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Richard Jensen Papers

Identifier: LP000893

Scope and Content

The papers of Richard J. Jensen document the rise of dissident movements in the UMW and USW and their efforts to challenge the union leadership in union elections and on other issues.

Important subjects covered in this collection are: Health and Safety in Mines Murder of Joseph "Jock" Yablonski Strip Mining UMW Contract Negotiations, 1974 UMW Elections, 1969, 1972 USW District 31 Elections, 1974

Among the important correspondents are: Ken Hechler Edgar James Arnold Miller Ward Sinclair

Series Description: Series I, Dissident Movements, 1968-1975: Correspondence, leaflets, clippings and other material collected by Richard Jensen while doing work on his Ph.D. dissertation on the United Mine Workers. Included in this series is information on the 1969 and 1972 elections for president of the UMW, corruption in the UMW, the murder of Joseph "Jock" Yablonski, the 1974 contract negotiations between the UMW and the Coal Operators' Association, strip mining in the coal fields, and health and safety in mines. This series also contains some information on Ed Sadlowski's election to the directorship of District 31 of the USW in 1974.


  • 1968 - 1975


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


Richard Jensen collected material on dissident movements within the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) and the United Steel Workers of America (USW). In 1974 while at Indiana University, he completed his Ph.D. dissertation entitled "Rebellion in the United Mine Workers: The Miners for Democracy, 1970-1972". The Miners for Democracy (MFD) was organized in April 1970 in Clarksville, Pennsylvania, three months after the murder of Joseph "Jock" Yablonski and five months after his unsuccessful campaign against W. A. Boyle for the presidency of the UMW. The MFD attempted to reform the UMW from within and worked to improve safety conditions and health benefits for all miners. In April 1972, the 1969 election of Boyle to the UMW presidency was overturned by a federal judge on the grounds of massive vote fraud and a new election was ordered. The MFD ran Arnold Miller for president, Mike Trbovich for vice-president, and Harry Patrick for secretary-treasurer; in December 1972, the MFD slate won. In February 1973, Sam Evett, with the endorsement of the USW administration, defeated Ed Sadlowski, a reform candidate, for the position of director of the USW District 31. Sadlowski charged Evett with vote fraud and other election irregularities and in mid-1974 a federal judge threw out the 1973 results and ordered a new election for November 1974. In this election, Sadlowski defeated Evett for the directorship of District 31.


.25 Linear Feet (1 MB)


Richard Jensen collected material on dissident movements within the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) and the United Steel Workers of America (USW) while writing his Ph. D. dissertation, “Rebellion in the United Mine Workers: The Miners for Democracy, 1970-1972.” Mr. Jensen’s papers document the rise of dissident groups in the UMW and the USW and their efforts to challenge union leadership.


Arranged in 1 series – Series 1 (Box 1). This series is arranged alphabetically by subject or by type of material.


The papers of Richard J. Jensen were deposited in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs from September of 1978 until July of 1982 and were opened for research in October of 1984.

Related Materials

Miners for Democracy Collection


Approximately 15 issues of Miner's Voice, originally the newspaper of the Committee for Miner's Rights and later, of Miners for Democracy, and one National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement from 1971 have been placed in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in October, 1984.
Guide to the Richard Jensen Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA