Colorado’s Labor History

This coming Monday is Labor Day.  Because so much of Colorado’s development was tied in with mining, transportation, and other industry, and because of events like the Ludlow Massacre, the state has played a significant role in the history of the labor movement in America.  Here are some resources, both current and historical, available from our library that tell the story of labor Colorado:

Agricultural and migrant workers:

Child labor:

Immigration policy:

Labor Movement and the Progressive Era:

  • The Archaeology of Class War:  The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • Coal People:  Life in Southern Colorado’s Company Towns, by Rick J. Clyne, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • From Redstone to Ludlow:  John Cleveland Osgood’s Struggle Against the United Mine Workers of America, by F. Darrell Munsell, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • The Gospel of Progressivism:  Moral Reform and Labor War in Colorado, 1900-1930 by R. Todd Laugen, University Press of Colorado, 2010
  • The Great Coalfield War, by George S. McGovern, University Press of Colorado, 1996
  • Industrializing the Rockies:  Growth, Competition, and Turmoil in the Coalfields of Colorado and Wyoming, 1868-1914 by David A. Wolff, University Press of Colorado, 2003
  • The Lessons of Leadville, or, Why the Western Federation of Miners Turned Left, by William Philpott, Colorado Historical Society, 1995
  • Making an American Workforce:  The Rockefellers and the Legacy of Ludlow, by Fawn-Amber Montoya, University Press of Colorado, 2014 
  • Persistent Progressives:  The Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union, by John F. Freeman, University Press of Colorado, 2016 
  • Radicalism in the Mountain West, 1890-1920: Socialists, Populists, Miners, and Wobblies, by David R. Berman, University Press of Colorado, 2007 
  • “Remember Ludlow!” by Joanna Sampson, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • Representation and Rebellion:  The Rockefeller Plan at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 1914-1942, by Jonathan H. Rees, University Press of Colorado, 2010 
  • Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing, Colorado Historical Society, 2004
  • A Wide-Awake Woman:  Josephine Roche in the Era of Reform, by Elinor McGinn, Colorado Historical Society, 2002 
  • Working in Colorado:  A Brief History of the Colorado Labor Movement, University of Colorado, 1971


Statistics and studies:


This is just a small sampling of the many resources on this topic available from our library.  For further resources, including current labor trends, employment statistics, guidance on labor laws, state labor and employment programs, and more, search our library’s online catalog.