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Newspaper Page Text
HOW GOV. FERRIS USED HIS OPPORTUNITY
Consider Governor Ferris of Michigan, traitor to the people who
elected him, placid tool of the Guggenheim-Morgan copper interests.
Governor Ferris was elected chiefly through the efforts of organized
labor. He is the first Democratic governor of Michigan in years.
It was expected 'that Governor Ferris would remember these things
after he took the oath of office.
His opportunity to do so came a, few days ago with the outbreak of
the great strike of the Northern Michigan copper miners.
Sixteen thousand men laid down their tools within twenty-four hours.
The mines were completely tied up. The strike was practically won within
Then the copper mining interests that had sworn they never would
allqw their men to organize, took desperate measures. They sent to New
York and hired Waddell-Mahon professional gunmen and strikebreakers by
the dozen. -
The gunmen tried to start, trouble, of course; starting trouble is the
regular business of such strikebreakers as these.
But the officials of the Western Federation of Miners had the strikers
well in hand. There was not one case of violence on the part of strikers.-
And even with the help of the gunmen, the copper interests were unable
to open up their mines again. v
So they appealed to Governor Ferris for troops.
When it first was rumored that Ferris was going to send troops, the
officials of the miners would not believe it.- They did not think it possible
that this man they had .elected to high office would thus betray them with
out even hearing their side.
They hurried to Ferris and asked him if he were Teally going to do this
"Yes," he said, coldly. "I am going to send troops."
"But why?". the miners demanded. "Why? There has been no vio
lence; there has been no trouble; there has been no destruction of property.
Why send troops into a peaceful community?"
"There has . been destruction of property," said Ferris.
"When? Where?" demanded the men.
"The mine owners have been unable to run their pumps," said Ferris.
"The water is flooding their mines. You are responsible for that, and that
is destruction of property."
A great argument this!
It amounts to telling American workingmen that they have not the
. right to quit work at any time they please; it amounts to telling them they
are little better than slaves, who must toil for their employers on their em
ployers' terms, whether these terms be just or no.
The troops were sent; 2,500 of them. And they did not even keep or
der. Since they went into the copper strike district the Waddell-Mahon
gunmen have murdered two strikers, and fatally wounded -a third. The
troops were apparently unable to stop this.
And there have been things the troops did themselves. Some one
among the mining interests has seen to it that there always has been a
plentiful supply of bad whisky for any soldier who might want it. And
drunken soldiers have become the terror of the mining district.
If the copper interests finally are forced to capitulate by the strikers,
Jh'ey should not blame Governor Ferris. He has done his best for them. .