Big Fund For Miners

July 26, 1902


The National Convention of the United Mine Workers adopts President Mitchell’s plan to provide a national defense fund for underpaid miners, “raising a fund of $300,000 a week to aid the striking anthracite miners”.


President Mitchell's plan adopted by National Convention.
Public appeal for $1,000,000
Assessment levied on members now at work will raise $300,000 a week. Soft coal men will violate no contracts.

Indianapolis, Ind., July 21.-- The national convention of the United Mine Workers of America adjourned Saturday afternoon after unanimously adopting the plan offered by President Mitchell for raising a fund of $300,000 a week to aid the striking anthracite miners. A few changes were made is Mitchell's plan by the special committee, but they relate only to the method of assessment. The committee's report was as follows:

First--That the national secretary treasury of the United Mine Workers be authorized to appropriate $50,000 from the funds of the national treasurer for the benefit of the districts 1, 7 and 9 (anthracite districts).
Second--That all districts and subdistricts and local unions be asked to donate whatever they can afford for the support of the strike.
Third-- That an assessment of 10 per cent. be levied on earnings of members where check systems is used and at other mines of $1 a man every week. This assessment is not to be made against members of union now on strike, but to commence when strikes are over.
Fourth-- The assessments to be paid direct by the local unions to Secretary Treasurer Wilson.
Fifth-- That 25 per cent. be deducted from the salaries of all national district officers and organizers.
Sixth-- That the assessment begin from July 16.
Seventh-- That all contributions made by the national organization be distributed to the anthracite districts in the ratio shown by the last coal reports.
Eighth-- That each local union be requested to aid as far as possible in securing work for men now on strike. In this connection the good offices of the American Federation of Labor will be requested.
Ninth-- That an address be submitted to the American people.
The smallest points of the address to the American people are as follows:
The convention of the United Mine Workers hereby states the line of action which its members are determined to pursue.
The coal miners of the country recognize the marvelous industrial progress of the country during the last decade, but our labor has produced the foundation for most of this wealth by producing the coal which has made the progress possible. But when the miners examine the paltry pittance they receive as recompense for the labors and dangers they undergo they feel that they are being dealt with unjustly in payment for so much labor and so much sacrifices.
The combinations of capital are so powerful that individuals are helpless and experience shows that when capital combines labor must unite. The grievances of the miners have forced them to organize, not to take from the operators what belongs to them, but to receive better treatment and fair remuneration for their labor.
For five years the miners have lived up to the letter and spirit of every contract into which they have entered and do not intend to violate them now.
The miners believe that the best interests of the country are opposed to a general strike of the coal miners, and, while they feel that in the present fight their union may be destroyed, nothing can compel them to break their agreements. The miners request the American people to bring such pressure to bear upon the anthracite operators and anthracite railroads as will compel them to submit to arbitration.
The expenses of the miners call for a contribution of $1,000,000 per month from sources outside the union, and with this amount the miners are confident they can win the anthracite strike.
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Brooke Royer


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“Big Fund For Miners,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed December 16, 2018,