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Bombings, Explosions, Riots, Shootings, Mayhem & Murder continue
The Progressive Miners of America (PMA) was a coal miners' union organized in 1932.
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|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, January 14, 1938, Page 1|
Union to Fight Damage Suit Verdict
Miners Counsel Says $117,000 Decision Denies Right to Strike
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill., Jan. 13. -- (AP) -- The Progressive Miners of America announced tonight it would exhaust every legal resource in an effort to overturn United States District Judge Fred L. Wham's award of $117,000 in strike damages to the United Electric Coal company.
George Dowell of Duquoin, counsel for the union, said the judgment would be appealed to the supreme court if necessary. He asserted the decision was a "direct blow at the right to strike" and "affected every laboring man in the United States."
Judge Wham, in entering the award this morning against seven locals and 66 individual members of the union, ruled that a labor organization, its officers, and sympathizers who enter into a conspiracy to inflict violent injury upon an employer or upon his property or business are each liable to respond in damages for such loss or injury so inflicted.
Company Sought $400,000
The company, which had sought $400,000 in damages, based its claim on its inability to operate the Red Ray mine near Freeburg, Ill., because of a strike from April 1, 1933, to Feb. 11, 1936. It contended it lost $300,000 in business during the period and was forced to spend $100,000 for maintenance.
Judge Wham, however, limited limited the company to recovery for losses allegedly incurred between Sept. 7, 1934, and the day the mine reopened , holding it was only during this time that a "well planned and highly organized conspiracy was shown to have preceded and accompanied (mass) picketing and violence at the mine.
Joe Ozanic, president of the Progressive miners, declared "it is the most ridiculous decision I ever heard of. If this decision is allowed to stand it will take from labor every right it ever had."
Says Decision is Significant
Ralph F. Lesemann of East St. Louis, chief counsel for the mine operators, commented:
"Judge Wham's decision is of great significance in view of current agitation for laws to make labor unions equally responsible with employers.
"If the decision is correct -- and we think it is -- it proves no statute is necessary to fix responsibility of unincorporated unions for the acts of its members."
The $117,000 judgment included three items:
Net profits that would have been derived from operation of the mine, $70,000; overhead losses, $22,000; and shutdown expenses, $25,000.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, January 15, 1938, Page 2|
'Mine Suit Again Raises Strikes Controversy'
Causes Question over Unions' Liability, Lockling Says
By DUDLEY McALLISTER '40
Action Thursday of a federal district judge in awarding $117,000 in strike damages against the Progressive Miners of America again raises the question of union liability which has been frequently agitated under the doctrine of conspiracy, W. B. Lockling, instructor in economics, said yesterday.
If the case reaches the national supreme court, he pointed out, it will hinge on whether the court will rely on a decision of 1922 or whether the change of the tribunal to a liberal complex will cause it to act otherwise.
In the case in 1922, which was against the United Mine Workers, the high court held that trade unions, as such, could be sued for civil damages, but that strikes could not be declared illegal.
Explains Sherman, Clayton Acts
The Sherman anti-trust law, Mr. Lockling said, allows persons damaged to receive three times the amount assessed. The Clayton act was passed to modify that provision in the anti-trust law, but the court in its 1922 decision indicated that the later act did not change the status of union responsibility.
"The important question to be decided is whether a conspiracy in restraint of trade did exist."
Pointing out that the treasuries of most unions are unable to stand such a drain, he said that if the decision is upheld by the supreme court, then "labor leaders may be restrained from doing certain acts they feel to be justifiable because of the threat hanging over their heads."
Decisions May Bring Suits
If the decision is upheld, Mr. Lockling related, it may bring a number of suits by employers to recover damages although employers would be reluctant to sue because of the expense involved and the slight chance of obtaining full damages from the average union.
In the United States, the principle that workmen might organize into unions for mutual benefit and protection without being attacked as criminal conspiracy was established as early as 1830.
In Great Britain, Mr. Lockling said, trade unions were freed from liability by the trades disputes act of 1906 which was later modified.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, January 29, 1938, Page 1|
Green Plans Encounter with Lewis at Mine Workers Convention
MIAMI, Fla., Jan. 28. -- (AP) -- William Green made plans today for a face-to-face encounter with John L. Lewis at the United Mine Workers convention , asserting that the miners were the only dues-paying members of the Committee for Industrial Organization.
The American Federation of Labor president, a member of the UMW himself, was summoned to appear before its convention now in session at Washington on charges of fostering dual unionism by chartering the Progressive Miners of America, a rival of the United Miners in Illinois.
"I wish very much I might meet my accusers face to face at the convention and make answer to their unfounded charges," Green declared, indicating he was trying to wind up this work but could not tell yet whether he would be able to go.
The AFL executive council concluded the mine union was the "financial angel," in Greens words, of the CIO after studying the union auditor's report for the six months ended Dec. 31. The report showed total income of the UMW was $1,497,426.62 and Green said the union paid $1,431,000 into the CIO in that period, including $650,000 to the CIO in loans and $180,000 in taxes, $475,000 and $99,000 to the steel and textile workers organizing committees, respectively , and $30,000 to labor's non-partisan league.
"Where were the 4,000,000 members of CIO claims?" Green demanded. "Why did the UMW have to contribute such large amounts of the miners' money?"
The AFL president said the figures answered "the inquiry why one man rules the CIO -- because it is financed by one union."
The United Miners payment to the CIO of between $130,000 and $140,000 a month; Green pointed out, was more than the AFL received from all its affiliates together.
The AFL council adjourned for the week-end after authorizing telegrams to Sen. Wagner and other members of congress protesting elimination in the conference report of the housing bill amendment requiring the payment of prevailing wage scales.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, February 8, 1938, Page 1|
Federation Ousts 3 CIO Unions
Rival Labor Groups Intensify Fight
MIAMI, Fla., Feb. 7. -- (AP) -- The American Federation of Labor announced today the complete ouster of three big unions affiliated with the Committee for Industrial Organization, presaging intensified warfare between the two rival labor organizations.
The AFL charters of the United Mine Workers, the Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, and the Flat Glass Workers were revoked, opening those fields for AFL affiliates. The charters of these and other CIO unions had been suspended by the AFL a year and a half ago but the latest action severed their last ties.
John L. Lewis, head of the mine union and of the CIO, issued a statement at Washington saying "the action is unimportant and without significance" and said he would have no further comment.
Vote Taken Last Friday
The AFL executive council exercised the power given it at the Denver convention last October and voted to recall the charters last Friday, but the move was not announced until today pending receipt of a certified copy of the proceedings at the miners convention in Washington last week.
The mine union amended its constitution to give allegiance to the CIO instead of the AFL and the federation's executives construed this as severing all affiliations and relationships with the AFL and in fact declaring the AFL an organization dual to the CIO.
Peace Efforts Frustrated
The ouster resolution also charged that AFL efforts to effect unity and peace in the ranks of organized labor have been frustrated by the arbitrary and dictatorial action of the officers of the UMW who, by reason of the financial support given to the CIO, have had from the very beginning the complete veto power over all its policies and decisions and have been in actual and absolute control of its leadership. On the basis of a UMW auditors report, AFL officials contend the miners contributed $2,000,000 to the CIO in the last two years. The mine union claims 600,000 members but AFL leaders say the auditors report showed only 423,000 paying dues. The mine, mill, and smelter workers claim about 40,000 members and the flat glass workers 22,000.
Green will Quit UMW
William Green, president of the AFL, said he would drop the membership in the miners' union he has held since it was chartered 48 years ago. The UMW has threatened to expel him and has ordered its executive board to try him for "treason."
