Tie-up in Coal Regions

May 17, 1902


At a convention in Hazleton, the “ballot [shows] a decided majority for a permanent strike” by the 145,000 coal miners fighting for better working conditions.


Not one of the 357 Anthracite Collieries in Operation.
Quiet and order prevails
It is generally believed Hazleton Convention will vote to continue the struggle-- Coal companies prepared for a siege.
Scranton, May 13.-- Mine workers throughout the entire anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania to the number of 145,000 formally began their struggle yesterday for better wages and shorter hours. Never in the history of hard coal mining has a tie-up been so complete, not one of the 357 collieries in the territory being in operations. There is every indication for believing that the suspension which was to cover only the first three days of this week, will be made permanent by the miners' general convention which meets at Hazleton tomorrow.
Absolute quiet prevailed everywhere. In pursuance to the request of the district executive boards, which met jointly at Scranton last week, all the local unions throughout the regions met during the day and evening and elected delegates to the Hazleton convention. It is significant that in every instance where the vote of a local became public property the ballot showed a decided majority for a permanent strike unless the operators granted concessions. Predictions are made that if it is decided on Wednesday to continue the strike the struggle will be a longer and more bitter one than was that of 1900, which lasted six weeks. Te coal companies various parts of the regions have already made preparations for a siege. Coal train crews, telegraph operators, switchmen, carpenters, machinists and other employees numbering several thousand, not identified with the Mine Workers' Union, have been laid off until further notice. Some of the companies have also brought their mules to the surface and placed them in pasture.
President Mitchell spent a busy day at his headquarters here. He was in close communication with all the district leaders, and expressed himself as well satisfied with the way the men responded to the call for a suspension of work.
The general idea that the coal companies have been staring coal during the past month, and that a large supply is now above the surface is erroneous. On the contrary, the action of some of the companies in giving orders for a more economical distribution in the way of sales shows that they fear a shortage at no distant day. The Philadelphia and Reading Company, the largest producers in the region, yesterday refused to accept orders from their line and city customers, and only promised to fill tidewater orders if the coal is available.
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Brooke Royer


“Tie-up in Coal Regions,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed April 23, 2024, https://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1060.