Volume 1, Issue 1

Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 1

(English Only) (Newspaper Headline and Adverts not included)

Published: 4/1/1910


When You Go Out Shopping Remember the Shirt-Waist.

DO YOU EVER STOP TO THINK where, how and by whom the thousands of shirt waists you see on sale all over the city are made? Do you know that 45,000 women and girls in New York alone are employed in making these waists? Do you realize that the Conditions under which these girls work, the wages they receive, the hours they spend at their machines spend directly upon YOU? UNDER PAY AND OVER WORK. Most of us probably would never have thought at all about such things except for the great strike last winter of about 20,000 waist workers in New York and Philadelphia, when the true conditions under which the mass of workers in the trade were forced to make a living were revealed. It was found that the wages, already too low for health and decency, were declining or remaining stationary though food and rent were rapidly rising. Overtime three and four nights a week during the busy season in addition to the usual working hours, and Sunday and Holiday work was not Unusual. Fines and petty tyrannies practiced by foremen and superintendents made hard conditions doubly hard. The girls’ thin and poorly nourished- bodies and insufficient clothing testified at what cost to themselves and future generations they were working.


Even the good employers who would like to treat their, workers well were being forced by competition to adopt bit by bit the methods of the more unscrupulous. For this reason, many of the best paid girls went on strike feeling that trade conditions were too uncertain for them to continue to depend on the good will of any individual employer, so they joined together with the poorer paid workers in their demand for a union shop.


The strike is now over, and a few hundred factories have settled with the union. In such settled shops, the girls are now working 52 hours a week. Their wages are fairer, and they receive half again as much pay for overtime. Sunday is now a real day of rest; fines are abolished, and the individual girl does not have to deal with her powerful employer, the representative of the union takes up all the grievances with the firm. In the past, the infrequent visits of a factory inspector, for whose coming the management was well prepared, were the girl’s only-protection, now THE UNION IS ON THE JOB EVERY HOUR OF EVERY WORKING DAY TO SEE THAT THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF ITS MEMBERS ARE PROPERLY LOOKED AFTER. These results have been gained by dint of a very bitter struggle, and through this the girls are obtaining not only material advantages but marked development in individual character; this discipline is only a part of the training that comes with trade unionism.


Now comes your part and responsibility. As the consumer for whom all things are made you can encourage through your buying either the unfair employers who make their profit through overworking and underpaying their workers and refusing them the right to join the union, or you can support these employers who deal fairly with their working people; whose employees have  the hope, strength and discipline that comes through organization. Which girls do you prefer to support, the girls who remained at work during the strike, refusing to join the union, and afraid to sacrifice their own interests for those less fortunate; or the girls who have faced brutality, starvation and homelessness rather than stand aloof from their sisters? THE UNION LABEL. There is no doubt which girls and which employers you will want to support. But how can you make sure you are doing so? There is just one way. You may not be able to remember the trade marks or names of all those fair manufacturers, but you can easily recognize the union label which is uniform for the trade. Several of these union factories are now placing the union label on their product. This is a picture of it.  You will find this label attached to the back collar of the garment. It is the only means whereby you can be perfectly certain that the waists were made under fair conditions by one of these self-respecting union girls in whom the whole country has been interested. REMEMBER THAT THE LABEL IS THE WORKER’S ONLY GUARANTEE AND YOUR SAFEGUARD. WHAT TO DO. Ask at the stores you deal with for waists with the union label. If the saleswoman is indifferent, ask to see the buyer. Do not weakly succomb by buying a waist without the label. If you cannot find the label waist; write to the General Office of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, II Waverley Place, New York City. LABOR PRESS PLEASE COPY. