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|[ Introduction ]|
[ Early 1932 ]
[ Sept. to Dec. 1932 ]
Page 2 PMWA in 1933
Page 3 PMWA in 1934 & 1935
Page 4 PMWA in 1936 & 1937
Page 5 PMWA in 1938 to 1999
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The Progressive Miners of America (PMA) was a coal miners' union organized in 1932.
It was formed after United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis, sided with coal operators and subverted a contract referendum which would have reduced a miner's daily wage from $6.10 to $5.00.
In protest, miners organized mass pickets in a number of coal towns in Central Illinois. On August 24, a mass march was organized to win the support of workers in the Southern part of the state. The huge caravan was met by scores of deputies and thugs at Mulkeytown, Franklin County, Illinois. Vehicles were upended and workers were shot at and beaten.
Eight days later, delegates representing tens of thousands of miners assembled in Gillespie, Illinois. They voted to break from the United Mine Workers of America and form a new union, the Progressive Miners of America.
The PMA was more than simply a rival to the United Mine Workers of America. Rejecting Lewis' autocracy, the new union adopted democratic policies and instituted measures to ensure that their leaders would be held accountable to the membership. The new union embodied an alternative definition of unionism which broadened its role beyond wage agreements and worker grievances.
Historian Caroline Waldron Merithew notes: "the PMA was one of the few movements in which non-wage-earning women became leaders in organizing an industry that employed only male labor."
Agnes Burnes Wieck, the first president of the Women's Auxiliary of the Progressive Miners (WAPM), expanded the role of women to that of equals in their social justice struggle. Under Wieck's leadership, the WAPM were the primary organizers for the PMA in Southern Illinois and often proved to be more militant than their male counterparts in the PMA.
However, the efforts to organize were often met with violence. Shootings, beatings and bombings were all-too-common events during that period. In response, the union organized mass demonstrations throughout the state to protest civil rights violations and the violence perpetrated against their members. Among the largest occurred in January, 1933 in Springfield when the WAPM brought over 10,000 members to demand action from Illinois Governor Henry Horner.
|Photograph and Explanation of telegram from: |
Since the spring of 1933 Taylorville and most of Christian County had comprised a war zone with the combatants being the United Mine Workers of America and the breakaway Progressive Mine Workers of America. The National Guard was called up for months on end to occupy Taylorville in particular and thereby prevent pitched gun battles. If someone knocked on a miner's door after dark, interior lights would be extinguished and a firearm acquired before that door was opened. Men had been shot and killed while taking out their garbage.
John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers had worked out an agreement with the Peabody Coal Company whereby United Workers only would work the company's mines in Christian County. They were to be paid a reduced wage of five dollars a day. The Progressive Miners, who demanded local autonomy and a higher wage, were squeezed out and left to subsist on the produce from their backyard gardens.
Although Governor Horner had some sympathies for the Progressive Miners his hands largely were tied. John L. Lewis was able to forge strong ties with the Roosevelt administration and as time passed the Progressive Miners increasingly became influenced by communist interests. These factors made the Progressive Miners political liabilities. In response to this telegram the governor sent a copy to the Illinois attorney general's office.
The Progressive Miners of America suffered a crucial blow in 1937 when 39 members were indicted in federal court on anti-racketeering charges. Although the defense provided compelling evidence of United Mine Workers of America collusion with the Peabody Coal Company, the jury returned guilty verdicts for the accused. Subsequently, 34 received federal prison sentences, many serving time in Leavenworth, Kansas.
When the Progressive Miners of America formerly affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1937, radicals regarded it as a betrayal, believing the American Federation of Labor a regressive organization, hostile to the interests of unskilled labor.
While the union formally continued to exist until 1999, its possibility to offer mine workers a genuine alternative dissolved decades earlier. Paired against the combined forces of the United Mine Workers of America, the state and federal government, and the coal operators, the Progressives were hindered at every turn.
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|Gillespie, Illinois & Surrounding Area - Coal Mines and Mining|
|For more than 125 years, coal mining has held a predominance in the area within and around Gillespie, Illinois. Starting around 1880, coal mines were sunk in this area. With the Dorsey Mine and the Gillespie Mine shafts in or adjacent to the Village of Gillespie and the Clyde Mine near the Village of Clyde, which is now Hornsby, all being sunk in 1880 and coal production being reported in 1881; a coal industry opened a new era. Lasting all the years up until this year of 2008, coal has played a major role in the commerce of the area.|
|See : Coal Mines and Mining in the Southeast Quarter of Macoupin County|
in the months before forming
Progressive Miners of America
Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois, June 28, 1932|
A party of local miners who left here Saturday to attend a wage scale mass meeting in West Frankfort, arrived home Monday considerably bruised, which they report they sustained at the hands of state highway police and plain clothes men near Benton.
In the party were James Hoppley, Andrew Stankoven, Alba Louder, Joe Fassero, James Gansero, Mike Champion, Eddie Lubrant, Tom Mahaufie, Sam Roestal Jr., Andy Stark, Dominic Stank, Pauo Fukas and Mike Matuska. All reported to Gillespie except Hoppley, who his companions say was missing. Andrew Stankoven was the most severely injured and was treated by a physician.
The men reported that they were on their way to Buckner from West Frankfort when they were set upon by the policemen near the Benton fairground. The men report that they had created no disturbance and no attempt was made to arrest them. They were ordered out of the county by officials, beaten and then told to keep going.
Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, August 13, 1932, Page 1|
MINERS CALL STRIKE OVER REDUCED PAY
Belleville, III., Aug. 13. -- (UP) -- A general strike at all coal mines in the Belleville district, effective on Monday, was called at a mass meeting of miners here last night.
The order will affect about 2200 employees of 25 local mines which have been operating under the old wage scale of $6.10 a day. The strike was called when operators announced a reduction to the new $5 scale.
The miners issued a call to "all miners not satisfied with agreement forced upon us by disloyal officials" to meet at Benld, Ill., Sunday to lay plans for a state wide strike.
Another mass meeting was called for Monday here to take steps to enforce the strike order and prevent the operation of mines in the district.
The meeting last night adopted a resolution calling for a state convention to consider recalling district officers and deposition of members of the scale committee, which voted favorably on the new wage scale.
Springfield, Ill., Aug. 13. -- (UP) -- Mines thruout Illinois were picketed today by union coal diggers protesting against a new $5 day basic wage agreement, as they sought to prevent other union miners, favorable to the new scale from going to work.
Mines in central Illinois, where opposition to the new contract strongest, were picketed on all sides shortly after powerful mine whistles let loose siren like blasts at 6 o'clock -this morning to let miners know that "diggins" would hoist coal today for the first time in more than four months in most instances.
Opposition to the scale appeared today, to have gained strength, as pickets induced many miners to return to their homes as they appeared at mines to report for work.
Mines here were picketed by many diggers from the local union of John H. Walker, president of the Illinois district union. With hundreds of other miners acting as pickets they posted themselves at all approaches to mines and warned back other miners who, favoring acceptance of the scale, reported for work.
In many instances the pickets were successful in their arguments. There was no violence altho some threats promising a "beating up" or we'll blow your head off were heard. The threats were made by pickets to men, who appeared at diggings ready to work.
Meanwhile members of locals here and in other parts of central Illinois, ignoring a threat of John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers of America, to revoke their union membership if they picket mines and hold mass meetings of protest, planned huge mass meetings for here today and at Benld and Gillespie tomorrow.
Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, August 15, 1932, Page 1|
CITIZENS ARM FOR TROUBLE
WILL REPEL INVASION OF TAYLORVILLE
Miners Working Under New Agreement to Be Protected.
Taylorville, Ill., Aug. 15. -- (United Press.) -- With merchants, lawyers, doctors and clerks acting as patrols, the citizenry of Christian county today presented a grim "front" to a threatened "march" of union coal miners, protesting of the five dollar wage scale agreement and determined to persuade other union diggers in this section to quit work.
Employed at vantage points on stale highways, at railroad stations and near mines, so as to head off any of the "marching" miners, the Citizenry guard, armed with shotguns, rifles, pistols and tear gas bombs, were ready to deal with any "invaders." Will Protect Workers
Sheriff Charles Wienecke, who swore in members of the guard as special deputy sheriffs, to help put down any disorders, said that he was prepared to give appropriate protection to union miners who have accepted the five dollar agreement and who want to work.
"We will not stand for any interference with men in Christian county who want to work," he said. "No one is going deprive a Christian county citizen from working."
Altho the citizens, comprising members of the American Legion post here, the Taylorville Association of Commerce and of citizens committees in various county townships were on patrol duty early the "invaders" failed to put in an appearance.
Reports were that they had planned to leave Benld where they held a huge mass meeting yesterday and voted for a state-wide strike in protest of the five dollar wage, early today to reach here at 8 o'clock this morning.
Efforts to ascertain their location when they failed to appear however, proved fruitless, the only leader, Dan McGill, Springfield, who would be located, saying he had nothing to say.
Most of Mines Hoisting
At Benld there was no evidence of any effort to organize for a "march" on here where most all coal mines were hoisting today. Neither was there an indication in Springfield, where the idea for the "march" on Taylorville originated at a miners' mass meeting Saturday, that plans for such "march" had been prepared. A report from Benld was to the effect that a "policy committee" had gone to Springfield to work out the details for the "March" and fix a date for staging it.
Authorities here however said they would not relax their vigilance pointing out that the miners, opposing a reopening of "diggings" on a five dollar day basis, may be employing a ruse.
They said they would continue maintaining a guard until certain that plans for a "march" had been abandoned.
The guards patrolled in groups. Most of them were dressed in regular "store clothes," with here and there someone garbed in knickers or overalls.
Calls Leaders Communists
Colonel George Seaman, chairman of the Christian County Citizens' Protective league, with a membership of 1,000, denounced those urging miners to picket Christian county "diggings" as Communists.
Others who said the prospective pickets were Communists were Warren Powell and Glen Schaeffer, operators of mines at Pana.
They said "Communists" were attempting to agitate Pana miners and requested aid of citizens in preventing their interference with mine operations.
A group of Taylorville miners who attended a mass meeting at Benld, Macoupin county, yesterday, reported today that they were manhandled, stoned and run out of the town, termed in the recent Wickersham report as "the wickedest town in Illinois."
Thousands of southern Illinois coal miners returned to work today under the terms of the recently adopted $5 daily basic wage scale.
In Franklin county, where one-fourth of the union membership in the state works, 2,000 miners were busy either hoisting coal or preparing the shafts for operations this week.
