United Mine Workers

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Full name United Mine Workers of America
Founded January 25, 1890
Members 80,000
Affiliation AFL–CIO, CLC
Key people Cecil Roberts, president
Office location Triangle, Virginia, United States
Country United States, Canada
Website www.umwa.org

The United Mine Workers of America (UMW or UMWA) is a North American labor union best known for representing coal miners. Today, the Union also represents health care workers, truck drivers, manufacturing workers and public employees in the United States and Canada.[1] Although its main focus has always been on workers and their rights, the UMW of today also advocates for better roads, schools, and universal health care.[2] By 2014, coal mining had largely shifted to open pit mines in Wyoming, and there were only 60,000 active coal miners. The UMW was left with 35,000 members, of whom 20,000 were coal miners, chiefly in underground mines in Kentucky and West Virginia. However it was responsible for pensions and medical benefits for 40,000 retired miners, and for 50,000 spouses and dependents.[3]

The UMW was founded in Columbus, Ohio, on January 25, 1890, with the merger of two old labor groups, the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union.[4] Adopting the model of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the union was initially established as a three-pronged labor tool: to develop mine safety; to improve mine workers' independence from the mine owners and the company store; and to provide miners with collective bargaining power. After passage of the National Recovery Act in 1933, organizers spread throughout the United States to organize all coal miners into labor unions. Under the powerful leadership of John L. Lewis, the UMW broke with the American Federation of Labor and set up its own federation, the CIO. Its organizers fanned out to organize major industries, including automobiles, steel, electrical equipment, rubber, paint and chemical, and fought a series of battles with the AFL. The UMW grew to 800,000 members and was an element in the New Deal Coalition supporting Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Lewis broke with Roosevelt in 1940 and left the CIO, leaving the UMW increasingly isolated in the labor movement. During World War II the UMW was involved in a series of major strikes and threatened walkouts that angered public opinion and energized pro-business opponents. After the war the UMW concentrated on gaining large increases in wages, medical services and retirement benefits for its shrinking membership.

Coal mining

Development of the Union

The UMW was founded in Columbus, Ohio, on January 22, 1890, by the merger of two earlier groups, the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union. It was modeled after the American Federation of Labor (AFL).The Union's emergence in the 1890s was the culmination of decades of effort to organize mine workers and people in adjacent occupations into a single, effective negotiating unit. At the time coal was one of the most in-demand natural resources, used to heat homes and to power machines in industries. The coal mines were a competitive and dangerous place to work. And with decreasing amounts of pay occurring on a regular basis,[2] miners sought a group to stand up for their rights.

Early efforts

American Miners' Association

The first step in starting the union was the creation of the American Miners' Association. This creation put into motion the labor movement in America.[2] The popularity of the group grew immensely. "Of an estimated 56,000 miners in 1865, John Hinchcliffe claimed 22,000 as members of the AMA.[2] As a result of the growing union, the mine owners sought to stop the AMA from becoming more powerful. Members of the AMA were fired and blacklisted from employment at other mines. After a short time the AMA began to decline until it was no more.

Workingman's Benevolent Association

Another early labor union that arose in 1868 was the Workingmen's Benevolent Association. The main difference between this labor union and many others of the time was that it was an anthracite labor union. The laborers formed the WBA to help improve pay and working conditions. The main reason for the success of this group was the president, John Siney, who sought a way for both the miners benefits to increase while also helping the operators gain a profit. The way that both parties could benefit was to limit the production of anthracite. Because the efforts of the WBA benefited the operators, they did not object when the union wanted to take action in the mines; actually, they welcomed it because they knew that they would profit. Because the operators trusted the WBA, the first written contract between miners and operators was established.[2] As the union became more responsible in the operators' eyes, the union was given more freedoms. As a result the health and spirits of the miners significantly improved.[2] The WBA could have been a very successful union had it not been for Franklin B. Gowen. In the 1870s Gowen owned the Reading Railroad, and bought several coal mines in the area. Because he owned the coal mines and the transportation of the coal, he was able to slowly destroy the labor union. He did everything in his power to produce the cheapest product and to ensure that members who were not in the union would benefit. As conditions for the miners of the WBA worsened, the union broke up and disappeared.[2]

