United Mine Workers of America History

Throughout the history of American labor, the United Mine Workers of America has occupied a position of unquestioned leadership. The UMWA led the struggle to establish collective bargaining in American industrial life in the twentieth century. Its principles and policies, its strength and unity and its outstanding leaders have been an inspiration to generations of working families for over 125 years. The richness of the UMWA’s history is a testament to the firm determination embedded in the hearts and minds of the mine workers of North America to build and maintain a strong and enduring union.

Looking for information about a specific part of UMWA history? Check back for more information about the pivotal historical events, conditions in the coal fields before the UMWA, and the people who built and maintained the American labor movement. If you have a specific research question, please contact the Collection Manager / Archivist at archives@umwa.org or 703-291-2465.

  • John L. Lewis
  • Mary Harris “Mother” Jones
  • John Mitchell
  • Company Towns and early mining conditions
  • Founding and 1898 contract for eight hour day
  • Anthracite Strike
  • West Virginia Mine Wars
  • Southern Colorado Mine Wars and Ludlow Massacre
  • Battle of Blair Mountain
  • Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • UMWA Health and Retirement Funds
  • Pittston Strike

125 Years of Struggle and Glory

Click on link to watch a brief video highlighting the UMWA’s 125 years.

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United Mine Workers of America Artifact and Photograph Collection

The UMWA Archive includes photographs, documents and artifacts from throughout the union’s history. Click on the link to learn more about what is in the UMWA Collection and how to donate to it.

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