An additional 4,000 miners, who have been idle for four months, were expected to be recalled during the week to place coal production in Franklin county on a normal scale.
None of the mines in the southern Illinois coal belt reported a shortage of men available.
Two mines of the Orient Coal company, largest coal mines in the world, were hoisting coal with full crews today, while two shafts of the Old Ben Coal company were nearing normal production schedules.
Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, August 16, 1932, Page 5|
OPPOSITION TO NEW PAY SCALE TO BE PLANNED
Gillespie, Ill., Aug. 16. -- Plans for opposing the new $5 day wage contract of the Illinois district mine union were mapped out at a conference here yesterday of representatives of 86 local unions principally from Springfield, Nokomis, Staunton, Benld, Gillespie, West Frankfort, Belleville, Harrisburg and Peoria. John Pescek, Benld, was chairman of the conference.
The conference voted to "strike" against the $5 wage claiming that its ratification by district and international union officials at Springfield last week was gained thru a ruse. They said that a check of locals shows the scale was rejected by the state membership in a referendum on August 6.
In support of this the representatives of the various locals present submitted their local vote on the proposal. The total count, it was said, showed the 86 locals represented voted 15,315 to 5,283 against the wage agreement.
Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, August 22, 1932, Page 1|
COAL STRIKE CONTINUES IN ILLINOIS PITS
Taylorvllie, Ill., Aug. 22. -- (UP) -- "Strike" of Illinois union coal miners, protesting a $5 day basic wage agreement, continued approximately 100 per cent effective in central Illinois today despite attempts of the Peabody Coal company to open four large mines near here this morning.
Sirens, signifying that "diggins" *would attempt to hoist coal blew in all four last night and early today. Altho several hundred armed citizen deputy sheriffs stood ready to give protection to those who wished to work no miners appeared except for picket duty.
Citizen guards were sworn in for duty at the four mines, located here, at Kincaid, Langleyville and Tovey, yesterday and last night, consisting of farmers from thruout Christian county, and business men here. They assembled here at 5 o'clock this morning and marched to the mine. In addition there were 150 coal company deputies who stood on guard at the mines.
A picket force of about 1,000 miners from local unions here were also on duty at the mines to turn back "diggers" who appeared for work.
Activities of the citizen guard was restricted to keeping highways and approaches to mines clear of barriers. There was no interference with picketing.
The state coal industry appeared today to have reached a stalemate with "strikers" claiming a complete tie-up of six of the state's sub-districts, that three were partly on "strike," that two mines out of 18 were working in another and that the situation in the remaining one was undetermined.
According to this report, read at a mass meeting in Kincaid yesterday by Tony Novak, Pana, member of the "strikers" policy committee appointed at Benld on August 14, only a few thousand miners out of an approximate state organization of 45,000 are employed.
These miners, Novak said are working In southern Illinois.
Estimate 25,000 at Work
Chicago, Aug. 22. -- (UP) --At least 25,000 coal miners were at work today in Illinois mines, according to estimates of the Illinois coal operators' association.
Officials said that practically all mines in Vermilion, Williamson, Saline, Franklin and Perry counties were working and that some mines in Jackson and Marion counties were at work.
A number of mines in the northern field and a few in the Belleville district also were reported working. Some eight or 10 additional mines will be ready to start production during the week, it was said.
Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, August 22, 1932, Page 1|
ONE KILLED IN MINE ROW AT ZIEGLER
Ziegler, Ill., Aug . 22. -- (UP) -- Domtuic Lauranti, 32 year old miner, was shot to death today in a clash between deputy sheriffs and pickets at the Bell & Zoller mines here.
Seven other pickets were wounded, nine seriously, when the deputies fired Into a group of about 200 pickets and then charged them with clubs and pistols.
The pickets retreated thru the streets of Ziegler. All available police were called to re-enforce about 50 special deputies sworn in yesterday by Sheriff Browning Robinson when the pickets began assembling at the mines.
Laurant's body was found near the mine by deputies after the pickets had been dispersed. He had been killed by a revolver shot in the back. His body was held at a local undertaking establishment.
Plans for an inquest were abandoned when about 500 persons gathered outside the undertaking establishment and became unruly. Sheriff Robinson ordered the inquest postponed and persuaded the crowd to disperse.
Harry Sukowski, a miner, was treated today for a gunshot wound in the arm and another in the hip. He said he was standing on a street near his home watching the fighting when a stray bullet struck him.
He said deputies were firing frequently into the crowd as it retreated thru the streets and he believed it was a bullet from one of the deputies' guns which struck him.
The others wounded were treated for cuts and bruises inflicted by the deputies who wielded clubs. Several received painful scalp wounds, but none was seriously hurt.
Sheriff Robinson said a complete investigation would be made immediately into the clash, which followed a day and night of disturbances at mass meetings of miners to protest against acceptance of the new $5 wage scale agreement.
A meeting here last evening was broken up and another at West Frankfort, ten miles away, was terminated by action of deputies and police.
Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois, August 31, 1932
The largest procession of miners that ever passed over the roads of Illinois headed for Franklin County on Wednesday of last week.
Thousands and thousands of automobiles and trucks lined the highways leading from Springfield, Nokomis, Pana, Hillsboro, Mt. Olive, Staunton, Gillespie, Benld, Belleville and other places.
All of this great cavalcade met at Staunton [Staunton Labor Temple] where the procession was formed before the march was taken up. Every man was warned that under no circumstances would he be allowed to carry arms, not even a pocket knife. This mission was to be one of peace and their intent was to persuade the miners of Franklin and Williamson counties to cease work and join with them in an earnest endeavor to try and secure a reasonable wage for their work.
Everything necessary for several days stay was taken including commissaries, ambulances, first aid men to look after any one that became sick or injured.
They had received notice from the sheriff of Franklin County that they would not be allowed to enter that county, but this did not deter them from their peaceful mission. They were confident that if the matter was properly explained to the Franklin and Williamson county miners that they would join their protesting strike against the recently signed $5 basic wage scale.
The great procession of miners arrived in Perry County. Intent on stopping for the night, they were directed to proceed along a certain route. It was along this route that they were led into a trap that had been planned by the sheriff of Franklin County and his thousands of special deputies that had been sworn in to try and keep the miners out of Franklin County.
After the miners had been led into a trap, having been directed over a wrong road, they were met by a barrage of machine gun fire from each side of the road, and the highway became a living hell. Autos were disabled, tires punctured, holes shot through the bodies and radiators of the of the autos, while the men taken by surprise deserted their autos, and ran for the corn fields and other places in order to save their lives. Such a sight was never before witnessed in Illinois and we hope that it will never be again.
In Gillespie last Wednesday night the Main street was filled with people, women and children crying as the meager news came drifting in, that hundreds had been killed and many more wounded. The first reports brought tears to the eyes of nearly everyone as they thought of a husband or son that was in the big procession, and it was not until the next morning that the real news brought by some of the returning miners that there was no one killed but many were injured by shots, broken glass and otherwise.
Perhaps the saddest accident was that of John Williams, who resides with his parents in the north part of this city. He was shot through the mouth, his teeth knocked out and his jaw bone shattered. He is now in the Litchfield hospital and is gradually improving although it will be a long time before he recovers. He is a nephew of sheriff Frank Fries of Carlinville.
The men deserted their autos, and were not allowed to enter the county to get them. Later they were pushed across the county line out of Franklin County by the sheriff and his deputies and were later recovered by their owners, many of them in a dilapidated condition. Many cars, it is stated, were wrecked beyond repair.
One of the strangest accounts that we have heard of the terrible affair is given by Joe Pecik, President of Local No. 2219:
the account follows
"Just as we entered Perry County, about a quarter mile from Pinckneyville, we were stopped by deputy sheriffs who were armed threatening death if the men proceeded. After considerable persuasion the men were permitted to go on.
|Progressive Miners of America|
Photograph Courtesy of : John Fritsche
Photograph Courtesy of : Jill Secoy
In September of 1932, the founding convention of the Progressive Miners of America was held at the Colonial Theater in
Gillespie, Illinois. |
Delegates representing tens of thousands of miners assembled. They voted to break from the United Mine Workers of America and form a new union, the Progressive Miners of America.
Photograph Courtesy of : minewar.org
In 1932, a newspaper "The Progressive Miner" and known as the "Official publication of the Progressive Mine Workers of America." began publishing in Gillespie, Illinois. Sometime in the next few years, the newspaper publication was relocated to Marissa, St. Clair County, Illinois and continued until 1957.
First Headlines :
Photograph Courtesy of : minewar.org
Smash The Terror In Franklin County
NEW UNION LAUNCHED
The Progressive Miner - August 10, 1932
BENLD, IL. -- Coal miners agreed to form The Progressive Mine Workers of America.
The Progressive Miner - August 14, 1932
BENLD, IL. -- At a meeting of the miners, they voted to travel to Taylorville, Christian County, Illinois to shut down the the Peabody Coal Mine, where the miners there had agreed to going back to work by accepting the contract.
The Progressive Miner - August 19, 1932
BENLD, IL. -- Fifteen hundred miners started for Taylorville, and were able to shut down the mine because the local miners refused to cross the picket lines.
The Progressive Miner - September 1, 1932
GILLESPIE, IL. -- At the Colonial Theater, a convention, lasting three days, was held founding the Progressive Miners of America.
This new union was representing approximately 30,000 coal miners.
Claude Pearcy, of Gillespie, was the acting president and later became president of the union.
William Keck was the acting secretary-treasurer.
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|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, September 6, 1932, Page 1|
STRIKERS TO GO BEFORE LEGISLATURE
Gillespie. III., Sept. 6. -- (United Press.) -- Legislative investigation of coal mining conditions in Illinois, the recent battle of Mulkeytown, in southern Illinois and alleged maladministration of office by Franklin county officials will be sought by a convention of "striking miners" before a special session of the Illinois general assembly which convenes at Springfield tomorrow, it was announced here today.
The announcement, made at the headquarters offices here of the Progressive Miners of America, a recently formed organization of Illinois and Indiana miners protesting action of Illinois district and United Mine Workers of America officers in approving a reduced day basic wage scale for Illinois diggers, stated that the committee will consist of five miners who will go before the assembly, present their case and demand an inquiry.
