UMWA Hall of Presidents
UMWA Hall of Presidents
John B. Rae was the first president of the UMWA. He served from 1890-1891.
John McBride served as temporary chairman of the founding AFL convention in 1886 and vice chairman at the UMWA founding convention in 1890. He was president from 1892-1894. He resigned the UMWA presidency to become president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). McBride was the only person ever to defeat Samuel Gompers for that post.
Phil Penna was the third UMWA president. He served from 1895-1896.
Michael Ratchford, the fourth UMWA president, served from 1897-1898. Under his leadership, UMWA membership expanded rapidly. It was also under his leadership that the UMWA first won the eight-hour day on April 1, 1898. He resigned his UMWA office to accept an appointment to the United Sates Industrial Commission from President William McKinley.
John Mitchell was the fifth UMWA president, but was the first to attain legendary status. He also was the first UMWA president to serve an extended term, retaining the position from 1898-1907. Mitchell was primarily responsible for the spread of the UMWA across the coal fields of the United States and Canada. He led the miners to a great victory in the Great Anthracite strike of 1902. Mitchell is still revered by UMWA members. He is honored each year on October 29 by UMWA members who celebrate Mitchell Day with parades, picnics and public gatherings.
T. L. Lewis succeeded John Mitchell as UMWA president, a position he held from 1908-1910.
John P. White served as president of the UMWA from 1911-1917.
Frank Hayes was the eighth UMWA president. He served from 1917-1919.
The legendary John L. Lewis became acting UMWA president in 1919, when ill health prevented Frank Hayes from carrying out his duties. He officially became president in 1920 and remained at the helm of the UMWA for 40 years. Lewis built the UMWA into a formidable union, raising the living standards of mine workers throughout North America and transforming health care delivery in Appalachia. His work in creating the CIO led to the organization of millions of unorganized industrial workers and an increase in living standards for millions of American families.
Thomas Kennedy succeeded John L. Lewis as president in 1960. He served until 1963.
W.A. "Tony" Boyle became the UMWA's eleventh president in 1963 upon the death of Thomas Kennedy. Defeated by Arnold Miller in 1972, Boyle was convicted of conspiracy in the 1969 murders of Jock Yablonski and his wife and daughter. He died in prison in 1985.
Arnold Miller, running on the Miners For Democracy (MFD) ticket, defeated Tony Boyle in a hotly contested election to become president in 1972. Miller served until ill health forced him to step down in 1979.
When Arnold Miller resigned in 1979, Sam Church, the union's vice president, assumed the office of UMWA president. Church was defeated in 1982 by Richard Trumka.
Richard Trumka was elected UMWA president in 1982 and held the office until December 22, 1995, when he resigned to become Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO. Trumka became President of the AFL-CIO in 2009.
Cecil Roberts became president of the UMWA on December 22, 1995, when he succeeded Rich Trumka. Roberts was elected by acclamation in August, 1997, and has been re-elected by acclamation three more times. Roberts has been an International officer since 1982, when he was elected vice president.
United Mine Workers