Nation: The U.M.W.: In Near Anarchy

I've stood for the union; walked in the line. Fought against the company. I've stood for the U.M. W. of A. Now who's gonna stand for me? —From a Billy Edd Wheeler song

For 40 years coal miners never had to ask that question. With the autocratic John L. Lewis in command, the United Mine Workers of America stood in the vanguard of American labor. Lewis staged epic brawls with Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, and the strikes he called paralyzed the economy, but his union grew strong. The greatest Lewis victory occurred in 1947 when he got the operators to...

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