Want "Conditions Exposed"
According to Arthur Hughes, Gillespie, in charge of publicity for the new miners group, the investigation is to be sought for the purpose of "exposing condition in Franklin county," where, he said county officers recently "overstepped their powers" in blocking an invasion of the county by central and northern Illinois miners seeking to spread their "strike" against the reduced wage scale." The committee, Hughs said, will be headed by Gerry Allard, West Frankfort, who with wife was recently arrested in Franklin county as he was guiding a group of students on a tour of investigation of working conditions in southern Illinois coal fields. Allard, formerly in charge ol unemployment relief for miners of the Illinois district union, is also expected to describe living conditions of miners families, many of whom, it is said, face starvation because of a long spell of unemployment in Illinois due to a wage controversy following the expiration last March 31 of a wage scale contract.
Other members of the committee in addition to Allard are Andrew Steed, Gillespie; Joe Goetz, Peoria; Albert O'Brien, Dowell; and Dan McGill, Springfield.
Date Not Yet Fixed
No date, it was said, has been fixed for the committee to appear before the legislature which was called to meet in special session by Gov. L. L. Emerson, to consider enacting laws to provide relief for approximately 700,000 Illinoians said to be facing starvation because of unemployment.
It is expected however, that the committee will get in touch with Lieut. Gov. Fred E. Sterling, Rockford, presiding officer of the state senate, and Representative David B . Shanahan, Chicago, speaker of the house, with a view to setting a day for their appearance before a joint session of the two houses or before separate sessions of each house.
"We did not know just what steps can be taken," said Hughes, "but we believe the firing on strikers by Franklin county deputy sheriffs at Mulkeytown on August 23 and the preventing of them from entering Franklin county to picket mines was an overstepping of their powers by the officers of that county."
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, September 7, 1932, Page 2|
FOUR HUNDRED MINER REBELS INVADE FIELD
Coal City, Ill., Sept. 7. -- Four hundred striking miners from central Illinois invaded the Grundy county coal fields today and ordered 200 men to quit work at the Wilmington mine.
The men left the pits immediately and called a meeting to decide whether they would join the strike for higher wages.
There was no violence.
State highway police had been sent in earlier to prevent trouble.
the 400 invaders said they were sent out by the new Progressive Mine Union of America headquarters at Gillespie, Ill., and were ordered to shut down every mine in northern Illinois.
The mine at Wilmington has been working under the new $5 a day basic wage scale. Strikers in central Illinois are demanding a return to the old $6.10 a day scale. The Wilmington mine has been producing about 4,000 tons of coal daily, most of which is shipped to northern Illinois and Wisconsin cities.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 11, 1932, Page 5
State Miners' Head Issues Warning Of Disciplinary Action
SPRINGFIELD, Sept. 10. -- AP -- Warning of disciplinary action was issued to the miners of Illinois today by President John H. Walker of the State Miners' union in a new circular urging return to work under the $5 wage scale.
The circular, attacking leaders of the new Progressive Miners' union formed in opposition to the regular state organization, will be mailed to all 45,000 diggers in the state Monday.
Meantime, at Gillespie, the policy committee of the Progressive, miners was holding a "secret" session to discuss "important matters" the nature of which it refused to disclose and announced appointment of Gerry Allard of West Frankfort editor of "Progressive Miner," official weekly of the new union.
Text was also made public of resolutions adopted at a mass meeting in Staunton yesterday asking Gov. Emmerson to form a commission to investigate routing of a caravan of striking miners at Mulkeytown in Southern Illinois last month.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 13, 1932, Page 3|
Drive For Miners Backing Launched By William Sneed
Meets Group of Sangamon County Workers for Purpose of Forming New Union Locals
SPRINGFIELD, Sept. 12. -- AP -- Efforts to rally miners of Sangamon county behind the United Mine Workers of America were launched here tonight under direction of International Representative William J. Sneed of Herrin.
One hundred fifty diggers met in a downtown hotel for the reported purpose of forming new union locals in opposition to those, who have left the Illinois Miners union and joined the Progressive Miners of America. Sneed, predicting the Progressive miners would be short-lived, issued a statement which said the meeting was called on petition of "loyal members of the United Mine Workers of America, representing 90 per cent of the membership in Sangamon county."
A resolution adopted by the miners pledged their loyalty and "help to reorganize every local union in this field and comply with the contract in effect between our organization and the Illinois Coal Operators association."
Organization of the new locals, Sneed said, was not completed.
Three mines employing 750 men planned to resume operations under the $5 wage scale in the Belleville district tomorrow morning, Sneed said, and four others would be at work before the week ended.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, September 13, 1932, Page 1
West Frankfort, Ill., Sept. 13. -- (United Press.) -- Local union 4,173, United Mine Workers of America at New Orient, the largest local in the world, today was on record as opposed to the Progressive Miners union and "all their dual movements toward the United Mine Workers."
|Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois, September 14, 1932
A mass meeting was held In Benld Monday, Sept. 12th, 1932, to choose men who are to return to Franklin County for Picket Duty.
Local 3464, Gillespie, at their regular meeting held Sept. 12th went on record to join the Progressive Miners of America by a unanimous vote and to repudiate the U.M.W.of A.
-- Miners Publicity Committee
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 14, 1932, Page 3|
Shock Troops Try To Close Illinois Mines
GILLESPIE, Sept. 13. -- AP -- "Shock troops" of the Progressive Miners of America, newly organized union protesting the recently enacted $5 basic wage scale, tonight moved in a second offensive against three Illinois counties in attempts to close operating mines.
Arthur Hughes, press representative for the new union, said the striking miners first would seek "peaceful co-operation" of city and county officials before attempting to enter counties where miners were working.
The drive, he said, was against three counties -- Franklin, Perry, and St. Clair. Several mines are operating there, under the wage agreement sponsored by the old union, the United Mine Workers of America, headed by John L. Lewis, international president, and John H. Walker, Illinois district president.
A few weeks ago, a nine mile caravan of striking miners was repelled by sheriffs deputies with clubs and gunfire as it sought to enter Franklin county for picketing duty. Waller Moody, chief of the state highway police, said a similar march against the mines would not be tolerated on the grounds that invaders blocked highways .
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 15, 1932, Page 4|
Franklin County Maintains Guard Against Miners
Mine Labor Leader Denies New Invasion, but Sheriff Keeps 24-Hour Watch
BENTON, Sept. 14. -- AP -- Although Arthur Hughes, spokesman for the Progressive Miners of America, announced late today that no second mass invasion of Franklin county was planned, county authorities said a 24-hour guard has been placed on every highway entering the county.
"I am taking no chances during the present trouble," Sheriff Browning- Robinson said. "The upstate miners will not enter Franklin county. No miner here has bean asked to work or not to work, but every man that wants to work will have the full protection of the authorities."
The county was aroused last night by rumors of another march similar to that staged recently by thousands of striking miners intent on dissuading Franklin county from working under the new $5 wage scale. A band of armed citizens was hastily assembled, but was dismissed today when the rumors proved groundless.
About 30 pickets from the Progressive Miners union, recently formed in opposition to the new wage scale, appeared at the entrances of the hotel in Springfield, where John L. Lewis, international president of the United Mine Workers has his headquarters.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 16, 1932, Page 4|
Progressive Union Pickets Five Mines In Coal Battles
Belleville Coal City, Are, Subject to Attack in Fight for Supremacy; Injuries Result.
SPRINGFIELD, Sept. 15. -- AP -- Five mines, one at Coal City and four at Belleville, were picketed by members of the Progressive Miners Union today, as the battle for supremacy of Illinois coal fields continued.
At Coal city the attempts of miners to run a guantlet of picketers resulted in injury to T. C. Rettenmeyer of Wilmington, an electrician, who was cut by glass from his windshield when the picketers threw a log at his car.
Members Own Mines
Four mines owned by members of the St. Clair-Madison county Coal Operators were picketed near Belleville today following the refusal ol the operators to attend a wage conference called by the Progressive leaders.
Possible origin of unfounded reports yesterday that a second march on Franklin county was begun, was seen today in a report that 500 miners in an automobile caravan had gone to the Livingston mine yesterday in the belief the mine was hoisting coal commercially. They left when they found only enough coal was hoisted to supply the water pumps at the mine.
John Walker Speaks
John H. Walker , president of the Illinois United Mine Workers, today told the State Federation of Labor at Decatur that his organization was reaching the proper settlement of the mine wage problem. Walker said he believed the United Mine Workers Union will emerge from the difficulty "the better for having been through it."
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 20, 1932, Page 1|
MINERS SIGN AGREEMENT; WORK TO RESUME FRIDAY
HILLSBORO, Sept. 19. -- AP -- Officers of the Progressive Miners union and the Hillsboro Coal company tonight signed an agreement for return to work in the company s mine of 300+ men under the $6.10 wage scale. Work is to resume Friday. The miners today had surrendered their charter in the United Mine Workers of America, and organized a new local to be affiliated with the Progressive Miners' union.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 20, 1932, Page 7|
UNION HEAD REVOKES BELLEVILLE CHARTER
BELLEVILLE, Sept. 19. -- AP -- John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers of America, has revoked the charter of Belleville local union No. 2708, which has 400 members and is the largest in this sub-district, it was learned today.
The members of the local had refused to return to work under the $5 wage scale approved by officials of the United Mine Workers, and many had joined the newly-formed Progressive Miners' union, which is demanding a $6.10 wage scale. Charters of several other locals in the state previously had been revoked.
William F. Davis, manager of the Nigger Hollow mine, seven miles northwest of Belleville, where the members of the local had been employed prior to the wage dispute, announced today the mine would reopen soon under the $5 wage scale with the employment of miners "loyal to the United Mine Workers.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 20, 1932, Page 12|
GUARDSMEN STOP MINERS' MEETING; PROTEST PLANNED
Strikers Refused Admittance to Park by Christian County Authorities; Move to Sangamon
TAYLORVILLE, Sept. 19. -- AP --Defeated by national guardsmen in an attempt to hold a mass meeting here, nearly 500 striking miners this afternoon moved toward the Sangamon county line outside the jurisdiction of Christian county authorities and planned a protest meeting at Pawnee.
The strikers this afternoon were refused admittance to Miners park here where they intended to take concerted action to protest charges that strikers were responsible for the exploding of two bombs here Sunday, damaging the office of the Daily Breeze, a newspaper, and the building housing headquarters of the United Mine Workers of America, the union advocating the $5 wage scale.
Sheriff Calls Militia
About 120 Illinois guardsmen flanked the park and turned back miners as they sought entrance. There were no disorders.
Called here on request of Sheriff Charles A. Wieneke and various citizens, the militia arrived early today and began patrolling streets under orders to allow no mass meetings and to prevent crowds from, congregating. Only one hint of disorder occurred. One man was arrested as he heckled guardsmen clearing the streets.