As to whether he would join the Progressive Miners of America, Green said he would decide that later.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, February 22, 1938, Page 4|
CIO Marches on "The C. I. O. is on the way out."
Every since last summer's bloody triumph (or temporary triumph) of "little steel" over industrial unionism, quite a few businessmen have voiced that contention -- though seldom publicly.
In the light of what has happened in the last few months, it would seem that they were indulging in a bit of wishful thinking.
There are, of course, a great many arguments on both sides of the question. Most serious of the charges against the C. I. O. are the many instances of unjustified violence, of which the carbolic-acid attacks on Ford workers in St. Louis (see "Carbolic Acid Terror," Daily Illini editorial of Jan. 21) is perhaps the most horrifying example.
One of the most strenuous objections of employers to signing a contract with a C. I. O. is irresponsibility and lack of discipline. In some industries this has been the case.
Last March General Motors reached an agreement with Homer Martins United Automotive Workers of America, a C. I. O. affiliate. The union solemnly pledged to make every possible peace effort before striking. Despite this, there occurred a series of outlaw strikes, alarming in frequency; for the first three months General Motors had an average of one strike every other day; and there is still a bitter intra-union dispute between Martin's conservative faction and the more radical progressive group responsible for most of the unauthorized sitdowns.
Another glaring example of dissension in the ranks occurred last June. A few hours after their representative in Pittsburgh had signed a contract for substantially higher wages, striking C. I. O. electrical workers declared an unauthorized sitdown, pulled a few switches, denied electricity to thousands in the populous Saginaw valley in Michigan, endangered the lives of countless citizens in no way connected with the labor situation in the power industry.
In many instances C. I. O. members made every effort to keep from employment those workers who did not sympathize with them.
No wonder so many employers shudder from sighing a contract with a Lewis union!
It is easy for them to overlook the fine record of Philip Murray's Steel Workers Organizing Committee, the C. I. O. affiliate which reached an agreement with the United States Steel corporation, the nations largest producer, early last year.
It is hard for employers to realize that industrial unionism is economically sound, that it is going to gain an increasing number of members because of that soundness.
In only a few weeks C. I. O. has scored two major victories. The first was the renewal of its year-long contract with U. S. Steel a few weeks ago. The second was front-page news in yesterday's papers -- "General Electric Signs with C. I. O."
Two hundred and forty thousand workers are affected by the steel contract; 30,000 by the G. E. agreement.
Despite its many shortcomings, not the least of which is the shortsightedness ol John L. Lewis, the C. I. O. is marching on. Industrial unionism cannot be downed. II will gain impetus when the inevitable merger of C. I. O. and A. F. of L., which is being delayed because of the enmity of Lewis and Green, takes place. Some day you will probably be reading this banner headline:
"Ford , Girdler Yield to Unionists."
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, March 19, 1938, Page 1|
$117,000 Damages Against Union Withdrawn
PMA, Company Reach Agreement; Judge Vacates Order
CENTRALIA, Ill., March 18. -- (AP) -- Acting on a stipulation filed jointly by the company and the union, United States District Judge Fred L. Wham today vacated his order granting the United Electric Coal company a judgment for $117,000 in strike damages against tho Progressive Miners of America.
John R. Kane, general counsel for the union, and Ralph F. Lesemann, an attorney for the company, went to Judge Wham's home here to file the stipulation, which also withdrew the company's motion for damages in the case.
A joint announcement by tho two lawyers said the union and the company had "reached an agreement between them which disposes of all the issues raised by the plaintiff's motion for judgment for damages."
Agreement Terms Secret
Neither of the attorneys, would expand on their brief statement. They declined to say what were the terms of the agreement which led to the stipulation to vacate the judgment. The coal company was awarded the damages against 14 locals and 55 individual members of the union for losses incurred in connection with a strike which closed its Red Ray mine near Freeburg, Ill. A petition for rehearing of the case was argued before Judge Wham in East St. Louis on Feb. 8.
Judge Wham overruled the motion on Feb. 18. While the court still had it under consideration, the union and the company reached its agreement, the announcement by Kane and Lesemann said.
Their statement follows:
"While the petition for rehearing was still under consideration, the parties to the suit entitled, "United Electric Coal company vs. George Rite, et al," reached an agreement between them which disposes of all the issues raised by the plaintiff's motion for judgment for damages, and consequently they entered into a stipulation for the vacation of the decree heretofore entered in the cause awarding judgment for damages and for the withdrawal and dismissal of the plaintiff's said motion."
"The stipulation was filed with the court and an order entered pursuant thereto."
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, March 25, 1938, Page 1|
Dismiss AFL Protest of CIO Appointee
WASHINGTON, March 24. -- (AP) -- The bituminous coal commission dismissed today the protest of the Progressive Miners of America (A. F. of L.) against the appointment of Ray Edmundson to the Illinois district board set up under the coal act.
The board found that the United Mine Workers (C. I. O. ) outnumbered the Progressives, 22,958 to 17,091, in Illinois and thus were entitled to the labor membership on the district board. Each union had claimed it represented a majority of the Illinois miners.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, April 29, 1938, Page 1|
New A.F.L. Union will Invade Field of John Lewis
Observers Forecast Bitter Labor War as Result
WASHINGTON, April 28. -- AP -- The American Federation of Labor's executive council decided today to invade the territory now occupied by John L. Lewis' United Mine Workers with a new international union built around the Progressive Miners of America.
Labor observers forecast a bitter and perhaps bloody labor war as a result of this latest move in the fight between the A. F. of L. and Lewis' C. I. O.
The council issued a charter to "The International Union, Progressive Mine Workers of America," to be headed by Joe Ozanic, now president of the Progressive Miners of America.
To date, the progressives have confined their activities to Illinois where their battle with the U. M. W. for supremacy has been accompanied by bloodshed, bombings, rioting, and other violence.
William Green, A. F. of L. president, said the new union, to have headquarters in Chicago, would hold a convention "at the earliest possible moment." A district charter is too be issued immediately to the progressives in Illinois, while the campaign in other coal fields, including the Pennsylvania anthracite territory, is to start as soon as possible.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 5, 1938, Page 1|
Illinois Gets Charter from Mining Union
CHICAGO, May 4. -- AP -- The Progressive Miners of America, spearhead of the American Federation of Labor's new recruiting drive in the nations coal fields, made its first formal organization move, today by issuing a charter to Illinois as district one.
Individual charters were granted simultaneously to 112 local unions in the state.
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|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 13, 1938, Page 2|
PMWA Leaders Accuse Rivals
Charge Violence Used to Disband Meetings in West Virginia
GILLESPIE, Ill., Sept. 12. -- (AP) -- Illinois district officers of the Progressive Mine Workers of America today accused rival unionists of fostering a campaign of terrorism in West Virginia, where they charged P. M. W. of A. organizers had been subjected to violence.
In their joint report, read at the union's state convention today, president Joe Ozanic and other district officials charged their representatives were clubbed and beaten into unconsciousness after a meeting of miners at Logan, W. Va., on July 29.
The report, covering organizing activities since the P. M. W. of A. was chartered last year as an international union by the American Federation of Labor, asserted also that a mob of 2,000 men sought to break up a meeting of Progressive Union sympathizers at Eskdale, W. Va., on June 18.
It said officers of the rival United Mine Workers of America had publicly declared that the P. M. W. of A. would not be allowed to hold any meetings, and added:
"These provisional officials of the United Mine Workers are fostering and creating a campaign of intimidation and terrorism unparalleled in the labor history of West Virginia."
