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Illinois Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy

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1922
Strikes and Related Events

as related in newspaper articles
 
1922 Walkout
Coal Miners Walking Out at Beginning of Strike 1

Seventeenth Week of the Strike Finds the Miners
More Determined Than Ever; All Efforts to Increase
Production and Break the Strike Have Failed
      Never before in the industrial history of the world has there been such a remarkable exhibition of solidarity among the workers of any craft as has been displayed by the United Mine Workers of America in the present strike of coal miners. Six hundred and fifty thousand men are out. They have been on strike since the lst day of April, and on this date, July 25, the strike is in the middle of its seven tenth week, with no break in the lines and no indications of a break anywhere. Coal operators who predicted at the beginning that the strike would fizzle out and that it would not last long have been disappointed. They have proved that they did not understand the determination of the miners to obtain justice for themselves and their families. This determination still exists in stronger degree than ever. Reports from the various coal mining fields where the strike is in effect are that the lines are holding tight, with no thought on the part of any one that the strike can be broken by anything except fair treatment of the miners on the basis of an interstate agreement that will maintain peace in the coal industry.
[ United Mine Workers Journal, Indianapolis, Indiana, Volume 33 Number 15, August 1, 1922, Page 3]
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Greatest Strike in History
      The coal miners' strike of 1922 will go down in history as the most remarkable industrial conflict that ever has been waged. Not only is it the greatest of all strikes, as far as the number of men involved is concerned, but it is the most important and far-reaching in its purposes and its accomplishments of all similar contests in the history of the world. The United Mine Workers of America are fighting the battle of all of organized labor. Success of the miners' strike in this instance means the preservation of all that is dear to the labor movement. Failure would have meant destruction of that movement and the reduction of the workers to a starvation level. Thus, the issues involved in this struggle are tremendous. They are vital and fundamental.
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The coal miners have proved that they are the best strikers in the world. The record of these nineteen weeks stands as ample proof of that fact.
[ United Mine Workers Journal, Indianapolis, Indiana, Volume 33 Number 16, August 15, 1922, Page 6]

 
The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Volume LI Number 146
Wednesday, March 22, 1922, Page 1
NEW WALK-OUT ORDER TIGHTENS COAL SITUATION
Government Mediates Legal Methods of Handling Miners' Strike Called For April 1
      Bulletin (By Associated Press)
      Indianapolis, March 21. -- Suspension of work by all union coal miners at midnight March 31,was ordered today by officers of the United Mine Workers of America, the call being the first ever issued for both bituminous and anthracite workers to walk out simultaneously. Six hundred thousand men will be directly affected by the order, it was estimated officially. The suspension, the order provided, will continue until stopped by union officials.
 
      WASHINGTON, March 21. -- While the government has "not entirely" abandoned its efforts to get a settlement in advance of the coal strike called for April 1, particularly in the bituminous field , and while the department of justice is studying possibilities of legal redress in case, danger results to public peace and welfare, it was learned today that no action is contemplated unless the strike developed.
 
