The Pittsburgh Press (November 1, 1944)
Welch, West Virginia (UP) –
“The validity and sincerity of all the Roosevelt endorsements… by UMW locals in the state… have become questionable,” William W. Lester, field director of District 29 of the United Mine Workers, declared in a speech here last night.
Mr. Lester asserted that the endorsement of President Roosevelt for reelection by several UMW locals “actually had been a split vote on the question with most of the members not voting at all.”
He said that a vote of the UMW local at Coalwood had resulted in 15 members splitting a vote with Mr. Roosevelt receiving eight and Mr. Dewey receiving seven.
He reported that “of 751 UMW members at Hemphill, only 18 voted, with 17 of the votes being for Mr. Roosevelt and one against him.”
At the Jenkins-Jones operation, he said, “only 20 persons out of 1,400 employed voted in an attempt to secure endorsement of President Roosevelt,” he reported the voting a “failure.”
The UMW official declared that “two local officers at ASCO adopted a resolution endorsing Mr. Roosevelt and then announced that the local had given such a vote. In reality,” he asserted, “no endorsement of Mr. Roosevelt was secured.”
The district union official declared that “the conflict of opinion among UMW members in the southern coal fields has gone to such an extent that endorsements have become questionable.”