Coal Strike of 1902

Timeline created by DChisham
In History
  • Period: to

    1897-1902

  • Coal Strike of 1897

    The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) had won a sweeping victory in the 1897 strike by the soft-coal (bituminous coal) miners in the Midwest, winning significant wage increases and growing from 10,000 to 115,000 members.
  • Coal Strike of 1900

    It hoped to make similar gains in 1900, but found the operators, who had established an oligopoly through concentration of ownership after drastic fluctuations in the market for anthracite, to be far more determined opponents than it had anticipated. The owners refused to meet or to arbitrate with the union; the union struck with results that surprised even the union, as miners of all different nationalities walked out in support of the union.
  • Coal Strike of 1902 begins

    the union wanted recognition and a degree of control over the industry. The industry, still smarting from its concessions in 1900, opposed any federal role. The 150,000 miners wanted their weekly pay envelope. Tens of millions of city dwellers needed coal to heat their homes.
  • Government Begins Intervention

    President Theodore Roosevelt asked his Commissioner of Labor, Carroll D. Wright, to investigate the strike. Wright investigated and proposed reforms that acknowledged each side's position, recommending a nine hour day on an experimental basis and limited collective bargaining. Roosevelt chose not to release the report, for fear of appearing to side with the union.
  • Roosevelt Plays Mediator

    a conference of representatives of government, labor, and management. The union considered the mere holding of a meeting to be tantamount to union recognition and took a conciliatory tone. The owners told Roosevelt that strikers had killed over 20 men and that he should use the power of government "to protect the man who wants to work, and his wife and children when at work." With proper protection they would produce enough coal to end the fuel shortage; they refused to enter
  • Coal Strike Ends

    Organized labor celebrated the outcome as a victory for the UMWA and American Federation of Labor unions generally. Membership in other unions soared, as moderates argued they could produce concrete benefits for workers much sooner than radical Socialists who planned to overthrow capitalism in the future. Young John Mitchell proved his leadership skills and mastery of the problems of ethnic, skill, and regional divisions that had long plagued the union in the anthracite region. By contrast the s