By Gary Dillard
It was a strike unlike any before or after it.
The Phelps Dodge strike of 1983 changed the company, changed the unions and changed many relationships among the people of Greenlee County.
And it’s still a touchy subject for many.
But it’s also — like it or not — a piece of the area’s history, no less than similar events in the first two decades of the 20th century. For that reason, it needs to be studied, and understood, and talked about.
Its causes, activities and effects are far too complicated to cover in any detail in a short article, so this is simply a brief resume of that event, and of another strike back in 1903, with the purpose of stimulating interest and discussion.
Organized labor and copper
Organized labor began playing a role in the mining and processing of copper at Morenci at the opening of the 20th century. While there were many unions involved at any given time, it was usually the largest who ran negotiations and made decisions about actions.Continue reading