After the fall of the WBA [5] miners created many other small unions, including the Workingman's Protective Association (WPA) and the Miner's National Association (MNA). Although both groups had strong ideas and goals, they were unable to gain enough support and organization to succeed. The two unions did not last long, but provided greater support by the miners for a union which could withstand and help protect the workers' rights.[2]


Although many labor unions were failing, there were two predominant unions that arose held promise to become strong and permanent advocates for the miners. The main problem during this time was the rivalry between the two groups. Because the National Trade Assembly #135, better known as the Knights of Labor, and the National Federation of Miners and Mine Laborers were so opposed to one another, they created problems for miners rather than solved key issues.

National Trade Assembly #135

The Great Seal of the Knights of Labor.

This union was more commonly known as the Knights of Labor and began around 1870 around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The main problem with the Knights of Labor was the its secrecy.[2] The members kept very private their affiliation and goals of the Knights of Labor. Because both miners and operators could become members, there was no commonality to unite the members. Also, the union did not see strikes as a beneficial means to attain rights. To many people of the time, a strike was the only way that they believed they would be heard. The Knights of Labor tried to establish a strong and organized union, so they set up a system of local assemblies, or LAs. There were two main types of LAs, trade and mixed, with the trade LA being the most common. Although this system was put into place to create order, it did the opposite. Even though there were only two categories of LA's there were many sub-divisions of them. For the most part it was impossible to even tell how many trade and mixed LAs there were at a given time. Local assemblies began to arise and fall all around and many members began to question whether of not the Knights of Labor was strong enough to fight for the most important issue of the time, achieving an eight hour work day.[2]

National Federation of Miners and Mine Laborers

This Union was formed by members of the Knights of Labor who realized that a secret and unified group would not turn into a successful union. The founders, John McBride, Chris Evans and Daniel McLaughlin, believed that creating an eight hour work day would not only be beneficial for workers, but also as a means to stop overproduction, which would in turn help operators. The union was able to get cooperation from operators because they explained that the miners wanted better conditions because they felt as if they were part of the mining industry and also wanted the company to grow. But in order for the company to grow, the workers must have better conditions so that their labor could improve and benefit the operators.

The first main concern of this union was to get a fair weighing system within the mines. Although, during a conference between the operators and the union, the idea of a new system of scaling was agreed upon, the system was never implemented. Because the union did not deliver what it had promised, it lost support and members.[2]


During this time the rivalry between the two unions increased and eventually led to the formation of the UMW. The first of many arguments arose after the 1886 joint conference. The Knights of Labor did not want the NTA #135 to be in control so they went against a lot of their decisions. Also, because the Knights of Labor were not in attendance at the conference they were not able to vote against actions that they thought should be taken to gain rights for workers. Most of the actions required the Knights of Labor to lose their secrecy and make public its members and locations. Because such a problem arose when one union was not permitted to attend a conference, the National Federation held another conference in 1887 with both groups. Like the first, it was unsuccessful and the parties could not agree on what actions to be taken to provide better conditions in the mines. Throughout 1887-1888 many joint conferences were held to help iron out the problems that the two groups were having. Many leaders of both groups began questioning the morals of the other union.

