It was on September 6 of 1973 that William Anthony “Tough Tony” Boyle was arrested and charged with the murder of his United Mine Works of America union rival, Joseph Albert “Jock” Yablonski. Yablonski committed no crime; he merely challenged Boyle’s leadership of the union. The murder occurred on December 31, 1969, with Yablonski’s wife and 25-year-old daughter also being killed in the incident. A harrowing tale of greed, corruption, and one man’s ruthless quest for power; this is the story of W.A. Boyle and Jock Yablonski.
A Background of W.A. Boyle
William Anthony Boyle was born on December 1 of 1904 in Bald Butte, Montana. Boyle was born in a mining camp, and his father was a miner, as were many generations of Boyle men before him. It was clear that he would also go on to work in the mines, and that’s precisely what he did after graduating high school. He joined up with the United Mine Works of America (UMWA) and became well-respected among union members, being appointed the president of District 27.
In 1948, he became the assistant to the president of the union, John L. Lewis. Boyle held this position for over a decade, becoming UMWA vice president in 1960. Lewis retired the same year and Thomas Kennedy, aged 73, took his place. Kennedy was old and frail, so Boyle assumed many of his duties and became full president in 1963 after Kennedy died.