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

Tuesday August 4, 1914
Denver, Colorado - Moyer Holds Haywood Responsible for Recent Trouble in Butte Local

William Haywood, Secretary-Treasurer WFM
Charles Moyer, President WFM

Moyer and Haywood as officers of the Western Federation of Miners
  during 1903-04 strikes in Colorado.


In a speech at the Denver Convention of the Western Federation of Miners, President Charles Moyer made this statement:

Haywood and a half dozen other men who in the past have been prominent in the affairs of the Butte local of the Federation are chiefly responsible for the internal dissension which has rent the organization in Butte.
The trouble within Local No. 1 of the Western Federation of Miners is the subject of several articles in various Labor and Socialist journals this month. A few examples:
Haywood explains his side of the story in the International Socialist Review; Debs, in a scathing article written for The American Socialist, denounces the union insurgents; and C. P. Connolly attempts an unbiased explanation of the events in Butte for Everybody's Magazine. There are other articles as well, for example: Frank Bohn's in The Masses. We will present the views as expressed in the three articles by Haywood, Debs and Connolly, and leave it to our readers to form their own opinions.

We must say, however, that we are saddened to see these two courageous veterans of the 1903-04 Cripple Creek and Telluride Strikes, who faced the gallows together in Idaho, who only recently have faced death and injury in the cause of the working people of the nation, now come to be in conflict with one another in a bitter and violent dispute.

Today, following a few reports from the convention of the Western Federation of Miners, we present the article by C. P. Connolly. In our next edition of Hellraisers, we will cover the articles written by Eugene Debs and Big Bill Haywood.

From The Daily Missoulian of July 28th:


Mother Jones from Seattle Star of May 29, 1914
Denver. July 27.-Further action by the convention of the Western Federation of Miners, now in session here upon the matter of amalgamation with the United Mine Workers of America, was deferred today until the arrival of Frank J. Hayes, vice-president of the latter organization. Mr. Hayes is expected here within a few days. A report today from the committee on education favors amalgamation and embodies a resolution for a referendum vote of the membership of the organization.

A feature of today's session was an address by "Mother" Mary Jones who recently arrived from New York. In her address "Mother" Jones charged generally that "big interests were in part responsible for the recent dissension in the ranks of the Butte local union of the federation. "The interests are making entirely new moves," she declared. "They are seeking to divide the forces of labor to gain their ends."

Discussion of the situation at Butte will be the special order of business at tomorrows' session.

[photograph added]

From this week's The Labor World:
Former Secretary of W. F. of M. Scored by President in Convention.

DENVER, July 31.-Denouncing by name William D. Haywood, former leader of the Western Federation of Miners, and now prominent in the activities of the Industrial Workers of the World, Charles H Moyer, president of the
Federation, delivered his annual address at the convention of his organization.

"Haywood and a half dozen other men who in the past have been prominent in the affairs of the Butte local of the Federation are chiefly responsible for the internal dissension which has rent the organization in Butte," Moyer declared.

Moyer asserted that the entire trouble in Butte Union No. 1 was caused by a clique of former men of strength in the Federation, who failing to gain control of the national organization at the twentieth convention, planned to disrupt the Federation by seizing the Butte union, the largest in the Federation.

He named Phil Christian, J. E. Bradley, Frank Curran, Joseph Shannon, Thomas Campbell and Haywood.

Moyer recommended that the Butte union be reorganized and that the forces of the I. W. W. be driven out. Many staunch men in Butte believe they have just grievances, he said. The announcement made by the Federation to support the striking miners of Michigan during the last year was objected to, he said. But the real trouble, he asserted, was the talk of I. W. W. men who declared that the money was not going to the Michigan strikers.

More from this week's Labor World:
Urges Mayor Duncan's Expulsion From Socialist Party Adopt Resolutions.

