Strike Specific

This page features information on events during the Strike

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Paternalism: A Copper Country Institution

Two images of corporate paternalism: above, a 2011 photograph of the Pullman neighborhood in Chicago (photography by author) and below, historic photograph of Calumet and Hecla (C&H) Company housing in Michigan (image from Copper Country Historical Collections, Michigan Technological University). Both images display aspects of corporate paternalism (or welfare capitalism), which intended to socially engineer a company's workforce to attract and retain a skilled and loyal workforce. Pullman, a town made famous by a bitter strike in the 1890s, was a neatly landscaped urban environment for workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company, which was active from the late 19th into the early to mid 20th centuries. Making high class railroad cars, plush with amenities, workers at Pullman were given access to housing, libraries, and places of worship, among other things, as an incentive to be loyal to the company. C&H Mining Company did much of the same for its workers, but was less formal in both landscaping and architecture. Providing many of the same amenities, paternalism at Pullman and C&H was seen as a way to keep skilled workers and their families happy, but conditions in the towns were heavily based on hierarchy (skilled workers were given better homes) and subservience to the company. Things for workers in company towns generally went well unless a worker fell out of the good graces of the company for things like advocating unionism or not toeing the company line.  

Labor Day 99 Years Ago--Margaret Fazekas Shot in the Head by Sheriffs Deputies

14 year old Margaret Fazekas was shot in the back of the head during a Labor Day demonstration.
Labor Day 1913 in the Copper Country saw the horrible shooting of a 14-year-old girl in northern Houghton County. Margaret Fazekas, daughter of Hungarian immigrant parents, was shot by a gang of Houghton County Deputy Sheriffs. As strikers and strike supporters were arguing with Deputies in a crowded street, a number of shots were fired from the guns of Deputies. Margaret was at the back of the crowd of strikers, next to a fence, and was hit by a bullet. According to the report of a Doctor who was brought to treat Margaret, "Her brains [had] oozed out the back of her head." Amazingly Margaret recovered and the image above was taken after her recovery. The bandages around her head cover the wounds sustained during the shooting.

July 23, 2012:

The Strike is On

July 24, 1913: "Michigan's Copper Country Mineworkers on Strike"

July 25, 1913: "15,000 Mineworkers on Strike in the Copper Country"
In honor of the 99th year of the beginning of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike, headlines from the pro-Union Finnish immigrant press announcing the beginning of the strike.

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