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Montana Labor Unions

Page history last edited by Marcella Walter 6 years, 9 months ago

Since 1876 Montana workers have been banding together in labor unions. These unions have been at the heart of efforts to improve workers’ lives through safer working conditions, fair pay, the eight hour day, the end to child labor, pensions and sick leave, and other reforms.  As workers exchange their labor for wages, why have they also organized to protect their rights?  Did Montana companies and Montana unions embrace conflict to protect what each party sought:  worker health and safety for unions and the workers they represented; and greater profits and freedom from regulations for companies?  What forms did conflict take?   Did they ultimately find compromises that also respected each party's desires? 



Calvert, Jerry W. The Gibraltar: Socialism and Labor in Butte, Montana, 1895-1920 (Montana Historical Society Press: Helena, MT 1988).


Emmons, David M. The Butte Irish: Class and Ethnicity in an American Mining Town, 1875-1925 (University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago, 1990).


Enyeart, John P.  “Revolution or Evolution: The Socialist Party, Western Workers, and Law in the Progressive Era,” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Volume 2, No. 4, New Perspectives on Socialism II (October 2003).


Malone, Michael P. The Battle for Butte: Mining & Politics on the Northern Frontier 1864-1906 (Montana Historical Society Press: Helena, MT 1981)


Mercier, Laurie.  Anaconda: Labor, Community, and Culture in Montana’s Smelter City (University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago, 2001).


Montana State Federation of Labor Year Book: Golden Jubilee 1894 to 1944.  Official Publication Montana State Federation of Labor.  Containing Historical Data of Montana Labor Movement and Proceedings of the Forty-Seventh Annual Convention at Butte (James D. Graham, Editor: Published annually at Helena, MT)


Murphy, Mary.  Mining Cultures: Men, Women, and Leisure in Butte, 1914-1941 (University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago, 1997).


Roeder, Richard B.  “Montana Progressivism Sound and Fury—and One Small Tax Reform,” Montana, The Magazine of Western History, Volume 20, No. 4 (Autumn, 1970), 18-26.



Montana History Wiki: Montana – Labor History (Note: Manuscript collections and oral histories will be unavailable October 15, 2015-April 15, 2015.)


MHS Vertical Files

Knights of Labor

Labor Disputes

  • Pullman Strike 1894
  • State Government Strike

Labor Legislation

  • Market
  • Party
  • Unions

Montana Federation of Teachers

Western Federation of Miners

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