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Labor History Resource List (redirected from Labor)

Page history last edited by Natasha 3 years, 8 months ago

A Great Day in Butte, Miners' Union Day. 

ST 001.077



Labor History




Montana has a long and proud tradition of labor unionism. Predominantly an agricultural state, from the late 1800s there has also been an industrial side that includes mining, railroads, and the timber industry. These industrial aspects of Montana's past created working conditions less than amenable to the health and welfare of the workers. As a result, Montana workers early on organized forming labor unions to seek redress for their grievances. Butte for many years acquired the nickname of the "Gibraltar of Unionism" because it was so thoroughly organized. Not only were the miners organized into Butte Miners Union #1 of the Western Federation of Miners, but other occupations from carpenters to clerks to cooks were organized into their respective craft unions. Miners in other locations were also thoroughly unionized in the late 1800s to early 1900s. In addition there was a strong tradition of unions in the logging camps of northwestern Montana, including a period when the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) attempted to organize lumber and sawmill workers. By the 1890s most of the craft unions had established a statewide Montana Federation of Labor, affiliated with the national AFL. In addition, there were many local labor councils around the state including the Anaconda Central Labor Council, the Central Trades and Labor Council of Kalispell, and others. Non-industrial Montana workers organized as well in agriculture, nursing, and education adding to the depth of the Montana Historical Society Research Center collections.



To find additional sources, click on this link to our catalog.  The results shown are based on a general search of the topic.  It may not include all relevant resources and should be used only as a starting place for your research.



Labor Union Records


  • Anaconda Central Labor Council records, 1897-1943

The Anaconda Central Labor Council was a combined body of representatives of various local trade unions in the Anaconda, Montana, area. The Council represented a merger of the Deer Lodge County Trades and Labor Council and the Anaconda Building Trades Congress. The collection consists of general correspondence, financial records, legal documents, and minutes.


  • Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees records, 1920

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, was an Anaconda, Montana, railroad union. This collection contains a letter (August 31, 1920) from a committee of the Brotherhood to the management of the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway regarding wage increases, especially for various types of railroad foremen.


  • Butte Machinists Union records, 1915-1972

Records of the Butte Machinists Union, Lodge 88 of the International Association of Machinists, include general correspondence (1943-1953, 1967, 1969); financial records (1937-1970), including membership information; legal documents (1937-1960), consisting of labor agreements with employers; minutes (1915-1921, 1943-1959); reports (1944, 1947); subject files (1966-1967) pertaining to the Anaconda Company; and miscellany. 


  • Butte Miners' Union No. 1 records, 1900-1967

This collection consists of records of the Butte Miners' Union No. 1 and contains incoming correspondence (1940); financial records (1934-1967), including membership dues and office accounting; a subject file (1956-1962) regarding the United Unions Recreation Council; and miscellany, including a list of members serving in the armed forces during World War I. 


  • Butte Teachers' Union Local No. 332 records, 1934-1964

The records of the Butte Teachers' Union Local No. 332 consist of general correspondence (1913, 1934-1945), financial records (1936-1945, 1961-1964), organizational records (n.d.), reports (1937, 1941), subject files (1934-1945), and miscellany.


  • Cooks' and Waiters' Union No. 22 (Butte, Mont.) records, 1930-1966

Cooks' and Waiters' Union, No. 22, was a Butte, Montana, labor union. This collection consists of financial records consisting of membership ledgers, containing lists of members' names and records of dues paid. 


  • Helena Typographical Union No. 95 records, 1885-1973

The Helena Typographical Union No. 95 of Helena, Montana, is a union representing printers in newspaper and job printing offices. Records include correspondence, minute books, organizational materials, subject files, and financial records.


  • International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers records, 1950

The International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers was the major labor union in the copper industry until 1967. Records consist of a statement and rebuttal (Jan.-Feb. 1950) by the union's officials before a "trial committee" of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The CIO had charged the union with Communist activities.


  • Montana Education Association records, 1972-1983

The Montana Education Association is a union and professional organization that represents Montana school teachers. records include correspondence, financial records, constitution, bylaws, reports, subject files, printed materials, and clippings. There are also subgroups for the National Education Association, and the National Council of State Education Associations.


  • Montana Farmers Union records, 1921-1975

The Montana Farmers Union is affiliated with the National Farmers Union and primarily represents family farms. Records consist of state convention materials (1943-1974), including minutes; reports (1965-1975) of county and local union meetings; financial records; subject files; records of associated cooperative enterprises; correspondence (1965-1968) of the Education Department; and minute books of several disbanded local unions.


