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The Miners’ Union

Initially the Rossland miners were unorganized but the Western Federation of Miners with headquarters in Denver, Colorado was active in mining camps on the U.S. side of the border.

Then in 1895 local 38 of the Western Federation of Miners was organized in Rossland – the first local in Western Canada.

In 1898 local 38 built the Miners’ Union Hall which still stands as one of the historic buildings in Rossland today.

Miners normally worked a ten hour day but this ended in 1898 when the Eight Hour Day law was passed by the British Columbia Legislature as a result of the efforts of Jim Martin, the member elected from Rossland.

In 1900 the Workman’s Compensation Act was introduced into the British Columbia Legislature by Curtis Smith, the succeeding member from Rossland.

In 1901 the Miners’ Union called a strike in the Rossland mines. It was bitter but cool heads prevented the violence that had characterized previous miners’ strikes in the north western U.S.A. The strike was settled nine months later.

In 1917 the Western Federation of Miners became the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, and in 1939 Local 480 became the bargaining union for the Cominco operations at Trail.

In 1967 the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers were merged with the United Steel Workers of America.