Posts Tagged ‘unions’

Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, March 2007

Howard Botts

Howard Botts

Black Diamond is my favorite subject since I’ve lived there all my life. I think these two towns, Maple Valley and Black Diamond, have some things in common; a couple of them are Highway 169 and railroads.

People in Seattle heard that the Northern Pacific was coming to this area and going to Tacoma.

They felt if they couldn’t have that they were going to build their own railroad from Seattle to Walla Walla over the pass. So they started in 1873, got as far as Renton in 1876; then extended it to Newcastle. In 1880 Henry Villard, of the Northern Pacific, bought it from the Black Diamond Coal Company and renamed it the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad. (more…)


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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 18, 2014

By Bill Kombol

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) were first organized on January 25, 1890. At one time this union was the most powerful in America.

From 1920 through 1960 the UMWA coal miners were led by John L. Lewis, a persuasive labor leader who founded, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, better known as the second half of the acronym AFL-CIO. Coal mine union membership peaked in 1946 at 500,000 but has since dipped to under to under 75,000, only 20,000 of whom are active coal miners. (more…)

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Originally published by the Valley Daily News, September 2, 1988

By Bruce Rommel
Staff reporter

Residents of Black Diamond will gather again Sunday and Monday to honor the American worker, and remember the days when coal was king.

There will be flags and a parade, a greased-pole climb, soap box racers, and pie-eating contests.

Area residents are invited to join the festivities and learn something about the century-old community’s coal-mining heydays.

A pancake breakfast and parade are planned for Monday morning, followed by brief Labor Day ceremonies and an afternoon of family oriented games and other events.

The annual Labor Day observance in Black Diamond carries on a tradition begun at the turn of the century in the one-time company town. Labor Day once meant a show of solidarity of union coal miners who clashed with company goons in bitter and sometimes violent strikes during the 1920s. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, August 11, 1913

Men employed in collieries of Pacific Coast Company quit in sympathy with discharged committeeman

Organization growing about Black Diamond

Seven hundred miners employed in the three collieries of the Pacific Coast Company at Black Diamond walked out this morning because the company had refused to reinstate George Ayers, a member of the “pit committee,” reputed to be an I.W.W. organizer in the Black Diamond district.

Ayers was discharged following a quarrel with a subforman named Mitchell, with whom he had taken up a grievance of a miner who had not been supplied with a “bucker.” Ayers is said to have become abusive when Mitchell told him that he had no authority to regulate employment. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, August 3, 1913

iwwMembers of the United Mine Workers of America, having unionized practically all the collieries in this state, may have to clash with the I.W.W. [Industrial Workers of the World] to retain control of the west side camps.

According to mine employees and operators the I.W.W. is attempting to force its way into the mining camps, but thus far has made no marked headway. The union officials believe that the I.W.W. will be no more popular in the mining camps than it has been among loggers, and during the past year I.W.W. organizers have been chased out of the logging camps by the men themselves. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, July 5, 1923

Black Diamond was saddened the past week by the accidental deaths of two of the men employed in the mine, Frank Eltz, inside laborer, who met his death on Wednesday, June 27, and Joe Spinks, inside laborer, who followed Eltz over the Divide two days later, Friday, June 29.

Eltz was 37 years of age, born in Austria, March 20, 1886. He came to the United States in 1913, and has been with the Pacific Coast Coal Company since August 1921. He was working in the gangway of the 12th level, north, at 5:30 p.m., when a large piece of rock fell from the roof, killing him instantly. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, April 3, 1922

The first of 200 homes in which the miners and their families will be housed.

The first of 200 homes in which the miners and their families will be housed.

Labor leaders addressed striking coal miners and their sympathizers at the dedication of the new town of Morganville, thirty-three miles southeast of Seattle yesterday afternoon.

The state district organization of the United Mine Workers of America built or rather is building, Morganville to shelter the striking miners of Black Diamond who sold or surrendered leases on homes on company ground when the open shop was established in that camp last August. The new town stands almost adjoining the old “company” town.

Combined with the dedication of the new “union” town was a deferred celebration of the twenty-fourth anniversary of the establishment by the United Mine Workers in the great bituminous coal fields of the East of the eight-hour day and the joint contract or working agreement system of dealing with their employers. (more…)

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