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Hanna Basin Museum: 1916 Labor Agreement Between the United Mine Workers of America and the Southern Wyoming Coal Operators:

Agreement: On August 15, 1916, an agreement was entered into by the parties hereto, covering wages and working conditions in local fields of Southern Wyoming by and between representatives of the United Mine Workers of America, District No. 22, and the Southern Wyoming Wyoming Coal Operators, for a two year period beginning September 1, 1916 and ending August 31, 1918.

Hours of Labor: Section 1.  It is definitely understood and agreed that this agreement be based on an eight-hour day.  That eight hours shall constitute a day’s work in and around the mines and it is definitely understood that an eight-hour day means eight hour’s work, at the usual working place, exclusive of one-half hour for mid-shift lunch, six days a week when required by the operators, Sundays, Christmas day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, April first, Decoration Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day excepted.  It is understood that the above rules regarding holidays and Sundays shall not apply to monthly men or the making of necessary repairs.

Section 2.   Drivers shall work full eight hours in their respective places and take their mules to and from the stables, and the time for so doing shall not be included as part of the day’s labor, provided that not more than ten minutes’ time is required in going to or returning from his working place and stable.

Penalties for Loading Impurities: In order to insure the production of clean marketable coal, it is herein provided that if any miner or loader shall load with his coal, sulphur, boneslate, black jack or other impurities, miners may for the first offense be fined one dollar, loaders fifty cents; for the second offense the miners may be fined two dollars, the loaders one dollar, and for the third offense or any subsequent offense occurring in any other calendar month, he  may be fined two dollars or one dollar as the case may be, or discharged, or for any aggravated or malicious case of the first or second offense the miner or loader so offending may be indefinitely suspended or discharged and the money so collected shall be paid into the local hospital commission fund.  No fines shall be refunded without the consent of the company.

Duties of the Pit Committee: (a)  The duties of the pit committee shall be confined to the adjustment or disputes between the pit-boss and foreman having proper jurisdiction and any member of the United Mine Workers of America working in and around the mine, arising out of this agreement, when the pit-boss or said foreman having proper jurisdiction and said mine or mine laborers have failed to agree, and if any agreement is reached by the foreman and the committee, said agreement must be made in writing. 

(b)   In case of any local trouble arising in any mine through such failure to agree between such pit-boss or foreman having proper jurisdiction, and any miner or mine laborer, the Pit Committee and the Pit-Boss, or Foreman, are empowered to adjust it, and in case of their disagreement, it shall be referred to the Superintendent of the Company and the local Executive Board of the U. M. W. of A. and should they fail to agree, it shall be referred to the President of District 22, or his representative, and the Superintendent of the Company, and should they fail to agree it shall be referred to the General Superintendent of the Company and the District President of the U. M. W. of A. for adjustment, and in all cases the mines, miners, mine laborers and parties involved must continue at work pending investigation and adjustment until a final decision is reached in the manner above set forth.

(c)   If any man refuses to continue at work because of a grievance, which has or has not been taken up for adjustment in the manner provided herein, and such action shall seem likely to impede the operation of the mine, the Pit Committee shall immediately furnish a man or men to take such vacant place or places at the scale rates, in order that the mine may continue at work; and it shall be the duty of any member or members of the U. M. W. of A. who may be called upon by the Pit-Boss, Foreman or Pit Committee to immediately take the place or places assigned to him or to them in pursuance thereof.

(d)  The Pit Committee in the discharge of its duties shall under no circumstances go around the mine for any cause whatever unless called upon by the Pit-Boss or by a miner or Company man who may have a grievance that he can not settle with the Pit-Boss.  Any Committeeman who causes a mine to lay idle in violation of this agreement may be discharged.  The foregoing shall not be construed to prohibit the Pit Committee from looking after the matter of membership, dues and initiation in any proper manner.

(e)   Members of the Pit Committee employed as day men shall not leave their places of duty during working hours except by permission of the operator or in cases involving the stoppage of the mine.