  • Montana Nurses Association records, 1912-2001

The Montana Nurses Association is the union and professional organization for Montana nurses. Records include autobiographical sketches of members; inter-office and general correspondence; case files; financial statements; minutes of annual conventions and the board of directors; organizational materials; reports; subject files; miscellany; and clippings. There are subgroups for the various district associations around the state.


  • Montana State AFL-CIO records, 1895-1987

Records of the Montana State AFL-CIO and its predecessor the Montana State Federation of Labor consist of correspondence, subject files, financial records, and printed material, including yearbooks (1929, 1931-1932, 1934-1985, 1987) and convention booklets (1965-1978). Subject files include legislation and reports (1952) of the Montana Industrial Health Commission, and published minutes (1953) of the Montana Legislative Council. 


  • Montana Typographical Conference records, 1937-1984

The Montana Typographical Conference was a state-wide union of printers in newspaper and job printing offices. Records consist of correspondence, minutes, conference bulletins, etc.


  • National Newspaper Guild. Local #81 (Great Falls, Mont.) records

National Newspaper Guild. Local #81 (Great Falls, Mont.) The National Newspaper Guild is the union and professional organization of newspaper employees. Records consist of strike papers, contract offers, correspondence, and clippings relative to the newspaper strike of October to December 1974.


  • Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen. Division #356 (Great Falls, Mont.) records, 1919-1977

Records include general correspondence, financial records, pamphlets, reports, legal documents, published materials, and clippings. The union was called the Order of Railway Conductors of America until 1954.


  • Transportation Communications International Union records, 1967-1997

These records include case files, legal documents, and subject files. In general, the collection documents Montana Public Service Commission hearings, orders, evidentiary matters and testimony involving various railroad stations in Montana. Also included are files regarding legislation protecting the closure and consolidation of railroads. Many of the files address railroad station abandonment.


  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local #88 (Anaconda) records

Records of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local #88 in Anaconda, Montana, consist of general correspondence (1890s-1950s); minute books (1889-1965); daybooks (1896-1964); membership dues books (1896-1965). Also included are records of Deer Lodge Local #1229; the Montana State Council of Carpenters; the national union; the Montana State Federation of Labor/Montana State AFL-CIO; the Montana Apprenticeship Council; and the Non-Ferrous Metals Council.


  • Western Federation of Miners records, 1891-1914

The Western Federation of Miners was the major union in the mining industry during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Collections consist of a minute book (1894-1896) for the Clancy, Montana, local (SC 270); a membership dues ledger (1891-1910) for the Pony, Montana,local (SC 2108); and convention proceedings 1910-1914) microfilmed from the collections at the University of Colorado (MF 474).


  • Women’s Protective Union, No. 457 (Butte, Mont.) records, 1901-1974

The record contain general correspondence (1947-1972); financial records (1901-1972), including payment records; legal documents (1942-1962), including labor contracts; minutes (1903-1963); organizational records (1909-1960); subject files (1943-1954); and miscellany. (Additional records of the WPU are located at Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives.)


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State Agency Records


  • Montana Dept. of Highways. Miles City Area Office records, 1938-1982

These records include highway engineer diaries and field notes (1940-1956), a file (1947) re personnel pay raises, which includes organizational records and a set of minutes of the Montana Highway Dept. Engineers and Office Personnel labor union.


  • Montana Dept. of Labor and Industry. Investigations Unit records, 1987-1991

These records consist of general correspondence (1987-1990) arranged alphabetically by county; and field inspection reports (1987-1991), including name and address of business being inspected, type of business, and other labor related information regarding the business. 


  • Montana Labor Standards Division records, 1947-1977

These records of the Division, and its predecessor the Standards Bureau, both within the Department of Labor and Industry, consist of general correspondence and memoranda, with a sample of wage claims.


  • Montana Personnel and Labor Relations Study Commission records, 1981-1982

These consist of correspondence, reports, subject files, and miscellany.


  • Montana Women's Bureau records, 1973-1981

These records consist of general and interoffice correspondence (1973-1981); news releases (1974-1980); copies of news briefs (1980-1981) the Bureau newsletter; monthly reports (1977-1981); project reports (1978); subject files (1978-1981); miscellany (1981) including mailing and referral lists; and clippings (1974-1981).


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Other Collections 


  • Eureka Lumber Company records, 1917-1919

These records consist of photocopies of general correspondence concerning Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) strikes and organizing. Included in the correspondence are operatives' reports. Also included are clippings, IWW fliers, and miscellany.