One leader, William T. Lewis thought that there needed to be more unity within the union, and that competition for members between the two groups was not accomplishing anything. Because of his thoughts, he was replaced by John B. Rae as president of the NTA #135. This removal did not stop Lewis however; he got many people together who had been also thrown out of the Knights of Labor for trying to belong to both parties at once, along with the National Federation and created the National Progressive Union of Miners and Mine Laborers (NPU). Although the goal of the NPU in 1888 was to create unity between the miners, it instead drew a heavier line distinguishing members of the NPU against those of the NTA #135. Because of the rivalry, miners of one labor union would not support the strikes of another, and many strikes failed. In December 1889, the president of the NPU set up a joint conference for all miners. John McBride, the president of NPU suggested that the Knights of Labor should join the NPU to form a stronger union. John B. Rae reluctantly agreed and decided that the merged groups would meet on January 22, 1890.[2]

Constitution of the Union: The Eleven Points

When the union was founded the values of the UMWA were stated in the preamble;

We have founded the United Mine Workers of America for the purpose of...educating all mine workers in America to realize the necessity of unity of action and purpose, in demanding and securing by lawful means the just fruits of our toil.[2]

The UMWA constitution listed eleven points as the union's goals:

  • The first point was a salary commensurate with the dangerous work conditions. This was one of the most important points of the constitution.
  • The second point, related to the first, was that the workers wanted to be paid fairly in legal tender, not with company scrip.
  • The third point was to provide safety for the miners, necessitating that all operators use the latest technologies so that they could preserve lives and keep the workers as healthy as possible.
  • The fourth point also had to do with advancing the technologies of the mine by providing better ventilation systems to decrease black lung disease, and better drainage systems.
  • The fifth point was to enforce safety laws and make it illegal for mines to have inadequate roof supports or contaminated air and water in the mines.
  • The sixth point stated that the workers wanted an eight-hour work day.
  • The seventh point demanded an end to child labor, and strict enforcement of the child labor law.
  • The eighth point demanded that the scales used to weigh the coal work correctly, so that would be paid the correct amount. This was a big problem for miners because many times operators would try to underpay workers by having the scales show a lighter weight than what was produced. Miners were paid per pound of coal that they produced.
  • The ninth point was linked to both the eighth and second points, that demanded that wages be paid in legal tender.
  • The tenth point wanted an unbiased police force for the mining community. Many operators of the mine would hire police to harass the mine workers. In company towns the operators owned all the houses and controlled the police force, the operators could evict workers and arrest them unjustly. The tenth point was to eliminate this problem by having an impartial local police force that was not employed by the operators.
  • The eleventh point was a statement from the workers to the operators claiming that they would try to come to a reasonable conclusion but that if they thought that they were being treated unfairly, the workers would strike to protect their rights.[2]

John L. Lewis

John L. Lewis (1880 – 1969) was the highly combative UMW president who thoroughly controlled the union from 1920 to 1960. A major player in the labor movement and national politics, in the 1930s he used UMW activists to organize new unions in autos, steel and rubber. He was the driving force behind the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which established the United Steel Workers of America and helped organize millions of other industrial workers in the 1930s. After resigning as head of the CIO in 1941, he took the Mine Workers out of the CIO in 1942 and in 1944 took the union into the American Federation of Labor (AFL). A leading liberal, Lewis played a major role in helping Franklin D. Roosevelt win a landslide in 1936, but as an isolationist supported by Communist elements in the CIO Lewis broke with Roosevelt in 1940 on anti-Nazi foreign policy (following the 1939 German-Soviet pact of nonaggression, the Comintern had instructed communist parties in the West to oppose any support for nations at war with Nazi Germany.[6]). Lewis was a brutally effective and aggressive fighter and strike leader who gained high wages for his membership while steamrolling over his opponents, including the United States government. Lewis was one of the most controversial and innovative leaders in the history of labor, gaining credit for building the industrial unions of the CIO into a political and economic powerhouse to rival the AFL, yet was widely hated as he called nationwide coal strikes damaging the American economy in the middle of World War II. His massive leonine head, forest-like eyebrows, firmly set jaw, powerful voice and ever-present scowl thrilled his supporters, angered his enemies, and delighted cartoonists. Coal miners for 40 years hailed him as the benevolent dictator who brought high wages, pensions and medical benefits, and damn the critics.[7]


