Hellraisers Journals: Goldfield Local of Western Federation of Miners on Strike Against Payment of Wages by Scrip

If the workers are organized, all they have to do
is to put their hands in their pockets
and they have got the capitalist class whipped.
-Big Bill Haywood


Hellraisers Journal, Friday November 29, 1907
Goldfield, Nevada – Miners Strike Against Scrip Peonage

The following reads like a report written by the mine owners themselves, and yet makes clear why the gold miners of Goldfield are now on strike.

From the Reno Evening Gazette of November 27, 1907:

Goldfield Miners Strk Begins, Reno Eve Gz, Nov 27, 1907

Grievance Over Manner of the
Payment of their Wages

Rumor of Open Camp Results

(Special to the Gazette.)

GOLDFIELD, November 27.-Once again the miners of this camp have decided that they would rather be idle than work. This time the grievance is the matter of payment of wages, the miners taking exception to the cashier’s checks that have been given them in return for their toil. The strike was foreshadowed last week, but it was hoped that the working miners would be able to vote the motion down, as it was known that they were opposed to the action of the idle members of the union. The checks that have been given to the men are negotiable at every store in the camp, but this fact has not prevented the men from again tying up the camp.

The leasers are not affected materially as their time limit will be extended, and the operators themselves are not greatly bothered because they are willing to shut down until the smelters accept ore at reasonable prices.

It is whispered on the streets today that one result of this move of the miners will be the importation of Slav miners, such as are now being employed by the Tonopah Mining company. These men belong to the union but they are glad to get the high wages that are paid in the southern camps. Their presence in Tonopah has greatly affected the business men, as they live as cheaply as Chinese and patronize their own countrymen exclusively. Many Tonopah merchants have been practically forced to suspend business because of the encroachments of small Greek stores which get practically all the business of these imported miners. Goldfield business men fear that the operators in this camp will take similar action and that the doom of many business houses will surely follow.

There is also some talk that an open camp will be the result of this strike, because it is known that the operators have previously expressed the determination to run the mines as they pleased if the demands of the union become intolerable. It may be that this trouble will be the one that will precipitate a crisis.


(By Associated Press.)

GOLDFIELD. November 27.-Local Union. No. 220 of the Federation of Miners at an early hour this morning voted to refuse payment for wages in scrip or cashier’s certificates. The result was reached after a prolonged session and much acrimonious discussion. The strike practically ties up the entire camp for the time being.

The miners take the ground that Goldfield is the only gold camp in the country not paying its miners in coin. From the first talk of scrip the miners have shown a disposition to cause trouble, and have accepted it only with grumbling and protest. A committee was sent to the mine owners and certain demands made which were refused. Afterward a notice was posted at the Miners’ Union hall, ordering miners to continue at work. This was taken by the operators to mean that the miners had finally agreed to accept scrip until the district should again be on a cash basis. The action last night, therefore, came as a surprise to the operators. There is but one form of scrip in Goldfield, and that is being accepted as cash in all transactions except at the postoffice and express office.



Reno Evening Gazette
(Reno, Nevada)
-Nov 27, 1907

See also:

Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor, Volume 17-1908
-US Department of Commerce and Labor
Washington, DC, Government Printing Office, 1909
Page 586, re: Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company v. Goldfield Miners’ Union, N0. 220, et al., United States Circuit Court, District of Nevada
Events of Nov 1907 begins here:

For Haywood’s visit to Goldfield in Nov 1907:

Bill Haywood’s Book
-The Autobiography of William D. Haywood

International Publishers, 1929
“In the fall of 1907 the executive board of the W.F.M. asked me to go to Goldfield….”

Reporting from Reno’s Nevada State Journal:

-Nov 7, 1907

P. H. Mullany, Member of Western Federation,
Did It; Others Hurt

GOLDFIELD, Nov. 6.-Vincent St. John, notorious agitator and “bad man,” who is under a charge of complicity in the murder of John Silva, the restaurant man, last winter, was shot through both wrists last night by P. H. Mullany….

-Nov 11, 1907

Western Federation Secretary Slips Quietly Into
Southern Nevada Camp; His Intentions

GOLDFIELD Nov. 10-Wholly unexpected by the miners of this district, William D. Haywood, secretary-treasure of the Western Federation of Miners, arrived in the city on last night’s train, hale and hearty….

He is here for a double purpose, first to visit his brother-in-law, C. H. McKinnon, president of the local union, and to look after some of his lead-silver interests in the Lida district…

-Nov 17, 1907


CARSON CITY, Nov. 16.-Secretary Haywood of th eWestern Federation of Miners, visited the penitentiary today and spent the hour permitted to visitors, with Preston and Smith….

Preston-Smith Case

Vincent St John
-Perhaps no leader of the IWW was as much beloved as St John, often referred to as “The Saint”:

“I never met a man I admired more”: Vincent St. John (1876-1929)
-by Juan Conatz