Anthracite Coal Mine Strike

Inspired by the Anthracite Coal Mine strike of 1900, the Strike of 1902 was started with the intention receiving a higher wage so that the coal miners could support their families, a shorter work day, and recognition of the United Mine Workers as a official union and bargaining tool. Anthracite coal is a soft form of coal, which was most commonly used to heat houses and for cooking. In the early 1900s, it was a household necessity.


Anthracite Coal Mine Strike of 1900

The strike of 1900 ended with only a minimal increase in pay for the workers, mainly because the strikers gave in before the cold winter months. Many of the families of the miners were starving because they had no credit to buy food from the company's store and with the mines being closed they had no coal to heat their houses. They gave in to the government's plea to end the strike so that there would be coal for the families in America. Because of the upcoming presidential election, Republican representatives forced a settlement because they were worried that the strike would affect the outcome of the election. However, with the weak compromise on behalf J.P. Morgan and the company's executives, and the minimal increase in benefits for the workers, it is no wonder that again, the miners would strike in 1902.

Anthracite Coal Mine Strike of 1902

In 1902, workers again wanted better pay, shorter days and recognition of their Union, among other things. This time, however, they were not willing to settle. On May 9, 1902, the workers stopped working and it took until October of 1902 when the government began to intervene. On October 3rd, Roosevelt invited the union leaders to the White House, becoming the first president to personally intervene with a strike. Characteristically, the government sided with the big businesses, and this was also the first time that the government sided with the Union. Roosevelt threatened to involve the US Army, which would cause the company executives to lose money and workers. At this point, both parties were willing to compromise and the workers were granted pay raises and an 8 hour day, though the Union was not recognized as a negotiation aide. On October 23, the miners went back to work.