Frank Hayes (unionist)

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Frank J. Hayes
Frank J. Hayes.jpg
27th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
In office
Governor Teller Ammons
Preceded by Ray Herbert Talbot
Succeeded by John Charles Vivian
Personal details
Born May 4, 1882[1]
What Cheer, Iowa, U.S.
Died June 10, 1948(1948-06-10) (aged 66) (age 66)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Miner; Labor leader
Known for President, United Mine Workers of America

Frank J. Hayes (May 4, 1882 – June 10, 1948) was an American miner and president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) from 1917 to 1920. A Democrat, he also served as Lieutenant Governor of Colorado in 1937–39.[2]

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. His father was active in the unions.[1]

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 1911. 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.


  1. ^ a b Walsh, Francis Patrick; Manly, Basil Maxwell (1916). United States Commission on Industrial Relations: Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 7189. Retrieved 25 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Gompers, Samuel (2000). The Samuel Gompers Papers: Progress and Reaction in the Age of Reform, 1909-13. University of Illinois Press. p. 534. ISBN 9780252025648. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 

Further sources[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
Political offices
Preceded by
John P. White
President, United Mine Workers of America
Succeeded by
John L. Lewis
Preceded by
Raymond Herbert Talbot
Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
John Charles Vivian