in 1903. Clifton, then a part of Graham County in eastern Arizona,smelted most of the copper ore from the nearby Morenci area. Morenciand neighboring Metcalf were mostly "Mexican towns," situated on cop-per company land near the Arizona, Detroit, and Shannon Copper Com-pany mines high above Clifton. Morenci was a big company town, Metcalfa much smaller agglomeration of shacks and small houses. The two largestcopper operators, the Arizona Company and the Detroit Company, wereboth managed by the James, Lewis, and Walter Douglas family and wereaffiliates of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation.Trouble began at Clifton-Morenci when the Arizona territorial legis-lature passed an eight-hour law in 1903. The law stipulated that the maxi-mum allowable shift time for underground mining workers was to beeight hours, beginning on 1 June 1903. Clifton-Morenci's Arizona and De-troit Copper Mining Company mines were the only big extractive opera-tions in all of Arizona Territory that employed large numbers of excep-tionally low-wage underground mining workers on ten hour shifts in 1903.The two companies were also the largest employers of non-Anglo indus-trial labor in all of Arizona. The eight-hour law was deliberately aimed atthe Clifton-Morenci copper companies, in the spirit of closed shop union-ism. Its intent was to force the corporations to surrender the special ad-vantages that they had accrued through the abuse of their immigrant14 WFM, Proceedings... 1902; Proceedings... 1903; and Proceedings... 1907. Alan Dawley, Classand Community: The Industrial Revolution in Lynn (Cambridge, MA, 1976), 236.328AugustThis content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Sat, 17 Sep 2016 19:24:13 UTCAll use subject to
PHIL MELLINGERwork force, and to coerce the work force into either acceptingwage and hour standards, or quitting their jobs.15The copper companies refused to obey the spirit of the newthey offered a last minute compromise. They offered "to payground men nine hours' pay for eight hours work."16 The companywas a pay raise if calculated on an hourly basis, but it was actupercent pay cut when calculated on a daily basis, which was the onlingful calculation for the poorly paid Italian, Mexican, anAmerican workingmen at Clifton-Morenci. The strike began on ing of 1 June.17There were about 3,500 strikers, according to one hostile Cliident. "It made a pretty big crowd - mostly Mexicans, but a lot Bohunks, and foreigners of different kinds ... no whites at allcans," which may have meant immigrant Mexicans, U. S. born mpanic ancestry, and even immigrant Spaniards, were probably of the men on strike. Most of the other strikers were Italian immiTogether, they constituted an overwhelming physical prestographs of the scene show strikers, hundreds of them at a time, npicketing, but occupying the mining properties. They sto15 Arizona Republican (Phoenix), 11 June 1903, p. 2; and Arizona Silver BeMarch 1903, p. 1.Joseph F. Park, "The History of Mexican Labor in Arizona Duritorial Period" (Master's thesis, University of Arizona, 1961), especially pp.