DENVER, Colo., July 31.-Action on the recent disturbances in the ranks of the Western Federation of Miners at Butte, Mont., was taken here by the Federation convention when a resolution was adopted censuring Mayor L. J. Duncan of Butte, because of statements attributed to him and printed in Butte July 12, declaring that President Charles H. Moyer of the Western Federation had requested the sending of Montana militiamen to that city. The resolution, which scores Mayor Duncan in strong terms, requests that Mayor Duncan retract the alleged statement and upon his failure to do so, recommends "the expulsion of Mayor Duncan from the Socialist party."

With  the arrival here today of Frank J. Hayes, vice-president of the United Mine Workers of America, the proposition to amalgamate the Western Federation of Miners and the United Mine Workers of America will be taken up. The proposition has been favorably reported to the convention by the committee on organization and education, to which it was referred.
By a vote of 144 to 50, the convention refused to strike from the report the demand that Mayor Duncan be expelled from the Socialist party.

From Everybody's Magazine of August 1914:

The Labor Fuss in Butte


Once more the copper city of Butte, Montana, is furnishing its quota of excitement. A gory conflict has broken out between two factions of the Miners' Union, representing the Industrial Workers of the World on the one side and the Western Federation of Miners on the other. Like everything else about Butte, it is unique in that it is probably the first sanguinary outbreak within the ranks of a local union. Meetings of citizens and of the Chamber of Commerce were called to form a committee for protection and safety of persons and property, and to demand the resignation of Lewis J. Duncan, the Socialist Mayor of Butte. They failed because of notices that every man who attended such meetings would be marked.

The uprising is a general one among the union miners against alleged domineering and autocratic methods of union officials; but a radical element, including Industrial Workers of the World and Direct Action Socialists, encouraged by the fact that a Socialist city administration was in power, took the leadership and violence was precipitated. Committees have waited on and intimidated newspapers. Business in Butte at present writing is paralyzed.


The insurgent elements in the Butte Union are incensed at Charles H. Moyer, President of the Western Federation of Miners and at "Bert" Riley, the president of the local Butte Union, who with other officials finally resigned.  

There was a meeting of 4,000 insurgents on June 21 , when plans were made to form an independent union. An executive committee of twenty was appointed, the majority of whom were members of the Industrial Workers of the World, and "Muckie" McDonald, the president of the new Mine Workers' Union of Butte, is also said to be a member of the I. W. W.

On the same day that the new union was organized the regular faction in the old Butte Union obtained the resignations of its officers and elected new ones. Speakers at insurgent meetings of the miners charged that the ballots cast in the Butte local for officials of the Western Federation at large were not counted until returns were in from other locals, and that whenever necessary the Butte count was so manipulated as to insure the election of Moyer and his friends. Both Moyer and Riley emphatically deny this.

In few respects is there any similarity between the recent happenings in Colorado and the present ones in Montana, although the Standard Oil interests control Amalgamated. The coal-miners in Colorado, as in other sections of the country, are under the jurisdiction of the United Mine Workers of America. The metalliferous miners in Montana and elsewhere are under the jurisdiction of the Western Federation;of Miners.

Interest in the Butte situation is much heightened by the fact that since the trial of William D. Haywood, who was jointly indicted with Charles H. Moyer and George Pettibone for the murder of former Govern or Frank Steunenberg of Idaho, there has been a marked unfriendliness between Moyer, then and now president of the Western Federation of Miners, and Haywood, then secretary of the Western Federation and now influential in the Industrial Workers of the World. At the trial of George Pettibone in Boise, after Haywood's acquittal, the two men were not on speaking terms. Moyer was afterward retained as president of the Western Federation of Miners, and Haywood was relieved as secretary.

The followers of these two former friends and co-workers in the Federation are now at daggers' points in Butte. The faction representing the Industrial Workers of the World used their dynamite on the very Miners' Union Hall where the Western Federation of Miners was organized.

President Charles H. Moyer, in a recent interview in Montana, said that the Industrial Workers of the World tried six years ago to "get" him, and that now they are trying to "get" his organization. Moyer's life has been threatened in Montana, and he is under the constant protection of a body-guard. He went to Montana after the first outbreak on the 13th of June, but is making his headquarters at the capital of the State. The Mayor of Anaconda, on behalf of the business and union men of that place, urged Moyer not to go to Anaconda, on account of the proximity of the latter place to Butte.