Edward R . Hemmer of the publicity committee of the Progressive Miners of America, newly organized union fostered by strikers seeking a return to the old $6.10 wage scale, today issued a statement denying strikers were responsible for the bombings. He charged that the Peabody Coal company, owners of Christian county mines, either directly or indirectly was responsible for the placing of the bombs to "alienate sympathy from the striking miners."
He expressed a desire that the guilty be prosecuted and said the strikers were asking the Civil Liberties union to send representatives here to aid in an investigation.
C. F. Jewell, publisher of Ths Daily Breeze, said he believed the bombing of the newspaper office was the work of disgruntled strikers 1to express disapproval of the Breeze's position in the mine wage controversy. Damage from the bombings was slight.
Christian county was one of the first focal points in the wage dispute. Shortly after the $5 wage scale was declared in effect by the old union, central Illinois strikers marched on Taylorville, obtained recruits for the strike and succeeded in closing most of the mines in the county.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 21, 1932, Page 1|
MORE MINERS JOIN IN STRIKE FOR INCREASE
Whether Brewerton Laborers Will Continue Protest, However, is Question
LINCOLN, Sept. 20. -- AP -- By a vote of 100 to 33, local No. 815, United Mine Workers of America, composed of miners who today abandoned work at the Brewerton Coal company mine near here at the persuasion of pickets from Springfield, decided to return to the shafts under the $5 basic daily wage scale.
SPRINGFIELD, Sept. 30. -- AP -- Another Illinois mining community -- Lincoln -- today saw an invasion of strikers as pickets appeared at the Brewerton mine and persuaded 100 workers to desert the mine in protest to the $5 wage scale. Whether the Brewerton miners would continue on a strike was not determined but Lincoln miners said in view of the fact union men there voted overwhelmingly in favor of the $5 scale, many of the men might return to work.
Mine War is Quiet
The mine war sector was quiet over the state tonight. At Taylorville in Christian county National Guardsmen continued to tramp the streets and to prevent citizens from congregating but their commanding officer said there were no hints of likely disturbance. Troops were sent there after the sheriff called for aid, describing the situation as out of hand. His request for troops was prompted by the bombing of two buildings Sunday, one a newspaper office and the other housing headquarters of the United Mine Workers of America, old union fostering the new wage scale.
300 Return to Work
Leaders of the newly organized Progressive Miners union, composed of miners asking a return of the previous $6.10 scale, disclaimed responsibility for the Taylorville bombings and asked a thorough investigation. The Progressive union announced signing of a contract with the Hillsboro Coal company for 300 men to return to work under the $6.10 scale Friday.
In Springfield, John L. Lewis, international president of the United Mine Workers, revoked the charter of the largest union local of the Belleville district because members rebelled against returning to work under the $5 scale.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, September 24, 1932, Page 6|
STRIKERS TO MAKE OFFER NEXT MONDAY
Gillespie, Ill., Sept. 24. -- (United Press.) -- Completion of a wage contract which will be submitted to a group of Illinois coal mine owners at conference In Edwardsville Monday was announced here today by a scale committee of the Progressive Miners of America. The organization is composed of miners "striking" against a recently approved reduced union wage scale contract agreement.
Announcement that the committee which has been In conference here for several days, had completed its work, and had prepared a wage scale to submit to operators, was made by Arthur Hughes, publicity advisor to the new union.
Details as to what the agreement provides were withheld and will be kept secret until the Edwardsvillle conference has been concluded, Hughes said.
It was learned however, that the committee of which Claude Pearcy, Gillespie, president of the new union and chairman of the committee, had agreed to go into the conference with the operators with an "open mind" so that a day wage and tonnage rate which would allow operators to compete with Kentucky mines might be agreed upon.
The committee, it was insistent, however, that It will not accept a wage reduction similar to that approved by officers of the Illinois District Union and the United Mine Workers cf America who last month approved a five dollar day wage contract. A previous agreement expiring last March 31 provided for a $6.10 day wage.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, September 26, 1932, Page 1|
FATAL RIOT WIDENS MINE UNION RIFT
Springfield, Ill, Sept. 26. -- (UP) -- A mine riot which yesterday cost the life of a city policeman, injuries to nine others, two seriously, and the arrest of 25 men, affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America, had further inflamed today a war between opposite factions of Illinois union miners.
The riot occurred late yesterday when several organizers of the national union's returning from a meeting at miners "loyal" to the union in a controversy over its recent approval of a reduced wage scale agreement, were heckled and beset by about 600 "striking" miners.
Pickets Rush Loyalists
As the "strikers," who seek to have an old day wage scale of $6.10 restored closed in on the "loyalists" several of the organizers drew revolvers and fired shots over the heads of the crowd.
A rage of fury swept the pickets and when a rush of several hundred of them against the "loyalists" had subsided, Porter Williams, 42, a world war veteran and a detective sergeant on the Springfield force, was dead, two miners pickets had been shot, a "loyalist" had been stabbed and six others had been injured.
Garnett Smith of Herrin, where he is president of local union 1776, was the man stabbed . He is also formally charged with the murder of Williams, claiming to have shot the policeman, accidentally in a tussle In the crowd. He is at St. John's hospital with two stab wounds chest and one in the head in addition to other injuries from kicks and blows received as a picket mob tried to take him away from the police. His condition is critical.
William McAuley, Springfield, striker leader, termed the shooting of Williams and their wounding of two strike pickets an outrage.
"The men were picketing peacefully and it was the sight of firing revolvers by operators' gunmen that caused the rioting," he said.
"The men became enraged and fought back.
Demand for an investigation of the riot for recall of state troops in control of the Taylorville mining area and for an investigation in connection with a repulsed picket invasion of southern Illinois coal fields last month were contained in a statement issued here today.
The statement was issued by Arthur Hughes, Gillespie, in behalf of the progressive miners of America, a "strikers" organization. Hughs, publicity advisor to the new union, was a witness to the shooting and rioting yesterday.
The statement expressed regret at the killing of Williams and said further:
"We hope that the governor of this state will immediately order an investigation of the entire state mining condition, and that the commission will include miners of the state who are qualified to direct such an investigation."
|Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois, September 28, 1932
The following report is given on the Springfield Riot of last Sunday by Arthur Hughes of this city who was in Springfield and saw the entire proceedings :
"I was in Springfield on last Sunday and was an eye witness to the entire affair. I went to the K. of C. building about 2:00 o'clock just after the United Mine Workers had went upstairs to hold their meeting, and I judge that there must have been about 800 pickets on the outside. The meeting upstairs lasted until about 20 minutes toll 6:00 p.m. apparently hoping that the crowd of Progressive miners would disperse however they increased until I judge there must have been 2500 men in the picket lines, then about 20 minutes till six the meeting adjourned and the men started to come out the front door, at which time the pickets started their hooting and booing. The officials of the United Mine Workers of America remained in the building for possibly ten minutes seemingly thinking that the pickets would follow the others off, but they waited for the Officers and when they finally came out, the noise was increased until it was a veritable roar of noise. These officials went through the lines for about half a block and finally became so enraged and angered at their failure to have a successful meeting and the appearance of the pickets, that they pulled guns and fired into the crowd, at which time the pickets fled in disorder and I saw the man who was shot double up and fall to the ground and then the second shot was fired and this must have been the shot that injured Dan McGill. After the second shot the gunmen broke ranks and ran for the hotel and the pickets became so enraged at the shooting of their men that they followed in pursuit and I saw several of the gunmen knocked down with men's bare fists. The Press have stated that rocks and clubs were used by the pickets but I can truthfully say that never saw a rock thrown not a club used by the pickets but I did see several men using their fists.The Progressive Miners of America report the following as the general situation in the Mining Industry:
"The attempt of the United Mine Workers in the Springfield District to start the men there to work under the $5.00 wage scale was a complete failure and reported in the killing of Porter Williams, a plain clothes detective in the Springfield territory, and the shooting of two members of the Progressive Miners of America.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 4, 1932, Page 7|
NATIONAL GUARDS RUSHED TO SCENE OF MINE FLAREUP
CANTON, Oct. 3. -- (AP) -- National guardsmen and heavily armed state highway police and special deputy sheriffs were rushed here tonight after a new flareup of violence in the miners strike and to prevent further trouble. Company "F" of the 130th infantry, stationed at Peoria, was hastily mobilized shortly before 11 o'clock and ordered to leave by bus immediately for Canton.
Sheriff C. C. Prickett's large force of deputy sheriffs whom he had ordered to their homes late in the afternoon, was mobilized again and directed to guard the homes of public officials and approximately 800 employees of the Pschirrer and Clearview mines.
Troops Ordered Out
The troops were ordered out by Adj.-Gen. Carlos G. Black after two Peoria national guard officers, Maj. John Wanesborough and Capt. Amerigo Bonjean had surveyed the scene and conferred with officials.
The officers were sent here after Sheriff Prickett had requested troops following the serious wounding of Robert Pollitt, about 20, a miner employed at the Pschirrer and Clearview mines, by an unidentified gunman as he stepped from his automobile in front of his home.
Several shots were fired at him by occupants of an automobile. One bullet struck him below the shoulder and passed through his body.
The Pschirrer and Clearview mines, non-union, were the scene of a riot between strikers and workers Saturday. Six men were injured as strikers sought to prevent the men from working under the new $5 daily wage scale approved by the United Mine Workers of America and opposed by the newly formed Progressive Miners union.
State's Attorney G. Ray Senift revealed that he as well as other officials and several miners had received threatening letters as a result of the order that no picketing would be permitted in Fulton county. His house was under guard by special deputies tonight. He indicated he would ask Sheriff C. C. Prickett to call for militia.
School Children Protest
Five of the smaller mines in the county operated today and authorities said they expected two of the largest mines, inoperative for some time, would reopen tomorrow. The situation throughout the day was described by Prickett as peaceful. About 50 extra deputies patrolled mine areas.
Meanwhile the mine wage controversy extended to the ranks of school children as 164 of them walked out of the high school at Kincaid to protest the purchase of coal from the Peabody mine at Langleville by the school board.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 5, 1932, Page 2|
MINERS APPROVE NEW WAGE SCALE
GILLESPIE, Oct. 4. -- AP -- The Progressive Miners union late today adopted the wage scale proposal drafted by its scale committee, and officials of the new union said they expected 20,000 miners of the state to return to work soon under the proposed agreement.
Terms of the wage scale adopted by the constitutional convention of the union were not announced.
The first step to put the proposed wage scale into effect will be taken at Edwardsville tomorrow, when representatives of the Progressive Miners and members of the St . Clair-Madison County Coal Operators association will resume their conferences, started last week, toward a working agreement.