(f)   The right to hire and discharge, the management of the mines and the direction of the working forces are vested exclusively in the operator, and the U. M. W. of A. shall not abridge this right.  It is not the intention of this provision to encourage the discharge of the employees or the refusal of employment of applicants because of personal prejudice or activity in matters affecting the Company and the U. M. W. of A.  If any employee shall be discharged or suspended by the Company and it is claimed an injustice has been done, an investigation to be conducted by the parties and in the manner set forth in Paragraphs “A” and “B” of this section shall be taken up promptly, and if it is proven that an injustice has been done, the operator shall reinstate said employee and pay him full compensation for the time he has been suspended and out of employment; provided, however, that if no decision shall be rendered within five days, the case shall be considered closed insofar as compensation is concerned, unless said failure to arrive at a decision within five days is owning to a delay on the part of the operator, in which case a maximum of ten day’s compensation shall be paid.  It is agreed that the local Executive Committee shall investigate the merits of all grievances before submitting them to the Superintendent.

Payment of Wages: The Operators agree to pay twice a month, on or before the 15th and on or before the last day of the month, and any mistakes shall be corrected within three days after each pay day and payment made for same.

Check-Off: The Operators will recognize the Pit Committee in the discharge of its duties as herein specified, and not otherwise, and agree to check off union dues, assessments, fines and initiations from the miner and mine laborer when desired, on prepared individual or collective continuous orders, and furnish to the miners’ local representative a statement showing separately the total amount of dues, assessments, fines and initiations collected.  All moneys shall be turned over to the Financial Secretary of the local Union.  Union charges not to exceed five dollars per month shall have priority over all other charges except hospital fees, rent, light, water and mining expenses.   In case any fine is imposed, the propriety of which is questioned, the amount of such fine shall be withheld by the Operator until the question has been taken up for adjustment and a decision has been reached.  When such collections are made, card day shall be abolished.

Checkweighman: It is agreed that the miners may employ a Checkweighman who must be an employee of the Company at the time and of and for at least three months previous to his election to see that the coal is properly weighed and a correct record made thereof; and when such Checkweighman is employed and Company shall furnish him a check number and he shall credit to his number such portion of each miners’ or loaders’ coal as he may be authorized by the local Union.  Where this system is impracticable the Companies agree to check off a specified amount per day or month or percentage.  There shall be no discrimination against any Checkweighman at the end of his official term on account of proper activity in the performance of his duties as Checkweighman.  At each dump there shall be 400 pounds of 50-pound test weights.

Measurements: Measurements for which yardage is paid shall be made semi-monthly, except in cases of  resigned or discharged employees, when same shall be made as soon as possible, but not later than the day following such resignation or discharge and payment in full shall be made for such work in the same manner in which other work is paid for.

Laying of Track: The Company shall lay all permanent track in entries.  Miners and loaders laying entry and room rails as at present.  The Company agrees to maintain and repair all track in rooms and entries.

Equal Turn: The Companies shall see that an equal turn is offered each miner and loader and he be given a fair chance to obtain the same.

Death and Funerals: In the case of a death by accident in or around the mine, the miners and other employees, either individually or collectively, shall have the privilege of discontinuing work for the remainder of that day at the mine at which the accident occurred, but work, at the option of the Operator, shall be resumed the day following and continue thereafter.  In case the Operator elects to operate the mine on the day of the funeral of the deceased, as above, or where death has resulted from an accident in or around the mine, then the individual miner or other employee may at their option absent themselves from work for the purpose of attending such funeral, but not otherwise.  And whether attending such funeral or not, each member of the U. M. W. of A. employed at the mine at which the deceased was employed, shall contribute $1.00 and the Operator $50.00 for the benefit of the family of the deceased or his legal representatives, to be collected through the office of the Company and turned over to the local Union for payment to the family or legal representatives of said deceased.  In the event that the mines are thrown idle on account of the miners or other employees failure to report for work in the time intervening between the day of the accident and the funeral, then the Company shall not be called upon for the payment of the $50.00 above referred to; except in cases of fatal accidents as above, the miners shall in no case be thrown idle on account of any death or funeral, but in case of the death of an employee of the Company or member of his family, any individual miner or mine laborer may at his option absent himself from work for the purpose of attending such funeral, but not otherwise.  In case there is no family or heirs, all moneys collected as above shall be returned pro-rata to the Company and local Union from whom collected, after funeral expenses have been paid.  A funeral held on idle days or Sundays shall not operate to release the Companies from the payment of the $50.00 above referred to.

