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

Monday July 27, 1914
Chicago, Illinois - Agnes Nestor's Testimony before the  Walsh Commission, Part I

On July 24th, during the afternoon session, Agnes Nestor testified before the Commission on Industrial Relations, also known as the Walsh Commission. Miss Nestor is the president of the Chicago branch of the Women's Trade Union League, as well as the president of the International Glove Workers' Union. We will present her testimony in its entirety today and tomorrow. On Tuesday, we will publish the testimony of Miss Elizabeth Malony, financial secretary and business agent of the Chicago Waitresses Union.
Seal of the National Womens Trade Union League

The Commission met in Chicago on Friday, July 24th. Present were:
     Chairman Frank P. Walsh;
          Federic A Delano, President of the Wabash Railroad;
          John Lennon and
          James O'Connell of the American Federation of Labor;
          Austin B. Garretson of the Order of Railway Conductors; and
     Counsel for the Commission, William C. Thompson.

Miss Nestor was sworn in and gave the following testimony:


Mr. Thompson. Miss Nestor, will you give us your name?
Miss Nestor. Agnes Nestor.
Mr. Thompson. What is your business address?
Miss Nestor. 166 West Washington Street.
Mr. Thompson. And your present position?
Miss Nestor. I am president of the Women's Trade Union league of Chicago, and I am
  also president of the International Glove Workers' Union.
Mr. Thompson. How long have you been president of the International Glove Workers'
Miss Nestor. Less than a year.
Mr. Thompson. Less than a year. How long have you been
Commissioner Lennon (interrupting). I can't hear, and I am near by.
Miss Nestor. Less than one year.
Commissioner Lennon. Thank you.
Mr. Thompson. The audience, too. Miss Nestor, wants to hear.
Miss Nestor. Yes.
Mr. Thompson. Both of us, they say.
Miss Nestor. I shall try to.
Mr. Thompson. How long have you been connected in an official way with the glove
  makers' union?
Miss Nestor. I have — almost since we have been organized, which is 12 years.
Mr. Thompson. Twelve years?
Miss Nestor. I have been. Prior to the time that I was elected president of the
  international I was secretary-treasurer of the international and I served in that
  capacity for seven years. Before that I was a local officer.
Mr. Thompson. Is that an organization principally of women workers?
Miss Nestor. Men and women.
Mr. Thompson. Men and women?
Miss Nestor. Yes, sir.
Mr. Thompson. What proportion, about?
Miss Nestor. Well, there is a little more than one-half of the organization that is men
 and the remainder women.
Mr. Thompson. What is the purpose of the Women's Trade Union League?
Miss Nestor. The purpose of the Women's Trade Union League is to organize women
 into trade-unions and also to cooperate with everybody in every way we can to try to
 make conditions a little better.
Mr. Thompson. Has your organization any affiliation with the American Federation of
Miss Nestor. We are not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. We are
 affiliated with the Chicago Federation of Labor, and also with the State federation.
Mr. Thompson. And the relations between your organization and the American
 Federation of Labor are friendly or unfriendly—which?
Miss Nestor. Very friendly.
Mr. Thompson. Do you generally have a delegate at their convention?
Miss Nestor. Fraternal delegate. According to their constitution that is all we can have.
Mr. Thompson. Has the Women's Trade Union League got a constitution and by-laws?
Miss Nestor. Yes, sir; we have.
Mr. Thompson. Have you that with you?
Miss Nestor. I have a copy of our annual report. I do not believe the constitution and
 by-laws are in this, but I will be glad to file one with the commission. I will file this
 report also. (The papers so presented were marked "Exhibit No. 1, Witness Nestor,
 July 24, 1914," "Exhibit No. 2," "Exhibit No. 3," "Exhibit No. 4," "Exhibit No. 5," and
 "Exhibit No. 6." Nestor Exhibit No. 1, pamphlet entitled "Women's Trade League of
 Chicago," biennial report, 1911-1913; Nestor Exhibit No. 2, clipping from the press,
 June 23, 1913, announcing 6 o'clock closing hour for certain stores; Nestor Exhibit No.
 3, circular entitled "Women's Trade Union League's statement of the Facts Concerning
 Henrici's, on Randolph Street"; Nestor Exhibit No. 4, folder entitled "Women's Trade
 Union League of Chicago—Platform"; Nestor Exhibit No. 5, list of workers in various
 occupations; and Nestor Exhibit No. 6, circular entitled "How the Hours in the Retail
 Stores can be Regulated Under a Fifty-four-hour Week Law," were all submitted in
 printed form.)
Mr. Thompson. What have been the activities of the Women's Trade Union League
 while you have been connected with it as president and otherwise, if you can speak
Miss Nestor. Well, our activities have been to try and organize women into trades-
 unions. We have worked to secure protective legislation for the women workers. We
 work with the trades-unions in various ways to strengthen some of the unions that
 perhaps needed our assistance and advice, and also we have several branches of our
 work. We have what we call our health-committee work, law enforcement. We work
 to—we had a committee that did a great deal in bringing about the creation of the
 fire-prevention bureau that exists in Chicago now. We have been working to help the
 enforcement of these laws.
Mr. Thompson. Just a little louder, please.
Miss Nestor. We—through our efforts largely the fire-prevention bureau in Chicago was
 organized, and since the creation of that we have been trying to work with that
 bureau to bring about better enforcement of the law. It is a new bureau and they
 have not any adequate funds to have the number of inspectors they ought to have.
 And we have a committee to find out the condition in the factories, find out any way
 of violations, of laws being violated, so that we can report to the bureau. But our
 main work, of course, is the organization of women—our general work.
