The Coal strike of 1902 lasted from May to October of the given year. It was also called as anthracite coal strike and it was led by United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the main requirements of the strikers included three components. This is a 20% pay increase, an 8-hour work day, and union recognition.
A strike is one of the most widespread forms of the struggle of the working class, and the US proletariat has extensive experience in strike fighting. In Philadelphia, one of the first organized strikes by hired workers of the United States and the first general strike took place. In subsequent years, the strength and organization of the American proletariat, which advocated raising wages, shortening working hours, and restricting immigration, grew. In 1902 there was a strike of the Pennsylvania miners, and later, there were strikes of railway workers. After a government arbitration commission was created in October 1902 with the participation of US President T. Roosevelt, reformist D. Mitchell, president of the UMWA, persuaded the miners to return to work.
In March 1903, the commission agreed to a salary increase of 10% and a reduction in working hours to 9 hours. However, the basic requirement of the workers to recognize their union was not satisfied. Most of the strikes ended in the defeat of the working people, and the workers did not have a revolutionary and political organization capable of leading their struggle. The financial support for the participants of the strike was provided by employees of the bituminous mines of the state, who deducted part of their earnings to a specially created fund.
The strike revealed typical themes of workers’ protest, the depth of dissatisfaction and the belief that the revolution would eventually eliminate all the ulcers of the past. No less typical, it is important to note that there was a lack of a quick and complete reaction to the strike of both the press and the townspeople. The fact that the city’s mines did not work for several weeks affected this state very much. For outside observers, single strikes constituted an unremarkable background for the revolution, and among liberal politicians, including members of the government, they were irritated, they saw manifestations of excessive requests that were promoted by workers. The anthracite coal strike lasted for several months, which is why coal reserves in many cities in Pennsylvania began to decline sharply on the eve of the winter of 1902 and 1903.
In US history, this was the first case of direct communication between the head of state and strikers. The Coal strike of 1902 ended on October 20 and the miners achieved a 10% increase in wages and a reduction in working hours to 9 hours. However, it is important to note that these decisions entered into force only in March 1903, but the United Mine Workers of America did not receive any state recognition. Negotiating strikers with the authorities, while remaining inconclusive, took on an increasingly acute form as the situation developed, and as a result, state authorities turned to US President. In the Coal strike of 1902, Theodore Roosevelt play a role in mediation in the negotiations, and also threatened to use troops against the miners to prevent the threat of coal shortages.