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Montana labor news. [volume] : (Butte, Mont.) 19??-1951
Place of publication:
Butte, Mont.
Geographic coverage:
  • Butte, Silver Bow, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Silver Bow Trades and Labor Council
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 27, no. 6 (Feb. 8, 1951).
  • English
  • "Published Weekly in the Interests of Organized Labor."
  • Description based on: Vol. 8, no. 7 (Apr. 28, 1932).
  • Issue for Dec. 30, 1948 called v. 24, no. 41; actually constitutes no. 42.
  • Issues for Aug. 23, 1946-Mar. 13, 1947 called v. 22, no. 24-52; actually constitute no. 25-53.
  • Issues for Aug. 8 and Aug. 15, 1946 both called v. 22, no. 22; actually constitute no. 23 and no. 24.
  • Official organ of: Montana State Federation of Labor.
sn 86075141
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Montana labor news. [volume] April 28, 1932 , Image 1


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Montana labor news

The Montana Labor News was first published in 1925 in Butte, Montana. The 3-column, 4-page weekly was published by the Silver Bow Trades and Labor Council (now Montana AFL-CIO). Its first known editor was F.E. Cleves. Other editors between the 1920s and 1951 included Charles Sebold, Clarence E. Blewitt, John Vickers, and Ed C. Vawter.

As "The Official Organ of the Montana State Federation of Labor," the paper's stance on labor issues and politics was clear. The masthead declared the Labor News was "A Fearless Champion of Human Rights Devoted to the Interests and Voicing the Demands of the Trade Union Movement."

Content in the newspaper included an editorial column, a combination humor and socio-political commentary column titled "Timely and Untimely Observations," and national labor news in "The Washington Scene." Local content focused strongly on labor issues in the copper industry, though other trades were also represented. Headlines such as "Miners Urge Silicosis Compensation" appeared beside warnings against patronizing local businesses that were "unfair to organized labor." Other content included coverage of state and national labor conventions and reports on the Fort Peck Dam project from the labor perspective. The Labor News peppered phrases such as "Butte Copper Means Butte Prosperity" and "Agitate–Educate–Organize" between articles and other content. The paper printed legal notices and rosters for unions in Butte, Missoula, Miles City, Anaconda, and Bozeman. Further rosters for Glasgow, Billings, Havre, and Helena appeared later.

In 1928, editor Cleves faced a libel charge for comments he made about the president of the Federation of Labor, Stephen Ely. The Helena Daily Independent reported on January 11 that the criminal libel information filed in district court the day before "contains alleged extensive and voluminous excerpts from the Labor News, in which Ely is called a thief and crook, and charged with tampering with votes cast at the official election last year." The filing went on to say Cleves referred to Ely as "one of the most damnable cancers on the breast of the labor movement," and that he was "ignominiously bounced" from the United Mine Workers after a "five year period of doubtful service during which the records show that he had extracted the tidy sum of $35,000." Cleves pleaded not guilty, and soon afterward the libel charge, Cleves was dismissed on the condition he would print a retraction in his paper.

The last known issue of the Labor News was published on February 8, 1951.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT