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Fueling the Gilded AgeRailroads, Miners, and Disorder in Pennsylvania Coal Country$
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Andrew B. Arnold

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814764985

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814764985.001.0001

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New Organizational Forms, 1886–1890

(p.119) 5 Origins
Fueling the Gilded Age

Andrew B. Arnold

NYU Press

This chapter examines the emergence of new organizational forms in Central Pennsylvania's coal industry in the late nineteenth century. It begins with a discussion of the coal miners' strike staged in winter 1889–1890 in the town of Punxsutawney and how it inaugurated a new scale in organization, both for the miners and for the coal operators of Central Pennsylvania. It then considers the founding of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in January 1890 and goes on to analyze the negotiations between UMWA leaders and local activists for a more modest wage agreement. It shows how coal operators, instead of fighting to eliminate all unionism, decided to work with so-called “checkweighman associations.” Finally, it explains how the Punxsutawney strike helped to spark a formal wage agreement between coal operator and coal miner organizations.

Keywords:   coal industry, Central Pennsylvania, coal miners, strike, Punxsutawney, coal operators, United Mine Workers of America, wage agreement, unionism, checkweighman associations

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