Talk:Coal strike of 1902

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Former good article nomineeCoal strike of 1902 was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
DateProcessResult
September 10, 2006Good article nomineeNot listed
WikiProject Pennsylvania (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Pennsylvania, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Pennsylvania on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Organized Labour (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Organized Labour, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles related to Organized Labour on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
Note icon
This article has been selected for the Organized Labour Portal Article Of The Day for May 12.

Less is more[edit]

Rather than justify all of the cuts I made, anyone who thinks that the old, largely unwikified article was a better encyclopedia article can restore it. I suggest, however, that you restore it a sentence or a paragraph at a time, just as I cut a sentence or a paragraph here and there. 24.126.41.116 10:27, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC) aka User:Italo Svevo

Lead section[edit]

The lead needs to longer and a more comprehensive summary of the entire article. See WP:LEAD. A good way to start in that direction would be to "chop up" the sentence, which is a run-on -- hardly the "compelling prose" that is required of a GA. -Fsotrain09 14:03, 28 August 2006 (UTC)


Failed "good article" nomination[edit]

First, I would like to congratulate the editors involved on choosing a good topic and getting off to an excellent start. While I failed this article, I think it can be improved over time with a little effort to meet the criteria.

This article failed good article nomination. This is how the article, as of September 10, 2006, compares against the six good article criteria:

1. Well written?: The only issue I have with the writing is the issue mentioned in the section above this review. The introduction should be two paragraphs that summarize the article. The run-on sentence structure in the introduction is also problematic.
2. Factually accurate?: The largest problem with this article is the wholesale lack of in-line citations. This is admittedly my first review, but I checked other candidates with reviews and see no chance for this article to make the status without at least one appropriate in-line citation per section. It would be preferable to have one in-line citation per paragraph.
3. Broad in coverage?: I am not aware of any major details that are missing in this article. It does an excellent job of setting out the context of the strike in light of prior strikes.
4. Neutral point of view?: The article does a good job with this matter. I do not get a feeling of bias, which is commendable because this article would definitely lend itself to advocacy.
5. Article stability? There are no issues here.
6. Images?: The use of appropriate images is wonderful.

When these issues are addressed, the article can be resubmitted for consideration. Thanks for your work so far. --Erechtheus 20:17, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Problems with this article[edit]

For NPOV discussion, see also: Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Organized_Labour#Possible_editing_dispute_brewing


My area of knowledge is coal mining in the west. I have some problems with this article, both factually, and point of view.

Statements in the article that are offered as fact introduce a pro-company slant, such as:

"[the coal companies] adamantly refused to recognize the union, for then it would control the coal industry."

This is not a fair statement, it is a company talking point. Likewise,

"The owners told Roosevelt that strikers had killed over 20 men..."

This appears to be a sensational allegation, but it is unsubstantiated in the article. Is there a factual basis? The writers of a neutral point of view article should be obligated to either substantiate the facts supporting such a sensational allegation, balance it if that is possible (how many strikers were killed?), or leave it out.

"...the federal government intervened as a neutral arbitrator."

If that is the case, from my reading of labor history it is the historical exception. But this article could have been written by advocates for such intervention. The article promotes moderate cooperation with the companies and mediation, as well as federal intervention. It attacks the Western Federation of Miners as violent, and claims that:

"...moderate leaders gained more than the radical Socialists who denounced capitalism but were forced to the fringe of organized labor."

What data is used to justify this statement?

It was my understanding (from admittedly limited sources) that the intervention was more a personal entreaty on the part of Theodore Roosevelt because so much of the nation was dependent upon coal and he feared a "coal famine" that would cause "untold misery" to working families. One outcome of TR's initiative was that the American public began to perceive the coal operators in a negative light for refusing to compromise with TR, who from the accounts I've read had acted more as a peacemaker than a strikebreaker. As for the WFM, I thought it was the United Mine Workers who were representing the strikers, as they had in the bituminous coal miners' strike several years earlier. - Mark Dixon 03:22, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

In 1902 the miners in the Cripple Creek District of Colorado had union power through organizing with the Western Federation of Miners that very likely surpassed anything in the coal mining regions of the east. I make this observation after reading Jameson, a very scholarly work that offers a great deal of statistical data to back it up. But the above appears to be a sweeping generalization that simply doesn't hold up.

Concerning being "...forced to the fringe of organized labor..." Well, in Colorado that was the result of bayonets, machine guns, and gross violations of the law by a militia that was run by, and allied with the mining companies. Company goons were found to have planned a train derailment in the mountains that might have killed hundreds, hoping that the union would be blamed. Yes, there was awful violence and law-breaking, but it did not happen in a vacuum.

Speaking of violence-- the article mentions the west to put down the Western Federation of Miners, but then ignores western history. The conclusion appears to refer to the national situation:

"The settlement was an important step in the Progressive era reforms of the decade that followed. There were no more major coal strikes until the 1920s."

Anyone ever hear of the Ludlow Massacre? That happened during a strike that lasted from 1910 (beginning in Colorado's northern field) until 1914. Twelve thousand coal miners walked out. Scores died. I think that qualifies as "major".

And why shouldn't the UMWA be attacked for violence the way the WFM is in this article? (Late edit-- observing this just for comparison... not making a suggestion! -rtm) The Ludlow massacre occurred during a UMWA strike, and it inspired what historians have called the "Ten Days War," or "the Great Coalfield War," in which striking miners killed mine guards and dynamited mining camps throughout southern Colorado.

And then there was the UMWA's Matewan, Bloody Mingo, Harlan County, the Battle of Blair Mountain... Pot calling the kettle black?