Mr. Thompson. Has your organization taken any part in the enactment of State
 legislation through what you have mentioned, for instance, the 10-hour law for
Miss Nestor. We work and try to
Mr. Thompson. Did you take part in the work?
Miss Nestor. It was through the efforts of our organization, I believe, almost entirely
 that the law was placed on the statute books. Our organization, with the waitresses'
 union, I mean. We worked the first session to secure the passage of that law. It was
 a very limited law; it only applied to what are considered the laborious trades. At the
 next session we worked to extend it to all the other occupations and were successful.
 At the last session we tried to reduce the hours. We had the 10-hour day, which is 70
 hours a week, and we tried to reduce the hours to 54, but were defeated in our
 efforts. We tried to secure the passage of the minimum-wage law, but we were
 defeated in our efforts in that. The attitude of the employers in regard to that
 legislation was, at the last session, that they did not care what it was, they were
 opposing progress in social legislation; that is what they call that—social legislation.
 They said they were fighting any progress.
Mr. Thompson. Who said that?
Miss Nestor. Mr. Glenn was the one that made the statement before the House
 Committee on Labor. When the matter was before that committee there were several
 questions asked with regard to whether they could not conform to it in these different
 establishments, and he said what they were opposing was progress in this legislation,
 and it was not so much a question of
Chairman Walsh. It was not so much a question of what?
Miss Nestor. Of the particular provisions of the bill. They were opposing progress. He
 said they did not consider it health legislation; they considered it social legislation and
 they were fighting progress in social legislation. When the matter of the minimum-
 wage bill was before the committee Mr. Taylor was asked whether he was opposed to
 the wage or whether opposed to a flat rate, and he said they were opposed to all
 that legislation, giving the impression to the Senate committee they were opposed to
 anything in the line of minimum-wage legislation. It was a very broad bill.
Mr. Thompson. Did you hear Mr. Glenn make that statement?
Miss Nestor. I was in the committee that meeting; yes.
Mr. Thompson. Were those remarks taken down stenographlcally, if you know?
Miss Nestor. I do not believe they were. I do not believe the committees were
 accustomed, unless especially asked, to take stenographic records. But it was a full
 committee meeting and there were several other persons there who heard it.
Mr. Thompson. What part does your organization take in a strike where women workers
 may be involved?
Miss Nestor. In any strike in which women workers are involved, if the organization
 desires our assistance, they have to pass a motion in their meeting that they need
 our assistance and that is referred to our organization at a meeting of our executive
 board, which is called particularly for that purpose—if it is not a regular meeting—and
 we consider it and then vote whether we will give the support.
Mr. Thompson. You may tell, if you will, what are the conditions of membership and
 who compose the membership of your organization.
Miss Nestor. The Women's Trade Union League?
Mr. Thompson. Yes.
Miss Nestor. The condition of membership is that we ask that some one, of course,
 vouch for them, some one that we know, and that they subscribe to our platform,
 which is the organization of women's trades-unions, the eight- hour day, the living
 wage, equal pay for equal work, and true citizenship for women. That is the platform,
 the planks in the platform of our organization. We have in our membership trades-
unionists; we have workers who are engaged in trades where there is no organization;
 and we have men and women who are interested in subscribing to our platform, so
 that it is made up of the various kinds of people.
Mr. Thompson. Now, referring to the industrial problems, Miss Nestor, in your position
 as an active leader in the labor movement, have you studied the conditions of the
 workers generally, more or less, or given attention to it?
Miss Nestor. I have had an opportunity to observe it more or less.
Mr. Thompson. Do you believe that there is unrest among the workers?
Miss Nestor. Yes; I do.
Mr. Thompson. As such?
Miss Nestor. Yes ; I do.
Mr. Thompson. What, in your opinion, is the cause and what remedy could you
 suggest, or would you suggest, within the scope of the authority of this commission?
Miss Nestor. Well, I believe the main cause is where the workers have nothing to say in
 regard to the conditions under which they have to work, the wages they are working
 for, and the hours of labor. Whether it is in Government, or no matter where it is,
 where the people have not got a right to voice their demands, I think you will find
 dissatisfaction. I think you will find an unrest there. And what we want to bring about
 is—what we feel is the thing that will bring about doing away with this unrest in the
 workshop and elsewhere, is to let the people have something to say about the
 conditions under which they are going to work, which, of course, really means working
 under trade agreements.
Mr. Thompson. Under collective bargaining?
Miss Nestor. Under collective bargaining.
Mr. Thompson. In your opinion does that necessitate the organization of the workers
 into unions of some form or another?
Miss Nestor. It does. I do not believe that you can reach this problem as it should be
 reached without the organization of the workers. They are the ones, and they are the
 only ones, who can solve their own problems. No one else can solve your problem.
 You have got to meet with your employer. You are the only one who knows the
 conditions in the shop. I believe more in conciliation than I do in arbitration. I believe,
 of course, in resorting to arbitration; but I think by the people involved, the workers