  • Daniel John Hennessy papers, 1896-1907

Daniel Hennessy was the owner of the D.J. Hennessy & Co. and D.J. Hennessy Mercantile Company department store in Butte, Montana. Collection consists of letters (1896-1907) to his sister Kate and her husband Daniel J. Donohue of Missoula, describing family and business matters, including a letter describing a labor union picket against the store. 


  • Augustine Haines Hersey papers, 1892, 1905

Augustine Haines Hersey was a Helena, Montana, pharmacist and newspaper columnist. Papers consist of a 46 page typed report (1899) on labor troubles in the mines of the Coeur d'Alene district of Idaho from 1892 to 1899. Also included is an original letter (1905) written from the Philippines by Augustine to his niece, Grace (Hersey) Greene.


  • Fannie C. Jones papers, 1970

Fanny C. Jones was a Butte, Montana, resident. Papers consist of a letter (1970) to the Montana Historical Society providing her eye witness account of the destruction of Miners Union Hall in Butte, June 14, 1914.


  • Julius A. Kiderlen papers, 1896-1899

Julius Kiderlen was a Philipsburg, Montana, miner and labor union organizer and official. Papers include incoming correspondence (1896 1899) concerning both Kiderlen's personal affairs and his work with Philipsburg Labor Union, Local #10 of the Western Labor Union. 


  • Daniel S. McCorkle papers, 1910-1974

Daniel McCorkle (1880 1956) was a Presbyterian minister in Sunrise, Wyoming, and Conrad, Montana. The collection contains general correspondence (1911 1956), subject files (1910-1956), writings (1912-1953); and other materials documenting his works as a minister, social worker, labor union advocate, educator, and socialist.


  • Perry S. Melton papers, 1935-1987

Perry Melton was a long-time Kalispell labor union leader. This collection is organized into subgroups for Perry Melton's personal files; the Central Trades and Labor Council of Kalispell and Flathead County; the Painters Union No. 975; the Flathead Metal Trades Council; the Northwest Montana Building and Construction Trades Council; the Hotel, Restaurant and Bar Tenders International Union, Locals 312 and 603; the Montana State Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL CIO); the Treasure State Labor Journal; and the United Textile Workers Union (North Carolina only).


  • Montana vs. Driscoll records, 1914

The case of the State of Montana vs. Tim Driscoll, sheriff of Silver Bow County, Montana, grew out of the labor troubles in Butte, which resulted in the dynamiting of the Butte Miners Union Hall in 1914. Driscoll was charged with the misconduct of his deputies. Records consist of court papers for Driscoll's appeal.


  • Montana vs. Dunne records, 1919

The case of "The State of Montana, respondent vs. William F. Dunne, R. B. Smith, and Leo Daly, appellants" arose from Dunne's alleged sedition as publisher-editor of the Butte Bulletin during the Butte miners' strike during World War I. Records (1919) consist of court papers, including a transcript, from Dunne's appeal of his conviction in Lewis and Clark County District Court.


  • Montana vs. Smith records, 1919

The case of the State of Montana vs. R.B. Smith resulted from his alleged sedition during labor troubles in Butte, Montana, from 1916 to 1918. Records (1919) consist of court papers, including a transcript, of Smith's appeal of his conviction in Lewis and Clark County District Court.


  • The People's Voice records, 1937-1967

The People's Voice was a weekly newspaper published in Helena, Montana, by H.S. "Cap" Bruce, and later by Harry L. Billings. Records consist primarily of general correspondence (1937 1966); and subject files (1930s 1960s) on a wide variety of topics, including Montana politics, farmers unions, labor, state government, and public utilities. 


  • Silver Bow County (Montana) Martial Law Proclamations, 1914

Martial law was declared in Butte, Montana, on September 1, 1914, as a result of labor unrest. Collection consists of a printed proclamation by Montana Governor Samuel V. Stewart; and by Dan J. Donohue, commanding officer of the Montana National Guard.


  • Socialist Party of Montana records, 1899-1950

Records include general correspondence, primarily from the Bozeman and Missoula locals; subject files on Butte socialist mayor Lewis Duncan, the National Finnish Socialist Organization, the National Women's Committee of the Socialist Party, and the Party's relationship with the Montana State Federation of Labor from 1929 to 1950; organizational records; reports; and printed materials.


  • United States. Dept. of Justice records, 1909-1921

This collection consists of copies of selected reels from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (Record Group 65) at the National Archives. Reels consist of investigative files of the predecessor Dept. of Justice concerning labor troubles, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) conventions, and German American activities. There are two series: "Bureau Section Files" (1909 1921) and "Old German Files" (1915 1920).


