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You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Tuesday April 14, 1914
From the Miner's Bulletin: Referendum Vote Ends Michigan Copper Strike

Annie Clemenc leading parade
Annie Clemenc leading strikers' parade.
From today's issue of the Miner's Bulletin the news that the long Michigan Copper Strike has come to an end was printed side by side with this poem:

However the battle is ended,
Though proudly the victor comes
With fluttering flags and prancing nags
And echoing roll of drums,
Still Truth proclaims this motto
In letters of living light-
No question is ever settled
Until it is settled right.

Though the heel of the strong oppressor
May grind the neck in the dust,
And the voices of fame with one acclaim
May call him great and just,
Let those who applaud take warning
And keep this motto in sight-
No question is ever settled
Until it is settled right.

Let those who have failed take courage,
Though the enemy seems to have won,
Though his ranks are strong, if he be in the wrong,
The battle is not yet done,
For sure as the morning follows
No question is ever settled
Until it is settled right.

Strikers March in Hancock in Snow, Feb 1914
Strikers' march on a snowy day in February.

Union Men Must Surrender Union Cards As They Return to Work

The Miner's Bulletin reports that all demands have been met except the demand of union recognition. The Copper Bosses insist that the men surrender their union cards as a condition of returning to work:

Copper Strike Declared Off

By Referendum Vote Taken Sunday Demands of Men Granted
With But One Exception.--Strikers Return to Work

At a meeting of the District Union held Wednesday April 8th in which every local of the Federation in this district was represented, it was decided that, if the strike was to be continued, the relief benefits would have to be reduced, and that accommodations would have to be furnished for several hundred families now living in company houses. After thoroughly debating the subject, it was decided to put the matter before the men on strike. Meetings were arranged for the Ahmeek and Calumet locals on Friday and the Hancock and South Range on Saturday when the strikers were informed of the proposed reduction in benefits, and of other obstacles confronting them.

Two propositions were put to the men viz: To either make further sacrifices regarding benefits, or return to work which was put to a referendum vote on Sunday with the result that the men decided on the latter. At the meetings held prior to taking a referendum of the proposition, the question was thoroughly discussed, and the men realizing that all concessions asked at the time of the calling of the strike had been granted by the Mining Companies with the exception of recognition of the union, they felt as though this demand might be waived, and that they could return to work with the feeling that the strike had been practically won.

If the refusal of the Mining Companies to recognize the Western Federation of Miners does in any measure prove balm to their wounded feelings, and give them  a sense of having retained their dignity to the end, well may it be cherished in their bosoms. Their only demand is that all union men returning to work must surrender of his union membership card, but whether the fires of unionism which finds a home in his breast can be quenched by forcing a man to renounce his organisation remains to be seen. The turning of the pages of time will only tell. The need of organization among the working classes is forcing itself upon us more day by day, and it it does not devolve on the Calumet & Hecla, the Homestake, nor any corporation to stay the wheels of progress....

The strike with its attendant privations, suffering and sacrifice, the determination and valor displayed by the men and women in the ranks has been a stimulus to organized labor throughout the nation, and instead of a defeat, it is one of the most glorious victories ever achieved by the workers. You have gained ground that will never be retaken. The Western Federation of Miners and organized labor everywhere yet consider you striking copper miners as a part of the great army fighting for the liberty of the working class.

Western Federation of Miners Button
Your sacrifices and indomitable courage in this fight, your privations during the past nine months is proof positive of your agreement and pledge to the principles of united action which you are now called upon to repudiate. God knows it was barely possible for a man with a family to subsist on the meager benefits furnished by your brother worker, but he who so freely gave his small wage made almost as much sacrifice as you have made. He furnished subsistence while you fought at the front. You are comrades, brothers, and an injury to one is the concern of all....

All the beatings, insults,and bloodshed, all the lives crushed out in the Italian hall disaster where some half hungered innocent little children were trampled and smothered to death cannot be laid at the door of the striking miners. The victory you have wrested from the hands of organized greed is bathed in the blood of those of your class whose lives were needlessly sacrificed upon the gory altar of capitalism. This fight for industrial freedom is no child's play, and requires men of nerve and courage as well as brawn, intelligence, and a determination born of desperation. Can you fill these requirements? Can you measure up to the full stature of the independent manhood? Cast bigotry, hatred, prejudice, nationality and religious bondage to the Four winds and stand out a clean cut workingman, class conscious, and with every drop of your blood, fight the battle of your class. Herein lies your only hope, and the hope of the world.