Strikes throughout the UMW history

The union's history is filled with examples of members and their supporters clashing with company-hired strikebreakers and government forces. The most notable include:

The 1890s

  • the Morewood massacre - April 3, 1891, in Morewood, Pennsylvania, where a crowd of mostly immigrant strikers were fired on by deputized members of the 10th Regiment of the National Guard. At least ten strikers were killed and dozens injured.
  • Bituminous Coal Miners' Strike of 1894 - April 21, 1894. This nationwide strike called when the union was hardly four years old. Many of the workers salaries had been cut by 30%[2] and with the demand for coal down, workers were upset that there were not more opportunities for work. The national guard was mobilized in several states to prevent or control violent clashes between strikers and strike breakers. The workers intended on only striking from work for three weeks in the hopes that when they returned the demand for coal would increase as would their wages. They developed the plan that they would continue to strike for three weeks and return to work for a short period of time until the hopes of wages increasing turned into a reality. However, many miners in the union did not wish to cooperate with this plan and did not return to work at all. This made the union seem weak. While many refused to return to work, many workers did not strike at all, and with the demand for coal being so low the remaining workers were able to produce enough to satisfy the demand. By being efficient in the mines, the operators saw no need to increase the wages of all the workers, and did not seem to care if the strike would end. By June the demand for coal began to increase and some operators decided to pay the works their original salaries before the wage cut. However, not all demands across the country were met and some workers continued to strike, which caused harm to the young union. The most important goal of the 1894 strike was not the restoration of wages, but rather the establishment of the UMWA as a cooperation at a national level.
  • Lattimer Massacre - September 10, 1897. 19 miners were killed by police in Lattimer, Pennsylvania during a march in support of unions.
  • Battle of Virden - October 1898. Part of the larger mine wars that established Illinois as the leading union state in the country, and a reason that Mary Harris "Mother" Jones is buried at Mount Olive, Illinois.

Through the early 1900s

Coal miners in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 1905
  • the five-month Coal Strike of 1902, led by the United Mine Workers and centered in eastern Pennsylvania, ended after direct intervention of President Theodore Roosevelt as a neutral arbitrator
  • Colorado Labor Wars - October 1903. The United Mine Workers conducted a strike in Colorado, called in October 1903 by President Mitchell, and lasting into 1904. The strike, while overshadowed by a simultaneous strike conducted by the Western Federation of Miners among hard rock miners in the Cripple Creek District, nonetheless contributed to the labor struggles in Colorado which came to be called the Colorado Labor Wars. The United Mine Workers effort was notorious for beatings inflicted upon traveling union officers and organizers, which ultimately helped to break the strike. These beatings were a mystery until the 1907 release of the book, The Pinkerton Labor Spy by Morris Friedman, which revealed that the organization had been infiltrated by labor spies from the Pinkerton agency.[10]
  • 1908 Alabama coal strike - June–August 1908. Notable because the 18,000 UMWA-organized strikers, more than half of those working in the Birmingham District, were racially integrated. That fact helped galvanize political opposition to the strikers and the Alabama State Militia was ultimately used to end the work stoppage. Racial segregation of workers was employed thereafter to reduce the threat of organization.[11][12][13]
  • Westmoreland County Coal Strike - 1910-1911, a 16-month coal strike in Pennsylvania led largely by Slovak miners, this strike involved 15,000 coal miners. Sixteen people were killed during the strike, nearly all of them striking miners or members of their families.
  • Ludlow Massacre - April 20, 1914. 20 people, including women and children, killed armed police, hired guns, and Colorado National Guardsmen broke up a tent colony formed by families of miners who had been evicted from company-owned housing.
Los Angeles Times
November 22, 1919
  • Some 400,000 members of the United Mine Workers went on strike on November 1, 1919, despite the fact that Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer had invoked the Lever Act, a wartime measure that made it a crime to interfere with the production or transportation of necessities, and obtained an injunction against the strike on October 31.[14][15] The coal operators smeared the strikers with charges that Lenin and Trotsky had ordered the strike and were financing it, and some of the press echoed that language.[16] Facing criminal charges, union head John L. Lewis withdrew his strike call, though many strikers ignored his action.[17] As the strike dragged on into its third week, coal supplies were running low and public sentiment was calling for ever stronger government action. Final agreement came on December 10.[18]
  • Matewan, West Virginia - May 19, 1920. 12 men were killed in a gunfight between town residents and the Baldwin–Felts Detective Agency, hired by mine owners. This event is fictionalized in the John Sayles film Matewan.
  • The 'Redneck War' - 1920-21. Generally viewed as beginning with the Matewan Massacre, this conflict involved the struggle to unionize the southwestern area of West Virginia. It led to the march of 10,000 armed miners on the county seat at Logan, ending in the Battle of Blair Mountain in which the miners fought state militia, local police, and mine guards. These events are depicted in the 1987 novel Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina and the 2005 novel Blair Mountain by Jonathan Lynn.
  • the 1920 Alabama coal strike, a lengthy, violent, expensive and fruitless attempt to achieve union recognition in the coal mines around Birmingham left 16 dead, including one lynching.
  • The Herrin massacre occurred in June 1922 in Herrin, Illinois. 19 strikebreakers and 2 union miners were killed in mob action between June 21–22, 1922.

