Latinos United: Mexican, Italian,
and Spanish Miners:
in Arizona Labor Strikes
1900-1920
Learning about a Miner’s life from the bottom-up
Butte, Montana Copper City
Rivals with Bisbee for title “Queen of Copper Camps”
Copper Prices Soar, Industrial Uses
Arizona Copper Towns Grew
Whiteness was Important
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White = Northern Europeans
Often skilled Workers: Cornish and Irish
Whites Got better Wages
Whites Got better housing
Whites likely to have political control
Whites control “craft” or skilled Unions
Whites Got perks like being in the local band
La Raza Latina/La Razza Latino
• Some groups were “IN BETWEEN” whites and
minorities. Certain privileges BUT
• Also faced prejudice and discrimination
• The “Latin Race” was at times a source of PAN
ETHNIC IDENTITY for
* Mexicans
* Spaniards
* Italians
European Spanish Speakers
seen as “Dark”
Light
26%
Dark
74%
Dark
Light
Race is “Italian” for U.S. born
8
World War I -> Labor issues
Radical Groups fight for
control of Unions
War $$ = + Huge Profits for
Copper Companies
BUT ----No raises for workers
AND ----Price of daily goods
increases
THUS-- Arizona beset with big
strikes
ALSO small “strikitos”
• Labor Forward = battle cry
• Western Federation of
Miners grows
* Mexicans, Italians, and Slavs
from Globe, AZ
*Spaniards from Ray, AZ
*Latins of Clifton/Morenci, AZ
• 1917 alliance of Mexican and
Spanish, Italians, and Slavic
groups control: Arizona State
Federation of Labor’s
• ONLY ONE GROUP WINS…
WHY??? LATIN UNITY
Bisbee Whitest White Town
• De Jure segregation of Chinese
“Sundown Law”
• De Facto segregation of Mexicans, Blacks, and
southern European Immigrants
• Mexicans could not work underground
• Italian miners earned less than other
Europeans
• NO UNIONS
Wages by Groups 1911
Wages under $3 1911 Dillingham Comission
Anglo
All Foreign
Italian
Mexican
0%
50%
100%
Tintown: Bisbee Barrio
Brewery Gulch, Bisbee
Lower Gulch
Poor Whites
Southern Europeans
Racial Minorities
AND
Upper Gulch
Very Poor
Prostitution
Gambling
Drugs
Above and Beside
Two More Barrios
Labor Struggle WFM vs
Industrial Workers of the World
14
Bisbee Deportation 1917
Mexicans Sided with Industrial Workers of World in hopes of better work
Italians Sided with Western Federation of Miners
Globe, Arizona
• Another White Man’s Camp
• Chinese could live in town but segregated
• New Immigrants lived in one area
League of Nations
Mexicans and Italians could join the powerful
local union Western Federation of Miners
In Globe, Arizona Italians formed a Little Italy
They were self-sufficient and strongly pro Union.
From the same area in Italy  their unity: Piemontese
Not as willing to join Mexicans in strike efforts
Italians Had their own Saloons
Bocce was a popular sport among Italians
Globe Boarding House
Women contributed to the economy by being frugal at home PLUS
Took in Borders
Worked in Laundries or Family Business
Clifton/Morenci/Metcalf
Mexican Camp
Railroads linked remote sites
Many Groups were Catholic
Clifton was considered a City
Minorities, including Chinese merchants, lived along Chase Creek
All areas had Latin influences
The band is not an official company band, but one popular for
celebrations like dances, weddings, funerals, etc.
Shannon Hill housed a Mexican barrio (below) and
a Spanish enclave (Above)
Spaniards arrived in Arizona later than Italians but both groups identified
with Mexican as workers.
Morenci was a Mexican Town
Clifton, Morenci, and Metcalf had high percentages of Mexicans,
Italians and Spaniards (who arrived later and avoided “White Towns”)
Wedding: Granieri Family of Morenci
Immigrants tended to marry within their region
Lived near each other in Morenci’s Seven Hills BUT apart from Whites
Calabrese Family Pictured here
All Groups also Intermarried
Anarchists mixed ideas in Mexico and
Europe
Latin Unity Won Labor Conflicts
• Italians invited to join
Mexican Mutialistas
* 1903 “wild cat” strike
5 Mexicans and 4
Italian leaders sent to
prison
Pan-Latin Group (Spanish
too) Wins Concessions
in War Years 1915- 1918
Joining Union
OPEN PIT COPPER MINES: CHEAP AND EFFICIENT
Ethnic Neighborhoods destroyed since company owned
the land in mining towns. Groups still hold reunions
recalling life in Morenci and Ray.
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