Lengthy debates on the new scale proposal were held throughout today. Officers of the union refused to comment on the wage proposals other than to say the scale would be low enough to enable the coal operators to compete with other coal fields. It is the general belief, however, that the scale will be a compromise between the old $6.10 scale and the new $5 scale signed by the United Mine Workers union.
William Keck , temporary secretary-treasurer of the new union, said a message was received today from the Amalgamated Miners union of Nova Scotia urging that the Progressive miners "broaden their fight to all coal regions in the United States and Canada." The message, signed by Bob Stewart, secretary-treasurer of the Amalgamated Miners, said: "We are willing to go along with a militant, responsible group such as the Progressive Miners union in Illinois."
Officials of the new union announced yesterday that a delegation of five coal miners of West Virginia, attending the convention as observers, brought word that miners of that state were contemplating joining the new union movement.
|The Daily Illini,, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 5, 1932, Page 2|
MINE MAY REOPEN
TAYLORVILLE, Oct. 4. -- AP -- Encouraged by the steady return of coal miners to their Langleyville mine, which today employed 389 workers, the Peabody Coal company this afternoon announced it would reopen mine 58 at Hewitville as soon as sufficient miners responded, and in preparation sent 15 men below to clean up and put the mine engineers to work.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 6, 1932, Page 7|
Miners Convene To Negotiate For New Wage Scale
Progressive Union in Special Session Will Hear Report on Agreement; Bar Press
GILLESPIE, Oct. 5. -- AP -- Delegates attending the progressive miners union state convention here convened in special session tonight to hear a report from the union's wage scale committee which was closeted throughout the day in an effort to negotiate a wage agreement based on a scale adopted by, the convention late yesterday.
Whether or not the committee reached an agreement, on the question could not be determined. Officers of the union refused to discuss the matter. It is generally believed, however, that the scale is a compromise between the old $6.10 contract, which expired April 1, and the $5.00 agreement signed by the United Mine Workers union.
As in previous sessions, the public and the press were not permitted inside, the convention hall tonight. All doors leading into the convention chambers were closely guarded. Only delegates showing proper credentials were admitted.
Throughout the day, while delegates worked on the drafting of the Union constitution, small groups of miners and laborers milled about outside the convention hall, in an effort to obtain what information they could from the delegates who left the building. The delegates evidently had been pledged to secrecy, as little information outside of official statements from the convention's publicity bureau could be obtained. A report that the wage scale had been set at $ 5. a day was unfounded, Claude Pearcy, temporary president, said.
One resolution brought before the convention recommended that mine examiners be elected from the rank and file rather than appointed by the State department of mines arid minerals.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, October 8, 1932, Page 1|
FOUR THOUSAND MINERS RETURN TO WORK SOON
Springfield, Ill. Oct. 8. (United Press) -- Approximately 4,000 miners, idle since March will return to work in the Springfield sub-district under a wage scale agreement signed at Edwardsville yesterday within a week. Dan McGlll, Springfield , a leader in the new Progressive Miners of America, said here today.
McGill declared the signing of the agreement at Edwardsville with Madison and and St. Clair county operators yesterday was a "victory" for miners who had rebelled against a wage agreement, approved by the United Mine Workers of America, and setup their own union. While admitting that the new agreement is almost identical with the one ratified by the older union, McGlll said that members of the new union would benefit to the extent of about ten dollars a month, because of reduced union dues.
Also it gets our new organization off to a flying start and it wont be long before it will have absorbed most of the U. M. W. of A., Illinois membership and spread thruout the country," he said.
"We were reluctant to sign a five dollar agreement but because miners in southern Illinois have resumed work under the the U. M. W. of A. scale, we were forced to give operators a chance to compete with southern Illinois and Kentucky coal operators."
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 8, 1932, Page 4|
Union , Independent Miners Agree on Basic Wage Scale
EDWARDSVILLE, Oct. 7. -- AP -- Culminating three days of negotiations, representatives of the Progressive Miners union today signed contracts with independent coal operators in St. Clair and Madison counties.
The operators said the agreement will put from 4000 to 6000 diggers to work immediately. Both operators and representatives of the new miners organization expressed themselves satisfied with the wage scale agreement calling for a daily basic wage of $5.00 a day and 68 cents per ton.
C. G. Stiehl, president of the St. Clair-Madison County Coal Operators association comprising 25 coal companies, said all members of the association would sign the agreement, eventually putting 49 mines in operation.
"Our prime object in signing this agreement, Stiehl said, was to put our men who were suffering from want, back to work. Other industries also suffered from suspension of operations and we hope our actions will result, in a quick upturn."
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 9, 1932, Page 1|
Miners Chief Says Men Will Return to Work
GILLESPIE, Oct. 8. -- AP -- Claude Pearcy, president of the Progressive Miners Union of America, predicted today at the concluding session of the union s state convention that 10,000 additional miners would be working throughout the state by Monday.
Union officials estimated more than 6,000 miners had returned to work today under the $5.00 agreement signed with independent coal operators yesterday. It was announced information was received from representatives of the union at Springfield that a number of mine operators in that vicinity were willing to sign contracts with the Progressive miners. Should contracts be signed with all independent mines in Springfield fields, it was pointed out approximately 3,500 miners in that district alone would be given employment.
That the new organization has adopted an aggressive program against mine operators who refuse to recognize the Progressive union was revealed by Gerry Allard, editor of the union's official paper, The Progressive Miner, and a member of the union's executive board.
Charging the Peabody Coal company with importing strike breakers from Logan, Mulkeytown, Christopher, and other towns in Franklin county in an attempt to resume operations at its mines in the strife-torn Taylorville field, Allard said serious complications loom if the Peabody Coal company insists in breaking the strike.
"The Illinois miners have never tolerated strike breakers," Allard said. We hope Peabody will reconsider his plans and proceed to make the necessary arrangements with the Progressive miners for resumption of work.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 11, 1932, Pages 1 & 2|
Protesting Members of Mining Unions Routed by Gas
TAYLORVILLE, Oct. 10. -- AP -- Protesting members of the newly formed Progressive Miners' union were routed by tear gas and bayonets of militiamen today when they attempted to halt operations in the coal pits of the Taylorville area.
A half dozen skirmishes were reported when a number of mines that had been idle for several weeks due to union strife resumed operations. In each instance, strikers were driven away and members of the United Mine Workers of America, who have accepted a reduced $5 a day basic wage scale, proceeded with their work.
The trouble began this morning when several hundred strikers gathered before the homes here of miners working at the reduced scale. National guardsmen escorted the miners to work, but the picketers soon rushed the mine gates.
The troops resorted to tear gas in dispersing the strikers before the employed men's home, and at the mines threatened to employ their bayonets.
[ FACING STARVATION ]
By RICHARD ROTH '34
Since the miners cannot make enough to live on under the present rate, and since there are too many miners in the state for the demand of coal, most miners of Illinois are actually facing starvation during the winter, Leonard Coventry, a graduate student in the department of economics, whose home is in Virden, told a group of students at McKinley foundation Sunday night.
Until March, 1932, the miners were operating under an agreed wage of $6.10, he said, but when the agreement came to an end a new Wage scale of $ 5.10 was inaugurated. A wage scale of $5.10 does not mean, however, that the digger is getting that amount. It means that the firemen, engineers, and those men at the top are getting $5.10. The digger receives only 68 cents a ton. Here in the Twin Cities draymen are paid 80 cents a ton.
Coventry cited the case of one of the elders in the church of his home town, saying that this miner had only 32 cents remaining out of a week's salary after paying transportation to and from Virden to Springfield, paying union dues, and buying the powder for blasting. ( Each miner must furnish his own blasting powder.) He added, however, that the miner probably had not worked a full week, but few miners had employment for more than two or three days in seven.
The trouble came to a "head" this summer, he said, after the miners' votes on the new wage scale were stolen and the national and state chairmen of the Miners' union had to set the scale at the old figure, $ 5.10. The miners picketed the Peabody mines at Taylorville, but the operators forced the miners to go to work in the Herrin district. The Herrin miners appealed to the Taylorville group, Coventry said, to aid them, resulting in the trouble last August.
Some of the miners, he said, have not worked steady for eight years, for with 45,000 miners in the state there is not a large enough demand for coal to employ this number. This large number of miners is the result of the World war, for at that time many of the miners enlisted and the city and farm youths filled the vacated places. When the contingent which had gone to France returned, the veterans swelled the total to 45,000.
Coventry attributed part of the present low wages to the conniving of the Miners union chiefs who have incited numerous strikes in three main coal fields -- the Eastern, Kentucky, and Illinois fields. Each time the union and the operators have settled for a lower figure until now the miner can no longer live on his wages.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, October 11, 1932, Page 1|
STRIKERS HIDE BEHIND WOMEN TO NO AVAIL
Taylorville, III., Oct. 11. -- (UP ) -- Womenfolk of "striking" miners, acting as a "front line" defense against state militia, failed to deter soldiers In efforts to disperse operation of the Hewittville Peabody Coal company near here.
Unlike yesterday when the strikers were dispersed twice thru use of smoke and tear gas bombs, the soldiers refrained from these tactics and slowly advanced on the pickets with fixed bayonets.
As they advanced the "strikers" yelled to their women to retreat and the picket force slowly withdrew to a point approximately a mile from there. They were warned by the soldiers that women would be given the same treatment as men It the 'strikers' persisted in picketing activities.
Retreat Down Track
A group of about 400 pickets retreated down a railroad track near the mine and apparently fearing tear gas, many of them stumbled in their hurry and were bruised, but no one was seriously hurt.
The pickets had assembled at 6 o'clock this morning for the purpose of trying to prevent former fellow diggers from getting to work at the Hewettville mine. They were forced to leave the vicinity of the mine before the arrival of the workers.
The pickets are members ot the progressive miners of America, a new miners' union composed of diggers formerly members of the United Mine Workers of America. They revolted from the older union because of that organization's approval last August of a reduced wage scale.
Since then they have negotiated an identical wage scale with independent operators declaring that they were forced to sign such a scale in order to enable operators to compete with southern Illinois coal fields where "loyal" U. M. W. of A., have gone back to work under the approved union wage scale.
District Manager Attacked
Earl A . McClintock, Springfied district manager ot the Peabody Coal Co. is recovering in St. John's hospital from lacerations and bruises sustained yesterday, when he was attacked by four men when he went to get into his automobile.
McCItntock told authorities he was unable to identify his assailants or to name a motive for their act. He said from their appearance the men looked like "hoodlums." The quartet made no attempt to rob McClintock after severely beating him.