Vice-president J. H. Fancher and secretary-treasurer Claude E. Pearcy jointly signed the report with Ozanic. It said the organizing campaign, thus far conducting in Kansas and Kentucky as well as West Virginia, would be continued and that the union's first international would be called "at the earliest possible" date.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 15, 1938, Page 5|
Ask Investigation of Mine Union
GILLESPIE, Ill., Sept. 14. -- (AP) -- A congressional investigation of violence claimed to have been directed against organizers of the Progressive Mine Workers of America was asked today in a resolution adopted in the union s Illinois district convention.
The resolution charged the rival United Mine Workers of America "instituted a reign of terror" in West Virginia, Kansas, and Illinois coal fields to thwart the Progressives national organizing campaign.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, September 22, 1938, Page 5|
Mine Must Cease Discrimination NLRB Orders Illinois Company to Stop Favoring CIO
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21. -- (AP) -- The national labor relations board ordered the Mine B Coal company, Springfield, Ill., today to cease encouraging its employees to join the CIO's United Mine Workers or discouraging membership in the Progressive Miners of America, affiliated with the A. F. of L.
The board said its order was based on an agreement entered into by the coal company, the United Mine Workers, the Progressives, and representatives of the board last Aug. 11.
The order provides that the company shall withdraw recognition from contracts entered into with the CIO union in August and September of 1937.
The Progressive miners had complained that the company entered into closed shop agreements with the CIO at a time when the CIO union did not represent a majority of the employees.
A board-conducted election last Jan. 3, resulted in the designation of the Progressive miners as sole bargaining agency for the company's employees.
The order also provides that the company shall reemploy all workers who were on the regular payroll May 12, 1937, when a strike halted operations.
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|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, March 7, 1939, Page 1|
Two Mine Unions Plan to Bargain Separately Rival Groups to Open Negotiations Today for Contracts
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 6. -- (AP) -- Rival Illinois coal miners unions prepared to launch negotiations tomorrow with separate groups of operators for new wage and hour contracts after efforts to bring about a joint negotiation pact apparently failed today.
The CIO-Affiliated United Mine Workers of America will bargain for its Illinois membership in Chicago with the Illinois Coal Operators association.
The Progressive Mine Workers of America, an AFL union, will meet here with the Coal Producers association of Illinois.
The progressives' state executive board met today and spurned the invitation by district President Ray Edmundson of the United Miners for co-operative scale negotiations in behalf of both unions membership.
Expect Recess of Meetings
The meetings here and in Chicago will probably be recessed, union officials said, pending outcome of the Appalachian wage conference which begins March 14 in New York.
Operators and union negotiators at both conferences were expected to discuss continuation of work by miners after the March 31 expiration of their present contracts, should dickering continue past that date. Both unions were ready to ask that terms of the new contracts be retroactive to April 1 if concluded after that date.
The substance of new contract demands by both unions will be a six-hour day, 30-hour week; 20 per cent wage raise, time and one-half for overtime work and double time for Sunday and holiday work.
Leaders Deplore Negotiations
Continuance of dual negotiations in the Illinois coal mining district has been deplored by leaders of both unions although the two labor organizations have been at odds since the progressives seceded from United Mine Worker ranks in 1932; after a disagreement with policies of President John L. Lewis.
Open Warfare between the two organizations flared soon after the split with bombings, killings, and riots terrorizing residents of the states coal field areas. In recent weeks, each union has made conditional peace offers to membership of the other.
Two weeks ago, President Dave Reed, and other officers of the progressive union invited rank and file members of the UMWA to join the AFL union but condemned the older union's "appointive power and provisional officers." Last week-end the district scale committee of the UMWA voted a resolution inviting progressives to join their rival union.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, April 22, 1939, Page 1|
Soft Coal Prices Rise a Supply Decreases
Deadlock Continues in Negotiations over Contract
NEW YORK, April 21. -- (AP) -- Diminishing supplies pushed soft coal to higher price levels today to the benefit of foreign mines as James F. Dewey, federal labor department conciliator, tried to bring deadlocked operators of the eight-state Appalachian area and representatives of the United Mine Workers of America (CIO) to an agreement on a new contract.
Dewey discussed the matter first with operator negotiators after a telephone conversation with Washington. When he emerged late today he said no progress had been made, and added that the administration is keenly interested in the seriousness of the situation.
Two days ago, he said, he was given indications an agreement would be reached by today, but an adjournment was taken and negotiations will continue tomorrow.
"Today I was directed by the secretary of labor," Dewey asserted, "to come back to find out what progress had been made. Apparently none has been made."
Asked about the possibility of presidential intervention, Dewey said he had no idea how far the emergency powers of the administration extended.
In Washington President Roosevelt expressed belief he had power to call the disputants together if no settlement was reached. He made it clear he was not certain at the moment how extensive his authority was.
The old two-year contract for soft coal mines in the Appalachian region expired March 31, and the mines closed April 3, leaving about 338,000 men idle.
In the meantime it was regarded as likely that anthracite operators and miners would agree on a new contract to replace the one expiring April 30. These negotiations, affecting between 100,000 and 125,000 men, opened Tuesday and wore recessed late today until next Monday.
ILLINOIS CENTER OF COAL STRIKE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 21. -- (AP) -- Illinois became the chief battleground in the AFL-CIO fight over organization of the nation's coal miners today when the Progressive Mine Workers union decided to keep its men on the job after the deadline set by the United Mine Workers for a general walkout.
Progressives, affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, contended the chief purpose of the strike by the, UMWA, its CIO rival, was to make John L. Lewis, head of the UMWA and the Congress of Industrial organizations, "dictator" of all the coal diggers.
The scale committee of the PMWA issued the statement while negotiating with the Coal Producers association of Illinois for a new contract. The Progressives are working under a special agreement until a now contract is signed.
The UMWA walkout will be effective at midnight May 4 unless a hew wage agreement is reached at the deadlocked Appalachian conference in New York.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, April 25, 1939, Page 4|
Operators, CIO, and AFL
With the coal operators and the United Mine Workers of America, a CIO union, deadlocked over the question of wages for miners in the eight-state Appalachian area, soft coal prices are rising sky-high. Day by day the supply is decreasing, forcing railroads to lay off men due to the lack of fuel. Small industrial plants with low coal reserves are reducing their output until a better distribution of the available supply can be made.
To date no agreement, nor any sign of agreement, has been reached. And while the two groups are straining back and forth foreign mines are reaping the profits just as foreign shipping reaped tremendous profits in the shipping strike 1936.
Now , to further complicate matters the Progressive Mine Workers of America, AFL, has warned coal operators negotiating in New York that they are violating the Wagner law by negotiating for a wage agreement with the UMWA for mines where Progressives have a majority of the workers.
With a CIO strike called for May 4 and the AFL probably refusing to strike and censoring operators for negotiating with the CIO, labor's internal strife may come to a head in the coal industry. Progressive miners charge John L. Lewis with ordering the strike with the chief purpose of making himself "dictator" of the coal diggers, forecasting another AFL-CIO battle.
Unless an agreement is reached before long, intervention by President Roosevelt is likely but even he is uncertain just what power he has to intervene. In the meantime coal supplies get shorter and resentment against the CIO accumulates. If the two -- or three -- groups do not come to terms soon, industry as usual will be behind the eight-ball.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 4, 1939, Page 1|
Coal Operators Predict No Walkout
Believe John L. Lewis will Cancel Strike for Illinois Area
CHICAGO, May 3. - (AP) -- Officials of the Illinois Coal Operators association predicted today that John L. Lewis, chief of the CIO and the United Mine Workers of America, would call off the mine walkout scheduled for midnight tomorrow and Friday In Illinois, Indiana, and other coal fields outside the Appalachian area.
