Tuesday, February 2, 2010
"Say not to your neighbor, "Go and come again, tomorrow I will give. When you can give at once." Proverbs
After a mine explosion in Butte, Montana results in the death of 162 miners in 1917, the miners walk out, demanding better safety conditions in the mines. Union organizer Frank Little comes to Butte and begins encouraging the miners to join his union.
The Pinkertons and other agencies are also at Butte. They are hired by the Copper Kings, the mining corporation, to make sure that Little doesn't succeed.
Young Pinkerton operative, Geed Ryder is sent to the area to infiltrate the strikers, find the trouble makers and determine what the miners were planning. Geed is well described as a character with his youthful ambition and gullibility. In this respect, he may be a symbol of how unions and corporate profits are viewed at that time.
Geed seems sincere and is able to talk his way into the homes and hearts of the miners and union representatives.
The setting of mining town Butte, Montana is depicted precisely with accompanying photographic documentation. This adds realism and makes it seem as if the reader is learning the details from the authors periodic contributions to the local newspaper.
The author details the attempts by the union to provide a safer work environment and a living wage for the union members. The mining corporation, uses the World War as an excuse and claim that anyone who wants to set up unions must be communists. In this manner they can hide their greed and their heartlessness toward their employees.
A thought provoking story.