 and the employers getting together, that they will be more likely to adjust the
 conditions to the satisfaction of both than they will by having an outsider come in. I
 know—I can cite from my own experience—in my trade we have had agreements with
 a number of the glove manufacturers in Chicago for the last 12 years. During that time
 all of our agreements have provided for arbitration in any disputes rather than
 resorting to a strike during the term of an agreement; and in no instance during that
 time, which is quite a long time, have we resorted to arbitration. We have always
 gotten together as both sides, and always said we knew more about it than an
 outsider; we don't have to have them come in and tell us where we are wrong.
Mr. Thompson. What would you say, Miss Nestor, with reference to the organization of
 unions, so that democracy might prevail in that, too?
Miss Nestor. Well, I believe that we ought to have—I think the ideal organization is
 where democracy is, where democracy does exist. I think that in order to have the
 people satisfied, entirely satisfied, even in an organization, you have got to have
 democracy. They have got to have a voice in all the affairs of that organization. I
 think that
Mr. Thompson. Do you believe that industrial trouble has come in some instances
 because of the fact that the workers themselves, members of the union, did not have
 an adequate voice in that management?
Miss Nestor. Well, I do not know of any. In some instances—I think most organizations,
 the unions—I am talking of the rank and file, they do that, determine the questions
 that affect our interests. For instance, in the matter of the strikes, a strike is not
 called unless the members individually have a vote on it, and that vote is always
 trying to safeguard the ballot, so that we can get a true expression. In the same
 way, I know when we are making agreements, we will not sign an agreement, no
 matter what little change is made in the original agreement, with the person that has
 been named by the organization, until it has been ratified by the organization. They
 are the ones that are going to determine whether it is something they can go back to
 work under, or whether they want that kind of an agreement. I think that most of the
 organizations have absolute democracy. Of course, there are exceptions, like in
 everything else.
Mr. Thompson. Well, have you known of any cases where single men have the power
 of calling strikes?
Miss Nestor. Well, I have heard of cases.
Mr. Thompson. You have heard it.
Miss Nestor, But I don't know.
Mr. Thompson. You have heard of it?
Miss Nestor. Yes.
Mr. Thompson. What effect do you think that would have on the organization itself?
Miss Nestor. Well, it may not have any particular effect, and it may. As an officer, I
 would not want to have that power intrusted to me. I would not want to take that
Mr. Thompson. You think it would be a good thing for the organization?
Miss Nestor. I think the more of that power that we invest in the rank and file the
 safer it is for everybody.
Mr. Thompson. You think, then, it is a great power to place in one man's hands?
Miss Nestor. Well, I think it is too much of a power; I would not want it.
Mr. Thompson. In what industries
Miss Nestor. At my own beck and call.
Mr. Thompson. In what industries around Chicago that you are familiar with are the
 conditions of the women workers good, and in what other industries are they bad, and
 what are the reasons, if you can tell them?
Miss Nestor. Well, for instance, I think the straw and felt hat workers have very good
 prices, and the bindery and the shoe workers and the suspender workers; I think in all
 we have about 22 trades in which the women are organized, and in all those trades
 there are fairly good conditions, and, of course, conditions are improving all the time.
 Some of them have not been organized very great lengths of time, but comparing
 them with the unorganized trades I think there is considerable difference. You take a
 trade, particularly a factory, and other trades where there has never been an
 organization, and you will find the wages are very low, and you will find there a
 younger and new group always coming in. There will be one group work perhaps a
 considerable length of time and then they will become disgusted with the conditions
 and go out and a new group comes in all the time. I think where we have got the
 better conditions as we have in the organized shops, you are more likely to keep your
 good, experienced workers, at least while they are in the trade. There is not the
 shifting and changing all the time as in the other trades.
Mr. Thompson. What opinion have you with reference to a Government regulation,
 either State or National, of the employment of women?
Miss Nestor. Well, I think there is certain legislation we ought to have. Of course, we
 feel very strongly about the limitation of hours. I think we ought to have an eight-
 hour day, and I believe in the minimum-wage bill. We fought for that in the last
 session of the legislature. Those are the two particular things, the laws we are
 working for at the present time. Of course, there are a great many improvements that
 can be brought about, but even when you have legislation you have to have an
 organization so that you can get those properly enforced. Why, we found, and I think
 there are a great many organizations through their investigations this year found, the
 girls, even though they wouldn't perhaps have the courage to come out and say that
 the employer violated the law, but that meant dismissal and perhaps self-blacklisting.
 We have had girls in the city here in certain trades that have been dismissed simply
 because they went in and testified to working overtime, or what ever the violation
 was of the law.
Mr. Thompson. Referring for the moment to the question of the condition of organized
 and unorganized trades, have you any data or statistics you can offer with reference
 to the conditions and wages in each of these?
