workers employed at the Cortonwood Colliery in Yorkshire go on strike after the British National Coal Board announces the closure of the mine, the first of 20 pit closures that would put 20,000 miners work.  At its height, the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 saw 165,000 miners on strike in the United Kingdom.

June 21, 1877

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Ten miners accused of being militant “Molly Maguires” are hanged in Pennsylvania.  A private corporation initiated the investigation of the men through a private detective agency.  A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them.  “The state provided only the courtroom & the gallows,” a judge said many years later.

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