Union policy and the press

Tom Condit tomcondit at igc.apc.org
Sat Jul 4 16:06:57 PDT 1998

To place our current union misleaders in historical context, consider the following.

In 1901, union president A. Edward Boyce addressed the 9th annual convention of the Western Federation of Miners. He called on the union to alter its constitution to add socialism to its goals and to

" ... press on until labor received 'every dollar of wealth' it produced. He thought that nothing could be gained by continuing the present policy, for, as he said:

Advise strikes as the weapon to be used by labor to

obtain its rights, and you will be branded as criminals

who aim to ruin the business interests of the country.

Change from the policy of simple trades unionism that

is fast waning, and you will be told that your action

is premature, as this is not the time. Pursue the

methods adopted by capitalists and you will be sent to

prison for robbery or executed for murder. Demand, and

your demands will be construed into threats of violence

against the rights of private property calculated to

scare capital. Avail yourself of your constitutional

rights and propose to take political action, and you

will be charged with selling out the organization to

some political party. Counsel arbitration, and you will

be told that there is nothing to arbitrate. Be

conservative, and your tameness will be construed as an

appreciation of the conditions thrust upon you by

trusts and syndicates. Take what action you will in the

interests of labor, the trained beagles in the employ

of capital from behind their loathsome fortress of

disguised patriotism will howl their tirade of


from George G. Suggs, Jr., _Colorado's War on Militant Unionism_, University of Oklahoma Press, 1972. Reprinted in _Wyoming Labor Party News_, June 1997.

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