Phil Penna

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Philip Henry Penna
Born November 1857
Rose, Cornwall, England
Died 5 January 1939 (1939-01-06) (aged 81)
Terre Haute, Vigo Co, Indiana
Nationality English/American
Occupation Miner; Labor leader
Known for President, United Mine Workers of America

Phil Penna (November 1857 – 5 January 1939) was an American labor leader, and president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) from 1895 to 1896.

John McBride, president of UMWA, had won election as president of the American Federation of Labor in 1895, unseating Samuel Gompers. McBride resigned to take the position, and Penna was elected his successor.

The continuing Long Depression severely depressed employment, wages and benefits for coal miners during his tenure. McBride had led the Bituminous Coal Miners' Strike—an unsuccessful eight-week national coal miners' strike—the year before Penna's presidency, which encouraged hundreds of non-union mines to flood the market for coal. During Penna's presidency, membership in the Mine Workers plummented from 13,000 to 9,700, and the union's treasury dropped from $2,600 to $600. Penna suspended union operations, stopped publishing the union newsletter and ceased paying per capita dues to the AFL.

Penna did not run for re-election. His successor was Michael Ratchford.


  • Coleman, McAlister. Men and Coal. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1943.
  • Fink, Gary M., ed. Biographical Dictionary of American Labor. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1984. ISBN 0-313-22865-5
Preceded by
John McBride
President, United Mine Workers of America
1895 - 1896
Succeeded by
Michael Ratchford