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United Mine Workers of America. District 18 fonds


Physical Description:
76.6 m of textual records. -- 20 microfilm reels. -- 83 photographs. -- 1 audio cassette. -- 1 badge. -- 1 seal

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) was founded in the USA in 1890. Its District 18 was chartered in 1903 after a successful organizing drive in Fernie, B.C. Led by its militant president Frank Sherman, within a few years the District successfully organized and negotiated collective agreements in the B.C. and Alberta sides of the Crowsnest Pass, the Lethbridge coal field, the Canmore/Bankhead coal field, the Nicola Valley of B.C., the Estevan coal field in Saskatchewan, and the Drumheller coal field. Vancouver Island mine workers were organized as District 28 from 1911 to 1915, and thereafter became part of District 18. By 1917 the District's central office was established in Calgary. In 1919 the District 18 members voted to join the One Big Union, a short-lived Canadian syndicalist movement. Consequently, the District was placed under the trusteeship of the International Union, but its autonomy was restored in 1920. Western Canadian members tended to be more politically radical than the pragmatic and centralist International. In the 1920s many UMWA locals withdrew from the International to form independent local unions or join the Communist-dominated Mine Workers Union of Canada (MWUC). Meanwhile, District 18 had organizing successes in the Edmonton coal field, the Coal Branch district, and the Nordegg/Saunders district. By the mid-1930s, the UMWA was reunited and again a dominant force in one of the most important industries of western Canada. During the Second World War its members enjoyed a relatively high standard of living. From 1946 to 1989 the District operated its own Welfare and Retirement Fund. For further information about the fund see "In an equitable and sympathetic manner" : Alberta's Workmen's Compensation and the United Mine Workers of America, District 18's Welfare Fund / Jason Corey Devine. -- unpublished MA thesis, University of Calgary, 2011. In the early 1950s the demand for coal dropped off, resulting in the closure of many mines. Although coal production revived in the 1960s, membership in District 18 continued to decline due to the introduction of less-labour-intensive surface mining techniques; raiding by other unions; and conflict that plagued the UMWA at the International level. In 1980 District 18 joined with District 26 (Nova Scotia) to form the Canadian Council of the UMWA. In 1996 the Calgary office was closed, and District 18 was reorganized as the United Mine Workers of America, Western Canada, with a small office in Sparwood, B.C. For more information see: The noble cause : the story of the United Mine Workers of America in Western Canada / by Bruce Ramsey. - Calgary : UMWA District 18, 1990.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of constitutions and bylaws, minutes of the District Executive Board, proceedings of conventions, general correspondence, records of Workmen's Compensation and Unemployment Insurance appeals, correspondence of District officers, correspondence with mine operators and Local Unions, financial records, membership records, reports and briefs to commissions of inquiry and legislators, records of negotiations and labour disputes, collective agreements with employers, records of Local Unions, newsclippings, collected miscellany, photographs, and an oral history interview. Records of the Welfare and Retirement Fund include minutes, decisions, annual reports, financial records, correspondence, reports, agreements, mine operators' employment records, and case files of Welfare and Retirement Fund beneficiaries.
RECORDS OF LOCAL UNIONS AND MINES IN THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS ARE IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Aerial, Alexo, Bellevue, Beverly, Bienfait, Blairmore, Brule, Burmis, Cadomin, Calgary, Cambria, Camrose, Canmore, Carbon, Carbondale, Cassidy, Champion, Clover Bar, Coal Creek, Coalhurst, Coalspur, Coleman, Comox, Corbin, Cumberland, Dinant, Drinnan, Drumheller, East Coulee, Edmonton, Estevan, Fernie, Foothills, Fording, Frank, Grande Cache, Hanna, Hillcrest, Hinton, Kaydee, Ladysmith, Lethbridge, Luscar, Mercoal, Michel, Midland, Morrissey, Mountain Park, Nacmine, Namao, Nanaimo, Natal, Nordegg, Princeton, Robb, Roche Percée, Rosedale, Round Hill, Saunders, Shaughnessy, Smoky River, South Edmonton, Sparwood, Sundance, Taylorton, Three Hills, Tumbler Ridge, Union Bay, Wabamun, Wayne, Western Monarch, Whitehorse, and Willow Creek.
RECORDS CREATED BY OR ABOUT THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS ARE IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Alberta Federation of Labour, Alberta Strip Miners' Union, W. H. Armstrong, Bituminous Coal Institute of Canada, Edward Boyd, W. A. "Tony" Boyle, British Columbia Federation of Labour, British Columbia Miners' Association, CAIMAW, Canadian Conference on Coal, Canadian Congress of Labour, Canadian Labour Congress, Canmore Miners' Union, Vincent Clark, Coal Association of Canada, Coal Operators' Association of Western Canada, Coalhurst Miners' Union, Coleman Miners' Association, John Delaney, Domestic Coal Operators' Association of Western Canada, Drumheller Coal Operators' Association, East Kootenay Firebosses' Union, John Gilmour, Stanley Grocutt, Horbury family, Hy-Grade Local Union, Industrial Federation of Labour of Alberta, International Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers, International Union of Operating Engineers, Stuart Johnson, John L. Lewis, Robert Livett, Leslie Mathieson, Donald McDonald, William M. Mercer Ltd., Arnold Miller, Mine Workers' Union of Canada, Miners' Clubs of the Labour Progressive Party, Mineworkers' Central Union of Estevan and District, K. J. Morrison, National Union of Firebosses, Office and Technical Employees' Union, Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, Oil Workers' International Union, One Big Union, Eileen Patterson, Tony Podrasky, Pulp Paper and Woodworkers Union of Canada, Roche Percee Coal Miners' Union, John Sanyshyn, Saskatchewan Coal Miners' Union, Saskatchewan Coal Products' Workers' Union, Saskatchewan Strip Miners' Union, John Stokaluk, M. P. Susnar, Michael Tamtom, United Mine Workers' Journal, United Steelworkers of America, Tom Uphill, William Ure, Western Canada Bituminous Coal Operators' Association, Western Coal Operators' Association, Western Mechanized Mining Commission, W. C. Whittaker, Eldon Woolliams, Joseph Yablonski.

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of United Mine Workers of America, Calgary Labour Council, Amalgamated Coals, and Canadian Pacific Railway, 1966-2008.

The material is in English.

Originals and Reproductions:
An edited version of the evidence collected by the 1919 Coal Mining Commission [M-2239-7A] was published as Alberta's coal industry, 1919 / edited and with introd. by David Jay Bercuson. -- Calgary : Alberta Records Publication Board, Historical Society of Alberta, 1978.

Access to some materials is restricted to protect the privacy of members of the Union. Photocopying of some materials is restricted for conservation reasons.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Records of United Mine Workers of America, Local 7355 (Nanaimo) are held at the Nanaimo Community Archives. Papers of Frank Sherman are held at the University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections.
Records of United Mine Workers of America, Local 2633 (Coleman) are described as a separate fonds in the Glenbow Archives.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-2239, M-5889, M-6000, M-7901, M-8111, PA-1111, PA-1138, PA-2534, PA-2933, PA-3773, PB-623, PD-358, NA-1286, NA-4567, Microfilm-UMWA, RCT-66

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