Appalachia, coal, history, Island Creek, Logan, Logan Banner, Ramage, Spruce River Coal Company, U.S. Coal and Oil Company, United Mine Workers of America, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner, of Logan, WV, comes this editorial about unionization, dated March 21, 1913:
STRANGE MINERS cannot get work at all in the principal Logan County mines, it is said, and even in the smaller mines an applicant has to run the gauntlet of a series of “family-history-cross-examination-questions” that would stagger a Philadelphia lawyer before one gets a job–and then like as not get turned down because he is not of Logan county. The precaution is fully warranted. The United Mine Workers hope to control the Guyan Valley field, if they ever DO–and THEY NEVER WILL–by first “organizing” the smaller, isolated mines by “smuggling in” an agitator or two now and then and finally with one “grand sweep” capture the big works. If the labor leaders actually KNEW certain conditions and “inside workings” now effective even in the small works half so well as they THINK they know them, they’d give up as a bad job their idea of “organizing” Logan county and go to honest work shoveling coal for a living themselves. During the past year, more than one “undesirable miner” has been shipped “bag and baggage” out of the valley because he let his agitation fever break out too strong, prematurely spoiling his little game. In another column will be found a news item of the shut-down of the Ramage works of the Spruce River Coal Co. We predict that some of Logan’s mines will turn off their power and “lock out” their employees before they will let the United Mine Workers conduct their business for them. So far as the corporation’s finances are concerned, the U.S. Coal & Oil Co. can shut down all of its Island Creek mines, burn its tipples, and dump its cash into Guyan river. And that’s what would best suit the competitive coal operators of other States! Likewise the miners’ union agitators and leaders! But there’s another side of the story–the miner and his family need the work in the coal-bank, the merchant needs some of the money he earns, Logan county needs its merchants and the outside world needs West Virginia coal–the BEST that “old mother earth” ever produced!