M. F. Peltier, president of the operators group, said many of the operators in this area believed the shutdown order would be rescinded by Lewis and the policy committee.
Another reliable operators' spokesman said he believed there had been a change of sentiment in the past few days, despite failure of the mine workers and Appalachian operators to negotiate a contract In New York.
Predict Permit to Negotiate
This source predicted Lewis not only would rescind the walkout order but also would permit the operators and mine workers in the outlying districts to begin negotiations for contracts which, would provide the same wages and hours as the ones which expired April 1.
Illinois and Indiana operators, said the official, Secretary Fred S. Wilkie, have put considerable pressure on Lewis, contending they were innocent victims of the mine chief's battle against the Progressive Mine Workers of America, a n AFL affiliate.
"Within the past four or five days, Lewis has been brought to realize by different interests that there is no issue in this part of the country and the operators stand ready and willing to offer the same contract as the one which recently expired," Wilkie said.
Say CIO has Closed Shops
The spokesman said Lewis union "already has the closed shop, although we don't call it that," in Illinois, Indiana, and other districts outside the Appalachian fields.
Two years ago the united miners obtained sole bargaining rights in these regions, he said. W. J. Jenkins, head of the Consolidated Coal company, resigned the presidency of the operators association at that time because some of his mines employed PMWA members under contract.
Wilkie said he believed that while the united miners continued to dig coal in these areas, Lewis would carry on his fight for a closed shop or elimination of the strike penalty clauses in the New York conferences. The mines in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, and eastern Kentucky would remain shut down, he said.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 5, 1939, Page 1|
Illinois Miners Halt Operations; Soft Coal Strike Spreads
Walkout of 458,000 is Nation's Greatest; Fail to Agree
NEW YORK, May 5. -- (Friday) -- The soft coal industry moved toward an almost complete shut-down early today when miners in four more states laid down their picks and those in 14 others prepared to do likewise before midnight.
The 8-state Appalachian area had been closed since April 1, with 338,000 miners idle. By midnight tonight 458,000 diggers in the bituminous industry were scheduled to be idle.
The greatest national walkout since 1922 -- threatened since March 31, expiration date of the United Mine Workers contract with the Appalachian operators -- materialized when weeks of fruitless negotiations collapsed yesterday.
Contract Failure is Signal
Failure to agree on a new contract, covering the Appalachian area and intended as a model for contracts in other regions, effectuated earlier continent orders for a walkout of an additional 100,000 in the 18 bituminous states outside that area.
The states already affected by the new shut-down were Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and western Kentucky. While 25,000 miners in Illinois joined the movement, 18,000 others in tho state -- members of the Progressive Mine Workers of America (AFL) -- intended to continue work. The U. M. W. is the backbone of the CIO.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Secretary of Labor Perkins said "there is hope" for solution of the situation in further conferences scheduled today.
LaGuardia Gets Warm
Mayor LaGuardia, who had expressed concern at the already lowering supply of coal for operating the city's vast rapid transit system, announced immediately that effective today the two biggest lines -- the Interborough Rapid Transit and Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit -- would reduce their operating services by 25 per cent and that the third, City-Owned Line, might have to follow suit soon
"Now, damn it all," he cried, "the life of the people of this city is concerned .and we expect some cooperation. And if we don't, get it we will have to protect ourselves and we intend to do so.
State UMWA Workers Out Until Contract Dispute Ends
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 4. -- (AP) -- An estimated 25,000 Illinois members of the United Mine Workers of America quit work tonight under orders not to dig coal, until the union's Appalachian contract dispute is settled.
Midnight was the deadline for the walkout, but in virtually all cases worked ceased in U. M. W. A. operated mines when the day shifts were over.
At the district office of the CIO union, spokesmen said that skeleton maintenance crews would be on the job tomorrow, but production at the mines using U. M. W. A. labor would stop completely.
P. M, W. to Stay on Job
Eugene Smothers, secretary to district president Ray Edmundson, said telegrams were sent to all of the state's local unions "calling their attention to" earlier instructions for the walkout.
Meanwhile, an estimated 18,000 working members of the United Miners' rival union, the Progressive Mine Workers of America, planned to report for work as usual.
Each union has its own closed shop in the mines with which it deals. In no Illinois mine are members of both unions employed.
Union leaders and state officials said they anticipated no immediate trouble. Assistant Director Charles P. Casey of the slate department of public works and buildings said no requests had been received for special details of state highway police in the coal mining areas.
Will Stall Industries
The walkout will alter radically the industrial aspects of many Illinois mining communities, especially in Little Egypt, where work has been pushed at full production rate since suspension of eastern operations. Much of the coal mined in the Illinois fields has been shipped East to replenish diminishing supplies in the Appalachian area. Dave Reed, district president of the Progressive Miners, estimated that 200 mines contracting with his union would continue to operate. In all there are 978 mines in Illinois including an estimated 500 small local pits most of which employ less than 10 men and are not unionized.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 9, 1939, Page 1|
ROOSEVELT WILL CONFER WITH MINERS, OPERATORS; UMWA PICKETS AT PEKIN
Mining Company Signs Contract with PMW; State-wide Strike may be Called
PEKIN, Ill., May 8. -- (AP) -- The United Mine Workers of America formed a picket line at the Pekin Mining company shaft near here today after the firm announced it would resume operations tomorrow under a new contract with the Progressive Mine Workers union.
Ray Edmundson, state UMWA president, said picketing would continue at the mine, which employed about 150 United Mine Workers prior to the state-wide walkout last Thursday midnight.
Edmundson said a decision on whether the UMWA would picket all PMWA mines in the state probably would be made tomorrow at the scale and policy committee meetings. He would not say whether he favored picketing.
Two officals of the PMWA, bitter rival of the UMWA in Illinois since 1932, left Springfield with the intention of asking authorities here to furnish protection for their men. No disorder developed today and no attempt was made to operate the mine.
Signed Contract with PMWA
Fred Schaefer, Jr., the company president, said he signed with the PMWA because almost all Pekin labor unions, like the Progressives, are affiliated with the American Federation of labor. The United Mine Workers are affiliated with the congress of Industrial Organizations.
Schaefer invited all the miners to return to work tomorrow under the new contract.
George P. Ritchie, PMWA vice president, said 150 workers at the mine had voted to drop their affiliation with the United Mine Workers and join the Progressives. He said members of two UMWA local unions in the vicinity were on the picket line.
Edmundson denied the miners had joined the rival union and said 131 of 147 regularly employed there had signed a petition demanding that the PMWA contract be abrogated.
"One hundred and thirty-one United Mine Workers employed at the mine appeared for picket duty this morning and not a single man crossed the picket line," Edmundson asserted.
Will File Charges Against Company
He said a complaint charging unfair labor practices would be filed against the Pekin Mining company with the National Labor Relations board.
'This is merely an attempt on the part of the operators in the state of Illinois to use the PMWA as a scab and strike-breaking agency for the purpose of operating their mines," he added. "The full resources of the district organization are behind the Pekin miners."
Ritchie and William Crompton, Springfield district board member of the Progressives, left for Pekin to demand protection for their workers.
Elsewhere in Illinois quiet prevailed as about 25,000 UMWA miners remained idle. Edmundson would not comment on reports other mines operated by progressives would be picketed.