Perhaps the article ought not to sing the praises of John Mitchell so loudly, considering accusations that WFM leader Bill Haywood made in his autobiography (page 135) suggesting Mitchell's role in organizing a miners' union wasn't so lily-white. Specifically, the locals of the WFM were collectively the largest contributor per capita to the UMWA strike fund in 1902 of all unions, but (probably because the WFM was no longer affiliated with the AFL), the UMWA did not acknowledge the fact. Haywood further charges throughout his autobiography that Mitchell undercut the WFM at every opportunity, and that he even had ties with the Citizen's Alliance, the front group for the mining corporations in Colorado which Haywood described as a "craven, underhand, murderous force." When Mitchell came to Denver (Haywood wrote,) it was to go see the Citizen's Alliance rather than the WFM. I'm not advocating inclusion of (probably off-topic) issues, but i am calling for a less fawning look at Mitchell. Richard Myers 19:16, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

I suggest that critics read about the EASTERN coal issues before complaining. Start with Wiebe. Rjensen 19:30, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Would this be Robert H. Wiebe, Karl Rove's and Ken Mehlman's favorite historian? (Karl Rove being the adviser to President Bush, and Ken Mehlman being the recent head of the Republican Party, who personally intervened to maintain sweatshop conditions in the Marianas Islands?) [[1]]
"In conversations with me, Rove cited with great enthusiasm the work of Robert H. Wiebe, a historian at Northwestern who died not long ago. Ken Mehlman, Rove's deputy, mentioned Wiebe, too..."
[[2]]
That may explain some of the conservative bias in the article.
Rjensen, you added many-- if not all-- of the passages i've complained about. Why not address my individual concerns (some of which are, admittedly, stronger than others)? One doesn't need to consult another book to detect conservative bias in a labor article. Richard Myers 23:49, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

I've been asked to look this article over and offer my observations with an eye towards improving it and removing bias. Toward that end, here's what I'm finding here. I'll list passages that seem problematic to me:

  • He (Sen. Mark Hanna) worked through the National Civil Federation which brought labor and capital together. (in section The 1899 and 1900 strikes). Problem: sophomoric, as if lifted from a bland civics textbook. Makes it sound as if that body benevolently reconciled labor & management, besides saying nothing more about how the Federation deliberated, who was on it, etc.
  • The following paragraph shows a subtle shift in tone and point of view, starting neutrally in describing the conflicting interests of labor and management, but finally sounding as if written from the coal operators' point of view (from the Federal intervention section):
Roosevelt therefore convened a conference of representatives of government, labor, and management on October 3, 1902. The union considered the mere holding of a meeting to be tantamount to union recognition and took a conciliatory tone. The owners told Roosevelt that strikers had killed over 20 men and that he that he should use the power of government "to protect the man who wants to work, and his wife and children when at work." With proper protection they would produce enough coal to end the fuel shortage; they refused to enter into any negotiations with the union. The governor sent in the National Guard, who protected the mines and the minority of men still working.
In this case, I use the term "point of view" not only to indicate possible bias, but also more subtly to indicate confusion over whose voice is speaking where, and for whom, in this passage.
  • Later in this same section, the sentence The owners welcomed the strike, but they adamantly refused to recognize the union, for then it would control the coal industry. is unsupported. I can't vouch for the veracity of any part of this—hopefully someone here knows enough about labor history to evaluate this—but the addition of a couple of weasel words might be an improvement: "... for then the owners felt it would control the coal industry". As it is, it sounds somewhat murkily and conspiratorily anti-labor.
  • Finally, this sentence in the last section sends up a red flag for me: Membership in other unions soared, and moderate leaders gained more than the radical Socialists who denounced capitalism but were forced to the fringe of organized labor. As it is unreferenced, it looks like classic Red-baiting to me; nothing about "radical Socialists" has been conclusively demonstrated in this article, and while there was an undeniable link between the labor movement in the U.S. and socialists (or even Socialists, notice the difference), this sentence smells of not-so-subtle insinuation that the labor movement was "infiltrated" with Socialists (later Communists).

Since I'm by no means an expert on labor history, this is all I can say about the article from a cursory scan through it. The article definitely needs work. Hope this helps. +ILike2BeAnonymous 03:43, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

the solution is not toread the article over and over again, but to read the scholarly literature and see how well it matches. I have done that and think it matches the scholarship, which is Wiki's main goal. People should read Wiebe. Rjensen 06:41, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Just to clarify-- Rjensen, it appears to me that in most, if not all cases, you are critiquing your own writing here, because you are the individual whose writing is considered somewhat biased (by a couple of us so far.)
Is that not so? Should you not then dispense with the "...see how well it matches. I have done that..." dispassionate observer charade, since you are defending your own writing? Please tell me if i'm wrong... Richard Myers 08:32, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I did write portions of the article, but only after closely reading the key documents. The reading of the experts is the key, in my opinion, to making improvements, not trying to make one side or the other look good or look bad according to 2007 views of labor unions, and all that. Sooner or later someone will want to denounce the settlement that put men back to work because they dug the coal that has generated global warming. Rjensen 08:36, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Edited name of Strike Leader out.[edit]

I just thought you should know I removed the name Sean Aloysius O'Brian as the leader of the strike. This was from Star Trek. I could not find any evidence to the contrary. If anyone believes this mistake is in error, please feel free to remove my edit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.225.64.133 (talk) 10:18, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Recent changes[edit]

Three recent edits removed some useful lead summarizing, and added a good deal of stuff lifted directly, by the look of it, from Jonathan Grossman's The Coal Strike of 1902 -Turning point in US Policy, albeit credited in the body. That's way too much of a "quotation." Anmccaff (talk) 02:29, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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