Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood

By William D. Haywood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD

AFTER a long and hard-fought battle in the southern part of the state, the United Mine Workers of this district called off their strike. The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, with various other coal companies, continued to violate the eight-hour law, the anti-scrip law, which forbade the companies issuing their own money to the workers; the law that prohibited the companies from compelling the workers to trade at company stores, and other laws. Seven labor laws were being ignored with impunity. Not the least of them was the check- weighman law, by evading which the companies got thirty-eight hundred pounds of coal to the ton.

During this criminal lawbreaking the sniffling old profligate at the head of the Rockefeller interests was nibbling his hypocritical Baptist communion, wielding more power with his golf sticks than could the people of Colorado with their ballots.

When the legislature finally passed a new eight-hour law the smelter men of Denver declared their strike off after a struggle lasting twenty-one months, during which time, in spite of the work of the detective agencies, there were few desertions from the ranks.

Industrial unionism was rapidly developing. The 1904 convention of the Western Federation had outlined plans for the amalgamation of the entire working class into one general organization, and had instructed the executive board to carry out this program. There had been some informal conferences in Denver with Dan MacDonald of the American Labor Union and George Estes of the United Railway Workers, and we had had some correspondence with Clarence Smith, secretary of the American Labor Union. A secret conference was called to be held in Chicago on January second, 1905. The letter or invitation, which was sent to about thirty people, contained the following paragraph:

Asserting our confidence in the ability of the working class, if correctly organized in both political and. industrial lines, to take possession

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