"I won't say the men were miners." McClintock said. :In fact I don't know who they ware or why they should want to attack me."
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, October 16, 1932, Page 2|
Mine Front Quiet; Troops to Regulate Rites for 'Martyr'
TAYLORVILLE, Oct. 15. -- AP -- All was quiet today along the troubled Christian county miners battle front, but national guardsmen prepared to stand behind state highway police to insure a speedy and orderly burial tomorrow of Andrew Ganis, fatally shot Thursday by a national guardsman. Seven companies of troops were ordered to police the funeral cortege that will follow the body of Ganis, Tovey miner whose death brought him the title of martyr, to Progressive miners. Funeral services will be held at 2 o clock at Pawnee, across the Sangamon county line, but the place of burial was not definite. The widow of the slain man said she would not consent to his burial in Christian county, insisting that he be interred at Mt. Olive, where lie the bodies of Mother Jones and three miners killed in the Virden riots of 1898.
Leaders of the Progressive union, however, expressed confidence Mrs. Ganis would change her mind and permit the burial in Taylorville.
Authorities said no restriction would be placed on the number of persons allowed to gather for the funeral, but that the procession must be orderly and keep moving. Corporal Russell D. Meyers, guardsman of Peoria who fired the shot that killed Ganis, is under military arrest, and the military tribunal investigating the shooting has adjourned until next Wednesday.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, October 18, 1932, Page 1|
THWART PLOT TO BOMB TROOPS
TAYLORVILLE DOWNTOWN IS ARMED CAMP
City Council to Take Legal Action Against Militia.
Taylorville, Ill., Oct. 18. -- (UP) -- Virtual martial law was enforced in the business section of this strife torn mining community today as soldier guards were thrown around business buildings and hotels and a guard around two state militia barracks increased following reports of a plot to bomb the soldiers barracks.
The plot , according to Col. Robert W. Davis, Carbondale, 130th Infantry, in command of seven units of the Illinois national guard, was overheard in Springfield by a prominent Taylorville citizen who signed a statement giving details.
Double Barracks Guard
As a result guard around the bar racks was doubled during the night and the usual day guard increased today. Soldiers were placed on guard at the front and rear of business buildings and of Hotels Colonial and Antlers where some of the officers are quartered, and autoists traveling in the vicinity were halted and required to give an explanation of their presence. Pedestrians were also scrutinized and questioned on the least suspicion.
Picketing of two Peabody Coal company mines at Langleyviile and Hewittville, near here, and which are worked by United Mine Workers of America miners was at a minimum today.
Strikers seeking to force the mines to operate under a wage scale of the Progressive Miners of America, new miners' union, were herded together as they endeavored to step past soldiers stationed near the mines. All were forced to retire a considerable distance from the mine.
A number of out of town pickets were escorted to the county line and warned to stay away.
The increased guard was thrown around the city's business district as city officials, opposed to the presence of troops, planned to institute legal proceedings with a view to curbing activities of the soldiers who, they say, "have overstepped their authority."
In a resolution adopted by the city council last night the city is pledged to join with other municipalities, organizations and citizens in the county "to start proceedings in civil courts to force the military to confine its activities to those authorized by law.
The resolution emphasized that men have a right "to resist to the extreme limits" illegal attempts at arrest, having reference apparently to the killing of Andrew Ganes, 45, Tovey mine strike picket, who was slain last week when allegedly resisted efforts of Corporal Russell Myers, Company E Peoria, to arrest him.
Ansboury Found Safe
Pat Ansboury, West Frankfort, southern Illinois mine leader, feared slain because of the finding of his bullet riddled automobile in a ditch near here early yesterday had been found alive at Gillespie.
Ansboury, according to Gerry Allard, West Frankfort, editor of the Progressive, organ of the Progressive Miners of America, strikers' new union and one of the organizers of it, escaped from his automobile early yesterday after "a car load of hoodlums" opened fire on him on a highway just outside of Taylorville. He was slightly wounded.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, October 24, 1932, Page 1|
Springfield, Ill., Oct. 24. -- (UP) -- Several hundred striking miners gathered in the vicinity of Andrew, ten miles north of here, today determined to prevent men from going to work at a Peabody Coal company mine.
Mine officials announced, however, that the date for reopening the shaft had not been determined.
The mine known as the Cora shaft is one of the largest of Peabody diggins in Sangamon county. It has been idle since the expiration of the old Illinois district union wage scale on March 31.
A number of mines in Sangamon county are being operated under contracts with the Progressive Miners of America. Officials of the Peabody company, which operates seven mines in the county, have announced they will not recognize the new union.
|Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois, October 26, 1932
The Progressive Miners report that progress is being made in all sections of the state and that it is expected in the near future that definite action will be taken that will culminate the fight that has been staged in the Illinois coal industry.
The proposed meeting at Zeigler on last Sunday was broken up by United Mine Workers, and the men who were to speak at this meeting were severely beaten and Mr. Randolph, the chairman of the meeting was struck over the head with the barrel of a revolver and seriously injured. The cars of several local men were followed from the city and one car was stopped and the occupants were dragged from the car and were beaten and mauled. One of the men reported that he recognized Sheriff Robinson of Franklin County as one of the assailants.
The State Militia will remain at Taylorville against the wishes of the citizens and business men of that city and two boys were stabbed by the bayonets of the Militia men for no reason at all but that they were on the streets in violation of the orders of the troopers.
Invitations to various parts of the state for speakers are being received by the State Office, and many other districts in the state give the assurance that they too wish to be with the new union.
There are about 145 mines that have signed with the Progressives that employ well over 12,000 men and there are approximately 110 local unions that have affiliated with the new union, that bring 31,000 men under charter to the new Progressive Union.
There is no ceasing in the fight that is being waged by the miners, in fact, there is more progress being made the past few days than has been for some time, and things in general look better.
-- Arthur Hughes
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, October 26, 1932, Page 1|
DYNAMITER FAILS TO STOP WORK IN MINE
Springfield, II, Oct. 26. -- (United Press.) -- A board of military inquiry appointed to investigate the shooting of Andy Ganes, Tovey miner, by Corporal Russell Myers of the Illinois National guard has reached the conclusion that he should be wholly exonerated and acquitted of responsibility for the shooting, Adjutant General Carlos E. Black, announced here today.
"The conclusion of the board Is that Corporal Myers used proper precaution and exercised good judgment in line of duty," Black said.
Myers, however, at his own request will he tried by a general court martial to determine his innocence quilt in connection with the shooting, Black said. The court martial has been appointed to meet In Springfield next Monday morning for Myers' trial.
The military board appointed, by Colonel Davis to investigate the shooting was composed of Major Omer E. Davenport, Captain Edward Fabert, Captain Amerigo Bonjean, Captain Mark Plaisted and Captalri Howard Bentley.
The board, according to Black, examined 35 witnesses, most of whom were present at the time of the shooting.
Taylorville, Ill., Oct 26. -- (UP) -- An unsuccessful attempt was made early today to halt operations of the Hewittville Peabody Coal company mine, near here. when an underground electric cable supplying power to the mine was blown apart by a dynamite charge. The line was severed about one-half mile southeast of here.
The broken cable, however, failed to stop operation, the mine having other electric facilities from a line running into the mine from the west. Power for only a portion of the mine was supplied by the broken cable.
Authorities started an immediate investigation but offered no suggestions as to who might have been responsible for the dynamiting.
Taylorville, Ill., Oct 26. -- (UP) -- Approximately 1000 miners were reported working today in the Midland mines of the Peabody Coal company located at Langleyville, Hewittville and Kincald. Officials of the company are contemplating re-opening of another mine at Tovey as soon as enough men signify their intention to return to work.
Work-at Near Capacity
The Langleyvillle and Hewittville shafts, which have been operating for several weeks, were reported to be working at near capacity, while the Kincaid mine is said to have about one third of a normal force at work. The latter shaft was re-opened yesterday.
No picketing was tried at any of the mines today as the miners affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America went to work. Six companies of Illinois national guardsmen remained in the vicinity of all three shafts, however, ready to put down any attempt at violence on the part of miners belonging to the Progressive miners union.
Two Companies Removed
Two Peoria companies of soldiers have been removed from Christian county and replaced by units from Quincy and Salem. Russell M. Myers, Peoria, who is alleged to have fired the shot that killed Andrew Ganes, Tovey miner, when the latter refused to obey an order, was a member of one of the Peoria troops.
The military board of inquiry which investigated the Ganes' shooting completed its work here yesterday and sent its formal report td Adjt. Gen. Carlos E. Black at Springfield. Black has announced that he will have a statement to issue in the case within a few days.
Miners employed at the Langleyville shafts received their first pay this week and it totaled approximately $30,000, according to officials. This payroll has had a beneficial effect on local business conditions resulting the circulation of additional currency in cities in this vicinity.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, November 15, 1932, Page 1|
Will Attempt To Open Mine In Morning
Springfield, Ill., Nov. 15 . -- (UP) -- First attempt of the Peabody Coal company to reopen its mines In Sangamon county will be made tomorrow morning when the Cora mine at Andrew near here will resume operation after having been idle for months, according to an announcement made public today. The mine will be operated under a United Mine Workers of America contract, according to W. H. Wanless, division superintendent, and P. WK. McMurdo, superintendent of* the mine. Employment will be available for all men working at the mine before April 1, when the shaft was closed with tho expiration of the old wage scale.
Dan Moglll, leader of the Progressive Miners of America in Springfield, announced that the mine would be picketed if it did not sign with the progressive association. He declared that the Cora miners had not voted to return to work unless Peabody officials complied with the requirements of the progressive union.
The Peabody company operates several other mines in this county, but none has been working for several months due to the war between rival mine unions. It Is said other shafts will resume operations in the county if the Cora mine Is reopened successfully.
Officials of the Peabody company are reported to have conferred with Claude Pearcy, Gillespie, president of the new union, and William Keck, Belleville, secretary, relative to reopening the local mines under the progressive union contract providing the company will be permitted to operate Its four Christian county mines without interference from the new union. No agreement on the subject however, was reached, it was said.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, November 19, 1932, Page 1|
STATE POLICE FOIL PICKETS AT CORA MINE
Springfield, III., Nov. 19. -- (UP) -- Combined state and county forces today frustrated efforts of 200 strike pickets to prevent miners from reporting for work at the Cora mine of the Peabody Coal company, north of here, today.
About 30 state police and 30 deputies, massed at a highway junction about a mile and a half from the mine, stopped picket cars as they drove up and forced them at the point of a gun to turn around and leave the scene.
