Workingmen's Benevolent Association of Schuylkill County

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The Workingmen's Benevolent Association was a 19th-century labor organization that consisted mainly of coal miners. It was organized in 1868 in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, with John Siney as president. In 1869, the organization called a strike of coal-miners from May 5 to June 16. There were some gains resulting from the strike.[1] The union was organized in an area of alleged[2] Molly Maguires activity.[3]

Strikes were called in 1868, 1869, and 1871.[4] Two unarmed strikers were shot and killed in Scranton during the 1871 strike by mine owners' guards.

The organization is transformed into a national entity[edit]

John Siney also headed[5] the Miners' and Laborers' Benevolent Association. The Miners' and Laborers' Benevolent Association was formed in 1870, and in 1872 it became a national union in the bituminous fields of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Michigan. The Miners' and Laborers' Benevolent Association was crushed in 1875.[6] Pennsylvania Industrialist Franklin B. Gowen forced a strike in January 1875 that came to be known as the Long Strike.[7] The strike lasted six months, and resulted in the destruction of the union.

Predecessor[edit]

An earlier organization, the Workingmen's Benevolent Society of Carbon County was organized in the Schuylkill region in 1864.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Coal Mines and Coal Miners: The Story of a Great Industry and the Men Who Work In It, I.W.W. Educational Bureau (1923). Chapter 10, The Struggle Towards Organization Among The Coal-Mine Workers http://www.workerseducation.org/crutch/pamphlets/coal/coal_10.html Retrieved May 8, 2007
  2. ^ Rayback, Joseph G. (1959–1966). A History of American Labor. The Free Press, MacMillan. pp. 126,133. 
  3. ^ http://spartacus-educational.com/USAsiney.htm
  4. ^ Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble, 1997, page 178.
  5. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/coal-mining-and-organized-labor Retrieved May 8, 2007.
  6. ^ Coal Mines and Coal Miners: The Story of a Great Industry and the Men Who Work In It, I.W.W. Educational Bureau (1923). Chapter 10, The Struggle Towards Organization Among The Coal-Mine Workers http://www.workerseducation.org/crutch/pamphlets/coal/coal_10.html Retrieved May 8, 2007.
  7. ^ Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble, 1997, page 182.
  8. ^ Coal Mines and Coal Miners: The Story of a Great Industry and the Men Who Work In It, I.W.W. Educational Bureau (1923). Chapter 10, The Struggle Towards Organization Among The Coal-Mine Workers http://www.workerseducation.org/crutch/pamphlets/coal/coal_10.html Retrieved May 8, 2007.

See also[edit]