The miners faced the grim prospect of going out on strike against the powerful southern coalfield companies, chief among them, John D Rockefeller's Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. The coal operators had steadfastly refused to recognize the Union and had ignored all attempts at negotiation.
The miners had had their fill of dangerous working conditions, crooked checkweighmen, long hours, and low pay. They lived in peonage in company towns, were paid in company script, and were forced to shop for their daily needs in high-priced company stores which kept them always in debt. But, mostly they hated the notorious company guard system. Every attempt to organize was met with brutality on the part of the coal operators.Also see Wikipedia.
About Woody's song:
Refers to the violent deaths of 20 people, 11 of them children, during an attack by the Colorado National Guard on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914
Thanks to ReformingMe.Corporate control of government, in this case using the National Guard to commit murder and arson to get what the bosses want and keep workers "in their place", is nothing new.
Update: Imagine having to fight management just to get to shop at stores of your own choosing.
This is a 10 minute documentary about the Ludlow Massacre that took place in Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914 and resulted in the deaths of 19 people. This doc was created in 2003 and entered in the National History Day Competition where it placed 1st at the state level and was a national finalist for the Junior Group Documentaries. (Written, Directed, and Edited by Sarah Goode and Lila Creighton)