You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
Friday May 12, 1903
Woodstock, Illinois - Whitworth gives ultimatum to the town of Woodstock.
Whitworth runs the major corporation in this community, and exercises a certain dominance over the area's business. The threat, therefore, to relocate unless all other area employers join the open-shop drive was one that had to be taken seriously. The business men and merchants of Woodstock were thus persuaded to sever their relationships with the town's labor unions, and to Join the Citizens' Alliance. This open-shop organization is headed by none other than James A Whitworth himself.
History of the Labor Movement in the United States Vol 3
The Policies and Practices of the American Federation of Labor 1900-1909
-by Philip S Foner
International Pub, 1981
For further study:
From the International Socialist Review: "The Rip in the Silk Industry"
This article by Big Bill Haywood in the May issue of the Review has caused quite a commotion in the industry by exposing the practice, called dynamiting, of loading the finished silk cloth with metals. Big Bill describes the process:
In the dye houses one pound of silk is often treated so that its weight is increased to 56 ounces! This is done by dipping the skein into a solution of which sugar, tannic acid, tin, lead, and iron are often components.The public is alarmed to learn that they are being swindled by the silk manufactures, and demands action! Sadly, the health of the workers involved in this process is of less concern. Big Bill describes the working conditions:
This adulteration, amounting to a direct steal, enhances the weight of the fabric but at the same time weakens the texture and destroys the life of the cloth. Silk so treated will crumble away while it stands in the wardrobe before it has been subjected to use.
The work of the dyers is the most unhealthful and disagreeable in the industry and is almost the worst paid. The strike came as a welcome relief to them from day after day of filthy and monotonous toil. They work 13 hours on the night shift and 11 on the day side. They are compelled to stand in wet and soggy places, their hands are always submerged in chemicals which discolor and burn their flesh and sometimes eat off the nails of their fingers.SOURCE
An IWW Anthology
-ed by Joyce L Kornbluh
Charles H Kerr Pub, 1988
Sunday May 12, 2013
From Talking Union: OSHA fines are just the cost of doing buisness.
When Orestes Martinez was killed on the job in Houston, Texas, the fine was only $3,500 after appeal. The company had committed two serious safety violations leading directly to his death and the injury of two other workers. According to the article by Mike Elk:
Such small fines are all too common, according to a new report released by the non-profit National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), entitled 2013: Preventable Deaths: The Tragedy of Workplace Fatalities. The report shows that the average fine for serious safety violations under federal OSHA law is a mere $1,680 dollars. After factoring in OSHA’s severely limited resources–under its current budget OSHA would need 129 years to inspect every workplace in the country–many employers are willing to take the risk that they may have to pay small fines, as in the case of Orestes Martinez’s death.On average, 13 U.S. workers die each day in workplace accidents.
Workplace safety advocates say that such low fines do not serve as a deterrent, but instead make violating safety laws merely the cost of doing business.
“Someone put a price tag on my husband,” says Adriana Martinez. “They choose to cut corners and put profits ahead of my husband’s life. What hurts the most is that his death was preventable.”
Read entire article here:
There Is Power in a Union-Joe Hill
First appeared in the 5th edition of the Little Red Songbook, published early 1913.