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Coal History Links
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John L. Lewis President 1919-1960 AFL- CIO, CLC.
His influence in the union made life better for all coal miners. John L. Lewis led a life that was devoted to the UMWA. John L. Lewis was one of the most powerful political leaders of the twentieth century. His life illuminates the rise of the American labor movement .
As head of the United Mine Workers from 1919 to 1960. He was the "Miner's Hero." He was viewed as a giant among American leaders in the first half of the twentieth century.
Regularly advising presidents and challenging America's corporate leaders. He became one of the most prestigious presidents the United Mine Workers ever had.
Who They Are, Where They work
The United Mine Workers of America is a growing union with a diverse membership that includes coal miners, clean coal technicians, health care workers, truck drivers, manufacturing workers and public employees throughout the United States and Canada. In the face of an unrelentingly hostile environment for union organizing in the United States, the UMWA is achieving significant success in providing workers with a voice on the job and financial security at home. The international union today continues the fight we began in 1890 for safe workplaces, good wages and benefits and fair representation in workplaces throughout North America.
In the history of American labor, the United Mine Workers of America has occupied a position of unquestioned leadership. The UMWA led the struggle to establish collective bargaining in American industrial life in the twentieth century. Its principles and policies, its strength and unity, and its outstanding leaders have been an inspiration to generations of working families for over one hundred years. The richness of the UMWA's history is a testament to the firm determination imbedded in the hearts and minds of the coal miners of North America to build and maintain a strong, enduring union.
The UMWA was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1890 by the merger of Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Union of Miners and Mine Laborers. The constitution adopted by the delegates to the first UMWA convention barred discrimination based on race, religion or national origin. The UMWA founding fathers clearly recognized the destructive power of discrimination at a time when racism and ethnic discrimination were accepted facts in some parts of American culture. The delegates also called for miners to obtain a fair share of the wealth they created "fully compatible with the dangers of our calling." The delegates pledged "to use all honorable means to maintain peace between ourselves and employers; adjusting all differences, as far as possible, by arbitration and conciliation, that strikes may become unnecessary."
“Let the workers organize. Let the toilers assemble. Let their crystallized voice proclaim their injustices and demand their privileges. Let all thoughtful citizens sustain them, for the future of Labor is the future of America.” ~John L. Lewisk