Skip to main content

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

Sunday July 26, 1914
From The Day Book: Agnes Nestor Testifies on Mass Arrests of Chicago Waitresses

The strike of the Chicago waitresses at Henrici's has been on going for many months now. Mass arrests continue. Yesterday's edition of Day Book carried this report on the testimony of Agnes Nestor before the Commission on Industrial Relations:


Says Agnes Nestor In Testimony Before Federal Commission-Blames Orders From "Higher Up" for Slews of Union Waitresses' Arrests.

"Chief of Police Gleason is playing the employers' end in the waitresses' strike now on, and did the same thing when he was a police captain fighting women of the glove workers' union," according to Agnes Nestor. She is president of the Women's Trade Union League and the International Glove Workers' Union, and testified before the federal industrial relations commission yesterday.

[She said:]

I saw a picket arrested yesterday..We passed her as she was walking up and down the sidewalk. There was no other person near her. She was not talking to anybody nor making any motions of any sort.

A patrol wagon swung around the corner. Two uniformed policemen got out. They took the picket and hustled her into the wagon.

Hundreds of just such arrests have been made during the Knab and Henrici strikes this year. The plan is to get us into court, eat up our funds and break the spirit of the girls. It only makes the girls all the more determined.

All along the police have made these alleged arrests without warrant. The chief of police must be to blame. He must understand what he is doing. Every case that has come to a jury trial the girls have been acquitted.

Miss Nestor told of a glove workers' strike in Gleason's district when he was captain:
Capt. Gleason ordered our pickets off the street, saying they blocked traffic. At the public meetings our union held he sent an array of uniformed men as though we girls were desperate criminals that had to be watched closely. Plain-clothes men asked questions and created excitement as though they wanted to stir up violence. The municipal judge in that district was fair and we believe we got our lawful rights from him.
Chairman Walsh asked: "Are certain police officials believed to be especially against organized labor?
Miss Nestor answered: "Yes."
Q. Have they progressed in the police department?
A. That I couldn't say. I put blame on the head of the department. They all get their
   orders from higher up.
Q. What was the amount of bail furnished by waitresses in the Henrici strike?
A- It ran above $100,000.

Frederick Delano, president Wabash Railroad, questioned:
Q. One of two things is going to happen in the nation. Either the government must
    exercise more supervision over large industrial enterprises or else the government is
    going to own them. Which of these two do you believe in?
A. I believe in the public ownership of all public utilities.
Q. Only of public utilities?
A. Well, some others.

Grace Abbot, director Immigrants' Protective League, advocated a national labor exchange to connect newcomers with jobs and end the private employment agency graft. "A minimum wage law is-needed to protect foreign women workers. They cannot bargain for wages and don't know how much they're getting sometimes because they can't speak English."

John G. Shedd, president Marshall Field & Co., favored less agitation, no more legislation, more loyalty from employes to employers, no old age pensions, mature consideration of a minimum wage, and thrift instead of extravagance in booze and tobacco.

John D. Hibbard, commissioner National Metal Trades Council, went on record for the absolute open shop, saying anything else means wreck, ruin, disaster and havoc for the investor and employer.

George M. Reynolds, president Continental & Commercial Bank, said the industrial unrest is "largely mental" and he has never had enough close contact with labor unions to really know anything about them.

The Day Book
(Chicago, Illinois)
 -of July 25, 1914,

See also:

Industrial relations: final report and testimony, Volume 4
United States. Commission on Industrial Relations
D.C. Gov. Print. Office, 1916
(Search with "Agnes Nestor")

Working Her Fingers to the Bone: Agnes Nestor’s Story

Strike at Henrici's

Women's Trade Union League

Agnes Nestor from Day Book of July 25, 1914

The Union Maid-Barb Heller

Oh, you cant' scare me, I'm stickin' to the Union,
I'm stickien' to the Union, I'm sickin' to the Union
Oh, you can't scare me, I'm stickin' to the Union
I'm stickin' to the Union, 'till the day I die.

                                        -Woody Guthrie


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Sat Jul 26, 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.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site