Condition of Mines: The Companies shall keep the mines in as dry condition as practicable by keeping the water out of the roads and out of the working places.  When a miner or loader has to leave his working place on account of water, due to the neglect of the Companies, the Companies will give another working place until such water is taken out of his place.

Provision for Injury: All Companies shall keep sufficient blankets, oil, bandages, cots, etc., readily available at each  mine to properly care for and convey injured persons to their homes or the hospital after an accident; rooms suitable for the care of injured shall, where it is necessary, be provided at each mine by the Company.  Transportation of injured persons to hospital shall be paid by the Company.

Hospital and Surgeon: (a)   A Hospital Commission shall be formed at each camp to have full power to transact the affairs of the Hospital Commission.

This Commission shall consist of three members, one member representing the Company and employees not members of the U. M. W. of A., and two members elected by the local Union in such manner as suits their convenience and approval.

The Companies hereby agree to make the necessary deduction as agreed upon by the Hospital Commission, per capital, and turn the same over to the Hospital Commission.

(b)   In the event of any dissatisfaction arising over the service rendered by any surgeon, the aggrieved party must make his complaint in writing and give it to the Hospital Commission and the defendant shall be furnished a copy of the complaint.

If, in the judgment of the Hospital Commission, the charges warrant such action, after both plaintiff and defendant have been heard, a meeting of those who pay into the hospital fund shall be called to act on the matter.

The Hospital Commission shall, when such meetings are deemed necessary, post written notices in several conspicuous places at least one week prior to date of said meeting.

Should this meeting decide that the charges against any surgeon are of such a character to justify further action, four tellers shall be elected, two representing the Company and two members of the local Union.

An election day shall be designated at the meeting, the polls to remain open at least eight hours, and if a majority of those who pay into the hospital fund decide to discharge the surgeon he shall be discharged.

(c)   When any surgeon is discharged as per Paragraph “B” of this section it shall require a unanimous vote of the Hospital Commission to select another surgeon.  In the event of such disagreement the question shall be referred to the President of District 22 and the Chairman of the Operators for final decision.

(d)   Should any member of the Commission be unable to attend a meeting he shall have a representative present.  Each Commission shall designate a regular date of meeting.  The Treasurer of each local Commission shall be bonded in any amount to be agreed upon by the President of District 22 and the Chairman of the Operators.

(e)   No local hospital fund shall accumulate in excess of $5,000.00 unless mutually agreed to between the Chairman of the Operators and President of District 22, U. M. W. of A.

(f)    Surgeons will make a surgeon’s report to the Company and the Hospital Commission, if desired, as at present.  In connection with the Hospital and Surgeon Clause the following interpretation of that part of the agreement was given by the District officials of the U. M. W. of A. which was approved by the Operators.

  1. That Hospital Commission can enter into contract with doctor.

  2. That contract with doctor should not be for a longer period than the general agreement, nor extend beyond the time of expiration of the general agreement, and should not abrogate any part thereof.

3. That when any new doctor is employed as per agreement he does not become an employee of the Hospital Association until a contract is agreed to between the doctor and the Hospital Commission.

  1. That when any doctor’s contract expires he automatically ceases to be an employee of the Hospital Association until a new contract is agreed to by the Hospital Commission.

5. That in making contracts with any doctor that it requires a majority vote of the Hospital Commission to make or renew contracts with doctors.

New Mines: New mines opened and developed during the life of this contract shall be governed by the same rates and mining conditions as provided in mines operating under like conditions covered by this contract.

Employees Exempt from Union Jurisdiction: No scale of wages shall be made by the U. M. W. of A. for Mine Boss, Assistant Mine Boss, Top Foreman, Company Weight Boss, Boss Drivers, Night Boss, Head Carpenter, Night Watchman, Head Machinist, Head Electrician, Outside Bar Boss.  The words “Head Electrician,” “Head Carpenter” and “Head Machinist,” shall apply in cases only where he has supervision over two or more men performing the same class of labor.