Butte is the heart of the great copper industry of Montana. It has had a voltaic career. It is named from a large peak which rises high into the air just to the west of the city. It has a population of some seventy thousand. Some of the mines are directly under the city. One-half the mining population of the city proper sleeps by day, the other half by night; but always the underground city is awake and at work. As one approaches the city by train or other conveyance at night, Butte seems a veritable inferno. It is a miniature Pittsburgh. Great shafts of opalescent fire shoot momentarily skyward from slag-heaps that receive the fiery discard of the converters. The hill, just north of the city, out of which has been taken over a billion and a half in actual wealth, is at night like a great dome studded with glittering, electric stars, under whose sharp glare thousands of flitting figures work as under the noonday sun.

The general aspect of Butte is that of a barren, treeless city, tilted on the slope of a natural amphitheater, walled in places by jutting, spire-like rocks. Once, in his argument to a Butte jury in a celebrated case, the late Robert G. Ingersoll said that gold seemed to have the same effect on the region where it is produced that it had on the human heart—all the roses fade, and the green trees lose their leaves, and there is nothing but sage-brush.


Much misapprehension has always existed in the country at large as to the alleged lawlessness of the Butte Miners' Union, owing doubtless to its affiliation with the Western Federation of Miners. As a matter of fact, the Butte Union has been one of the most prosperous and law-abiding labor unions in the country. Unwelcome ones have sometimes been driven from the community by physical force, but generally by individual hotheads among the miners, unless, as has been charged, recent deportations grew out of political differences and had the sanction of union officials. There has never been, strictly speaking, a labor strike of the union proper in the history of the camp. The activities of certain Butte leaders in the Coeur d'Alene troubles of former years gave an unsavory reputation to Butte; but the membership of the Butte Miners' Union was for years made up of a splendid body, many of whom were heads of families and owners of their own homes. In recent years there has been an influx of a polyglot population from Europe which has changed the old conditions.

One of the factors in precipitating the present trouble is the charge made by the insurgents that the Amalgamated Copper Company has been playing politics in the Union for the purpose of installing its own tools in control. Furthermore, a large contingent of the Butte miners resented the assessment of five dollars per month each for the support of the striking Michigan copper-miners. This is an unusual attitude; for heretofore the Butte miners have been the most liberal of contributors to strike benefit funds. The sudden rise of President "Bert" Riley to affluence has, too, aroused in the miners a suspicion of Amalgamated influences, and the cry has gone up "No more automobiles for Riley." It is a striking coincidence that Moyer last winter was roughly handled by sympathizers of Michigan mine-owners. Now the tables are turned, and the miners in Butte are after Moyer with cries of "Lynch him!"

The first outbreak occurred on Miners' Union day, June 13th. During the parade on that day the insurgents rather roughly handled "Bert" Riley and compelled him to flee. Others were roughly handled. The safe of the Butte Union was taken from the Union building by rioters, who had previously partially wrecked the building, and carted to the flats a mile below the city, where it was blown open and its contents rifled and carried away in the presence of hundreds of spectators. The crowd claimed they were after evidence of the wrong-doing of Union officials. The home of P. K. Sullivan, another officer of the Union, was dynamited. Two prisoners arrested during the disturbances were taken from the jail and carried away on the shoulders of miners.


 A false alarm of fire was turned in, and the firemen tried to run the fire apparatus through the crowd. The insurgent miners scrambled on the truck and threw the fire men off. The truck was finally returned to the firemen, with the warning not to try to run through a crowd again. The crowd hunted for the fire-chief, but he remained in hiding. A delegation of insurgents visited the three newspaper offices and demanded that no further mention be made derogatory of the Industrial Workers of the World, and that the words "mob" and "rioters" should not appear in any story of the situation. The excitement lasted two days.

On the evening of June 23, Mover, Riley, and their following were attempting to hold a get-together meeting in the hall of the Butte Union Building, when the structure was completely destroyed by dynamite, at a loss of $50,000. Moyer, Riley, and the others escaped by jumping from a rear window to the roof of an adjoining building. Moyer fled in an automobile and reached Helena, seventy-five miles north, in safety.

