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You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Sunday March 13, 1904
From The Labor World: A. F. of L. to Assist New York Glove Makers Fighting Open Shop

From yesterday's edition of The Labor World comes this news that the American Federation of Labor is supporting striking New York glove makers. The Glove Workers are taking a brave stand against the Open Shop Drive of the Manufacturers' Association.


Wahington, D. C., The American Federation of Labor has taken sides with the striking glove makers of Johnstown, N. Y., where 4000 men and women are involved in struggle against the "Open Shop." President Gompers was quick to grasp the possible breadth of the fight, and immediately came to the rescue of the glovemakers. He asked President Taylor of the International Glove Workers union for a statement to be presented to the organized wage earners of America which was given and is in part as follows:

"The International Gove Workers' Union of America was organized at Washington, D. C., December 1902, consequently one of the youngest International organizations affiliated with that great industrial organization, the American Federation of Labor. Previous to our affiliation with the American Federation of Labor, and the amalgamation of the various crafts  engaged in the making of gloves, the glove workers, as a whole, were poorly organized, with the exception of the cutters. This craft has for the past seven years met with the manufacturers annually., and have been successful in mutually agreeing upon a schedule of prices and conditions to govern the ensuing year. The balance of the glove workers, consisting chiefly of those engaged in the sewing department (women), were indifferently organized, and as a result their conditions and wages suffered accordingly.

"Our consolidation of forces did not meet with the approval of the manufacturers, and, fearful of the result that they believed would follow, that is, a more pronounced desire for shorter hours and an increased wage, they also organized under the name of the Manufacturers' Association of Fulton County, with the apparent purpose of not only opposing our rights but as subsequent events have proven to destroy our organization before we become sufficiently strong to successfully oppose them.

At the annual conference between the manufacturers and the Cutters' Union, in November, 1903, the committee from the Union was informed by the committee representing the Manufacturers' Association that before any questions regarding a schedule for 1904 could be considered it would be necessary for the Union, or rather as individuals of the Union, to agree to the following non-discriminating clause:

It is mutually agreed between the members of the Glove Manufacturers' Association and the individual cutters accepting work under this schedule that there shall be no discrimination as between UNION and NON-UNION LABOR, and that the principles of 'THE OPEN SHOP' shall be recognized during the life of this agreement.
"At the time of this conference there were but nine men working at our trade who were not members of the Union. The union had not previous to this demand, nor did they refuse at this conference to work with non-union labor, but the committee realized that the signing of this agreement would mean the death blow to organized labor in this county, and being guided by the wisdom of the parent organization (the American Federation of Labor), which is on record as being opposed to the "open shop," the manufacturers' demands for the open shop were refused, and their action was unanimously endorsed by the members of the union (consisting of more than six hundred men).

"The manufacturers reply was that unless the non-discriminating clause was agreed to and also a reduction of five cents per dozen on one grade of work, that on and after December 21, 1903, there would be no further work for them.

"The union accepted the manufacturers challenge for an industrial war, and on the above named date the battle of unionism versus non-unionism was on. Immediately upon receiving notification of the position the cutters were place in by the demands of the Manufacturers' Association, six local unions, (ladies) went out on a sympathetic strike; and on the twentieth of January the only remaining union at work in the trade in the county (the amalgamated Table Cutters) also went out. The sympathetic strike did not stop with the members of the union going out, but those who had previously remained outside the union also went out until our number approximated four thousand glove workers.  

"From all indications the manufacturers are determined to disrupt our union and are willing to sacrifice a portion of their business to accomplish that project. We have no hopes of a settlement in the near future, and in order to carry on this strike we must have assistance. A victory for the manufacturers, which would mean the 'Open Shop' in this vicinity, would mean a victory for capital in general, and a corresponding defeat for organized labor in general."


The Labor World
(Duluth, Minnesota)
-of March 12, 1904

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
Chapter 2: The Open-Shop Drive

Photo: New York Glove Makers, early 1900s

Note: Date of photo not given. Used here to represent strikers of 1904. The strike in 1904 was lost. Another bitter battle was fought in 1914. There is a nice long article at link on 1914 strike, written by Herbert M. Engel. Included in the article is this brief summary of the 1904 strike:

For Lucius Littauer [the owner of one of Gloversville's largest factories and president of the Glove Manufacturer's Association], storm signals were snapping. Fulton County labor, perceived as a commodity by Republican stalwarts, no longer seemed to understand its proper, respectful role.

Society's foundations were being undermined, and labor, infected with alien ideas, needed to be taught a lesson.

In 1903,  Littauer determined that his newly formed Association must exhibit an active rather than reactive posture. Thus, when the union struck for a closed shop, an Association lockout, lasting from just before Christmas 1903 to the end of the following June, was put in place. It affected all cutters who failed to sign individualized contracts, binding each to accept an open (non-union) shop. Although these "contracts" were but a variation of the infamous "yellow dog" variety, the union members' resistance proved ineffectual against the economic strength of Littauer's Association. It became a matter of not working and starving, or abandoning the union and eating. Bitter in defeat, the men returned to their cutting tables, earning the same rates paid in 1890. Thus for ten years, from July 1904 to August 1914, an uneasy peace reigned. Wage rates held at the 1890 figure, except for "Minor adjustments and equalizations."


Friday March 13, 1914
From the Lincoln Evening Journal: Mother Jones Released from San Rafael Hospital?

We are unable, at this time, to confirm the following report from this Nebraska newspaper:

Report Mother Jones Released by Militia From Confinement

DENVER, Col., March 12.-That "Mother" Mary Jones, coal strike leader has disappeared from San Rafael Hospital at Trinidad, where she has been a military prisoner of two months, was the report that reached the headquarters of the united miners here today. It was believed she was released by the militiamen.

Mrs. J. B. Foster who has been visiting her son, a patient in the hospital daily for several weeks, said she saw "Mother" Jones daily. The sister superior of the hospital said today that the militiamen who have patrolled the corridors, guarding their aged prisoner have been withdrawn.

Lincoln Evening Journal
(Lincoln, Nebraska)
-of March 12, 1914


There Is Power In A Union-Street Dogs

With our Brothers and our Sisters
Together we will stand,
There is Power in a Union!

             -Billy Bragg


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

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