Teamsters engaged in hauling any material connected with the production of coal, shall not be exempt; but all other teamsters, such as those engaged in hauling material for construction work or hauling coal or water or other commercial items, shall be exempt.

The erection of head frames, buildings, scales, machinery, railroad switches, etc., necessary for the completion of a plant for loading coal, all being in the nature of construction work, is to be excluded from the jurisdiction of the U. M. W. of A.  Extensive repairs to, or rebuilding the same class of work, shall be excluded in the same exception, the employees thereon to be excluded as above when employed on such work.

Engineers: (a)   In case of either local or general suspension of work, either at the expiration of this contract or otherwise, the engineers required by the Company shall not suspend work, but shall when mining is suspended, fully protect the Company’s property under their care and shall operate fans and pumps and lower and hoist such men or supplies as may be required to keep up steam at the Company’s coal plant.  It is understood and agreed that the Operators will not ask them to hoist any coal produced by nonunion labor for sale on the market.

(b)   In case of either local or general suspension of work, either at the expiration of this contract or otherwise, the foregoing shall apply with equal force to all necessary firemen and pumpmen.

(c)   No hoisting engineer shall be subject to the authority or supervision of the Pit Committee, but in case of any disagreement which the engineer can not settle with the Foremen, the subject shall be taken up with the District President or his representative and the Superintendent for Adjustment.

All engineers shall do their own firing or any other work assigned them by the Operator, in places where it is practicable, and his duties as hoisting engineer do not prohibit his so doing.  This clause shall not be construed to mean that an engineer can be used on idle days to the exclusion of a regular fireman or other employee.

General Provision: Section 1.  All cars, timber and rails shall be delivered at the working place of the Company as at present; provided, that if working face is more than 300 feet from such working place, then the Company shall deliver said cars, rails and timber to the working face.

Section 2.  That the price for powder shall be $2.50 per keg during the life of this contract.

Section 3.  Blacksmithing shall not exceed 50 cents per month for pick mining, present conditions to govern.  No charge shall be made to men working on or after machines.

Section 4.  Any class of day labor may be paid at the option of the operator for the number of hours and fractions thereof, actually worked, at an hour rate based on one-eighth of the scale rate per day.

Section 5.  When at any time there shall be three railroad cars empty and available or enough for one-half day’s work to be loaded with coal, the men shall be required to enter the mine and put the same in operation.  Provided, however, that when the men go into the mine in the morning the day men shall be entitled to two hours pay whether the mine hoists coal two hours or not, except in the event that they voluntarily leave their work during this time without the consent of the Operator, when they shall forfeit such two hour’s pay.  When a mine closes down during working hours, the Company shall notify all men of the fact and where man-trips are run have man-trip ready to start out within one hour after mine closes down.

Section 6.  When a mine or any part of a mine is closed down, throwing men out of employment, they are to be employed in any other mine that may be in operation at that time by the same Company and to be given preference over new employees, they are to take on in rotation if they so desire when the mine again resumes operations.

Section 7.  When employees purchase oil from the Companies the price shall not exceed 60 cents per gallon, and a quality or grade shall be furnished that will give general satisfaction.

Section 8.  When a mine is closed down for any reason and men other than the regular day men are employed, the extra work shall be divided equally among men competent to do such work.

Section 9.  Any employee absenting himself from work one day and not reporting for work the morning of the second day, shall forfeit his right to his working place unless excused by the Mine Foreman, or shall be given another place or turn.  All employees who absence would cause any stoppage of work or decrease of tonnage, must before absenting themselves from work, notify the Pit Boss or Mine Foreman of his intention to absent himself on the following day; otherwise they may be discharged, provided, however, this shall not apply in case of sickness or other unavoidable cause. 

Section 10.  The question of furnishing tool and powder cars is referred to the respective locals with instructions to arrive at an amicable settlement between the Superintendent and the Executive Board that a satisfactory arrangement may be arrived at which would give the greatest convenience and safety to life and property.

