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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cripple Creek miners' strike of 1894

The strike had an immediate effect. By the end of February, all smelters in Colorado were either closed or running part-time. At the beginning of March, the Gold King and Granite mines gave in and resumed the eight-hour day.[5]

Mine owners still holding out for the 10-hour day soon attempted to re-open their mines. On March 14, they obtained a court injunction ordering the miners not to interfere with the operation of their mines. A limited number of strikebreakers were brought in. The WFM initially attempted to persuade these men to join the union and strike. When they were unsuccessful, the WFM resorted to threats and violence. The strikebreakers were so intimidated that few of them reported for work.[6]

An event on March 16 changed the nature of the strike. An armed group of miners ambushed and captured six sheriff's deputies en route to the Victor mine. Shots were fired, and the miners and deputies engaged in a fistfight. Two of the deputies received minor injuries. An Altman judge, a member of the WFM, charged the deputies with carrying concealed weapons and disturbing the peace. Despite his union ties, the judge released the deputies.[7]

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