Colorado Locals Remember the Ludlow Massacre
The 100th Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre is upon us. The strike started on September 23, 1913, and the massacre occurred on April 20, 1914, in southern Colorado. The United Mine Workers of America is planning a series of events to commemorate this tragedy. Many academic and labor historian groups have been planning events and speaking engagements on Ludlow.
The 2014 event will be held the weekend of May 18, 2014, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Massacre. April 20, 2014, the date of this tragedy was considered, but that is Easter Sunday. A prayer vigil is being planned for that day, and the remembrance will be held May 18th.
We are jointly writing to you today not only to invite you to attend these functions, but to ask that the SMART Union as a whole commemorate this event. Men, women and children died in the Ludlow struggle for economic justice. It’s our opinion that the greatest tribute we can give them is use the 100th Anniversary to further their cause.
Many of the issues that occurred at the time of the Ludlow Massacre are some of the same issues that we face today. Gone are the issues of the company towns, company guards, scrip pay (coal company money) and tent colonies. However, the attack on collective bargaining rights and the right to organize, economic injustice, immigration, worker health and safety, corporate, political, and media attacks on labor unions,
8-hour work days, and numerous other issues, face all of us today.
The Ludlow workers took on the battle one hundred years ago, and we ask you to honor them by making the centennial events of the strike and massacre our opportunity to redefine the labor movement and to take our rightful place in today’s society.
We feel it is up to all of us who enjoy collective bargaining rights, to use any and every opportunity to speak out, to engage our political friends, as well as our enemies, and when able, to participate in public events and to be a part of any debate about Ludlow and/or any of the issues that still face us today.
Ludlow was a United Mine Workers of America event and in solidarity Colorado SMART Union members plan on offering a tribute to these fallen miners, their wives, and children. We ask that our SMART Union leaders join with us as labor so we can better engage the public in all issues affecting workers.
In closing, thank you for your time and allowing us to pass on this information. Feel free to contact either of us with any questions or comments. We look forward to hearing from you, and to have a large SMART Union contingency at this important event labor history.
Eric DeBey, Business Manager
SMWIA Local 9
Colorado Legislative Board