BESCO Strike, Nova Scotia

WPA poster

District 26 of the UMWA in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada struck in early March 1923[19] against the British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO). On June 4, the union pulled its men from a company power plant in New Waterford. More than fifty company police, many on horseback, occupied the plant on the morning of June 11. An estimated 700 - 3,000 miners and supporters gathered in New Waterford and marched to the power plant that morning. The company police opened fire when the crowd arrived and then charged the crowd on horseback, swinging nightclubs and firing revolvers. Miners fought back with stones and pulled police off horses. William Davis, a miner, was shot dead and several others were wounded by gunfire or trampled by horses. After the riot ended, the miners sabotaged and disabled the power plant for the duration of the strike. Police and company that didn't escape the battle were locked up in the town jail. In the following nights, company stores were raided and burned, including the colliery building. The Canadian Army deployed thousands of soldiers to the area in the second largest deployment in history for civil unrest within Canada. The union later suspended the 100 percent strike, allowing maintenance workers to return.

The 1925 strike lasted through the summer and contributed to the bankruptcy and breakup of the BESCO conglomerate several years later. The strike against BESCO by UMWA 26 in the Sydney Coal Field was unprecedented for the violence and militancy exhibited by the company toward the striking miners and changed the labour dynamics in Industrial Cape Breton.

The Brookside Strike

In the summer of 1973, workers at the Duke Power-owned Eastover Mining Company's Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in Harlan County, Kentucky voted to join the union. Eastover management refused to sign the contract and the miners went on strike. Duke Power attempted to bring in replacement non-union workers or "scabs" but many were blocked from entering the mine by striking workers and their families on the picket line. Local judge F. Byrd Hogg was a coal operator himself and consistently ruled for Eastover. During much of the strike the mine workers' wives and children joined the picket lines. Many were arrested, some hit by baseball bats, shot at, and struck by cars. One striking miner, Lawrence Jones, was shot and killed by a replacement worker.

Three months after returning to work, the national UMWA contract expired. On November 12, 1974, 120,000 miners nationwide walked off the job. The nationwide strike was bloodless and a tentative contract was achieved three weeks later. This opened the mines and reactivated the railroad haulers in time for Christmas. These events are depicted in the documentary film Harlan County, USA.

The Pittston strike

The Pittston Coal strike of 1989-1990 began as a result of a withdrawal of the Pittston Coal Group also known as the Pittston Company from the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA) and a refusal of the Pittston Coal group to pay the health insurance payments for miners who were already retired. The owner of the Pittston company at the time, Paul Douglas, left the BCOA because he wanted to be able to produce coal seven days a week and did not want his company to pay the fee for the insurance.

