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Total Upheaval

The Copper Country union men are out upon a strike,
Resisting corporation rule which robs of us our rights.
The victory is all but won in this noble fight
For recognition of the union.
Hurrah, hurrah for the Copper Country strike
Hurrah, hurrah our cause is just and right.
Freedom from oppression is our motto in this fight
For recognition of the union...

Copper Country Striker’s Song, John Sullivan

On July 15, 1913, Copper Country WFM Locals sent letters to mine management asking for a settling of grievances and recognition of the WFM as the official representative of mineworkers. Mine managers ignored the letters. On July 23, 1913, tensions erupted as thousands of underground mineworkers went out on strike. Governor Ferris called in the Michigan National Guard to protect “life and property,” while strikers held huge rallies and parades, which sometimes turned hostile with Copper Country law enforcement. Several shooting incidents resulted in the deaths of both strikers and others who chose to return to work. The Copper Country was in the midst of a great upheaval as the WFM and its “rank-and-file” members attempted to force mining companies to the bargaining table to discuss worker grievances.
Michigan National Guard

Within the first weeks of the strike Governor Ferris dispatched the entire Michigan National Guard to the Copper Country. Companies welcomed the Guard, while strikers did not.

Striking mineworkers paraded through downtown Calumet. To achieve maximum effect, most parades went through the main streets of Copper Country settlements. Striking mineworkers
Citizens Alliance A group calling themselves the Citizens’ Alliance, comprised of merchants and other non-mining residents, organized parades to protest the WFM claiming they were led by “outside agitators.”

This cartoon, drawn by a local Finnish immigrant artist, and published by a local newspaper on August 1, 1913, depicts a literal upheaval of Copper Country mineworkers.

Upheaval Cartoon
Big Annie

Women took significant roles in the strike, leading parades and support systems for strikers and their families. “Big Annie” Clemenc gained particular notoriety and was described as a “heroine” by local labor newspapers.

This cartoon by Ryan Walker, a nationally syndicated artist, appeared in New York City's The Call, a socialist publication sympathetic to organized labor. Finnish Artist cartoon