Edmundson, John O'Leary of Pittsburgh, and Curtiss Mundell of Benton, Ill., both UMWA international board members, planned to address mass meetings in Springfield tomorrow and Harrisburg Wednesday.
F. D. R. Intervenes in Coal Dispute; Miss Perkins Assails Mine Owners
NEW YORK, May 8. -- (AP) -- Conferees representing the United Mine Workers and Appalachian coal operators tonight accepted an invitation to confer tomorrow with President Roosevelt in an effort to end their long dispute over a new labor contract.
Only a few hours before, John L. Lewis, head of the UMW and of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, had put the blame on the Roosevelt administration for the long shut down of the bituminous industry which followed the failure of operators and miners to reach a new labor agreement to replace that which expired March 31. Acceptance of President Roosevelt's invitation to meet him in Washington was announced by Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. She said the exact hour for the conference had not been set.
Announcing the President's direct intervention in the dispute, Miss Perkins said she believed the operators, in refusing, as she put it, to continue operations under the old union contract pending negotiations, had made a "violation of the principle, of the ethics, of collective bargaining.
'Should Continue Operations'
"Among the : things which ftre generally accepted," she added, "is that every effort should be made to continue operations . . .
She remarked that the government had "borne down heavily" on the unions generally in support of that principle.
In contrast to her statement, Lewis had said earlier in a blunt letter to Dr. John B. Steelman, labor department conciliator: "Failure of the Roosevelt administration to approve or sustain the mine workers' offer to keep the industry in operation caused many coal operators to believe that they had carte blanche to disembowel the mine workers' union if they could. In consequence, your (labor) department must accept responsibility for its own administrative blunder".
May Take Practical Course
Secretary Perkins did not comment directly on Lewis' letter. She said, however, that if an agreement was not reached quickly to reopen the closed mines, the government would be forced to take a practical course to get the coal moving."
The UAIWA has contended in the coal negotiations that it needed contract clauses that would protect It from rivals, presumably the AFL's progressive miners.
In a resume of the negotiations, which she said she had given the deadlocked conferees. Miss Perkins indicated that the two principal bars to the signing of a contract still stood:
The union's demand for either (1) a "union shop" or (2) - elimination of strike penalty clauses.
A hint of dissension among the four operators negotiating with the mine workers was given when Philip Murray, UMW vice president, declared that two of the operators had agreed that the union contract terms "would be better for the operators than their own terms."
After Miss Perkins recited her views, Lewis said:
"One fact is startlingly clear. There's only one kind of contract that will protect the UMW -- the union shop. The closed shop is not a question here." he said, reiterating a point in his letter to Steelman, "nor has it been."
In Indiana, he declared, there nave been 10,000 miners working under a union shop rule for 30 years, and in Illinois another group has bad a union shop nine years.
FDR WILL URGE PROMPT SETTLEMENT TODAY
WASHINGTON, May 8. -- (AP) -- There was no indication tonight what specific terms for peace -- coal operators and union leaders who President Roosevelt might suggest to are to meet him tomorrow.
It was considered certain, however, that he would call for a settlement in urgent terms, in keeping with his pronouncement Saturday that an "agreement must be reached promptly" in the public interest.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 10, 1939, Page 1|
FDR Demands Quick Strike Settlement
Confers with Perkins, UMWA Leaders, Mine Operators at Capital
NEW YORK, May 9. -- (AP) -- A prediction that some plan to break the soft coal deadlock would be worked out before the deadline fixed by President Roosevelt was made by a federal conciliator tonight as operator representatives laid before their colleagues the gist of the President's request.
WASHINGTON, May 9. -- (AP) -- In language which sounded much like an ultimatum, President Roosevelt announced today that he had asked coal operators and union officials for a quick settlement of the bituminous coal deadlock.
The request was made at a conference in his office, attended by five leaders of the United Mine workers, five mine operators and Secretary of Labor Perkins. Mr . Roosevelt advised newsmen later that he had told the disputants that the public good demands an immediate resumption of mining, and that by tomorrow night they should work out a method for reopening the mines.
President Speaks Vigorously
The President spoke with unusual vigor and emphasis as he informed the reporters of the conversation, his voice rising to an indignant pitch when he asserted the two factions had agreed on every point at issue except one, and were agreed in principle on that. They had, he said, only to settle the details of that one point to reopen the mines.
On that point, he added, they agreed that there should be a vertical, or industrial, union in the mines and that for purposes of collective bargaining the United Mine workers should be recognized as that union. They had not, he said, been able to work out the details for carrying that into effect, which he thought a very interesting factor.
Leaders Agree to Try
The President's obvious insistence was such that many were left wondering whether, if an agreement were, not forthcoming by tomorrow night or very soon thereafter, he would intervene more definitely. In response to a question on that point, Mr . Roosevelt said only that he was not looking that far ahead.
The union officials and coal men agreed to try, he said, adding that they would resume conversations with Dr. John R. Steelman, chief of the conciliation bureau of the department of labor, and that he, himself, was not taking over any part of the job. The group left later for New York, planning to go into conference with Mr. Steelman tomorrow. John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine workers, headed the union group and Charles O'Neil spoke for the operators.
460,000 Miners Idle
The deadlock, or failure to agree on terms for renewing the union contract which expired April 1, has resulted in closing coal mines in 26 states. It has made some 460,000 coal miners idle and raised the threat in many sections of an early coal shortage.
A prime obstacle to agreement has been the union's insistence upon what Lewis calls a "union shop" and elimination from the new contract of penalties in case of strikes or lockouts. The operators have insisted that the penalty clause was necessary to stabilize the industry. They also contend t would deprive them of protection against illegal strikes.
While Mr. Roosevelt said there was agreement on wages and hours, Lewis had said last night that such was not the case. The union, he said, had offered to accept the wage-hour rates of the old contract If the operators would accept elimination of the penalty clause, or "union shop."
UMWA HEADY TO HALT ILLINOIS PRODUCTION
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 9. -- (AP) -- Illinois united mine workers were told at a mass meeting today by District President Ray Edmundson to "hold yourselves in readiness for a militant meeting to stop the production of coal in Illinois."
The CIO union official urged a crowd at a baseball park here, in the meantime, to "try to convince" members of the progressive mine workers union "that it would be to their advantage" to join the UMWA's suspension of work.
Edmuridsori did not directly order picketing of an estimated 200 mines now being worked by AFL unionists but used the words.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 11, 1939, Page 1|
MINERS REJECT PROPOSAL TO REOPEN COAL MINES; SEEK COALITION IN ILLINOIS
United Officials Ask State Progressives to Reenter Ranks, Halt Production
HARRISBURG, Ill., May 10. -- (AP) -- An invitation to members of the opposing Progressive Miners union to re-enter the ranks of the United Mine Workers was issued in an appeal to halt production of scab coal in Illinois.
Ray Edmundson, Illinois president of the United Mine Workers, speaking at a mass meeting of miners at the fairgrounds here, declared:
"We feel sure that the Progressives (AFL Progressive Mine Workers of America) at heart are willing to join our cause."
He said his CIO union "would do nothing unlawful or illegal" but reserved the right "to persuade those working to lay down their tools" and join in a nation-wide suspension of bituminous coal production. No picket orders were issued.
"We want to obey the law and we will do all that we can to preserve law and order," he continued, "but if the strike is not settled we intend to stop production."
The United Mine Workers' stoppage of coal operations began in the Appalachian area April 1 and spread to other states last Thursday when a deadlock continued in negotiations for a new contract. President Roosevelt, in language which sounded much like an ultimatum, has demanded a quick settlement.