Miss Nestor. I think I can furnish you with some—furnish the commission.
Mr. Thompson. Will you furnish the commission with such data as you have in that
Miss Nestor. Yes; as much as we can possibly get. There are certain trades, the box
 industry and the candy industry; all of us know the wages there are very low.
 Wherever piecework exists and no organizations, it means the wages are always going
 down, because the system itself brings about that condition in price. (The witness
 subsequently submitted a pamphlet entitled "Clerks! Do you want the Saturday half
 holiday?" etc.; a handbill reading "There are 125,000 working women in Chicago," etc.;
 a pamphlet entitled "Training School for Women Organizers of the National Women's
 Trade Union League of America, Preliminary Report, 1914;" and two booklets, which
 were, respectively, the programs of the conventions of the National Women's Trade
 Union League at Chicago, September 27-October 2, 1909, and at Boston, June 12-17,
 1911; all of which were in printed form.)
Mr. Thompson. Have you ever considered the question of a union among domestic
Miss Nestor. Yes, sir.
Mr. Thompson. What are your opinions about it?
Miss Nestor. Why, I think they ought to have one. I think, that their hours ought to be
 standardized. I think that work ought to be standardized, just like any other work is
 standardized. We know that they work irregular, long hours. We know that they have
 all sorts of conditions to contend with that they hadn't ought to, and they will never
 be able to do anything unless they have, and until they have an organization.
Mr. Thompson. Have you ever attempted to develop an organization in that?
Miss Nestor. Yes; we have. We have got one under way. Mr. Chairman, I would like to
 say in the matter of legislation, just so that your commission will know that no matter
 what we attempt to do to change and improve conditions, we meet opposition. Now,
 it is not only when we attempt to legislate about it that there is opposition. When we
 try to organize we always meet with opposition, or at least, we always have. And
 then when we try to get those things, reduction in hours, minimum-wage scale, or
 whatever it is, by legislation, we met the same opposition.
Commissioner O'Connell. What is that opposition? Just give us that.
Miss Nestor. They are the employers' association.
Commissioner O'Connell. Now, to develop a little, who are they?
Miss Nestor. Well, in Chicago, for instance, we have the retail merchants' association.
 We tried last year to organize the clerks into a trade-union. We found opposition
 there. We tried to get legislation which would reduce the hours in the stores,
 especially in the outlying districts, and the merchants came down in big numbers
opposing our bill. They said that sort of legislation would put them out of business;
 they could not compete with the down-town stores, and all of that. They were
 successful in defeating it. After it was defeated we said, "All right, if we can't get it
 by legislation, we will get it by organization." We began calling meetings, and had
 some very successful meetings, and as soon as the merchants out there found out
 our meetings were well attended and it looked as if through organization we would get
 these things, they on their own part closed the stores one evening a week, which
 was admitting the very thing that they denied within a few weeks of that time. The
 legislature adjourned in June, and it was at that time they were opposing our
 legislation. And late in June they announced that in July they would close one night a
 week, and they put into effect the hours we were asking for by legislation. They did
 that of course to offset the organization.
Mr. Thompson. Is there any other matter, Miss Nestor, that you would like to speak
 about to this commission in connection with the industrial problems?
Miss Nestor. Well, the thing in particular of course is that I feel that until we have
 organization we are not going to solve this question, and that the thing that brings it
 about, unrest, the thing that brings about trouble, such grievances and dissatisfaction
 that exist among the workers that have no way of voicing their grievances, until we
 have that, I think we are going to have unrest; and until we have the employer
 educated up to the fact he must deal with his people. You know you can get an
 agreement; perhaps you have a strike, and the employer thinks he can't get anyone
 to take their place, and he has to go in and signs an agreement. But you don't really
 get recognition of the union there, you perhaps don't get it for two years. You don't
 get it until there is a change comes about within that man, until he comes to see that
 after all he ought to deal with the organization. And I think that some of our
 employers that have been dealing with organizations have found that it was after all
 just as well to have a way of finding out what was wrong in that factory. They are a
 long ways from the shop, sitting down in their offices, they don't know what is going
 on up there. There is the foreman and there is all sorts of assistants between them
 and the workers, and very often if you can get to them and let them know the
 existence of grievances they could be adjusted, and it is necessary to have a way to
 really get to them.
Mr. Thompson. Do you think, Miss Nestor, a Federal industrial council, with powers of
 investigation, etc., would help in this question?
Miss Nestor. Yes: I think it would.
Mr. Thompson. Particularly in cases like the cases in Michigan and Colorado and West
Miss Nestor. I think it is always well; I think if they could do nothing more than in the
 case of dispute, or in case of strikes, or in case of trouble, to bring the two parties
 together, really make them come into conference, and try to adjust it. I don't want
 compulsory arbitration, I don't believe in it. But I believe if both sides could be brought
 together and made to meet each other and talk over their differences, it would go a
