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Charles Moyer

February 14, 2012 578 No of hits
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Charles Moyer

Charles Moyer was one of the early leaders in the U.S. labor movement in the late 19^th century/ early 20^th century.

There isn't a lot known about Moyer before his days as a labor leader. In the mid-1880s he moved to Chicago, and was arrested and later convicted of robbery. He was released from prison after serving a year. Around that time is when he moved to South Dakota and gained work as a miner (and joined the local union) in the Homestead Mine.

His union, the Lead City Miner's Union, was one of the ones that formed the Western Federation of Miners in 1893. In 1900 he was elected to the executive board of the union. Two years later he became its president when the sitting president, Ed Boyce decided not to run for reelection.

A number of incidents occurred in what was later called the Colorado Labor Wars. A spy for the employer led to 42 union miners getting fired in August 1903. After miners struck in Colorado City, Cripple Creek, and Telluride all struck. The employers convinced the governor to call out the militia to squash the strike and he did. Moyer was arrested, released, and arrested again due to `military necessity.'

The fiasco in Colorado convinced Moyer that a larger organization was needed to win, which is why he joined up with the Socialist Party of America. It was at a Socialist conference that the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was formed; Moyer had the WFM affiliated with them almost immediately.

Moyer was arrested in 1906 after being accused of being involved in the explosion that had killed former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg. Charges against him were dropped after the other two accused conspirators were found not guilty.

In 1911 Moyer took the WFM out of the IWW in fear that the radical nature of the organization was placing a stigma on the WFM and damaging its ability to affectively negotiate. A couple years later during the Copper County Strike of 1913-14 he was assaulted and shot by men hired by the employers.

With membership numbers continuing to decline in the union, Moyer eventually resigned his position in 1926. He died three years later on June 2 in Ponoma, California.

Tags:   Charles Moyer   Lead City Miners   Homestead Mine   Western Federation Miners   Colorado Labor Wars   Socialist Party of America  

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Charles Moyer was one of the early leaders in the U.S. labor movement in the late 19^th century/ early 20^th century.

There isn't a lot known about Moyer before his days as a labor leader. In the mid-1880s he moved to Chicago, and was arrested and later convicted of robbery. He was...

By: Richard Martine Created 75 months ago

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