The Pittson company was seen as having inadequate safety standards after the Buffalo Creek flood of 1972 in which 125 miners were killed.[4] The company also was very financially unstable and in debt. The mines associated with the company were located mostly in Virginia, with mines also in West Virginia and Kentucky.

On 31 January 1988 Douglas cut off retirement and health care funds to about 1500 retired miners, widows of miners, and disabled miners.[4] To avoid a strike, Douglas threatened that if a strike were to take place, that the miners would be replaced by other workers. The UMW called this action unjust and took the Pittston company to court.

Miners worked from January 1988 to April 1989 without a contract. Tension in the company grew and on 5 April 1989 the workers declared a strike.[4] Many months of both violent and nonviolent strike actions took place. On 20 February 1990 a settlement was finally reached between the UMWA and the Pittston Coal Company.

Internal conflict

The union's history has sometimes been marked by internal strife and corruption, including the 1969 murder of Joseph Yablonski, a reform candidate who lost a race for union president against incumbent W. A. Boyle. Boyle was later convicted of ordering the murder.

The killing of Yablonski resulted in the birth of a pro-democracy movement called the "Miners for Democracy" (MFD) which swept the Boyle regime out of office and replaced it with a group of leaders who had been most recently rank and file miners. Led by new president Arnold Miller, the new leadership enacted a series of reforms which gave UMWA members the right to elect their leaders at all levels of the union and to ratify the contracts under which they worked.

Decline of labor unionism in mining

Decreased faith in the UMW to support the rights of the miners caused many to leave the union. Coal demand was curbed by competition from other energy sources. The main cause of the decline in the union during the 1920s and 1930s was the introduction of more efficient and easily produced machines into the coal mines.[2] In previous years, less than 41% of coal was cut by the machines. However by 1930, 81% was being cut by the machines and now there were machines that could also surface mine and load the coal into the trucks.[2] With more machines that could do the same labor, unemployment in the mines grew and wages were cut back. As the problems grew, many people did not believe that the UMW could ever become as powerful as it was before the start of the war.[2] The decline in the union began in the 1920s and continued through the 1930s.[2] Slowly the membership of the UMWA grew back up in numbers.

Decline in the 1970s

A general decline in union effectiveness characterized the 1970s and 1980s, leading to new kinds of activism, particularly in the late 1970s. Workers saw their unions back down in the face of aggressive management.[20]

Other factors contributed to the decline in unionism generally and UMW specifically. The coal industry was not prepared economically to deal with such a drop in demand for coal. Demand for coal was very high during World War II, but decreased dramatically after the war, in part due to competition from other energy sources. In efforts to improve air quality, municipal governments started to ban the use of coal as household fuel. The end of wartime price controls introduced competition to produce cheaper coal, putting pressure on wages.[2]

These problems—perceived weakness of the unions, loss of control over jobs, drop in demand, and competition—decreased the faith of miners in their union. By 1998 the UMW had about 240,000 members, half the number that it had in 1946.[2] As of the early 2000s, the union represents about 42 percent of all employed miners.[2]

Affiliation with other unions

At some point before 1930, the UMW became a member of the American Federation of Labor.[21] The UMW leadership was part of the driving force to change the way workers were organized, and the UMW was one of the charter members when the new Congress of Industrial Organizations was formed in 1935. However, the AFL leadership did not agree with the philosophy of industrial unionization, and the UMW and nine other unions that had formed the CIO were kicked out of the AFL in 1937.

In 1942, the UMW chose to leave the CIO,[22] and, for the next five years, were an independent union. In 1947, the UMW once again joined the AFL, but the remarriage was a quick one, as the UMW was forced out of the AFL in 1948, and at that point, became the largest non-affiliated union in the United States.

