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Alexander Howat

Alexander Howat
Creator: Literary Digest
Date: December 31, 1921
A photograph of Alexander Howat, "czar of the Kansas coal fields" copied from Literary Digest. Howat was chiefly responsible for the organization of a powerful and aggressive union for coal workers in southeast Kansas. In 1919, during a general coal strike, Howat and District 14 stood firm in spite of pressure from Governor Henry Allen. This is probably one of the big reasons why Allen introduced the Kansas Industrial Court Law. Howat was bitterly opposed to the law and immediately set out to discredit it. District 14 pledged full support to their president. When he called a strike in defiance of the law, he was sent to jail in Girard, then in Columbus, and finally in Ottawa. The officers of the International United Mine Workers of America ordered him to call off his strike. He refused and thus in 1921 was expelled from the Union.


Allen and Gompers debate letters

Allen and Gompers debate letters
Creator: Colliers Magazine
Date: November 27, 1920
In these letters submitted to the Colliers Magazine, Kansas Governor Henry Allen and Samuel Gompers, of the American Federation of Labor, continue the debate over the Kansas Court of Industrial Relations and workers' right to strike. The letters were written two months after the Allen-Gompers debate on the strike issue held in Carnegie Hall New York.


An analysis of the proposed right-to-work legislation

An analysis of the proposed right-to-work legislation
Creator: Kansas State Federation of Labor
Date: August 1954
In 1958, Kansas voters ratified the "right to work" amendment to the state constitution. The amendment stated, in part, that "No person shall be denied the opportunity to obtain or retain employment because of membership or non membership in any labor organization..." In this pamphlet, the Kansas State Federation of Labor argues that the purpose of the legislation was to limit the power of organized labor.


Don't get caught in a fat-cat squeeze

Don't get caught in a fat-cat squeeze
Creator: Kansas AFL-CIO
Date: 1958
This pamphlet encourages voters not to support "right to work" legislation in the form of an amendment to the Kansas constitution. Issued by the Kansas chapter of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations), the pamphlet argues that the "right to work" amendment would cut family income in half by making it harder for labor unions to represent workers and negotiate worker compensation.


International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America and Governor Henry Allen correspondence

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America and Governor Henry Allen correspondence
Creator: Allen, Henry Justin, 1868-1950
Date: January 5 - 11, 1920
In response to the proposed legislation for the Kansas Court of Industrial Relation or the "anti-strike law", the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Iron Ship Builders writes to Kansas Governor Allen, "we stand true to the dictations of our International Officers and should they order us to protest this legislation, should it be enacted, by striking, or by other means, we would not hesitate to obey their orders". Governor Allen responds by saying there are two classes of labor, one class is patient and so their interests will be considered and another class who likes to use intimidation, but he warns "...by strike nor by other means, shall we bow to the threat of violence and make the law the handmaiden of intimidation."


J.S. Hobbs to Governor Henry Allen

J.S. Hobbs to Governor Henry Allen
Creator: Hobbs, J.S.
Date: January 22, 1920
J.S. Hobbs writes to Governor Allen with questions about the newly created Industrial Court. The Court of Industrial Relations was created by special legislation in January 1920 following a series of coal strikes in Southeast Kansas. The court lasted only a few years when it was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.


Local Union 533, United Mine Wokers of America to Governor Henry Allen

Local Union 533, United Mine Wokers of America to Governor Henry Allen
Creator: Local Union 533 United Mine Workers of America
Date: January 7, 1920
Local Union No. 533, U.M.W. of A., from Pittsburg Kansas, writes to Governor Allen protesting the proposed Court of Industrial Relations bill which they state would provide penalties on workers for striking. The Union states that they strike to "obtain a wage sufficient to support us and our families" and would like the governor to make sure he studies this bill and anything like it before it is made public.


Prominent Negro leader denounces right-to-work laws

Prominent Negro leader denounces right-to-work laws
Creator: Kansas State Federation of Labor
Date: Between 1954 and 1958
In this flyer, the Kansas State Federation of Labor quotes the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., in his opposition to "right to work" laws. Dr. King argues that the so-called "right to work" laws are a form of discrimination that undermine workers' right to organize and collectively bargain with their employers. Kansas voters passed a "right to work" amendment to the state constitution in 1958.


Right-to-Work laws aim to destroy unions

Right-to-Work laws aim to destroy unions
Creator: Oxnam, Bishop G. Bromley
Date: 1958
This commentary, excerpted from an address by Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, was reproduced by the Kansas State Federation of Labor in 1958. It provides an opposing view to "right to work" legislation. In this article, Bishop Oxnam states "right to work" laws are fraudulent. They are neither intended nor designed to guarantee work or to establish the right to work. The "Right to Work" Amendment was ratified in Kansas in 1958.


The Kansas Industrial Act as affected by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States

The Kansas Industrial Act as affected by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States
Creator: Huggins, William L.
Date: 1920s
In this pamphlet, William L. Huggins, author of the legislation and presiding judge of the Court of Industrial Relations provides an analysis of the supreme court decision in the case of the Charles Wolff Packing Co. vs the Court of Industrial Relations and its affect on the future of the court in Kansas.


United Mine Workers of America resolution pardoning of Alex Howat

United Mine Workers of America resolution pardoning of Alex Howat
Creator: United Mine Workers of America
Date: January 5, 1923
John Morgan and James Hunter of Arma, Kansas, were leaders of the United Mine Workers of America Local Union 3962. In this resolution they ask Kansas governor Jonathon Davis to "right the wrong that was committed by the Industrial Court Law" by pardoning Alex Howat, August Dorchy, Willard Titus, John Fleming Sr, James McIlwrath and Hearl Maxwell from the county jail in Girard. All of these men protested the creation of the Court of Industrial Relations and refused to follow rules set forth by the court, and were subsequently jailed. During his run for governor, Davis opposed the Court of Industrial Relations and campaigned that if elected he would work to abolish the court. The Industrial Court was created in a special session of the Kansas legislature in 1920 to oversee labor disputes in the state.


W.L.Wells to Governor Henry Allen

W.L.Wells to Governor Henry Allen
Creator: Wells, W.L.
Date: January 8, 1920
W.L. Wells, a Girard, Kansas resident, writes to Governor Allen that the proposed Industrial Bill would not hurt coal miners and that the more miners who read up on the bill the more who are in favor of it.


 We do move

We do move
Creator: Topeka Journal
Date: April 1, 1937
This article in the Topeka Journal discusses a 1937 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the ability of states to grant minimum wages. The recent ruling reversed a previous decision on that issue that declared the Kansas Court of Industrial Relations unconstitutional. The Court of Industrial Relations was created in 1920 following a special session of the Kansas Legislature. It's purpose was to resolve disputes between labor and capital. It was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1923.


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