Mining-Labor History

by Micah Gjeltema, Montana Tech

Labor day has come and gone, but if you need ideas for exploring it next year, I wanted to point out a resource that we hold here at the Montana Tech Library. Our Digital Commons repository collects student and faculty scholarship, but it also has a wealth of old newspapers that have been scanned and digitized. The text is all searchable, which may prove useful. If you have individuals curious about labor history in Montana, or the mining activity that was so rich (pun sort of intended) across the state, consider directing them to the Copper Commando archives. The Copper Commando publication was created by the Victory Labor-Management Committee, a joint-effort between representatives of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and representatives of the various labor unions involved in their operations. The two groups, normally at odds, used this publication to document and promote cooperation in light of the WWII war effort. It’s a fascinating look at the labor history of Montana, and valuable as a window into the past and the more domestic struggles of wartime. There is a Butte emphasis, but other locations in Montana are explored and featured as well. If you need a quick place to start, I recommend taking a look at the 1943 Labor-Management issue. It includes statements from the Governor, War Production Board, various individuals representing the Anaconda Company, and representatives from the spectrum of unions ranging from miners to pipefitters to electricians.

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