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Season 4, Episode 79

Remember the 1914 Ludlow Massacre



Guest Name:

Bob Butero

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Bob Butero, United Mine Workers of America Regional Director, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and recalled the events that led to the 1914 Ludlow Massacre and how it led to the passage of the Wagner Act. 

Fed up by working for low wages not paid out in U.S. currency and terrible working conditions, roughly 10,000 miners employed by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company went on strike in September 1913. 

According to Butero, when the strike began, the miners were evicted from the company shacks where they lived. With help from the UMWA, the striking miners set up tents in the surrounding hills outside the company town and continued the strike. In order to keep the peace, Colorado Gov. Elias M. Ammons deployed the National Guard to the area. 

On April 20, 1914, members of the National Guard, plus CF&I guards, attacked. Raining gunfire on tents, they killed five miners. Additionally, two women and 11 children suffocated as they hid from the gunfire in a pit below a tent. In the aftermath of the massacre, Butero said the company claimed it attacked the miners because they kidnapped scab miners, but this was never proven. 

Following the massacre, fellow miners in the region took to arms, destroyed the entrance to other mines and killed mine guards and supervisors. Roughly eight months later, the strike ended, as CF&I gave into the demands of the miners. 

Just over a decade later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Wagner Act, which created the National Labor Relations Board. Butero believes the Ludlow Massacre was one of the reasons why this legislation was passed. He also stressed the need to include this event in history books and believes it should be taught in schools. 

Listen to the entire episode to learn more about these topics.



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