Divided Loyalties: The Public and Private Life of Labor by Craig Phelan

By Craig Phelan

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Additional info for Divided Loyalties: The Public and Private Life of Labor Leader John Mitchell

Example text

The two sides agreed to wait until the Indiana dispute was resolved. If the strike failed and Indiana miners were forced to accept the wage cut, northern Illinois operators would insist on a like cut in their mines. If, however, the Indiana strikers were victorious, then the existing wage scale would remain in effect for another year. Mitchell and other northern Illinois organizers busied themselves collecting strike aid for Indiana, and as a result the Indiana miners were able to hold out long enough to win their strike.

Although he was afforded the luxury of sleeping at hotels rather than outdoors, he went to great lengths to secure the most inexpensive lodging available. One of his first stops was Fairmont. 50 per day. 167 Another indication of the budgetary restraints was Mitchell's lack of stationery. Every one of his reports was written on paper with hotel letterheads. The grammar and spelling of these reports reflects Mitchell's lack of education. As union president his prose would improve dramatically through sheer effort and the guidance of his secretary, but as vice president his letters were chock full of misspellings, improper punctuation, subject-verb disagreements, and every other mistake imaginable.

Indeed, his desire to gain the approval of important men such as Senator Mark Hanna and President Theodore Roosevelt became somewhat of an obsession, affecting his dress, language, attitudes, and actions. Acting President Mitchell received valuable on-the-job experience in the handling of a growing bureaucracy. He now spent most of his time at union headquarters located in the Stevenson Building in Indianapolis. And for the first time he grappled with questions involving union finances, the assignment of organizers, public relations, the national executive board, and district-national relations.

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