1983 strike changed everything

Your memories of the strike

Photos of 1983 strike

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

Gov. Bruce Babbitt

The strike of 1983 heavily involved then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt, who first sent more than 200 DPS officers to keep peace, and later followed up by calling out the Arizona National Guard. (All strike photos are courtesy of Daniel Cervantez.

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

More mining camps could add to Nugget Trail

By Gary Dillard

There are several loops you can make around Arizona that will show you the state’s mining heritage and will also give you many more “nuggets” of excitement.

The initial Nugget Trail, which is just getting under way, is a loop that takes in several cities in central and eastern Arizona. It starts at Globe, and heads either up to the Mogollon Rim or down to Safford and up Highway 191 to Clifton/Morenci and beyond to the Coronado Trail. (See the May Clarion for details.)

But there are other loops that could be added to this trail, which will show off much more of the region’s mining heritage, in addition to Superior, Globe/Miami and Clifton/Morenci.Continue reading

Clifton Council Corner: Sewer upgrade needed

(This guest article is provided by Clifton Town Manager Ian McGaughey.)

There are few things less glamorous than municipal sewer systems. But when you stop to think about it, there are really few things in municipal operations that are so important.

I think it’s safe to say that when we wash the dishes or flush the toilet, we all assume the sewer system is going to do its part and take our wastewater away. Far away. Out of sight, out of mind.

But in the past few years, the uncomfortable reality that Clifton’s wastewater treatment plant and collections system (essentially the pipes and lift stations) are reaching a tipping point of deterioration.

The treatment plant was built in 1954. That’s when Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe. It’s when “Rock Around The Clock” was at the top of the charts. That’s a long time ago.Continue reading

New Campbell Blue Bridge opened 

bridge dedication

By Philip Ronnerud

Although the Campbell Blue Bridge site remains a construction zone  traffic is allowed to use the bridge. The Blue Road, which is about 3 hours from Clifton and serves the local residents, land managers,  hunters and recreational users. The road is also the only year round access to the one-room Blue School.

To the best of our knowledge the Campbell Blue Bridge was built during the 1930s then improved in early 1950s. As most major drainage ways, the Blue River was used by native Americans and explorers. The European settlers improved the path to a road which became the route from Clifton, Arizona to Reserve, New Mexico.Continue reading

Clifton Council Corner: Code enforcement

Code Enforcement:

The primary mission of the Town of Clifton Police Department and Code Enforcement is to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the public through the administration and uniform enforcement of laws and regulations related to land use, building construction and property maintenance of the town.

Neighborhood complaints have triggered the police department and code enforcement to crackdown of the following: Parking, unpermitted travel trailers and RV’s, unpermitted lease of required space, accessory buildings/lots prohibited as living quarters and prohibited use of building or lots. Continue reading