GRANITE MOUNTAIN MINE DISASTER
(Senate - June 08, 2017)

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[Page S3360]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     GRANITE MOUNTAIN MINE DISASTER

 Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, today I wish to honor the victims 
and survivors of the Granite Mountain Mine disaster and commemorate the 
lasting legacy of the labor movement in Montana and across this nation.
  One hundred years ago, Butte, MT, was home to a booming mining 
community, where hard-working men and women were working long hours to 
put food on the table and build a stronger State.
  A great demand for copper during WWI and the Industrial Revolution 
led the 14,500 miners to work tirelessly, day and night. Long hours and 
high demands caused already insufficient safety standards to 
deteriorate even further.
  On June 8, 1917, as men were being lowered into the mine to begin 
their shift, a lantern ignited an exposed cable, causing the mineshaft 
to fill with fire and toxic gasses.
  One hundred and sixty-eight men tragically died in the blaze and the 
resulting carbon monoxide poisoning. The miners had minimal safety 
training, and the mine lacked even basic safety precautions, such as 
exit signs. Many of those who were saved spent upward of 50 hours in 
the mine before help arrived, barricaded from the fumes behind 
makeshift bulkheads.
  The Granite Mountain disaster remains the worst hard rock mining 
disaster in U.S. history, but Butte miners managed to make progress out 
of this tragedy.
  The Granite Mountain disaster led to a unification of the U.S. labor 
movement and an unprecedented push for labor laws that are still in 
effect today.
  One hundred years later, we are thankful for our union brothers and 
sisters who fought and continue to fight for better pay, safer working 
conditions, civil rights, and a stronger economy for working 
Americans.

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