Frank Hayes (unionist)

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Frank J. Hayes
Frank J. Hayes.jpg
Born 1882
What Cheer, Iowa, U.S.
Died June 10, 1948(1948-06-10) (age 66)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Miner; Labor leader
Known for President, United Mine Workers of America

Frank J. Hayes (1882 - June 10, 1948) was a miner and president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) from 1917 to 1920.

He was born in the coal mining town of What Cheer, Iowa, in 1882, but moved with his family as a boy to Illinois. At the age of 13, he began working in the coal mines.

He joined the United Mine Workers and held a number of local union offices before being elected secretary-treasurer of District 13 in 1904. A socialist, he allied himself with the radical left-wing of the miners' union and agitated for greater militancy and adoption of socialism as the union's only economic and political philosophy.

He was elected an international vice president in 1901. While a vice president, he helped strategize and organize the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike of 1912 in West Virginia and the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-1914 (during which the Ludlow Massacre occurred).

During his tenure on the UMWA executive council, he unsuccessfully ran for governor of Illinois on the ticket of the Socialist Party of America.

When UMWA president John P. White resigned in 1917 to take a federal government job, Hayes was elected president to succeed him.

Hayes' tenure as UMWA president was not an effective one. He was not a firm leader, and lacked administrative abilities. His health deteriorated quickly during his presidency, probably due to alcoholism. By 1919, he turned most of his duties over to John L. Lewis, who was named the union's acting president.

Hayes resigned the office of president in 1920. Although he retained a position and salary as an international field representative, he retired to Colorado where he wrote labor songs and poetry (much of it concerning the Ludlow Massacre).

In 1937, he was elected lieutenant governor of Colorado. He served one term.

Hayes died on June 10, 1948, in Denver, Colorado.

References[edit]

  • Downing, Sybil. Fire in the Hole. Niwot, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 1996. ISBN 0-87081-380-3
  • Fink, Gary M., ed. Biographical Dictionary of American Labor. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1984. ISBN 0-313-22865-5
  • Holbrook, Stewart. The Rocky Mountain Revolution. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1956.
  • McGovern, George S. and Guttridge, Leonard F. The Great Coalfield War. Paperback reissue ed. Niwot, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 2004. ISBN 0-87081-381-1
  • Phelan, Craig. William Green: Biography of a Labor Leader. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1989. ISBN 0-88706-871-5
  • Suggs, Jr., George G. Colorado's War on Militant Unionism: James H. Peabody and the Western Federation of Miners. 2nd ed. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8061-2396-6
Preceded by
John P. White
President, United Mine Workers of America
1917 - 1920
Succeeded by
John L. Lewis