Sheriff Tom Gram estimated between 200 and 300 persons attended the rally.
Edmundson contended that he was "well satisfied" with the crowd "because it consisted of delegates and officers from local unions from many southern Illinois local unions and they were asked to report back to their locals."
UMWA Turn Down 'Last Offer' of Operators to End Strike
NEW YORK, May 11. -- (AP) -- A spokesman for the bituminous operators announced early today the United Mine workers had rejected their "last proposal" for reopening the soft coal mines of 26 states.
In an attempt to avert a further fuel famine, Dr . John R. Steelman, federal mediator, asked individual companies to sign separate contracts with the United Mine Workers union.
He said he believed enough individual operators were willing to comply with the UMW terms for a closed shop to ease the present national emergency.
CIO president, John L. Lewis, spokesman for the miners, immediately announced such an arrangement was satisfactory with the mine union.
Will Start Production
"Today the bituminous districts In the outlying area will be notified that the UMW are prepared to execute contracts to reinstate the production of coal, he said.
Lewis said no individual contracts would be made in the 8-state Appalachian region, however, pending the outcome of another conference at 4:00 p. m. today.
R. L. Ireland , the spokesman, said the operators had proposed immediate resumption of the operations stopped at the expiration of the old contract, last March 31, when nearly a half million miners stopped work.
"In a last effort to bring about a settlement, the operators made the following proposal," the operators statement said:
"1. The mines will resume operations immediately."
"2. The rates of pay, hours of work, and conditions of employment that obtained in the Appalachian basic agreement and the several district agreements which expired March 31, 1939, and all the customs and practices thereunder shall be continued until March 31, 1941, except as modified below."
Would Recognize UMW
"3. The old contract shall be changed to conform to recognition of the UMW as the exclusive bargaining representative for all the employees of all the classes covered by the Appalachian and the district agreements, except the exempted classes, and the Appalachian conference and its component district associations shall be established as the proper bargaining unit under the national labor relations act."
"4. That negotiations continue for the purpose of finding some formula agreeable to both parties which will preserve, the integrity of the agreement and of the jurisdiction of the United Mine Workers of America from attacks, made under the provisions of the national labor relations act, the parties agreeing that they will if necessary jointly support emergency legislation designed to accomplish this purpose. 'This proposal was rejected by the miners."
After the issuance of the statement, the conferees sat down to eat, and it appeared possible they might resume discussions.
CHANDLER THREATENS TO CALL TROOPS
FRANKFORT, Ky., May 10. -- (AP) -- Declaring the people of Kentucky, and the nation have become weary of this controversy, Gov. A. B. Chandler said today lie would send national guardsmen into Harlan county Monday if no labor contract has been signed for the Appalachian coal field by then.
In a 1,500-word statement, he said the troops would have "instructions to give protection to every citizen of Harlan county who desires to work in the mines upon terms and conditions acceptable to him and his employers.
The governor described the miners and their families and all labor in allied industries left idle by tho mining shutdown since contracts expired April 1 as "innocent victims. . . of a rivalry between two major labor factions in this country."
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 11, 1939, Page 7|
28 Conspirators Start Federal Terms Today
Prepare to Remove Men Sentenced for Bombings
SPRINGFIELD, III., May 10. -- (AP) -- Federal officers prepared tonight to remove to prison immediately 28 of the 34 mine bombing conspirators who were ordered in federal district court today to serve two-year terms and pay fines of $10,000 each.
The men, convicted in 1937 of plotting to violate mail and interstate commerce laws, were brought back to trial court for adjustment of their penalties under terms of a circuit court of appeals mandate which reduced the original sentences of four years imprisonment and $20,000 fines for each defendant.
The other six defendants, who received the same sentences, were free on bonds of $10,000 each, under brief stays of execution granted by Judge Charles G. Briggle.
Five district officers of the Progressive Mine Workers of America were granted their freedom until June 1 to continue participation in negotiations between their union and Illinois coal producers for a new state wage contract. Jess Anderson, whose sentence also was stayed, wasn't the only defendant granted additional time for a hearing on his motion for probation. All defendants were members of the union or sympathizers with it.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 12, 1939, Page 1|
Assure Public Coal Crisis is Over
Miners in Kentucky Return to Work; final Settlement Expected Today
NEW YORK, May 11. -- (AP) -- A final showdown tomorrow in the nine-week deadlock of the Appalachian conference, over the United Mine Workers demand for a union shop was projected tonight as a federal mediator assured the nation the soft coal crisis was over.
Even as Dr. John R . Steelman, the mediator asserted the operators felt an agreement might be reached tomorrow, facilitating the reopening of virtually all the mines now closed in 26 states, the first break in the nation wide shutdown came as 6,000 western Kentucky miners went back to work after the operators acceded, to the union's demand for a union Shop.
Western Kentucky is one of the outlying soft coal areas which were closed down last week adding 120,000 miners to the . army of 340,000 idle since the shutdown in the Appalachian area April 1.
Agree on Two-Year Contract
A joint announcement by the union and the Western Kentucky Coal Operators association said they had agreed on a two-year contract, recognizing the union as the exclusive bargaining agent and granting a union shop.
The agreement, covering 17 coal companies, was the first effected in the ClO union's effort to gain the protection it seeks against possible incursions by the Progressive Miners union (AFL) or other labor organizations. UMW President John L. Lewis notified other outlying districts the union was prepared to sign individual contracts.
The union shop demand has stalemated the Appalachian conference representing 70 per cent of the nations soft coal production, and observers said tonight that tomorrow's session would answer the question whether unanimity would prevail.
Spokesman Expresses Optimism
The four negotiators for the management worked frantically to save the six-year-old conference as a collective bargaining unit and effect an agreement which would assure peace in the entire industry. The alternative was signing of contracts by districts or individuals willing to accept the terms laid down by Lewis.
A leading spokesman for the operators said that "a large block of the tonnage (in the Appalachian conference) has already reached a satisfactory agreement with the miners."
He expressed belief "there is a definite chance to keep the conference together," but admitted there was a distinct division between the north and the south and he did not know what the south would do.
TO ATTEMPT ILLINOIS SETTLEMENT TODAY
CHICAGO. May 11. -- (AP) -- Settlement of a strike which has kept 25,000 Illinois miners idle for a week will be attempted tomorrow at a meeting of officers of the Illinois Coal Operators association and the scale committee of district 12 of the United Mine Workers of America.
Illinois United Mine workers and others throughout the nation, were called out on strike May 4 and 5 after soft coal operators in the Appalachian area and UMWA leaders became deadlocked over wage and hour demands. The Appalachian contract each year has been accepted as a pattern for contracts in other areas.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 13, 1939, Page 1|
MEDIATION MAY END COAL TIE-UP TODAY; GIVE UMWA 'UNION SH0P' IN ILLINOIS
25,000 Miners will Resume Operations Monday Following 7-day Lay-off
CHICAGO, May 12. -- (AP) -- The Illinois Coal Operators association signed a contract today granting the United Mine Workers of America a "union shop" in Illinois. The miners will go back into the pits Monday.
The contract was signed with such speed that the negotiating session of the operators and miners joint committee was almost perfunctory. It ended a state-wide walkout of about 25,000 miners which began a week ago today.
Ray Edmundson, state UMWA president, explained that the action today was merely an extension of the old contract until March 31, 1941, with the inclusion of the following provision in the enabling clause which identifies the parties to the agreement:
Exempt 'Key Men'
"It is agreed that the United Mine Workers of America is recognized herein as the exclusive bargaining agency representing the employees of the parties of the first part (the operators). It is agreed that as a condition of employment all employees shall be members of the United Mine Workers of America except in those exempted classifications of employment as provided in this contract."