 long ways toward adjusting it very often.
Mr. Thompson. That is all, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Walsh. Mr. Lennon would like to ask you a question or two.
Commissioner Lennon. Miss Nestor, in speaking favorably of the minimum wage for
 women and minors, do you desire to secure it by a statute of the legislature or
 through wage boards?
Miss Nestor. Through wage boards. I don't believe in a flat rate, and I would very much
 dislike to see such a bill passed. I would like to see a law whereby there would be a
 minimum wage commission, and they would have the power to organize wage boards
 in the different trades, going into each trade separately and inquiring into the wages
 and conditions, and to have the workers represented on that wage board, have them
 select their own representatives for it, and have the employers represented on the
 other side, and the public, and in that way adjust their wage scales. I think it will only
 be a beginning any way; I think the workers will finally have to settle the thing with
 the employers.
Commissioner Lennon. Now, in giving causes for social and industrial unrest, would you
 include as one of the causes, say, the inefficiency of workmen and work women
 because of lack of training as children in youth?
Miss Nestor. I think that is one. It deprives them of opportunities, and I think the
 supposition of all this work of making people mere machines, putting them at one
 monotonous piece of work day in and day out, and the long hours—no matter what
 inventions we have, no matter how much the output is increased, through these
 inventions, we don't have any comparative reduction in hours as a result of it. We
 have to work just as long hours; the strain is very much greater, and the work is as
 we know very monotonous, and that can't help but create an unrest.
Commissioner Lennon. Do you consider the present educational system as ample for
 the proper training of boys and girls that are to go into industrial life?
Miss Nestor. No. I think there ought to be arrangements made for the education of the
 workers for their industrial life just as there is for our professional men and all the
 other groups to-day. We have only made arrangements—our schools only lead to the
 colleges, where about 10 per cent of our group go, and we have got that other large
 group going out in the shop with no training at all. And I feel very strongly that we
 ought to have industrial education.
Commissioner Lennon. Do you believe that some such arrangement—I don't mean
 exact, but involving the principles that apply in the carpenter school—should be
 provided by the State for all the boys and girls that go into industrial life?
Miss Nestor. I think for apprentices that is a very good plan, and I think for all our
 young girls and boys, especially our girls, whose trades don't require a long
 apprenticeship, we ought to have some training whereby they won't go into, as they
 do now, into all those blind-alley trades, go into the most convenient neighborhood
 trade, without the proper training.
Commissioner Lennon. Does the Women's Trade Union League favor the raising of the
 age at which children may enter industry to a higher age than it now is?
Miss Nestor. We certainly do. I don't believe that any child—we ought to have a law
 whereby no child could go into industry before 16. I hope some time we will have it
 even higher than that, but that is what I believe it ought to be, 16 years at least.
Commissioner Lennon. What have you noticed as being the effect upon the morals of
 women, experience and membership in trade-unions?
Miss Nestor. Their experience in trade-unions?
Commissioner Lennon. Yes; and membership in the trade-unions.
Miss Nestor. Well, I think the education that the women receive in trade-unions, just
 the same as the men, is one of the best educations that they possibly could get. It
 gives them a wider feeling in regard to their relationship with their fellow workers. It
 gives them a new idea, I think, of democracy altogether, and in every way it is an
 education to the workers. I think it is—I think they feel their responsibility to their
 work more than the unorganized workers do. They know more about the work. Why,
 unorganized workers don't know anything about the industry they are in. You take an
 organized group of them and they meet with their employer to adjust grievances, and
 they know the different angles; they know some of the perhaps unpleasant things
 there are in the trade. With the knowledge that they have there I think they are
 much better workers than they would be if they didn't know anything about the
 industry at all.
Commissioner Lennon. Is it your experience that where through organization women
 become more and more interested in their associates and in their welfare that they
 take greater interest in themselves and in their own welfare?
Miss Nestor. In some trades we have seen a wonderful change. Especially you take
 some of the trades of our young immigrant girls that don't know anything about our
 standards, our wages, our hours, or perhaps haven't had an opportunity to mingle
 with other groups like some of our American girls have. It really means a new life for
 them. There has been a very marked change in some of those girls.
Commissioner Lennon. What effect do you believe unions have in what we might cal
l Americanization of foreigners that come into this country?
Miss Nestor. Well, it has that, and it is the melting pot both. It is a place that breaks
 down race prejudice and any other prejudice that exists, and we know it does exist in
 the unorganized shop, because so often one nationality has been used against
 another. The employer has tried to build up prejudice to simply use the one against
 the other. I think the trade-union movement has done more to break down that
 prejudice than any other movement.
Commissioner Lennon. What is the attitude of the Women's Trade Union League as to
 world peace—peace between nations?
Miss Nestor. We are for peace.
Commissioner Lennon. That is all.