"I am warning all of you not to attempt to stop any car on its way to the mine," State Police Chief Walter L. Moody told the pickets.
Ten deputies and state police were equipped with tear gas and were armed with shotguns rifles and revolvers. One group of miners from Cantrall reported when they arrived at the mine that pickets fired on them as they were driving to the mine. The shots, they said, were wild. In the car were William Barnes and Harry Golliday, both of Cantrall.
According to Acting Sheriff William Beynon, deputies and police patrolled the state highway between Andrew and Springfield, a distance of 14 miles, this morning and halted cars suspected of containing pickets.
"The miners have been idle for months and they have a right to work," he said. "We're going , to see that the pickets leave them alone.
About 100 deputies and 75 state police were on duty.
Mine officials reported that approximately 100 men reported for work this morning, sufficient, according to the mine superintendent, to start hoisting coal.
"We'll hoist coal today -- plenty of it," he said.
It was the greatest number of men to report at the mine since it was reopened last Tuesday.
The Cora mine is one of the eight Peabody Coal company mines operating in the Springfield mining district. Previously It had been idle since last March.
Other mines working In this area are those which have signed up with the progressives. The Peabody company plans to reopen other mines in this vicinity as soon as the Cora mine is running at capacity. The company is operating three mines in the Taylorville area under protection of state police.
The pickets are members of the progressive miners union, which seeks to prevent operation of mines under agreements with the United Mine workers of America.
The start of the controversy dates back to early in August when John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers of America, and John H. Walker, president of the Illinois district union, and other union leaders, approved a reduced wage scale.
Pickets claim that fraudulent methods were used in approving the wage scale. Since then they have formed the progressive union, branded by Lewis as an outlaw organization, and with a few exceptions have succeeded in preventing reopening of mines in central Illinois and some parts of northern Illinois under the older union's wage scale contract.
The controversy has been marked by frequent rioting and the killing or live men and the wounding and injuring of scores of others. The progressives have signed contracts with independent operators in central and northern Illinois. So far however, the Lewis union has dominated the situation in southern Illinois except for a few places such as Shelbyville, where a number of mine owners have made agreements with the progressives.
Both unions have similar wage scales.
MASKED MEN BADLY BEAT THREE MINERS
Taylorville, Ill., Nov. 19. -- (United Press.) -- A masked band of men, estimated to number 25. fired on and beat up three miners, en route to work at Peabody Coal company mine No. 7, Kincaid, near here today.
One of the miners was wounded and all three men beaten up, according to reports received at the office of Sheriff Charles Wieneke of Christian, county.
The three miners are Harley and Robert Nicliols, brothers, and John Hart, all of Pawnee. The sheriff's office was unable to say which of the three was shot.
The attack, it was said, occurred between Pawnee and Kincaid, shortly before 7 o'clock this morning. The mine at which the men are employed is operated under a wage scale agreement with the United Mine Workers of America.
It has been the object of picketing for more than a month by members of the Progressive Miners of America, rebel union organization seeking to close mines working under agreements with the older union.
The three, it was said, were riding in an automobile on a state highway when they suddenly found their way blocked by an automobile which had been driven across the highway.
When they stopped as they reached the blockade masked men leaped out on the highway and pointed guns at them. According to reports to authorities they were struck over the head and in the face and shots were fired. One or more of the shots was declared to have wounded the miners.
Three of the men, it was said, at the office of Acting Sheriff William Beynon in Springfield, were identified by one of the Nichols brothers.
State highway police, county authorities of Sangamon county, where Pawnee is located, and of Christian county, of which Taylorville is the county seat, and city police of Taylorville and Springfield, cooperated in a search for the assailants.
Names of the three identified men were given to the state's attorney's office in Springfield.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, November 26, 1932, Page 1|
BOMB HOMES OF DECATUR UNION MINERS
Decatur, Ill., Nov. -- (UP) -- The homes of three union miners were bombed here early today. The bombs were set off at 2:30 a. m. and done considerable damage to one of the homes. No one was injured.
The homes are those occupied by Theodore Born, Gottlieb Rasch and William Brazil, miners employed in the Macon county coal company mine here. The men are members of the United Mine Workers of America, which has a wage scale agreement with the mine.
All three have been working at the mine which has been picketed by the members of the Progressive Miners of America, former United Mine Workers who have been on strike since officials of the International and State District organization of the U. M. W. of A. approved a reduced wage scale agreement. Most damage as a result of the bombing was done to the Born home where the bomb was exploded on the front porch and wrecked the front part of the building. The Rasch and Brazell homes, which adjoin each other about a block from the Born home were damaged by a bomb placed between th e two buildings.
All three homes are small one floor frame structures.
Despite the bombing all three miners reported for work at the Macon mine today.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, November 27, 1932, Page 1|
STRIKING MINERS BOMB DWELLING
Violence Spread by Union Faction Dissatisfied with Wage Scale
TAYLORVILLE, Nov. 26. -- AP -- Striking miners this evening capped a day of sporadic and widespread violence by hurling a bomb at the boarding house of Mrs. Nita Melin, patronized by nearly 50 working members of the United Mine Workers of America. More than 20 of the boarders were in the house when the bomb was hurled from an automobile, struck a corner of the house, and bounced into the yard, where it exploded. No one was injured, but the house was damaged extensively.
Earlier in the day, the homes of three employed United Mine Workers at Decatur, 30 miles from here, were bombed with considerable damage, but no personal injuries. At Andrew, in Sangamon county, a force of more than 1,000 picketers this morning stopped work at the Cora mine, manned by a score of United Mine workers.
Officials here said they were confident that progressive miners were responsible for the bombing of Mrs. Melin's boarding house. One of the boarders seized a shotgun and dashed from the house a moment after the explosion. He fired a charge of shot at a car which sped away from in front of the house when the bomb burst. The explosion shattered every window in two sides of the house and tore several boards away from one side.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, November 28, 1932, Page 1|
TWO HOMES AT TAYLORVILLE ARE BOMBED
Taylorville, Ill., Nov. 28. -- (UP) -- Homes of City Attorney Leal Reese and Raymond Tombozzi, strike miner leader, were damaged here early today by powerful bombs which were tossed on front porches of the two buildings at an interval of 10 minutes about 3:30 a. m. No one was Injured.
Reese, who is also attorney for the Progressive Miners of America, insurgent union which has sought to halt operation of local mines, his wife and three children were hurled from their, beds by the bombing of their home.
The bomb damaged the Reese porch and shattered windows, but no one was hurt
The Tombozzi home, located in Hewittville, a suburb, was bombed 10 minutes later. The bomb wrecked the porch, broke windows and caused a ceiling to collapse. Tombozzi, a strike leader, was the first striker to picket local mines last September and was one of the first to be arrested for violating an order of state militia on duty here, which forbids picketing
The bombings followed by 36 hours the placing of a bomb at a miners boarding house here Saturday night.
Violence has been frequent in the long drawn out controversy over wages and working conditions of the local coal miners.
Disperse Strikers With Gas
Springfield, Ill., Nov. 28. -- (UP) -- Tear gas bombs fired into groups of striking miners broke up picketing at the Woodside mine of the Peabody company today.
Heads of a number of the strikers were cracked by police clubs when they refused to break their ranks as a force of 100 law officers sought to clear a path for miners reporting for work.
The law officers consisted of 60 members of the Springfield police force, 25 deputy sheriffs and about 25 state highway policemen.
Despite their treatment at the hands of the police, strike leaders expressed satisfaction at the result of their picketing.
They said that only about 50 men out of 350 ordinarily employed by the mine had reported for work. Mine officials however, said that about 100 diggers had reported.
The Woodside mine is the first digging to reopen in the city of Springfield under a United Mine Workers of America wage scale agreement. It had previously been idle since March 31, when an old agreement expired.
The strikers are members of the Progressive Miners of America, composed of former United Mine Workers who rebelled against alleged "czaristic" methods used in approving the U. M. W. of A.'s present wage scale.
At the Cora mine of the Peabody company, located at Andrew, 14 miles northwest of here, more than 200 men were said by mine officials to have reported for work.
These two mines are the only ones operating in the Springfield mining area under agreements with the United Mine Workers. All other mines in the district are worked by progressive miners.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, November 29, 1932, Page 2|
BOMBS, FIREARMS USED IN BATTLE AT MINE CENTER
SPRINGFIELD, Nov. 28. -- AP -- The struggle between the United Mine Workers of America and the Progressive Miners of America in the central Illinois coal belt continued to break out into violence today with bombs, firearms, "peaceful picketing," and arrests.
At Taylorville, storm center for many weeks of the "war," the homes of two progressive miners officials were bombed while at Pawnee, a united mine worker was shot in the knee by a large caliber bullet which tore through his automobile as he drove into the garage at his home after working in the pits.
5 Youths Arrested
Five youths charged with threatening national guard officers when guardsmen were on duty at Taylorville several weeks ago were arrested here. As also was Dan McGill, a leader of the progressives, on a charge of rioting. The five and McGill all were taken to Taylorville to await arraignment.
The Taylorville bombings were at the homes of Ray Tombossi, vice-president of the Taylorville progressive local, and L. W. Reese, city attorney and counsel for the union. No one was injured in either explosion, but considerable damage was brought to the houses. The bombings, officials said, apparently were in retaliation for the bombing of a boarding house patronized by united mine workers last Saturday night. In that explosion, only slight damage was caused because the bomb glanced off the house and exploded in the yard.
The wounded Pawnee miner is Robert Green employed as a digger in Peabody mine No. 58 at Taylorville, manned wholly by united mine workers. He was not wounded seriously. His uncle, William Harvey, is superintendent of the mine.
Here and at Farmington, deputy sheriffs and mine guards were forced to use clubs and tear gas to disperse picketers who gathered at the mines early this morning. No one was injured or arrested at either place. The Springfield picketing marked the reopening of the Peabody Woodside mine with united mine workers and the Farmington tussle was at the mouth of the Hannah city mine, also manned by united mine workers.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, November 29, 1932, Page 4|
UNION LEADER IN JAIL
TAYLORVILLE, Nov. 28. -- AP -- Dan McGill, progressive miners union leader, was in the Christian county jail here tonight awaiting arraignment on an indictment charging rioting. McGill was arrested in Springfield this afternoon and brought here. He sought release on a sheriff's bond but was refused.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, November 30, 1932, Page 4|
Cutting Off Their Own Noses
Violent Action once more breaks out as the United Mine Workers of America continue their struggle with the Progressive Mine Workers of America in the Taylorville coal fields. There seems to be little judgment being used by the contending forces in this affair, as they must know that if the outbreaks continue the only answer will be the re-mobilization of the national guard and other necessary military units to take care of the situation.
