Fernie Coal Strike: 0054.0275

COAL MINERS ON STRIKE. – They Don’t Take Kindly to a New Order. – Management Refuses to Give In. – Coal and Coke Famine is Liable to be the Result of Trouble. – from Cranbrook Herald. 

            Fernie, June 26. – With the advent of the new general manager of the Crows Nest pass Coal company, a regulation which added half an hour to the shift of the men who were working day work in the mine was put into effect and the men quit work in consequence.

            At a largely attended meeting held in Princess hall on Tuesday evening the union decided to call out the men.  There were only seven voices raised against this decision out of 200 members present.

            The mines had just resumed work.  Nearly all of the men had been idle for the past month, and consequently they are in poor condition to stand a strike.

            Everything is quiet at present and no trouble is anticipated.  How long the strike will last is hard to predict, as the management of the company is firm in the stand it has taken.

            About 400 men are affected by the strike.

 

STATEMENT OF THE MEN      

            Fernie, June 25. – The press committee of Gladstone Miners’ Union No. 76, W.F.M., has issued the following letter to the press:

            “We beg leave to ask the favor of being granted to us a space in your paper.

            “The readers of your paper will not have forgotten the dreadful catastrophe that has recently befallen this town, through which some 130 men and boys have met their doom.

            “Another blow is now being struck at those who are left to mourn the death of their comrades.  It ahs been the rule of these mines (the Coal Creek mines) since their being opened up and amalgamated by four consecutive managers, that eight hours from bank to bank constitute a day’s work.  There have been no apparent disagreement between the employers and employees regarding this question until the advent of Mr. Tonkin, the new manager, who has, without consulting or even giving any notice to the effect, ordered that the men must work eight hours at the coal face, and not as before, eight hours from bank to bank.  To some of the men this would mean practically a nine hour shift, in other words, nine hours from bank to bank instead of as before, eight.

            “This course of action is apparently an endeavor to establish a precedent not in vogue in any part of British Columbia.

            “In the mines at Nanaimo and others on the island, the men descend and ascend within the eight hours.

            “It is true that an eight-hour law has not been established in this province for the simple reason that all the coal companies have an eight-hour law of their own and the necessity had not arisen for this to be by law established.  We, the miners employed at Coal Creek mines, are not willing that this custom be changed after it has been in vogue for so long, and therefore we have resolved to stand against it.

            “We have resolved to stand against what seems to be an encroachment upon the rights of laboring men.  Shall we stand alone?

            “We appeal to every ‘hardy son of toil’ to stand with us. 

            “Autocracy has freigned too long in this ‘free’ land.

            “We love our freedom and appreciate equal rights.  To fair minded masters we offer corresponding interest, but we are not willing to tolerate anyone that savors of ‘take all and give none.’

            “Therefore, be it resolved, that we, the miners at the Coal Creek mines, make a stand against any infringement of the long standing precedent of eight hours from bank to bank constituting a day’s labor, and also that we make an appeal to the members of this constituency to present a bill before the house to make eight hours in the twenty-four from bank to bank to be embodied in the law of this province.”

 

THE COMPANY’S STATEMENT.

            Fernie, June 27. – John H. Tonkin, the new manager of the Crows Nest Pass Coal company’s collieries on Coal Creek, has issued the following statement relative to the causes leading up to the present strike of the miners:

            ‘Owing to the shortage of men, resulting from the recent explosion, the company considers it would be better for all concerned to put the mines on a single shift basis, in place of the three shifts as heretofore.

            “This plan would give the miner a better opportunity, as each would have his own room to attend to and would keep the mines in a far better and safer condition.

            “The company hands, who are day men, object to the system as it requires them to fulfill their obligation to the company of eight hours’ for eight hours’ pay.  Under the old system     they worked from six and a half to seven hours.

            “The company does not ask more than eight hours’ work for eight hours’ pay, but do insist on having them.

            “Upon advising the men to this effect a small meeting was held by some members of Gladstone Miners’ Union, and a strike was ordered.”

0054.0275: Fernie Coal Strike

Newspaper excerpt Cranbrook Herald re issues of strike.

Medium:  Newspaper - Text
Date:  July 5, 1902
Pages:  1
Publisher:  Marysville Tribune
Collection:  Columbia Basin Institute (0054)

Subjects:

Tonkinarrow
Communications arrow Newspapers arrow Cranbrook Heraldarrow
Communications arrow Newspapers arrow Marysville Tribunearrow
Industry arrow Mining arrow Coal Miningarrow
Industry arrow Mining arrow Companies arrow Crows Nest Pass Coal Co.arrow
Unions and Labour arrow Unions arrow Western Federation of Minersarrow
Unions and Labour arrow Unions arrow Gladstone Miners' Union No. 76arrow
Unions and Labour arrow Working Conditionsarrow
Cities arrow Coal Creekarrow
Cities arrow Fernie arrow Buildings arrow Princess Hallarrow

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