In 1982, Richard Trumka was elected the leader of the UMW. Trumka spent the 1980s healing the rift between the UMW and the now-conjoined AFL-CIO (which was created in 1955 with the merger of the AFL and the CIO). In 1989, the UMW was again taken into the fold of the large union umbrella.[22]

Political involvement

Throughout the years, the UMW has taken political stands and supported candidates to help achieve union goals.

The United Mine Workers ran candidate Frank Henry Sherman under the union banner in the 1905 Alberta general election. Sherman's candidacy was driven to appeal to the significant population of miners working in the camps of southern Alberta.[23] He finished second in the riding of Pincher Creek.

The biggest conflict between the UMW and the government was while Franklin Roosevelt was president of the United States and John L. Lewis was president of the UMW. Originally, the two worked together well, but, after the 1937 strike of United Automobile Workers against General Motors, Lewis stopped trusting Roosevelt, claiming that Roosevelt had gone back on his word. This conflict led Lewis to resign as CIO president. The problem between the two leaders increased up to and during World War II. Roosevelt at one point did not agree with UMW actions, and threatened government intervention. As the years went on, however, the conflict diminished.[2]

Recent Elections

In 2008 the UMWA supported Barack Obama as the best candidate to help achieve more rights for the mine workers.[24]

In 2012, the UMWA National COMPAC Council did not make an endorsement in the election for President of the United States, citing "Neither candidate has yet demonstrated that he will be on the side of UMWA members and their families as president."[25]

In 2014, the UMWA endorsed Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes for U.S. Senate.[26]

List of UMWA presidents

The districts of the UMW through the years


  • 5- Western Pennsylvania
  • 6- Ohio
  • 11- Indiana
  • 12- Illinois
  • 17- West Virginia
  • 19- Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee[2]


  • 1- ANTHRACITE (North)
  • 2- Central Pennsylvania
  • 5- Western Pennsylvania
  • 6- Ohio
  • 7- ANTHRACITE (Central)
  • 8- Indian (Block)
  • 9- ANTHRACITE (South)
  • 11- Indiana (Bituminous)
  • 12- Illinois
  • 13- Iowa
  • 14- Kansas
  • 16- Maryland
  • 17- West Virginia
  • 19- Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee
  • 20- Alabama
  • 21- Arkansas and Indian Territory
  • 23- Central Kentucky
  • 24- Michigan
  • 25- Missouri[2]


  • 1- ANTHRACITE (North)
  • 2- Central Pennsylvania
  • 5- Western Pennsylvania
  • 6- Ohio
  • 7- ANTHRACITE (Central)
  • 8- Indian (Block)
  • 9- ANTHRACITE (South)
  • 10- Washington
  • 11- Indiana (Bituminous)
  • 12- Illinois
  • 13- Iowa
  • 14- Kansas
  • 15- Colorado and Wyoming
  • 17- West Virginia
  • 18- Alberta and British Columbia
  • 19- Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee
  • 20- Alabama
  • 21- Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas
  • 23- Central Kentucky
  • 24- Michigan
  • 25- Missouri
  • 26- Nova Scotia
  • 28- Vancouver Island[2]
  • 50- An amalgamated 'miscellaneous' and 'catch-all' district, including workers associated with, but not in, mines and mining. Included paint and chemical workers. Eventually it was absorbed by the United Steelworkers of America


  • 2- Central Pennsylvania
  • 4- Southwest Pennsylvania
  • 5- Western Pennsylvania
  • 6- Ohio
  • 11- Indiana (Bituminous)
  • 12- Illinois
  • 14- Kansas
  • 15- Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, and North Dakota
  • 17- Central West Virginia
  • 18- Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan
  • 19- Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee
  • 20- Alabama
  • 21- Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas
  • 22- Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona
  • 23- Central Kentucky
  • 25- Anthracite
  • 26- Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
  • 28- Virginia
  • 29- Southern West Virginia (eliminated in 1996)[27]
  • 30- Eastern Kentucky
  • 31- Northern West Virginia[2]


