UA Library

THE MINER'S MAGAZINE

December 1917

[page 1]

ARIZONA CONDITIONS ARE STILL UNSETTLED

The President’s Mediation Commission Did Good Work But a Number of Companies Either Ignore or Evade the Provisions of Agreements Made By It.

By H.S. McCluskey.

President Wilson’s mediation commission came to Arizona and worked hard to establish a basis that would make for peace during the period of the war and assure a maximum output of copper. It left the state believing that was accomplished.

At this time December 1st, the situation is far from settled and being satisfactory from     either the viewpoint of the men or the government whether it is satisfactory to the mine managers or not depends on whether they are receiving German gold or not, but the situation cannot be satisfactory to the stockholders.

The situation this last week in November is as follows in the various districts as near as I can arrive at the facts after sifting out all the rumors, complaints and charges:

Globe Situation

At Globe at the time of the settlement the Old Dominion had approximately two-thirds of their normal number of men working and have only put on about 200 men since the settlement. What men they did hire the most of them were given the worst of it and were sent to the 1,800 level of the mine with men who openly made it impossible to take a chance at going to work with them. Some of the men tried it but quit or were discharged.

Another move made by the O.D. was to have the Inspiration call a number of their old employés who had worked there from twelve to twenty-five years, who owned homes, had families and who had worked as pump men, “powder  monkeys” or similar jobs, called as raise men or muckers for the Inspiration mine.

The Arizona Commercial, Iron Cap, Superior & Boston and other small Globe companies have ignored the agreement entirely and refused to abide by it, claiming they did not come under it, as the commission did not address it to them.

The Superior & Boston have discharged several men the last few days because they did not donate a shift to the Y.M.C.A., in spite of the fact, that they were just getting over a nine months strike.

There are several hundred men who went on strike still idle in the district who either did not get back in time to register or who were disqualified for various reasons from getting on the eligible list.

Conditions at Miami.

At Miami the Miami Copper Company entered into the spirit of the agreement and tool back all its old men it had places for, with the exception of a few machinists. The company is producing within a few hundred pounds of copper per day its normal output, the nominal production being 6,300 tons of ore per day.

In Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company (Standard Oil) at Miami had about 20 percent of its normal force of men working when the strike was settled on October 22; did not put on any men up till November 7, and only about 100 men up to November 14. On November 16 they ordered a number of men to work, then, as commented on relative to the O.D. drew on that list for some more and then made the claim that the qualified list of miners was exhausted.

When the men responded they were given the worst of it. Two shift bosses were told to go mucking; other men were put trenching in water to their shoe tops; the foreman refused to do anything to drain off, with the result that many of the men quit, while others were fired.

It is apparent the Inspiration Company had no intention of observing the letter or spirit of the agreement negotiated by the commission. A month had passed since the commission left the district, but the manager had not increased his force over 10 percent since that date. No men have been hired at either the mill or the smelter.

To a man up a tree it looks as though the companies there (Miami excepted) were using the agreement as camouflage to fight the government and its 23 ½ cent copper price and the excess profits war tax, as none of them, with the exception of the Miami Copper Company and Iron Cap are getting anywhere near normal production after the strike being called off for five weeks.

 The attempt made by the old Dominion and the Inspiration to exaust [sic] the lists in the manner they did in reference to Old Dominion employés who had worked there for years has shown that a deliberate attempt is to be made to weed out the old men of the district as a punishment for having any manhood left.

The Loyalty (?) League is still active and it is presumed is going to be the agency for the companies to blacklist the men. Among the questions asked by it to obtain a card to rustle is “Are you a member of the W. F. of. M.?” A man also has to have a letter from the judge, city attorney or sheriff of the county he came from.

The administrator has ruled that this is a violation of the agreement, but it was still being followed on November 26, when I left there. The administrator is doing what he can in the district, but had a very difficult situation to handle. It is apparent the [continued page 3][page 3] company doesn’t care at present whether they operate to capacity or not—in fact, it seems they would rather not, so that with the force of non-union men they had it makes it very difficult to do much.

Everything considered, the Globe-Miami district is in a very unsatisfactory condition, that can only be remedied by organization—and then more of it, so that pressure can be exerted to compel a change of conditions.

The Clifton-Morenci-Metcalf District.

The situation in that district is also somewhat unsatisfactory, caused by conditions almost impossible to overcome. The Detroit and Shannon companies are up to very normal production, but on account of mine fires and caved mines, the Arizona Copper Company have [sic] been unable to open up to anywhere near capacity, so that there are approximately 1,000 idle men still in the district.

In a case of that kind there is bound to be some friction, and there is, but I believe that the matters can be adjusted with a minimum of dissatisfaction as soon as the exact facts are available.

When the men registered for re-employment there were 2,800 of the strikers still in the district and about 1,200 who came in either after the strike started or after the settlement. The men claim some of these men have gone to work. The administrator has ruled that if it can be found that that is a fact he will have them displaced and strikers put in their places.

The wage question is now being investigated, and the cost of producing copper, so that the administrator hopes to have facts for the commission by Christmas.

An emigration commissioner is now in the district trying to arrange to get 500 of the new men who cannot expect work there for another two months at least to go to the Imperial Valley for that period of time.

The Bisbee Situation.

The findings of the commission relative to this district will be found in another article in this paper. The findings of the commission did not meet with the approval of the managers’ Loyalty League, business development and some of the workers, or the press.

A local union of our International was organized and installed by President Moyer and Organizer McCluskey on November 4, and was not received with very good grace by the management or their henchmen in town. Owing to the fear still in the hearts of many of the men, it is not making the progress it should, aided also by the activities of the “Slander Syndicate.”

Saturday, November 23, a new development occurred when the Loyalty League went on strike, demanding the discharge of a number of men they claimed were I. W. W. members. The result is that a number of men were discharged at the Copper Queen and the Shattuck mines.

Investigation shows that none of the men so far interviewed—and they constitute practically all of those discharged—are members of the I. W. W. or have been members of that organization, although several are members of our union or have been active members of it in the past.

The Copper Queen have designated their hospital committee to act as a grievance committee, but its activities seem to be to act as a “grave-yard” for grievances. They hear them tell the man presenting it he will be notified of the result by mail, but there does not seem to be any result. All the managers are out of town, so the administrator cannot act until they return.

Jerome Situation Investigated.

Conditions on the coast made it imperative for the commission to go there direct from Bisbee, so they appointed Judge Lewis to go to Jerome and Clarkdale and negotiate an agreement there. This was done, and an addition was made to the agreement worked out by Judge McBride last May, providing for an administrator to adjust all grievances that cannot be settled mutually between the companies and the men during the period of the war.

The men at Jerome want more money and a further regulation of rent, light and water rates. The Clarkdale men want more money, better hospital facilities and better living and working conditions.

Conclusion.

After a careful review of the whole situation, there is still a far from settled condition in Arizona. Dissatisfaction is still widespread and the companies have not seemed to have learned anything from all the strife of the past year.

Whether or not the workers have learned anything from the developments of the past twelve months depends on whether they organize more solidly than ever or if they continue to squabble among themselves over trivial things. If they organize they have won the day; if they do the latter they are beaten.

The future is in our hands to use as we will. The only question [is] have we the courage to use it to advantage?