The Western Labor Union

A recent review of collections brought to light the manuscripts, minute books, and ephemera of the Western labor Union and the American Labor Union.  These radical unions were the precursor of the Industrial Workers of the World.

westernBorn out of the Western Federation of Labor and the American Labor Union (ALU), the Western Labor Union (WLU) was founded in 1898, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Western labor Union adopted the preamble of the American Labor Union which, called for international socialism, including the collective ownership of all utilities, reduction of labor hours and an increase in wages, national insurance, and equal civil and political rights for men and women.

In Butte, the Western Labor Union organized 33 unions under the WLU, some of which include: The Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees, The Woman’s Protective Union, The Hackman’s Union, Picture Machine Operators, Painters, Porters & Boot Blacks, Structural Iron Workers, Stage Employees, and Telephone Operators & Teamsters.

For more information regarding these unions visit the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives.


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