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

Monday March 21, 1904
From The Inter Ocean: Women's Trade Union League Assisting Corset Factory Strikers

Seal of the National Women's Trade Union League
The Chicago club women who took up the fight of the locked out corset workers at Aurora are showing not only that they are a factor in industrial disputes, but also that they are "stickers." The more the firm protests against the action of the club women the harder they push the boycott. Mr. Florsheim is now considering the advisability of seeking an injunction restraining them from interfering with his business. The circular, which has been sent to all organizations of women in Illinois, is as follows:

"To the club women of Illinois:
The working people have freed us for leisure and opportunity. Let us be careful that we do not accept comforts and luxuries ungratefully from the tired hands of oppressed women and children. The Woman's Trades Union League has been asked to send enclosed statement of the 'lockedout' women corset workers of Aurora to all women's associations in Illinois.

"A committee from the league spent a day in Aurora for the purpose of learning both sides of the trouble in the corset factory. The statements of officials of the factory regarding wages differed greatly from that of the workers. This difference was explained by the actual 'pay envelopes' saved by the girls, which prove heavy reductions from the small nominal wages-reductions for 'outfits,' 'repairs,' 'needles and thread,' 'slack work,' etc. The manufacturers admit that the highest wages they quote ($2 per day) are rare, even for skilled women who have worked for the firm sixteen and eighteen years and have families to support. The cases do not cover the cost of necessaries of life, but must be supplemented by free board at home or help from friends. These wages represent the standard obtained through the efforts of the union and are those the management proposed to reduce by 10 per cent. The committee talked with little 14-year-old girls among the 'locked out.' They had been 'allowed' (at the offer of the company) to get around the child labor law by taking work home after the eight hours' drudgery in the factory.

"Great unfairness in regard to 'repairs' and elaborate changes of styles in piecework without extra pay per piece were other instances indicating the need of something besides law and inspectors to prevent evil methods. Only the labor union can make headway against the infinite variety of similar 'tricks of the trade.'

"The claim of the managers that they must be allowed to 'manage their own business' is justly resented by the workers, who claim on their side that points regarding methods of work are in part the 'business of the workers' and call for adjustment in which the representatives of labor shall have voice. The mangers agree to deal with individuals; workers know that one feeble woman or child would have small chance for justice against the interests of the rich and strong firm. The workers declare there is no justice in the choice offered them-that between agreeing to any terms or starving outside under the ban of the 'blacklist.'

"So far as the committee could learn, the two cases of 'rioting' were very slight and in both cases were the result of illegal interference with the rights of the locked-out workers.

"Repeated offers of compromises and of arbitration through the state board have been rejected by the company. The Women's Trade Union League committee believes that the 350 girls locked out by the manufacturers are suffering great injustice and are making a brave stand for the cause of working women, actuated by motives broader than their own selfish interests. Let the Illinois women use their influence as they can. There is one immediately effective way in which we can help. Let us listen to such appeals as the enclosed from our working sisters and refuse to buy corsets or any other article where there is such good proof of injustice and tyranny.

"Those desiring to send financial support to the union should address Miss Reavell, 45 South Root street, Aurora, Ill. Letters urging the manufacturers to arbitrate would be of service."

The Inter Ocean
(Chicago, Illinois)
-of Mar 20, 1904

Photo: Seal of the Women's Trade Union League


Saturday March 21, 1914
From The Labor World: Industrial Relations Board Hearings to Start Next Month

Collective bargaining, conciliation and arbitration as means of adjusting differences between employer and employee will be considered at the first formal public hearing in Washington of the United States Commission on Industrial Relations. The hearing will begin Monday, April 6.

Corporation officials and trades union leaders who have negotiated and maintained trade agreements in five of the nations's largest industries will be called to testify. The Commission hopes to elicit information that will disclose to what extent improvement in industrial relations might be expected form the general adoption of such agreements in other industries.

The hearing will include systematic efforts at peaceable settlement of disputes in the coal mining industry, the railroads, the clothing industry, the printing trades, the building trades and the molders trade.

At least two representative employers and two representative union officials in each industry have been asked to testify. The list of witnesses will be made public in a few days.

One session of the hearing will be devoted to each of the five trades, and the hearing will close with the testimony of witnesses whose experience or study have been along broad, general lines.

Among the trade agreements about which detailed information will be solicited are the agreements in the anthracite and bituminous coal mining industries, the agreement that existed for several years in the building trades of New York, various agreements in the clothing industry of New York and Chicago, and similar agreements in the printing trades and molders' trade.

The Labor World
(Duluth, Minnesota & Superior, Wisconsin)
-of Mar 21, 1914

Bread and Roses-Kate Vikstrom

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

                      -James Oppenheim


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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

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