Want Conference
      At the White House, it was stated that an effort to bring about a national conference between the employers and the miners in the bituminous industry was still continuing in spite of the refusal of the operators to co-operate.
      Mr. Daugherty, reviewing the legal aspect, desired to know whether the government capable of preventing disruption of railroad traffic by use of legal power, could not also prevent the same disruption, if occasioned by shortage of coal.
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ILLINOIS' MINE HEAD CALLS STRIKE ORDER PREMATURE
(By Associated Press)
      SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 21. -- The call for the miners' strike, issued at Indianapolis today, was declared to be premature by Frank Farririgton, president of the Illinois miners today.
      John L. Lewis, international president of the United Mine Workers, exceeded his authority in making the strike call before next Friday's meeting of the miner's national wage scale committee at Cleveland, Farrington asserted. The Illinois miners' chief leader of the anti-Lewis faction within the union, left today for Chicago enroute to the Cleveland meeting, where he declared he and leaders from other states, will insist on the right to negotiate separate state wage agreements with operators.
      James Burns, commissioner for the Illinois coal operators' association, asserted tonight, if the strike becomes effective the Illinois mines will be closed. Coal supplies, sufficient to last ninety days are above ground in Illinois, he said.
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The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Volume LI Number 155
Saturday, April 1, 1922, Page 1
600,000 MINERS QUIT PITS; U. S. ACTION DELAYED
Kentucky Only Oasis in Strike Area; Estimate 51 Days' Supply in Some Areas
(By Associated Press)
      INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., March 31. -- Approximately 600,000 coal miners quit work late last night to enforce new wage contracts, according to union reports from all bituminous and anthracite fields.
      The idle miners include 500,000 union men and some 100,000,non-union men, according to union tabulation.
      A number of miners in Illinois and other places left the mines at the close of work yesterday although the strike began officially at midnight. The federal government decided not to take any action at present as the situation was not deemed critical.
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13,000 to Remain
      The only oasis in the strike area was Kentucky where 5,000 union men continued work because their contract runs another year.
      Kansas miners were ordered out despite an order of the Industrial court extending the present contract a month.
      Union officers ordered 13,000 men to remain in the mines to protect property from damages incident to non-operation.
      In Canada the strike is expected to be effective in the western provinces but not in the east.
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Suspend Freight Trains
      Government reports indicate goodly coal supplies on hand, estimated to last 51 days in certain areas at least.
      Railroad officers asserted plans had been made to suspend certain freight trains, especially on coal roads.
      It is estimated that 18,000 railroad men in Pennsylvania will be out of work today as a result of the strike.
      The effectiveness of the strike in the non-union fields of southern West Virginia probably will not be determined before Monday. Today being a holiday in some mining fields, the actual extent of the strike was undeterminable.
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The Cairo Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois
Volume LXIV Number 109
Saturday Morning, April 1, 1922, Page 1
FIGHT BETWEEN MINES AND OPERATORS BEGINS
600,000 COAL DIGGERS LEAVE WORK TO FORCE 6 DAY WEEK, MORE PAY
Federal Government Decides Not to Take Any Action as Situation is Not Deemed Critical
-- Only Oasis in Strike Area is Kentucky
(By Associated Press)
      Approximately 600,000 coal miners quit work last night to enforce new wage contracts, according to union reports from all bituminous and anthracite fields.
      The idle miners include 500,000 union men and some 100,000 non-union men, according to union tabulation.
      A number of coal diggers in Illinois and other places left the mines at the close of work yesterday afternoon, although the strike began officially at midnight.
      The Federal government decided not to take any action at present as the situation was not deemed critical.
      The only oasis in the strike area was Kentucky, whose 5000 union men men continued to work because their contract runs another year.
      Kansas miners were ordered out despite an order of the industrial court extending their present contract a month.
      Union officers ordered 13,000 union men to remain in the mines to protect property from dangers incident to non-operation.
      Government reports indicate goodly coal supplies on hand, estimated to last 51 days in certain areas at least.
      Railroad officers asserted plans had been made to suspend certain freight trains, especially on coal roads.
      It is estimated that 18,000 railroad men in Pennsylvania will be out of work today as the result of the strike.
 
      Indianapolis, Ind., March 31. -- "We are ready for a finish fight, forced on us by the operators," declared Lewis. "We have sought in every honorable way to get new contracts, but the operators have persistently refused to deal with us. Then, too, the powerful non-union interests have tried in every possible way to persuade the union operators to fight the United Mine Workers in order that the nonunion interests may report a financial harvest by operating during the strike."
 
      Pennsylvania will turn out the largest number of men, and other states to be affected are West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Washington. Western Canada also is expected to join the suspension, but not the Nova Scotia district.
 
      The shutdown begins with the warm weather approaching and with stocks on hand the largest at any time for the last several years. Government reports placed the stocks at 63,000,000 tons, a quantity as large as that which had been accumulated at the end of the war -- Armistice day, Nov. 11, 1918. This supply, Government officials estimate, will meet every demand for43 days and the depletion of this reserve is regarded by union officials as necessary before they expect the bituminous operators to indicate any willingness to confer with the union on new wage contracts.
 
