John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s reactions to the Colorado Coal Wars resulted in the creation of the Employee Representation Plan, better known as the Rockefeller Plan. While labor historians identify the Rockefeller Plan as a dynamic shift in labor-management relations, this article focuses on the lesser studied portion of Rockefeller's reconstruction plan, his program of soft reform and its effect on the construction of masculinity in the industrial West. For Junior, restructuring the work environment and the relationship between management and labor left reconstruction incomplete, and thus vulnerable to future crises. Beginning in 1914, Rockefeller provided support for local and national social organizations to work throughout southern Colorado in order to impart middle-class values to his workers. He believed that reconstructing their social and cultural values—from language to sexual behavior—would remove any socialist influences, and create a better workforce. By applying this type of pressure, Junior helped create an environment that supported local anti-vice movements, and validated a growing belief that law enforcement and legislation could be used to curb vice. Following the deadly strike, Rockefeller's attempts to transform his public image and industrial workers not only have implications for labor history, but also social and gender histories, in particular the construction of masculinity in the American West.
As I understand you are a member of the Baptist Church. So am I. But I think you must be a very inconsistent one. You teach Sunday school in New York and let the devil run your business in Colorado. You and your managers are totally responsible for all the bloodshed that occurred in Colorado. If you had lived up to the law there would have been no strike in Colorado. It is human nature to suffer rather than resent and men do not go on strikes for the fun of it.