Superior in Sweetwater County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
The Union Hall
In 1903, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) began organizing miners into what would become the most powerful union in the state of Wyoming. By the spring of 1907, the UMWA had organized coal miners along the "Southern Wyoming Coal Field". Naturally, Union Pacific Coal Company objected to the UMWA, as it weakened their control over their mining operations. Like mine managers throughout the United States, UP saw little to gain and much to lose if the mines became unionized.
The year 1907 witnessed one of the largest labor strikes in Wyoming history. Pro-Union speeches delivered in different languages were enthusiastically received in Sweetwater County. By the end of 1907, Union Pacific Coal Company recognized the UMWA, and South Superior, whose livelihood depended on coal mining was now "Union" town.
Immediate benefits of the Union were the establishment of an 8 hour day (from 10 hours previously) and wage increase from $3.03 a day to $3.40 a day. By 1934, the 7 hour day had been realized, with wages of $5.42
The Union Hall in which you are now standing was built not only to house union offices, but to serve as a community center. On the second floor of the building was a large stage and dance floor. Here people would gather for plays, concerts and dances. The second floor served several functions and was one of the largest meeting halls in the Superior area.
The Union Hall was constructed ca. 1921, the architect and builder are unknown. In South Superior six UMWA locals contributed to the construction fund for this substantial hall. Neither a rectangle nor a square, the building is a trapezoid, unique in Wyoming as a structure of this type.
Erected by The People of the Town of South Superior, The Wyoming Department of Environment, Tern Engineering, Western Wyoming Community College, Noel Griffith & Associates, Sweetwater County Commissioners, Linda Tallifero, Larry Calier and Fred Radosovich.
Location. 41° 45.739′ N, 108° 58.089′ W. Marker is in Superior, Wyoming, in Sweetwater County. Marker is on Main Street (Route 371) near Berta Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 109 Main Street, Superior WY 82945, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least Opening the Mines (here, next to this marker); Prospecting (here, next to this marker); Town Development (here, next to this marker); Working in the Mines (a few steps from this marker); Immigrants (a few steps from this marker); Superior (a few steps from this marker); Point of Rocks (approx. 10.8 miles away); An Unsolved Mystery (approx. 10.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Superior.
More about this marker. This marker is located at the Miners Union Hall.
Also see . . . Frontier Wyoming’s Most Dangerous Occupation: The Quest for Mine Safety in Wyoming’s Coal Industry. From the beginning of Wyoming territory, coal miners worked in deep underground mines. Mining was the most dangerous occupation on the Western frontier—far more risky than rounding up cattle or working on the railroad—even more dangerous than driving Cheyenne and Black Hills stagecoaches or soldiering at old Fort Laramie. (Submitted on January 14, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Labor Unions • Man-Made Features •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 14, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 391 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 14, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.