  • 2- Pennsylvania, New York and Eastern Canada
  • 12- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Western Kentucky, Missouri,Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma
  • 17- Southern West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee
  • 20- Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi
  • 22- Western United States
  • 31- Northern West Virginia and Ohio[28]


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  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 United We Stand, The United Mine Workers of America 1890-1990, by Maier B. Fox
  3. Kris Maher, “Mine Workers Union Shrinks but Boss Fights On, Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2014 p B1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The United Mine Workers of America: A Model of Industrial Solidarity? Edited by John M. Laslett 1994
  5. Dailey, Lucia. Mine Seed. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2002. ISBN 1-4033-6697-7; History of Labor and 1872, 1877 and 1902 Pennsylvania coal strikes.
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  10. Morris Friedman, The Pinkerton Labor Spy, Wilshire Book Company, 1907, chapters XIX and XX
  11. Letwin, Daniel L.(1998) The Challenge of Interracial Unionism: Alabama Coal Miners, 1878-1921. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press
  12. Brown, Edwin L. and Colin J. David, eds. (1999) It is Union and Liberty: Alabama Coal Miners and the UMW. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press
  13. Kelly, Brian (2001) Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921. Urbana: University of Illinois Press
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Further reading

  • Baratz, Morton S. The Union and the Coal Industry (Yale University Press, 1955)
  • Bernstein, Irving. The Lean Years: a History of the American Worker 1920-1933 (1966), best coverage of the era
  • Bernstein, Irving. Turbulent Years: A History of the American Worker, 1933-1941 (1970), best coverage of the era
  • Clapp, Thomas C. "The Bituminous Coal Strike of 1943." PhD dissertation U. of Toledo 1974. 278 pp. DAI 1974 35(6): 3626-3627-A., not online
  • Dublin, Thomas and Walter Licht. The Face of Decline: The Pennsylvania Anthracite Region in the Twentieth Century (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn, and Warren Van Tine. John L. Lewis: A Biography (1977), the standard scholarly biography excerpt and text search of abridged 1986 edition
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn, and Warren Van Tine. "John L. Lewis " in Dubofsky and Van Tine, eds. Labor Leaders in America (1990)
  • Fishback, Price V. Soft Coal, Hard Choices: The Economic Welfare of Bituminous Coal Miners, 1890-1930 (1992) online edition
  • Fox, Mayor. United We Stand: The United Mine Workers of America 1890-1990 (UMW 1990), detailed semiofficial union history
  • Fry, Richard, "Dissent in the Coalfields: Miners, Federal Politics, and Union Reform in the United States, 1968-1973," Labor History, 55 (May 2014), 173-88.
  • Galenson; Walter. The CIO Challenge to the AFL: A History of the American Labor Movement, 1935–1941, (1960) online edition
  • Hinrichs, A. F. The United Mine Workers of America, and the Non-Union Coal Fields (1923) online edition
  • Laslett, John H.M. ed. The United Mine Workers: A Model of Industrial Solidarity? 1996.
  • Lynch, Edward A., and David J. McDonald. Coal and Unionism: A History of the American Coal Miners' Unions (1939) online edition
  • Powell, Allan Kent (1994), "The United Mine Workers of America", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Seltzer, Curtis. Fire in the Hole: Miners and Managers in the American Coal Industry University Press of Kentucky, 1985, conflict in the coal industry to the 1980s.
  • Singer, Alan Jay. "`Which Side Are You On?': Ideological Conflict in the United Mine Workers of America, 1919-1928." PhD dissertation Rutgers U., New Brunswick 1982. 304 pp. DAI 1982 43(4): 1268-A. DA8221709 Fulltext: [ProQuest Dissertations & Theses]
  • Zieger, Robert H. "Lewis, John L." American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.
  • Zieger, Robert H. John L. Lewis: Labor Leader (1988), 220pp short biography by scholar
  • Zieger, Robert H. The CIO 1935-1955. 1995. online edition

External links