Michigan Copper Strike Parade Sept 1913
From District 16 of the Western Federation of Miners

The Bulletin also published the following statement issued by District 16 President Sullivan and Secretary Hietala:

Statement of the District Union

To the membership and sympathizers of Organized Labor,

Greeting: After waging for over eight months one of the most stubborn fights in the history of the American Labor movement, the copper miners of Michigan decided by referendum vote to declare the strike off.

In officially declaring the strike at an end the executive board of the district union desire to say that this action was decided upon only after the most careful consideration of all the facts and conditions involved in the further continuation of the strike.

From the first, the powers of the state and county, Judicial, Legislative, Military and Executive were prostituted to further the interests of the mine owners and to persecute and destroy those actively engaged in the conduct of the strike. The industrial conditions throughout the nation were deplorable and enabled the mining companies to have a greater measure of success in the importation of strikebreakers then they, under normal conditions, could have expected to experience.

Again, the depressed conditions of industry reflected itself in other strikes and struggles, making it increasingly difficult to secure the necessary finance to feed and clothe our people.

We wish to say further that we are duly appreciative of the help and aid that has been rendered us in our struggle for improved working conditions by the membership of the Western Federation of Miners. The United Mine Workers of America, The American Federation of Labor and other organizations sympathizers, friends and the Socialist Party of America. We realize that had it not been for their timely assistance, the strike must have ended long ago.

The eight hour work day and an increased wage would never have been granted by the employing companies. The help which you gave has enabled us to stay with the struggle until our demands for improved working conditions were granted at least in part.

We wish again to express our appreciation and thanks to all who aided us and to assure you that, while our victory at this time will be regarded as only partial our struggle for improved conditions will continue until the banner of organized labor shall wave triumphant over the copper mines of Michigan.

Pres. 16th District Union, W.F.M.
Secy, 16th District Union, W.F.M.
Miners Bulletin
Miner's Bulletin
(Hancock, Michigan)
"Published by authority of
 Western Federation of Miners
 to tell the truth regarding
 the strike of copper miners."
-of Apr 14, 1914

1). Annie Clemenc Leads Strikers' Parade
2). Strikers March on Snowy Day in February
3). W. F. of M. Button
4). Parade of Striking Miners Sept 1913
5).Miner's Bulletin  
6). "Papa Is Striking For Us"

Note: A search for the author of the poem brought many links:

This link gives Ella Wheeler Wilcox as the author. Here the poem has a different title and the last verse seems more complete:

It Must Be Settled Right
 by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Let those who have failed take courage,
Though the enemy seems to have won,
Though his ranks are strong, if he be in the wrong,
The battle is not yet done,
For sure as the morning follows
The darkest hour of night
No question is ever settled
Until it is settled right.

Settled Right, 1937!

Many of the strikers, rather than surrender their union cards, left the Michigan Copper Country and settled in Detroit. Among those moving to Detroit were the ex-husband and the brothers of Annie Clemenc. We can imagine them as the older experienced strike veterans who fought in the struggles of the 1930's. Hopefully, they were among those celebrating when victory finally came in 1937.

1937 - Dan Hall

Their spirits live within this place; I see them even now.
Reuther's voice still echoes here to rally up the crowd.
And as long as we still hear the voice of '37 strong,
They'll live within and guide our path that leads us ever on.

Is there a truer heart today then those who took a stand?
In 1937 cold the sitdown strike would end.
They left their wives and babies alone to face uncertainty
And what they earned when spirits burned
Was passed today to me.

          -Dan Hall & David O. Norris

"Reuther's voice still echoes here..."

He [Victor Reuther] first made his name as the organizer staffing the sound truck in the winter of 1937 when Flint, Mich., autoworkers staged an epic sit-down strike at one of the GM plants. Mr. Reuther climbed aboard the sound truck and urged the strikers to stand firm, despite the cutoff of power and food. The police later attacked the strikers with tear gas and bullets, wounding 13. The union responded with fire hoses and heavy hinges fired from jerry-built slingshots in what is known as the "Battle of the Running Bulls."

"It was a monumental labor event; it brought the world's largest corporation to the table and made them deal for the first time with a union," said Mike Smith, director of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit. "He had this deep, resonating voice, and he coupled that with a superb control of the language. He was a self-educated man who read widely, and . . . when he got up to give a speech, it was usually a beauty."

This diary is dedicated
To those who did not live to see Victory,
The Martyrs of the Michigan Copper Strike of 1913-14
-Especially the little children-
Who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause.
In Solidarity,

Children's March, Papa Is Striking for Us, Michigan 1913

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Rebel Songwriters, Shamrock American Kossacks, WE NEVER FORGET, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

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