The bombing of a Taylorville progressive union member's home and the home of the legal counsel for the union was followed by a united mine worker being shot in the knee as he drove home from work, and the necessity of using clubs and tear gas to disperse picketers who gathered at the mines in Farmington.
This situation must necessarily be quieted as there is enough trouble with employment in all sections without the additional burden of allowing a private war to rage within the working coal fields. There was some indication last summer that further outbreaks of this kind would not be tolerated by the miners themselves, but now the factions have continued the spasmodic guerilla warfare in spite of the fact that work might be possible for most of the miners if they would cease fighting among themselves.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, December 3, 1932, Page 1|
DOOMS TRUCE IN MINE WAR
Chicago, Dec. 3 . -- ( United Press.) -- M . F . Peltier,- vice-president of the Peabody Coal company, announced here today that the company had withdrawn its compromise proposals to the Progressive Miners of America and "severed negotiations, at least , for the present."
The announcement spelled the doom of a "mine war truce" sought in conference at Springfield between union leaders and Peabody officials. Under terms of the proposed truce, Progressive Miners and United Mine Workers of America would work side by side in Christian county mines.
"The Progressive Miners accepted the terms of our proposal when their leaders met with us here," Peltier said. "Then they went down into the field and tried to wring further exactions so we have called the whole matter off .
"There is no indication of when negotiations may be resumed."
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, December 15, 1932, Page 5|
Pearcy and Keck Are Nominated by New Mine Union
Springfield, 1Ill., Dec. 15. -- ( United Press.) -- Nominatlon of Claude Pearcy Gillespie, for president, and William Keek, Belleville, for secretary treasurer of the Progressive Miners of America, without opposition, was announced today by tellers of the new union offices.
Election of officers of the P. M. A. will be held some time next month and those elected will take over their active duties on February 1 for two year terms.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, December 19, 1932, Page 1|
CRACK HEADS AT THREE MINES
Taylorville, Ill., Dec. 19 -- (UP ) -- State guardsmen and special deputy sheriffs cracked heads of striking miners when the latter attempted to I renew picketing on a major scale at three Peabody coal company mines operating under a wage scale contract with the United Mine Workers of America, in this mining area, today. Ten of the pickets were arrested and lodged in the Christian county jail. The remaining pickets fled in confusion.
Guards Charge 100 Pickets
The guardsmen, composed of a troop of infantry, on duty here since the middle of September, and the deputies charged the pickets of whom there were about 100, and struck at them with tent stakes and hickory sticks when the strikers refused to move away from a Peabody mine at Hewittville, near hire.
Joseph Johnson, Taylorville, was the most seriously injured, suffering a six inch scalp wound. Most of those arrested had cuts and bruises on their scalps.
It was the first outbreak of violence in Christian county mine fields in several weeks. Saturday a Chicago and Illinois Midland railroad bridge at Sicily, west of here was damaged by dynamite bombs but authorities have not determined who is responsible.
Three Mines Operating
Three mines in this vicinity -- at Hewittville, Langleyville, and Kincaid -- are operating under contracts with the United Mine Workers of America, contracts which are opposed by strikers who have formed a new union -- the Progressive Miners of America. All the strikers are former United Mine Workers.
Massed picketing of four Peabody mines in the Springfield mining district will be resumed this afternoon, according to an announcement by strikers leaders at Springfield. The strikers declare theft it will be "peaceful" picketing, consisting of a display of card boards, containing appeals to the workers to strike against the older union's agreement.
The Langleyville mine here was the first central Illinois mine to resume, operations, after six months of idleness, and after two units of Illinois national guardsmen had been sent into Taylorville to prevent violence in connection with mine strife between members of the United Mine Workers of America and the Progressive Miners of America.
At one time the situation became so acute in Christian county that it was necessary to have seven units of guardsmen on hand. Andrew Ganes, Tovey, a Progressive miner was killed by a national guardsman during the height of excitement.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, December 23, 1932, Page 2|
Wage Problems Of Illinois Coal Industry Solved
CHICAGO, Dec. 22. -- AP -- The coal industry of Illinois today settled most of its wage problems for the next two years.
The Illinois coal operators association, producers of virtually all the coal mined In the state, signed a contract to pay its employees the $5 basic daily wage from next March 31, when the current contract expires until March 31, 1935.
There was the utmost contrast to the events which preceded the signing of the current contract last August 10. At that time the mines had been idle since last March 31, when the $6.10 basic daily wage scale expired. The 150,000 members of the United Mine Workers of Illinois were unable to agree with their employers on the wage question for four and one-half months, the men insisting on their old pay rates and the operators declaring they could not keep them up.
The union rejected the $5 proposal in a statewide referendum. Another was held. Before the votes were all counted union officials announced 200 tally sheets had been stolen but the proposal had been approved. Dissenting factions cried "fraud," refused to go back to work, set up a rival organization in the progressive miners union, and clinched a few contracts with miners in the Springfield, Belleville, and northern districts.
John L. Lewis, international president of the United Mine Workers, called today's agreement the "death knell" of the progressive union. He said it would insure "peace and stability," in Illinois coal fields for two more years, an adequate supply of coal and opportunity for owners to make long-term contracts.
There was no intimation that diggers and owners were so near an agreement of such long duration.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, December 25, 1932, Page 1|
EXPLOSION IN MINE ENTRAPS 52 WORKMEN
Disaster Imparts Tragic Air to Christmas Season of Friends and Relatives
MOWEAQUA, Dec. 24. -- (AP) -- They prepared an emergency morgue in this little Illinois town of 1,400 on Christmas eve.
Fifty-two men, workers in a co-operative mine, were trapped by shale and rock some 700 feet under ground in a coal mine today.
Rescue squads, working feverishly in shifts of 20 since morning when an explosion buried the men, struck gas late this afternoon, donned gas masks and went back to their task of burrowing in frantic efforts to bring the men out alive to the mine opening, nearly a mile from where the men were entombed .
MOWEAQUA, Dec. 24. -- (AP) -- Union labor difficulties were forgotten in this mining town tonight. Most of the 52 men imprisoned in the mine here were members of the Progressive Miners' union, new organization opposed to the policies and wage scale of the old United Miners organization.
Despite that members of the old organization rushed here from nearby towns to be of aid. Picketing activities were discarded.
"We're miners," they said, "we know what it s like."
Huddled about the mine opening were the wives, children and friends of the men. They were quiet, but, fear-stricken. Christmas, was subdued by tragedy.
But they took heart in the words of John Millhouse, director of the state department of mines and minerals who has charge of the rescue squads.
Chance for Escape
"If," he said, "the men were fortunate enough to have barricaded themselves, they may escape the deadly mine damp, and we can get to them in time."
But Millhouse and others, not telling the relatives, saw to it that an emergency morgue was opened in a vacant store. Also they saw to it that the town's tiny 30 bed hospital was ready to receive any who might be rescued. Shortly before 8 p. m., Millhouse called for volunteers to go down for "timbering," repairing the props for the ceiling of the tunnel of the shaft.
It was dangerous work. Debris might fall from overhead at any time from the spots where rescue workers had tunneled out. Millhouse refused to order men down because of the danger.
Millhouse explained the dangers to rescue workers and miners about the dingy office from which he directed the rescue work.
An oldtimer, Harry Watts, some 50 years old, a miner from away back," stepped out.
"I'll lead the volunteers, Watts said.
And down they went. Seven or eight of them.
They greeted men coming up from digging. The men had good news. The canaries taken down to indicate the amount of gas below, were perking up. A few hours before the birds drooped. Some died. But now they were all right. The air pumped into the shafts was taking effect.
[ CELEBRATION SPOILED ]
MOWEAQUA, Dec. 24. -- (AP) -- There was no Santa Claus tonight for the children of Moweaqua -- their Santa Claus was imprisoned with others in a mine explosion. Tom Jackson, a burly miner who was to portray the role of the jolly St. Nick at the community Christmas celebration, fought for his life with his co-workers some 700 feet below the surface of the ground. The Christmas tree celebration was called off.
The children whose stockings he was to fill hung fearfully onto the skirts of their crying mothers at the mouth of the mine, waiting for the word announcing the best Christmas present -- "they're alive."
The mothers and children of the trapped men took hope, however, in the slim promise of John G. Millhouse, director of the rescue squads. "If they barricaded themselves off, Millhouse said, "they've got a good chance."
But Millhouse didn't tell everything. He didn't tell, for example, that a vacant store has been opened up and equipped as a morgue.
|Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois, December 28, 1932, Page 3|
New Miners Union Offers Resources to Sufferers
Moweaqua, Ill., Dec 28 --(UP)-- All of the resources of the Progressive miners of America are being used for the relief of the destitute families of victims of the Moweaqua mine disaster, Jack Taylor, secretary of relief work for the union, said today.
Plans for carrying on relief work have been worked out between Taylor, Claude Pearcy, president of the union and William Keck, secretary-treasurer.
A relief station has been set up in Moweaqua, Taylor said, at which all contributions of miner's locals thruout the state will be handled.
Approximately $5,000 is said to be available for relief from contributions received thus far.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, December 29, 1932, Page 4|
Duquoin Miners Bolt United Mine Union; Join Progressives
DUQUOIN, Dec. 28. -- AP -- Officers of Local Union, No . 478, announced today that its membership had voted to withdraw from the United Mine Workers union, and to join the Progressive Miners of America.
Officials of the Crerar Clinch Coal company mine No. 14 were notified by the local to draw up a contract with the Progressive union after April 1, but Elmer Mayor, superintendent of the mine, announced that under no condition would the company recognize the Progressives. The mine employs approximately 600 men.
This is the second local in this vicinity to sever connections with the United Mine Workers. The Dowell local withdrew from the present organization last week.
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Born in 1904
The son of Marvin E. & Gertrude E. (nee Carwile) Hughes
1910 United States Census :
Age : 6 years
Residence : Tower Hill, Shelby County, Illinois
Father's occupation was : Farmer
1920 United States Census :
Age : 15 years
Residence : Ward 1, Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois
Father's occupation was : Miner at coal mines
1930 United States Census :
Age : 26 years
Spouse : Callie LaFaun (nee Baugh)
Children : Corinne, age 4 years; & Richard, age 9/12 of a year
Residence : Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois
Occupation : Loader at coal mines
|Coal & Coal Mining in Central Illinois|
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