Chairman Walsh. Any questions? Commissioner Delano would like to ask you a question.
Commissioner Delano. There are a great many students of this question industrial
 question—as between the employer and employee, that feel that we are drifting to a
 condition where either the Government must supervise all large industrial undertakings
 or it will be driven to the other alternative of taking them over—Government
 ownership. What is your feeling on that subject?
Miss Nestor. I don't know as I got all of your question.
Commissioner Delano. I say one of two things is going to happen, either the
 Government will have to supervise all great industrial undertakings to a certain extent
 or else it will have to take them over by Government ownership, and operate them.
Miss Nestor. You mean the industry or labor organization?
Commissioner Delano. The industry.
Miss Nestor. The industry. Well, I believe we ought to have public owner ship of public
Commissioner Delano. Of public utilities but not other utilities?
Miss Nestor. Yes; some other utilities—some others.
Commissioner Delano. That is all.

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

See also:
Constitution of the Women's Trade Union League
-search above link with "3450."

Agnes Nestor
Seal of the National Women's Trade Union League

This song is dedicate to the striking waitresses of Chicago, 1913-14, and also to our modern-day Fast Food Workers and their Fight for Fifteen.

Agnes Nestor describes fighting for shorter hours for the Chicago waitresses:

Our organization, with the waitresses' union, I mean. We worked the first session to secure the passage of that law. It was a very limited law; it only applied to what are considered the laborious trades. At the next session we worked to extend it to all the other occupations and were successful. At the last session we tried to reduce the hours. We had the 10-hour day, which is 70 hours a week, and we tried to reduce the hours to 54, but were defeated in our efforts.
A 70 hour, 7-day week may seem almost unbelievable to many in these modern times, and yet, I have friends who work in fast foods, and work that many hours, and more, just to try and make ends meet. More and more we are loosing the gains made with so much sacrifice by those who went before us. Time to stand up and be counted.


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 Sun Jul 27, 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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