It was illegal for the owners to conspire to shut down production, but not so if the miners went on strike. Tens of millions of city dwellers needed coal to heat their homes. Anthracite coal, mined from the planet's oldest geological formations, has spent the longest time underground. The eastern region of Pennsylvania contained and still contains the largest deposits of anthracite coal in the United States, and was furthermore located conveniently to all of the major Northern, industrial cities of the early 1900s. As winter approached, public anxiety about fuel shortages and the rising cost of all coal pushed Roosevelt to take unprecedented action. The American Memory collections contain a variety of documents, photographs, and films illuminating the labor situation at the turn of the century. The Strike Drags On, and Roosevelt Steps In At first, there was little reason to believe that this would be any more remarkable then the myriad other work stoppages of the era.
These strikers, whose numbers reached the hundreds of thousands, each had varying degrees of success. Total production in 2010 was 670 million tons. The coal is slow-burning and difficult to ignite because of its high density, so few pulverized, coal-fired plants burn it. Chestnut and Pea are used in hand fired furnaces while the smaller Rice and Buckwheat are used in automatic stoker furnaces. Mitchell refused and his membership endorsed his decision by a nearly unanimous vote. The initial meeting took place on October 3rd with all the key actors, and it was decided that a longer-term investigation would commence.
Anthracite coal burns cleaner than bituminous coal, and was thus preferred by many Americans for residential use. It didn't seem like the strike would end any time soon. The industry, still smarting from its concessions in 1900, opposed any federal role. . John Mitchell was frustrated by the refusal of employers to deal with the union.
The Rock Island Argus, Volume 51, Number 303. Some 30,000 left the region, many headed for Midwestern bituminous mines; 10,000 returned to Europe. The owners welcomed the strike, but they adamantly refused to recognize the union, because they feared the union would control the coal industry by manipulating strikes. 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. Roosevelt wanted to intervene, but he was told by his Attorney General, , that he had no authority to do so. Waters of Discord: The Union Blockade of Texas During the Civil War.
Roosevelt in 1902 click for source In most of the strikes in the late 1800s, the United States government either did not intervene, or went so far as to intervene on the side of management. They returned to Washington together on 13 October with a proposal in which the owners aired their grievances and called for immediate resumption of mining, and for the appointment of a commission whose findings would be effective throughout the anthracite industry for three years. Knox, 1853-1921 : As attorney general 1901-1904 , Knox proved important in the implementation of Roosevelt's antitrust policy. A number of small strikes took place in the district from 1899 to 1901, by which the gained experience and unionized more workers. Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics. There photographers took pictures, and the room became so saturated with smoke from their flash powder it had to be aired out. At the convention of delegates, John Mitchell encouraged the delegates not to strike.
Increased demand in China has made that country into a net importer of the fuel, mostly from Vietnam, another major producer of anthracite for power generation, although increasing domestic consumption in Vietnam means that exports may be scaled back. Watching from Washington, Teddy Roosevelt became increasingly alarmed. Roosevelt Steps in By September seven counties in northeastern Pennsylvania were under military surveillance, but the governor had not yet sent in state troops to seize the mines. Some underground anthracite coal is also being mined. He worked through the which brought labor and capital together. Democratic Miners: Work and Labor Relations in the Anthracite Coal Industry, 1875-1925. Proposals for harnessing this heat as geothermal energy have not been successful.
On October 3, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt met with miners and coalfield operators from the anthracite coalfields in Pennsylvania in an attempt to settle the strike, then in its fifth month. The maintenance employees, who had much steadier jobs and did not face the special dangers of underground work, walked out on June 2. Letter, Wright to Roosevelt, Oct. He was deeply involved in this strike as well: his interests included the Reading Railroad, one of the largest employers of miners, and he had installed George Baer, who spoke for the industry throughout the strike, as the head of the railroad. Spalding, who was also an industrial scholar, but rejected Edgar E. The two forces operated in parallel until 1931. Large quantities of anthracite for power purposes were formerly exported from South Wales to France, Switzerland and parts of Germany.
Roosevelt's direct involvement in the arbitration talks—a first in United States history—ended the standoff. Morgan asked Root to come to New York. The two sides were supposed to listen to expert testimony and come to a friendly agreement; cartoon from the Cleveland Dealer The first casualty occurred July 1. Since no end of the strike was in sight, the President prepared to send Carroll Wright on another investigation. The miners eventually agreed to a 10% raise, down from their initial 20% wage increase demand. The Legacy of the Strike Politically, Roosevelt's strong intervention worked to his advantage. In two Supreme Court cases, 1831 and Worcester v.
At the turn of the 20th century, the United States was heavily dependent on coal to supply its energy needs. The commissioners then held hearings over the next three months, taking testimony from 558 witnesses, including 240 for the striking miners, 153 for nonunion mineworkers, 154 for the operators and eleven called by the Commission itself. Divided Loyalties: The Public and Private Life of Labor Leader John Mitchell. This commission interviewed 538 people in the coal industry, both workers and management, over the course of three months. Locally called the , the deposit contains 480 square miles of coal bearing rock which originally held 22. The strike had a stark economic effect on the region as 140,000 men and boys were not taking part in the economy. The strikers demanded safer working conditions, health benefits and better pay.
The owners welcomed the strike, but they adamantly refused to recognize the union, because they feared the union would control the coal industry by manipulating strikes. They are the purest forms of coal, having the highest degree of , the highest carbon count and energy content and the fewest impurities moisture, ash and volatiles. He recognized that under ordinary conditions he had no right to interfere in the strike. At the same time, he decided that if no solution could be reached through negotiation, he would send in the U. Postal Strike, which took place in March 1970, included 210,000 strikers. The mine operators did not agree to these terms, but agreed to meet with the workers in a month, so long as the union did not strike or reduce the hours union workers worked in that month. The strike threatened to shut down the winter fuel supply to major American cities.