The exemptions referred to are various "key men" such as foremen, in the mines.
The inserted clause was the one demanded by John L. Lewis, National UMWA president and CIO chief, who is engaged in a battle for control of the mines with the AFL affiliated Progressive Mine Workers of America.
Clause Protects Against 'Raids'
The exclusive, bargaining clause was designed, it was believed, as protection against "raids" by the younger and rival union.
Both operators and miners explained that the union already had exclusive bargaining rights in Illinois mines, but the provision never had been written into the contract.
In Springfield, Joe Ozanic, National PMWA president, telegraphed Fred S. Wilkie, secretary of the operators group, demanding that the association bargain with his union for a contract involving employees of 15 mines operated by six members of the association.
Neither Wilkie nor M. F. Peltier, president of the association, would comment on Ozanic's request.
The contract was signed in the Union League club by the operators officers and scale committee, and a committee of miners which included state officials and board members, less than two hours after the conference started.
Operator-Union Group will Act on Lewis Proposal for 26 States Today
NEW YORK, May 12. -- (AP) -- The full Appalachian coal conference took no action in a two-hour discussion tonight on an agreement reached today by its negotiators to grant the "union shop" to John L. Lewis' union miners, and thus a final settlement of the controversy that has tied up the bituminous mines of 26 states, was postponed until tomorrow at the earliest.
The conference -- made up of 150 representatives of operators and an equal number of representatives of the union -- ended without public expression from either side as to the prospects for tomorrow, but a high operators spokesman said privately that it almost unquestionably would see the signing of a contract.
A union spokesman of equal authority put forward a similar view, with the statement that a general re-opening of the mines by Monday seemed certain.
O'Neill Moves Adjournment
Both described tonight's discussion as having cleared up questions as to the effect of the union shop upon management, and an operators' source commented further that it had been instrumental in dispelling at least some of the southern hostility to granting that extension of power to Lewis.
There remained the possibility that some southern operators would hold out to the end and might withdraw from the conference rather than agree to the union shop -- which was interpreted by James F. Dewey, a federal mediator, as meaning that all miners affected who were not members of the United Mine Workers would be required to join after a stipulated period.
Appalachian Conference 6 Years Old
he Appalachian conference is a six-year old organization voting under the unit rule, and the biggest such instrument for mass labor bargaining in the country. Specifically, its act's only for the eight state Appalachian area, but that section produces 70 per cent of the national bituminous coal and thus its decisions substantially control In the entire belt.
This time, however, individual settlements had been underway in the outlying areas, under Lewis' authority and at what amounted almost to a command from federal mediators, some 24 hours before the Appalachian negotiators came to their contingent agreement.
No Pay Change Made
Two lines in the proposed new contract thus described it:
"It is agreed that the United Mine Workers of America is recognized herein as the exclusive bargaining agency representing the employees of the parties of the first part. It is agreed that as a condition of employment all employees shall be members of the United Mine Workers of America, except those exempt classifications of employment as provided in the contract.
No change in pay - a basic $5.60 a day in the South and $6 in the North -- was made in the agreement. Nor was the old five-day, 35-hour week altered.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 14, 1939, Page 5|
Consider Lewis' Ambition Cause of Coal Strike
Robb Views Deadlock as Move to Retain Prestige
By WILFORD KRAMER '41
As the nationwide coal deadlock seemed near settlement yesterday, a little-thought-of angle of the situation was pointed out by W. C. Robb, associate in economics. That angle is the struggle of John L. Lewis, CIO head, to retain his prestige and leadership of the mining world.
Lewis seemed to be losing the loyalty of his followers until this recent trouble. Mr . Robb said, explaining that although miners wanted a "closed shop" all did not endorse the shut-down.
On the other hand, all mine operators were not solid backers of the men who were negotiating, and many of them kept practically closed shops before the cry for them spread, he said.
In addition to his desire for personal aggrandizement it has been Lewis aim to protect his union from any possible similar movement by the AFL-affiliated Progressive Mine Workers of America. Lewis is president of UMWA and CIO chief.
Lewis seems the apparent victor of the altercation, Mr. Robb said, but the victory is a rather hollow one, for no wages or hours changes were even bartered for and in view of the virtual "union" shops in many localities the new agreements are neither revolutionary nor decisive.
As far as Illinois is concerned, Mr . Robb continued, all mines in the state are practically "union shops". Illinois shut-down, he explained, was purely a measure sympathetic with the Lewis cause.
Mr. Robb does not foresee further mine trouble among those who signed yesterday's agreement until at least after the present two-year contract expires.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 18, 1939, Page 1|
PMWA, OWNERS SIGN CONTRACT
SPRINGFIELD, III., May 17. -- (AP) -- Scale representatives of the Coal Producers association of Illinois and the Progressive Mine Workers of America signed a new contract today covering wages and working conditions until March 31, 1941.
Announcement of the agreement came after 10 weeks of conferences here. The contract, which negotiators said was "approximately the same as the one in effect the past two years," must now be ratified by the AFL union's rank and file of the membership of the producers association.
John Banovic of Mt. Olive, a member of the miners scale committee, said the contract provided for a $6 basic daily wage, a seven hour day, a 35 hour week, time and one half for overtime, a strike penalty clause and a guarantee of a union shop. The only change from the contract that expired March 31, he said, was the inclusion of the strike penalty clause.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 23, 1939, Page 1|
END ONE DAY STRIKE AT GILLESPIE
GlLLESPIE, Ill., May 22. -- (AP) -- John Battuello, executive board member of local No. 1 of the Progressive Mine Workers of America, announced tonight that a partial settlement had been reached in the one-day strike of 2,100 miners in the Gillespie area.
He said the Superior Coal company of Chicago had agreed to recognize the union s mine committees, and that miners would return to their jobs tomorrow in two of the company 's four pits. Battuello said the mines which would resume operations tomorrow are located at Eagerville and Sawyerville.
Battuello asserted that Dwight Wilcox, general superintendent of the company's four mines, planned to open the other two pits, located at Wilsonville and Mt. Claire, later in the week.
|June 1939||no entries at this time|
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, July 6, 1939, Page 2|
Announce PMW Run-off Election
Miners' Union to Fill Vacancies in Two Major Offices
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., July 5. -- (AP) -- Headquarters of the Progressive Mine Workers of America announced today that run-off elections would be necessary to fill two of the union's major offices, made vacant when the incumbents were sent to prison to serve terms, for conspiracy in connection with Illinois mine and railroad bombings.
Union officials said tabulations by tellers of a recent special election showed that John McCann of Gillespie and Herbert Simpson of Eldorado would be the candidates for secretary-treasurer and William Gallagher of Eldorado and Charles Schaeffer of Belleville for auditor. The date for the run-off election has not been set. Earl "Nip" Evans of Harrisburg. former Saline county sheriff, was the union secretary-treasurer until early last month and John Schneider of Springfield was auditor. Both now are in a federal prison.
Tellers have not completed returns for several minor offices made vacant in the same manner.
|August 1939||no entries at this time|
|September 1939||no entries at this time|
|October 1939||no entries at this time|
|November 1939||no entries at this time|
|December 1939||no entries at this time|
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, December 25, 1940, Page 2|
Gov. Stelle Frees 5 Convicted Slayers
SPRINGFIELD, Dec. 2.- (AP) -- The five "Du Quoin boys." who served seven years in prison for the slaying of a 14-year-old girl during Illinois' 1933 mine union violence, were given Christmas pardons by Gov. John Stelle today in a statehouse ceremony attended by a large group of the states labor leaders.