ALLEGED NON-UNION MINER IS SHOT FROM AMBUSH
      Bloomsburg, Pa., March 31. (By A. P.) -- Anthony Vaginie, said by the police to be a non-union miner, was shot from ambush today on his way to work in the mines of the Beaver Valley Coal company, in Scotch Valley, eight miles from here. Physicians said he would probably die.
      Union men at the mine struck two days ago after a controversy over the discharge of a blacksmith. Some non-union men remained at work.
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The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Twenty-Second Year Number 101
Saturday, April 1, page 5
First Casualty of Coal Strike Today
(By United Press)
      Murphysboro, Ill., April 1 -- Worry over her father, Sam Bullar, being jobless as a result of the coal strike, prompted Irene Bullar, 16, to end her life by shooting. Her mother died three years ago and she has been taking care of three younger sisters.
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On Strike sign UMWA 1898 8-Hour Day
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The Cairo Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois
Volume LXIV Number 110
Sunday Morning, April 2, 1922, Page 1
FIRST DAY OF COAL STRIKE QUIETLY USHERED IN
600,000 MINES ARE REPORTED IDLE IN 6 DIFFERENT STATES
First Real Test of Strength Will Come Monday is Belief of Factions
NO INTERVENTION ON PART OF ADMINISTRATION
Senator Borah Suggests Federal Operation of the Mines in Solution of Question
(By the Associated Press)
      Quiet celebration of the anniversary of the introduction of he eight hour day in the mines, marked the first day of the country-wide strike of the union coal workers yesterday.
      With some 600,000 mines reported idle, operators and union men were predicting the first real test of strength Monday because of the general custom of observing the eight hour anniversary.
      In the meantime, however, an almost complete suspension of work was reported by union headquarters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and other unionized districts. In Pennsylvania, both bituminous and anthracite diggers were shut down.
      From Kentucky it was reported work would continue under a contract which has another year to run. In West Virginia, it was said that work would be resumed Monday on an open shop basis. In Kansas work will be suspended.
      No effort toward Federal intervention was reported, administration leaders holding that any administration action must be based on the existence of an emergency, which they said does not appear to exist, as supplies of coal for from three to eight weeks are on hand.
      Senator Borah, of Idaho, chairman of the Senate labor committee, suggested that the question of Federal operation of the mines might arise. "If the coal industry does not revive in the interest of the public, it will be up to the public to try operation under government ownership." he declared in a statement.
      John L. Lewis departed last night from Indianapolis for Washington, where he will appear before the House labor committee Monday to testify regarding the strike.
      Union leaders estimated the strike would result in lost production of 12,000,000 tons of bituminous coal daily and 300,000 tons of anthracite. The loss of wages to the miners was estimated at $2,000,000 daily.
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ITALIANS LEAVE MINES
      Murphysboro, Ill., April 1. (By A. P.) -- Scores of Italians in this vicinty today began making preparations for visits to their native country during the coal strike.
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The Cairo Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois
Volume LXIV Number 110
Tuesday Morning, April 4, 1922, Page 1
LEWIS SAYS COAL OPERATORS CAUSED STRIKE OF MINERS
Union Miners' Chief Declares owners Refused to Meet Men on New Agreement.
FAVORS RESOLUTION FOR A COMMISSION
Urges that Investigating Body be Given Powers to Take Testimony Under Oath
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Marion Semi-Weekly, Leader, Marion, Illinois
Volume 46 Number 348
Tuesday, April 4, 1922, Page 1
WHAT THE MINERS ARE ASKING OF COAL OPERATORS
      INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., March 31. -- What, are the coal miners asking for in new wage contracts with the operators.?
      Briefly, the anthracite miners want increased wages, the bituminous miners want to retain present basic scales, and the operators in both fields want wage proposals. While both sides include various other demands in their wage proposals, the main issue is wages. In brief, the miners' are as follows:
      BITUMINOUS -- Removal of differentials within and between districts so as to result in increased wages for some workers and reduction for none; establishment of the 6-hour-day, 5-day-week; pay and one half for overtime work, and double pay for Sunday and holiday work; weekly paydays; a wage contract for two years, ending March 31, 1924.
      ANTHRACITE -- 20 per cent increase of wages for tonnage workers, and $1 a day advance for day laborers; abolition of sub-contracting through individual agreements.... establishment of the "check-off" system of collecting union dues by operators withholding miners' wages; uniformity of wages for similar occupations; extension of the eight-hour day to include all workers; a uniform "consideration" day wage for miners whose wage is reduced by abnormal working conditions; increased pay for overtime work; contract for two years, ending March 31, 1924.
14,500 COAL MINERS IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY HAVE SUSPENDED WORK
 