Destruction of Butte Miners Hall June 23, 1914
Destruction of Butte Miners Hall
June 23, 1914
The destruction of the building was caused, not by the fact that a meeting of Moyer and his followers was in session in the building, but in retaliation for shots fired from the Union hall by Moyer sympathizers, the first of which struck Joseph B. Bruneau, a miner, who was ascending the stairs to attend the meeting. The sight of blood aroused the anger of the crowd of insurgents assembled in the street, and shouts of "Get the powder" and "Lynch Moyer" were heard. Shooting continued from the hall, and was returned from the street. One of the shots struck and killed Ernest J. Noy, an innocent bystander, and another injured Charles Kramer, a traveling man from Los Angeles, who was experiencing his first taste of Butte excitement. The demolition of the building followed. Two hundred and fifty pounds of dynamite were exploded under the building in twenty spaced blasts. The broken glass from the windows in adjoining stores and buildings was taken away in car-loads.

The Miners' Union hall had been completely surrounded, anticipating Moyer's escape from the rear. The fact that the crowd was attracted to the front of the hall by the first shots undoubtedly saved the life of Moyer. He remarked at the time that it was the tightest corner he had ever been in.


Moyer claims that there is a conspiracy between the Socialist city administration of Butte, headed by Mayor Lewis J. Duncan, and the Industrial Workers of the World, to control the Butte Union, failing which they are determined on its destruction. He also claims that while the perpetrators of violence are known, no arrests have been made; that the mob has been given a free hand on two occasions, and $100,000 worth of property destroyed.

Mayor Duncan, on the other hand, claims that the first outbreaks on the 13th and 14th of June were the expression of a widespread revolt against a long train of abuses in the local union and alleged Amalgamated interference. The Western Federation of Miners has contracts with the Amalgamated Company whereby the local union has the power to say who may be lowered into the mines, and the union agent has the power to order any engineer to refuse to lower any man whom the union agent may point out. Mayor Duncan claims that the moderation of the police in the two outbreaks of the 13th and 23d is generally commended in Butte; that police interference would have caused greater loss of lifs and greater destruction of property.


Mayor Duncan has twice been elected Mayor of Butte on the Socialist ticket. He was formerly a minister of the Gospel. A few years ago there was hardly a Socialist in Butte. There were some hundreds in Anaconda, where the Washoe smelter of the Amalgamated is located, but these were discharged from employment in the smelter immediately after a local election, on the avowed and only ground that they were Socialists. At that time, something like five years ago, the miners in Butte feared to be seen listening to a Socialist street orator, dreading discharge.

Duncan was elected Mayor on the Socialist ticket, with the support of many citizens who were dissatisfied with conditions under the old parties. But the real rise of Socialism in Butte was no doubt due to the fear of proscription, and that is probably one of the causes of the present trouble. Persecution is often the forerunner of political success. The latest from Butte reports that Mayor Duncan was stabbed three times on July 3 by Erik Lantala, an I. W. W. leader, because of the Mayor's refusal to be a party to the deportation from Butte of the editor of a Finnish paper published at Hancock, Mich., who had criticised the rebel movement in Butte. Mayor Duncan shot and mortally wounded his assailant.

[photograph added]



The Gibraltar
Socialism and Labor in Butte, Montana

 -by Jerry W. Calvert
Montana Historical Society Press, 1988

The Daily Missoulian
 -of July 28, 1914
(Missoula, Mont.)

The Labor World
(Duluth, Minnesota & Superior, Wisconsin)
Aug 1, 1914

Everybody's Magazine, Volume 31
Ridgeway Company, 1914
 Aug 1914 edition
(search with "labor fuss in butte" choose p.205)

Moyer and Haywood
Mother Jones
Destruction of Butte Union Hall

A Miner's Life- Kilshannig

Stand up tall and stand together;
Victory for you prevails.
Keep your hand upon your wages
And your eye upon the scale.


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

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