Between 1896 and 1910, miners from the zinc and lead district around Joplin, Missouri, worked as strikebreakers in almost every strike waged by the Western Federation of Miners (WFM). In most cases they helped defeat the union. Rather than dismiss these strikebreakers as the pawns of mine owners, Jarod Roll argues that their actions reflected careful appraisal by workers who understood the benefits and risks of crossing picket lines. Over time, repeated conflict between nonunion and union miners shaped the ideas of both groups. The effectiveness of the strikebreakers spurred the WFM to intensify its commitment to industrial unionism. Missouri miners, in turn, developed a belligerent anti-unionism that undermined every WFM effort to organize the Joplin district. By using the methods of working-class history to study workers who opposed unions, Roll concludes, labor historians gain a greater understanding of all workers, union and nonunion alike.

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