Gov. Stelle personally banded the pardons to the five men, brought here for the ceremony from the southern Illinois penitentiary at Menard. He referred to them as victims of circumstances created by others.
Releasing of the prisoners, effective immediately, ended a four-year organized labor campaign to win executive clemency for the youths convicted of the fatal shooting of Laverne Miller, daughter of a Du Quoin miner, Vernon Miller, father of the child, was among those who had joined in the clemency appeal backed by national officers of the American Federation of Labor and the CIO.
As he handed the pardon orders to the five -- Otis Battaglia, 26; Sam Ferro, 29; Robert Shingleton, 27; Barney Rosetto, 36; and Emery Albers, 32 -- Gov. Stelle expressed hope his action would lead to friendlier relations between the rival Illinois miners unions, the CIO United Mine Workers of America and the AFL Progressive Mine Workers of America.
The victim of the slaying was fatally wounded by shots fired from an automobile into her father's home as she sat at night studying school lessons. The defendants were sympathizers of the then newly-formed Progressive Mine Workers. The girl's father belonged to the United Mine Workers of America.
All the defendants received life terms except Albers, who was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment. They entered prison September 25, 1933.
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, December 17, 1941, Page 1|
ACCEPT WAGE AGREEMENT
SPRINGFIELD, Dec. 16. -- AP -- Illinois members of the Progressive Mine Workers of America ( AFL ) voted 4,981 to 2,881 to accept a wage contract raising the basic scale from $6 to $7 a day, state headquarters of the union reported today.
1946 - Article by John B. Marchiando, President of the Progressive Mine Workers of America|
Article Courtesy of : John Fritsche
On May 28, 1937, the Progressive became affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, and changed its name to International Union, Progressive Mine Workers of America. Two years thereafter, the union, now safely established and rapidly becoming a potent factor in the coal fields, moved its headquarters to Springfield, where the international and District No. 1(Illinois) offices were established.
The PMWA withdrew from the A. F. of L. in March, 1946, after charging a majority of the Federation Executive Council members with violation of the PMWA's constitutional rights.
Union activities were gradually extended into Kentucky and North Dakota and elsewhere, and during the same period a large amount of legislative work was accomplished to pave the way for a safer code for miners in Illinois and elsewhere.
The PMWA today numbers more than 30,000 coal diggers and others, and and has a permanent place in the history of American organized labor.
The PMWA conducts two conventions every two years, one to make any necessary constitutional changes, and the other to work out details of the wage agreements with coal operators.
The constitutional conventions have strengthened the PMWA and have served also to maintain the complete freedom of democratic action in the union.
Officers are prohibited from succeeding themselves and are required after two consecutive terms in in two offices, to return to active coal mining for two years before becoming eligible to seek office again.
As a result of this plan, every member in the PMWA ranks has the opportunity to seek office and no man has ever been elected to any office without complying with the constitutional provisions.
Present officers are the writer, of Christopher and Springfield, who is president and whose term of office expires in February 1947: George Baima, of Benld, vice president and Earl Evans, of Eldorado, secretary-treasurer.
These three resident officers, and the six members of the executive board, who are elected every two years and may not succeed themselves, operate the broad PMWA policy, but major matters are placed before the rank and file by referendum.
Board members at the present are: James Selkirk, Peoria; Don McGill, Springfield; Frank Lanzerotti, Gillespie; Felix Goodnick, Belleville; and Ernest Johnson, Harrisburg.
Present international and Illinois district headquarters are maintained at 392-394-594 South Sixth Street, Springfield
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, November 22, 1946, Page 1|
1,700 MINERS LEAVE JOBS
SPRINGFIELD -- AP -- Illinois soft coal production was further decreased yesterday by the idleness of nearly 1,700 members of the Progressive Mine Workers union, independent rival organization to the United Mine Workers.
Although most of the Progressive Miners continued to hoist coal, more than 1,600 union members employed at three Superior Coal company shafts in the Gillespie area stayed away from work, and about 70 Progressives walked off their jobs at the Belle Valley coal mine near Belleville.
James Campbell of Gillespie, president of PMW local No. 1, said the men did not work "apparently because of the national situation."
There was no comment from President John Marchiando or other officials at PMW state headquarters in Springfield.
The Progressive Miner, December 1946|
GILLESPIE, IL. -- John McCann, of Gillespie, was elected president of the Progressive Mine Workers of America. He will assume the duties of this office in February.
1947 Photo of John McCann|
Photograph Courtesy of : John Fritsche
Circa 1948 - "Progressive Mine Workers of America" by John McCann|
|Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois, January 2, 1949, Page 2|
Mt. Olive Man Elected To Office in PMW
Springfield, Ill. (UP) -- Louis Karlovic of Mt. Olive was selected secretary-treasurer of the Progressive Mine Workers of America in a run-off election Jan. 10, it was announced today.
Karlovic will take office with President-elect John Marchiando, Vice-President-Elect George Baima and other officers, Feb1. Karlovic was opposed by James R. Cain in the run-off.
Results in the other run-off elections also were announced today. Matlon Basso, Staunton, and Ernest Johnson, Carrier Mills, were named workmen compensation representatives. Lloyd Campbell of Carrier Mills was elected Social Security and unemployment compensation representative.
Frank Subiak of Benld was elected special accountant and James E. Morris of Carrier Mills was elected auditor.
|February 1950 - Progressive Mine Workers strike
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois, Friday, February 17, 1950
|The Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, May 25, 1950, Page 3|
Labor Relations Board Rules PMW Guilty of Violating Taft-Hartley Act
WASHINGTON -- AP -- The National Labor Relations board yesterday ruled the Progressive Mine Workers union guilty of violating the Taft-Hartley act by threatening the jobs of two miners who wanted to join John L. Lewis' rival United Mine Workers.
The board ordered the Progressive union to stop those threats and to cease efforts to have the men discharged.
The Randolph corporation of Coulterville, Ill., also was found guilty of "constructive discharge" by failing to disavow the union action.
The members of the board, Chairman Paul L. Herzog and Abe Murdock, differed with their colleagues on that point, however. They said there was only a "suspicion" that the company knew about the Progressive unions acts. The union was held to have kept the two miners, Charles Chandler and George Smith, from working between March 25, 1948, and Aug. 20, 1948, when the Tilden, Ill., mine was closed down.
Both the company and union were directed to reimburse the miners for any wages lost as a result of the alleged discrimination.
1952 - "Faith of Its Founders" by George Baima|
The Progressive Mine Workers of America union formally continued to exist until 1999.
The possibility to offer mine workers a genuine alternative dissolved decades earlier, due to the combined forces of the UMWA, the state and federal government, and the coal operators
Additional information :|
The Progressive Miners of America and the 1930's Illinois Mine War "No Backward Step" by Greg Boozell
Mine Union Radicalism in Macoupin and Montgomery Counties by Victor Hicken - ©1997 Victor Hicken
Frank Fries Memoir
Coal Mining and Union Activities Project; Interview and memoir by Nick Cherniavsky & Barbara Herndon, 1973
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144, University of Illinois at Springfield
Jack Battuello Memoir #1
Coal Mining and Union Activities Project; Interview and memoir by Nick Cherniavsky & Bobbie Herndon, 1982
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144, University of Illinois at Springfield
|Coal & Coal Mining in Central Illinois|
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