Colorado isn’t often thought of as a union state, but in the early 1890′s Cripple Creek and the greater Pikes Peak gold mining district was ground zero for labor showdowns. In 1893, President Grover Cleveland oversaw the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which effectively destroyed Colorado’s silver mining operations, relocating thousands of miners from Aspen and Leadville to the Pikes Peak gold fields. The influx of labor combined with the expanding profitability of gold and the infusion of progressive politics set the scene for the beginnings of the Western Federation of Miners union, pitting mine owners with working-class backgrounds against their well-heeled competitors. The slide show above features excerpts from Marshall Sprague’s Money Mountain: The Story of Cripple Creek Gold and images courtesy of the Pikes Peak Library District and the Denver Public Library.

 

One Response to $3 a day: Collective Bargaining on America’s Mountain

  1. Kate says:

    Nicely done, and very interesting given recent events.

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