Today in the 1913 Copper Strike

C & H replacement workers eating and enjoying their coffee. Imported men brought in to work during a strike were often referred to as scabs. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Keweenaw Digital Archives)

C & H replacement workers eating and enjoying their coffee. Imported men brought in to work during a strike were often referred to as scabs. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Keweenaw Digital Archives)

Despite the strike continuing on for over a month, many mines were experiencing some degree of operation by the last days of August 1913. This was in no small part to local miners deciding to go back to work as well as the dedicated recruitment of scabs by large companies like C&H. Regional recruitment in local states, particularly urban areas like Chicago, became increasingly popular toward the end of summer and into the fall of 1913. Hundreds of workers came north to supplement those local workers who were not a part of the strike and wished to return to work. The past month had been one of constant demonstration (peaceful and not so much), frequent parades, rioting, violence, and the loss of life. Yet, underground and surface work had been roaring back to life by the end of summer in Michigan’s copper district.

Don’t Be a Scab!

The dog's vest says "Don't go to Calumet or Hancock Mich, where all miners are on a strike. The reverse side of the vest discouraged people from going to break the strike in the Colorado coalfields.

The dog’s vest says “Don’t go to Calumet or Hancock Mich, where all miners are on a strike.” The reverse side of the vest discouraged people from going to break the strike in the Colorado coalfields. (Photo courtesy of the Miners’ Magazine)

The Miners’ Magazine, a weekly publication of the Western Federation of Miners had an interesting story in the October 30th, 1913 issue. “A Valuable Dog,” pictured above, was put to good use on the streets of Chicago to discourage men from moving to the Copper Country or the Colorado coal fields to break those strikes. M.J. Riley of the WFM and P. W. Quinn of the United Mine Workers of America utilized the dog as a publicity tool to inform people of the strikes taking place “against the arrogant despotism of industrial tyrants.”[1] In addition to highlighting the dog, the article spoke directly to the realities of class conflict (within and between classes) and appealed to men to awaken to the guiding principles of the labor movement.  Apparently sentiment of solidarity can come in all shapes and sizes.  A special thanks to Dr. Susan Martin and Alice Margerum for bringing my attention to this unique photo.


[1] “A Valuable Dog,” The Miners’ Magazine, October 30, 1913, page 7.