SUSPENSION THRUOUT UNITED STATES IS ONE HUNDRED PER CENT, SAYS LEWIS --NON-UNION MINERS DID NOT JOIN STRIKE, HOWEVER
      Fourteen thousand, five hundred miners In Williamson county suspended work at midnight Friday night, pending the settlement of their new wage scale with the operators.
      With the exception of emergency men, whom the miners agreed to leave on duty, there is not a union coal miner at work in Williamson county today. Some of the mines have drawn their fires or intend to draw their fires. The mules are being brot to the top for a vacation and only engineers and pumpmen will remain on duty at the other mines.
      That the miners have no fear of a satisfactory settlement is evidenced on every hand. They have prepared for this emergency by putting money in the bank and many are purchasing automobiles to be used in making visits to distant relatives and friends.
      The Ford agency reports the sale of over one hundred cars in this county during the month of March, the majority of which were sold to miners.
      Reports received here show that Illinois is all out. Benton is having a big celebration today in honor of the eight hour day. Speakers of national prominence are there.
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      SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 1. -- Illinois miners kept their promise to the international union and walked out 95,000 strong closing 1,033 mines in the largest district of the U. M. W. of A.
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      SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 1. -- The walkout in this state was perfectly peaceful. No trouble has been reported and none is expected. Many of the operators over the state are refusing to accept the proffered help of the unions to keen the pumps going, but are using office forces to man the pumps.
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The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Twenty-Second Year Number 121
Wednesday, April 26, 1922, Page 1
DEMAND CUT MINERS' WAGE
Employers Believe Satisfactory Agreement Can Be Reached Soon
PLAN UNDER WAY
(By United Press)
      Chicago, Ill., April 26 -- Slash of 25 per cent in wages of coal miners will be demanded by their employers in conference to reach separate state agreements as proposed by Frank Farrington, head of the Illinois miners union, it was learned today.
      Mine operators do not believe with Farrington that separate agreements can be negotiated at an early date.
      "I do not believe the strike will be settled until ghe miners are badly beaten," said Dr. F. C. Honnold, secretary of the Illinois Operators Association. "The miners I believe are now convinced that they will have to take a cut in wages and are ready to do so. But when they find how deep a cut they will have to take there will be an awful howl."
      Honnold indicated that the strike or possibly a lockout, would last until long after the coal in storage is exhausted and the country is depending upon union miners for its supply.
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Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, Illinois
Volume 46, Number 360
Tuesday, May 16, 1922, Page 1
ILLINOIS WANTS TO KNOW WHY
District Miners at Springfield Call Upon John L. Lewis for Explanation
      A meeting of the District Board members of the U. M. W. of A. was held Wednesday in Springfield at which time the board demanded that President Lewis assemble the International Policy Committee in order that it might be determined who was responsible for allowing Districts 10 and 23 to continue work in direct violation of the instructions of the International Committee and in violation of the instructions laid down by the International Policy Committee which met in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 24. This explanation is demanded by the District Executive Board of Illinois for the purpose of protecting the Illinois mine workers.
      Hugh Willis of Herrin has also conducted a personal investigation in St. Louis and Chicago and finds that thousands of tons of coal are being shipped into the Illinois market from Kentucky and Tennessee, which otherwise these districts are not allowed to work. This shipping of coal into the Illinois markets is in a way directly responsible for the Illinois miners remaining idle.
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Herrin Massacre
June 21 & 22, 1922
See what took place : Herrin Massacre
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Coal Review, Washington D. C.
Volume IV Number 25
June 28, 1922, Page 28
Strikers In Force, Stop Operation Of Fulton County Strip Mines
      CANTON, Ill., June 27. -- Operation of all strip mines in Fulton county was suspended Saturday when approximately 100 union miners, loaded in automobiles, rode from mine to mine, warning the workers that further operations were displeasing. The workers quit immediately, having before them the fresh memory of what happened near Herrin earlier in the week.
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The Cairo Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois
Volume 54, Number 234
Tuesday Morning August 24, 1922, Page 1
ILLINOIS MINERS BACK IN PITS AND COAL IS MOVING
Nearly All Mines in State Are Operating at Full Tilt Reports Say
CHICAGO DEALERS SAY COAL WILL BE HIGHER
      Chicago, Aug. 23. (By A. P.) -- With most of the 90,000 Illinois coal miners back in the pits after 114 days' strike, Chicago dealers said today the householders would be able to get all the coal they want next winter but will pay about $2 a ton more than last year. Local dealers estimated that coal which sold last winter for $8.50 a ton will bring $10, next winter.
      Mine cost of production in Illinois last year was placed at between $3.50 and $3.65 a ton. This has not decreased, dealers said. Dealers figured that $2 for freight and $2 for handling would be added. It was customary, they said, for operators to add their loss sustained during strikes. This, one official said, estimated at $25,000,000. This loss it was said, would be spread over the estimated production up to April 1, when the present agreement expires.
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      West Frankfort, Aug. 23. (By A. P.) -- More than 100 railroad cars carrying 5000 tons of coal were shipped out of Franklin county today at the end of the first day of mining operations, it was estimated, based on the reports received from the various mines in the county. Mine officials expressed the opinion that all mines would be working at full capacity before the end of the week, thus giving employment to about 90,000 men after an enforced idleness of nearly five months.
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      Herrin, Ill., Aug. 23. (By A. P.) -- First railroad cars loaded with coal mined in Williamson county on the first day after the resumption of mining operations were seen moving throughout the county tonight, all bound for Chicago, and St. Louis. All roads are rushing as many cars as can be spared to the mines, most of which were in actual operation today, the first day of operation since the strike was settled in the Chicago conference yesterday.
      Miners employed in four mines in Williamson county declined to take up their work this morning when they learned that new men had been employed in the place of the old bosses who were discharged by the mine owners after the beginning of the strike, for the reason that they declined to do the work usually performed by the men who had gone on strike. Upon the advice of union officials, the miners descended into the pit, after they had been given assurance the matter would be adjusted to their satisfaction.
      Every mine in Williamson county except two were in operation today, according to State Senator W. J. Sneed, president of the miners' sub-district of West Frankfort.
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1. The Dekalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois, Twenty-Second Year Number 102, Monday, April 3, 1922
 

 
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