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Welsh AmericansA History of Assimilation in the Coalfields$
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Ronald L. Lewis

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832202

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887905_lewis

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Welsh American Union Leadership

Welsh American Union Leadership

(p.249) 8 Welsh American Union Leadership
Welsh Americans

Ronald L. Lewis

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the Welsh-born in America who abandoned mining to follow a career in organized labor. Some Welsh American coal miners achieved upward mobility within the industry by rising into the ranks of industry management, and others became technical experts such as engineers and mine inspectors. Many more entered other professions. With the founding of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in 1890, ambitious union officials had a national organization in which to learn valuable leadership skills and a springboard for launching careers in politics or management. By the 1920s, the UMWA had grown into a national organization with a bureaucratic structure operated by union professionals. Primed with the ideology of progress and success, Welshmen were strategically positioned within the industry and the union to personally benefit from the opportunities presented as well as to shape the direction of the labor movement.

Keywords:   mining, organized labor, coal miners, industry management, technical experts, United Mine Workers, America, UMWA

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