  • Oscar F. Wolf papers, 1916-1929

Oscar Wolf was a trustee of School District #13 (Lincoln County, Mont.), publisher of the Eureka Journal, mayor of Eureka, and receiver of two local banks. Papers include general correspondence (1916-1929), handbills concerning school taxes and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and clippings.


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Oral Histories


  • Michael David Crill interview, 2002

In this interview Michael David Crill discusses his family's move from England to Montana in 1966; work for W.R. Grace in 1975; various jobs worked on as member of labor pool especially shoveling and cleaning up cars of vermiculite; safety issues in the mines; union activities; impact of vermiculite mining and asbestos on that community; his family's diagnosis' with asbestos related illnesses. 


  • Tom Dickson interview, 1986

Tom Dickson discusses his work at the Anaconda Company smelter in Anaconda, Montana from the 1940s to the 1970s, focusing on his involvement with the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (Mine-Mill); labor-management negotiations; the 1934 and 1954 strikes; the merger between Mine- Mill and United Steel Workers of America (USWA); the annual Smelterman's Day festivities; company influence on the union and the community; and taxation issues.


  • Alice Finnegan interview, 1987

Alice Finnegan discusses her family; life in Anaconda, Montana; religious views and the Catholic Church; church politics and administration; Anaconda's Chinese community; labor unions; local economic development efforts; and local historical society.


  • Seldon Frisbee interview, 1986

Seldon Frisbee discusses Cut Bank, Montana, businesses, banking, the oil industry, health care, labor unions, politics, social life and entertainment, clubs, the Great Northern Railway, prohibition, post-World War II

changes, Blackfeet tribal land litigation, Indian-White relations, the restaurant worker's strike of the 1950s, and town physical improvements.


  • Ray Graham interview, 1987

Ray Graham discusses his childhood in Great Falls; his recollections of the 1922 railroad strike; early labor history; his stepfather's work in Great Falls smelter; his experiences in the 1930s Depression; Industrial Workers of the World; politics of local and national unions; his career working in the smelter; union activities during strikes; worker efficiency and pride; closing of the smelter in the 1980s; and changes in the town of Great Falls as a result.


  • Archie Grover interview, 1982

Archie Grover (1906-1993) discusses his work as a miner, trapper, and lumberjack in Butte, Montana; his labor union activity; and the community of Butte.


  • Perry S. Melton interview, 1982

Perry Melton (b. 1907) discusses his years of living in Kalispell, Montana; prohibition; and his work as a labor union organizer in Flathead County from 1938 to 1951, including involvement with the Kalispell Trades and Labor Council, the State AFL-CIO, and publication of the Flathead Labor Journal. 


  • Montana History Conference (23rd : 1996 : Butte, MT ) proceedings, 1996

The Montana History Conference (1996) in Butte, Montana, focused on the history of Butte. Sessions with a labor interest included Myth, Community and Survival in Butte and Anaconda (Brian Shovers, Dale Martin, Patrick Malone); Butte ethnography (John Mihelich) and women's unions in Butte labor strikes (Janet Ore Whitney Williams, Marilyn Maney).


  • James W. Murry interview, 1987

James Murry discusses growing up in Laurel, Montana; his father's work with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers local in Laurel; the development of labor unions in Montana; the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers; the Steel Workers Union; the merger between those two unions; union leadership; anti-communist propaganda; civil rights; The People's Voice weekly newspaper; the 1968-1969 strike; and the fight for workers rights.


  • Howard Rosenleaf interview, 1986

Howard Rosenleaf, an Anaconda, Montana resident, discusses his work as a carpenter at the Anaconda Company smelter from 1955 until 1970, and his job as business agent of the carpenters' union in Anaconda from the 1960s into the 1980s. He also discusses labor negotiations; the influence of the Anaconda Company on the town; and changes in the labor movement since the plant shutdown.


  • Sam Ryan interviews, 1986, 1987

Sam Ryan discusses his work for the Anaconda Company and the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) smelters in East Helena, Montana, from 1942 to 1972; his involvement in the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers; the union's statewide negotiations; local grievances; union official Bill Mason; and labor's declining influence in Montana.


  • Alice Shepka interview, 1987

Alice Shepka discusses her mother's civic and volunteer activities; recollections of the National Youth Administration (NYA); labor unions; and volunteer activities.


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 Montana Historical Society Research Center

 225 North Roberts, P.O. Box 201201, Helena, MT 59620-1201, 406-444-2681, 406-444-2696 (fax)



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