We have received, with a request of publication in these columns, a lengthy communication,of which we are able to print only the following extracts.


Press Committee,
Local 2,155 U.M.W.A.
Nanaimo, B.C.

Mr. Editor,— We shall appreciate the inser­tion of this article in your columns, as we desire to place before the public the salient features of our struggle on Vancouver Island in the inter­est of Trade Unionism. Three thousand men are involved in the contest, which has been going on for periods varying from ten to sixteen months respectively. The United Mine Workers of America supporting the struggle, is a strong organisation, having a membership of 450,000, and has its head office in the United States.

The mining towns are invested by special police and soldiers of the McBride and Bowser Government; the streets are patrolled day and night, and military rule is observed to a degree that is ridiculous.

The cry against us is of being an alien organi­sation led by Socialist leaders. We have been told that to secure the favour of the Government and of the coal barons to a proposition of recog­nition we should have organised a Canadian union. Numerous attempts have been made for many years to obtain recognition of trade union organisation on this island, but all alike have met with the same opposition from these and other coal operators.

At present 90 per cent. of the men who came out on strike are remaining loyal, and are deter­mined to remain so until victory is achieved. No picketing is allowed, and the few traitors who have gone to blackleg are guarded in going to and coming from the pits by special police and soldiers. Peace and quietness has reigned among the men for nine months, but notwith­standing this the Union men are shadowed by the forces of so-called law and order.

We trust that our brother Unionists of Eng­land and Scotland will do all possible to help us win this strike by preventing all practical coal miners from coming to Canada. This country is full of men unable to secure work of any kind, who are being helped by the authori­ties to keep them from dying of starvation.

Two of the districts within the strike zone have two Socialist representatives in the Provin­cial Legislature, and this has apparently been made the excuse for much of the unjust and cruel treatment of the men. Reference to this has been made in the Labour Commissioner’s recent report on the present dispute. Dealing with attempts made by the Union to reach a settlement the Commissioner says :

“The companies are not disposed to favour negotiations with the organisation involving re­cognition because it is an alien organisation, also because it is led by men who are imbued with Socialist ideas.”

Further he states :

“The attempts at organisation were made in a way that involved recognition, and which could only have been expected to defeat its own purpose.”

Any sane person can see at a glance the sig­nificance of this comment—it means that the position of the coal operators is favoured as against that of the men.

Bitter contempt and opposition has been shown all through by the Government; even the prisoners and their wives have been con­fronted with bitter irony and reproach by the judges, and in addition the most unjustifiable sentences have been passed upon them. One of these judges made himself conspicuous by say­ing that the spirits of the miners would be broken by the penalties imposed.

After sentence the men have received treat­ment of the most inhuman kind, consisting of insanitary feeding and sleeping arrangements, so much so that sickness has ensued, and death in one instance resulted.

(We are asked to state that the strike is still in progress and that miners should stay away.)

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