Coal Miners Side of the Story - St Louis Post Dispatch - 1915 - Macoupin County IL
©2003
contributed by Larry Clark

St Louis Post Dispatch , 1915

Coal Miners Side of the Case

To the Editor of the Post-Dispatch.

In your editorial of Sept. 25 you say: In demanding a six-hour day and a five-day week, the coal miners cannot be accused of “gluttony.” Absolutely not! That is more than can be said for the coal dealers and operators. The situation is this: The average cost of a ton of coal delivered f.o.b. the mine to the operator is $1.25, 65 cents of which the coal miner receives for wages. The coal dealers’ figures to the public show very plainly that he is making no profit. Such figures do not deceive the coal miners at all. If the miner receives 65 cents for mining a ton of coal, where, I ask you, does the rest go? We know! Partly to the coal operators, but mostly to the dealer. The operators say the miners make $10 per day. Some of them do. But how many days in the year does he work: he works on an average of 125 days a year. Why? Because there are too many mines and too much coal mined. He does not average $2.50 per day. The six hour day, five days a week, will give us more steady employment. Also, a coal mining town is the profiteers’ heaven. The moment the miner receives 10 per cent increase in salary, the store keepers advance their proces 30 per cent. When they are asked why their reply is always: “Well, you got a raise.” The following is an example of some prices in Mount Olive; Beef, Mount Olive 40 cents per pound, St. Louis 17 1/2 cents; sugar 14c, St. Louis 11 cents. Everything else in proportion. Is it any wonder we must have an increase in wages? Why does not the public and the Post-dispatch give heed to the miners’ side of the case? Has not the miner the right to live the same as other? You think that the average miner is something less than human. The American miner is above the average in intelligence. I want to impress on you, and in future I request that you give heed to the his side of the case. If any of the profiteering coal dealers want to take up this matter I will make a few more disclosures.

A MOUNT OLIVE COAL MINER

 

Note: This article reproduced with permission of the St Louis Post-Dispatch and is copyrighted by the St Louis Post-Dispatch. POSTnet, an Online Service of the Post-Dispatch and Pulitzer Publishing.



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