Posts Tagged ‘unions’

Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, July 17, 1912

To avoid threatened trouble over the proposed eviction of 150 miners from their cabins at Bayne, on the Northern Pacific, near Ravensdale, Chief Deputy Sheriff John Stringer this morning ordered the cancellation of special deputy commissions issued to J.D. Sandusky and W.B. Buffum of the Burns Detection Agency, and these men have been replaced by regular deputy sheriffs. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, June 3, 2011

Gomer Evans’ Welsh family heritage and the story of a father’s years in the mines

By TJ Martinell

Gomer Evans Sr. left, holding a lunch pail, stands with his arm on the cart outside a mine in the Black Diamond area. The photo is undated. Photo courtesy Sherrie Evans

Walking through the Black Diamond Historical Museum is like strolling through the family room for Gomer Evans, Jr.

A framed picture of his parents’ wedding sits on top of a glass display of family Bibles.

A photograph of his older brother, Dave, hangs on the wall in the main room.

As he flips through a collection of historical pictures, he finds his father, Gomer Evans Sr., sitting among a row of Welsh engineers. (more…)

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Originally published in the South County Journal, April 25, 2002

Concrete block now encases meeting spot of coal miners’ union

By Mike Archbold
Journal Reporter

Paul Botts, left, 87, one of the last underground miners from Black Diamond, and Don Mason, president of the Black Diamond Historical Society, stand at the Union Stump. Now enclosed in concrete, the old fir stump was used in 1907 in Black Diamond to rally miners and start a union. (Gary Kissel/JournaI)

BLACK DIAMOND — Paul Botts remembers seeing the Union Stump as a youngster.

Now 87, he is among the last of the underground coal miners still living in the area. And Botts still is a member of United Mine Workers Local 6481.

“Dues are $6 a month. And I still get benefits,” Botts said last week, leaning against the large, square block of concrete encasing the old fir stump—where union history was made nearly a century ago, debates were argued, rallies were held, and strikes were called.

Like mining itself, Local 6481 left Black Diamond years ago. Now the local is located in Ogden, Utah, Botts said. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 20, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

Pacific Coast Coal Co. morning shift poses sitting on electric engines and empty coal cars outside the boarding house in Rainbow Town. The coal bunkers are in the background with the small hose-coal bunker to the right of the rear of the line of coal cars. A track straightener is in the foreground. — 1909 Asahel Curtis photo, courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, and Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co.

Milt Swanson is a historical treasure. He is a walking, talking encyclopedia with fascinating tales of his home town Newcastle/Coal Creek. He’s lived on the same piece of property for 84 years in a company house, on top of a mine shaft and next to the former company hotel and saloon. Across the street was Finn Town and the up the hill was Red Town.

He said when he was a kid, his pals and him named the various areas of the mining camp. The houses on the hill were red, so that was “Red Town”; closer to him the houses were white so naturally that was “White Town” and the area with all different colors was “Rainbow Village.” (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, December 30, 1913

Principal is coming meeting of International at Indianapolis, other that of State Federation of Labor

Delegates selected by referendum vote

Nine of ten or more to go East January 15 already known—smaller unions combine to reduce expenses

By C.J. Stratton

Two big labor conventions in progress at the same time will divide the attention and interest of the union coal miners of the state of Washington next month, and three score or more of the diggers of black diamonds will have the honor of sitting in them as delegates representing the United Mine Workers of America, of which this state forms District No. 10. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, September 1994

By Heather Larson

Left to right: Jennifer Simmons, Danny Simmons, and Ashley Petersen prepare to enter the parade route in their horse-drawn wagon representing Four Corners Safeway.

Black Diamond celebrated Labor Day weekend with a fever this year. After having last year’s event cancelled for lack of volunteers, no holds were barred. Something for everyone was offered during the 4 days from a fish dinner on Friday night to a bed race on Sunday and a parade down the Maple Valley Highway on Monday.

On Saturday amid torrential downpours the Black Diamond Police challenged the Black Diamond Fire Department to a softball game. Since the police, who chose to be called the DARE Devils, didn’t have the manpower to field a team, other police officers who live in Black Diamond were asked to help out. So King County, Bellevue, and Seattle Police Departments were also represented on the team.

According to Black Diamond officer Glenn Dickson, the highlight of the game was the 8-foot mud pit behind first base.

It was really wet and muddy, but a good time was had by all, said Dickson.

The DARE Devils beat the Hosers 13 to 9 at the first annual baseball game. (more…)

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Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, March/June 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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