Section 11.  The use of black oil as an illuminant in mines is prohibited.

Section 12.  All roads and entries where dust accumulates shall be sprinkled at least twice a week.

Section 13.  All Companies shall pay in United States currency in places where there are no banks.

Section 14.  The employees shall have the right to buy where they please without discrimination.

Section 15.  No individual contracts shall be made in conflict with this agreement.

Section 16. All loaded cars which have been dumped by getting off the track or otherwise wrecked, shall be paid for at the average weight of said miners’ cars dumped that day; all wrecked cars shall be marked by drives, rope-riders, motormen, and those handling cars, by placing some suitable mark thereon (indicating that they have been wrecked) as directed by the Company.

Section 17.  In the event of any person being discharged as provided in this agreement, no objection shall be made by the Operator to his employment by any other operator.

Section 18.  Miners and loaders shall load pit cars with a reasonable load.  Mine Foremen may limit the maximum height to which pit cars may be loaded.

Section 19.  Miners and loaders are requested to stay at their working places during full time when there is work to be done, except in cases of sickness or other good cause.

Section 20.  Drivers found guilty of inducing miners or laborers to leave the mines before the regular time for quitting are subject to discharge.

Section 21.  The Company of day men shall perform whatever day labor the Foreman may direct.

Section 22.  There shall be no demand made locally be either the operators or miners, which are in conflict with this agreement except as mutually agreed to.  Any local member, official or committee shutting down the mine without the orders from the President of the District or District Executive Board of the U. M. W. of A. may be discharged.

Section 23.  Development work in slopes, planes, entries and air-courses shall not be prohibited by the local Union, but all such work shall be divided equally among men competent to do such work.  Men engaged in room turning shall not leave the room they are turning until it has been made minimum room width.  In case a man draws his time and leaves before room is widened out, the Operator shall deduct 30 per cent from each yard driven and same shall be given to the man who widens out the room.

Section 24.  Except as changed and provided for in this contract, present working conditions shall continue during the life of this agreement.

Section 25.  Each two men loading coal after machine in single rooms shall have at least two working places adjoining each other, or as near as practicable, double width rooms in same proportion.  Should men loading coal absent themselves from work the Company shall have the right to put men in those places for the day, to better facilitate the production of coal.

Section 26.  All Company men shall be given an equal turn of work, but in no case shall a miner or leader do this class of work unless there is a shortage of men.  Equal turn to mean equal turn among men performing the class of labor.

Section 27.  Weighmen and check-weighmen shall keep a record of all cars without checks, the same to be taken by them and if not claimed within one month by miners loading same they shall be placed to the credit of the checkweighman’s number and the price for same to be settled locally.

Section 28.  When any member is called on or elected to National, District, or Sub-District conventions or any other business pertaining to the U. M. W. of A. which business shall take him from his employment, there shall be no discrimination against him if he first notifies the Company.

Section 29.  It is agreed that any employee under the jurisdiction of the U. M. W. of A. shall have the privilege of a vacation at least once a year, but this shall not apply to sickness or other unavoidable cause, but said employer must have at least one week notice and said notice to state how long employee expects to be absent.

Section 30.  Where rock or slate bands exceed three inches in thickness the Company will pay one-half cent per ton per inch for all rock or slate bands exceeding three inches.  Where other rock has to be handled a price for same to be made locally.

Section 31.  Loading (timbering and tracklaying and care of places) as follows:  Timbering does not include crossbars.  Coal four feet six inches and over, 35 cents per ton, 2,000 pounds R. M.  Coal under four feet six inches, 39 cents per ton, 2,000 pounds R. M.  Coal under three feet to be deficient work and price made locally.

Section 32.  If no agreement is reached at the expiration of this contract the mines shall continue in operation pending negotiations or until negotiations are discontinued by either party to the agreement....

P. J. Quealy, Chairman;
W. D. Brennan, Secretary 

W. W. Gildroy, President;
James Morgan, Secretary;
George Young, Vice President;
Paul J. Paulsen, Direct Board Member