Strike Image of the Week

August 26-September 1, 2013
While many historians have seen the Copper Country as a place that was hand's off to unions, in Community in Conflict, we found the exact opposite to be true. Between 1900 and 1913, there were over 33 unions that existed in the Copper Country. There was, however, a stark contrast between types of unions that were allowed. As this card shows, craft and trade unions, such as the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, were staple parts of Copper Country labor relations. Industrial unions, such as the Western Federation of Miners, United Mine Workers of America, and the Industrial Workers of the World were not welcome because they organized mostly immigrant workers that were often left out of tradition union organizations. These industrial unions were also, the kinds of unions that would organize copper mines.
August 19-August 25, 2013
Workers at the Park Brewery in Hancock, Michigan. In the early months of the copper strike, workers at the Park Brewery were also on strike, and Western Federation of Miners media outlets were calling for solidarity with striking Park Brewery workers. 
August 12-August 18, 2013
Almost the entire Michigan National Guard--cavalry and artillery units--were in the Copper Country as well. Shipped up to the Copper Country by Gov. Woodbridge N. Ferris, the Guard was supposed to be a neutral keeper of law and order, but this proved to not be the case. Guard officers wined and dined with Copper Country mine management and were hardly partial in their treatment of Copper Country strikers.
August 5-August 11, 2013
Scabs were being brought in by a number of mining companies even before the strike began on July 23, 1913. The importation of "replacement" workers began as a trickle, but became a downright downpour by the Fall of 1913. Calumet and Hecla imported over 900 scab workers by late December of 1913. Most scabs came from Michigan or Illinois with many coming from Detroit and Chicago. Of any city, Chicago, was the largest place of origin for scabs making their way to the work in the C&H Mines. 

July 29-August 4, 2013
The miner's friend, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, was even in Calumet. The feisty labor agitator was one of a number of celebrities that organized labor rolled out in the Copper Country to support the strike action. Mother Jones was an especially well-know and well-loved labor leader. She had been involved in efforts to organize coal miners in Appalachia and Colorado, and preached non-violence during the strike advising the Michigan copper mineworkers to keep their hands in their pockets where the mine owners couldn't get to them. 

July 22-July 28, 2013
Massive strikers parade through downtown Hancock. This image gives a good idea of the size of striking workers' parades, as these gatherings sometimes stretched for a mile or so, and consisted of thousands of workers and their family members. 

July 15-July 21, 2013

Almost 100 years ago the Copper Country was in the early stages of a tumultuous time. Copper Country streets were overfilling with people, passion, and for the nascent Western Federation of Miners locals, promise. The 1913-14 Strike did not just show up out of nowhere--it was the culmination of years of grassroots organizing, and this organization of area mineworkers resulted in impassioned union meetings and street parades, such as the one shown above in Calumet, Michigan. Already in June of 1913, there was a tense energy in Copper Country streets, and a seemingly unavoidable clash between Copper Country mine owners and the area's mineworkers was on the horizon.

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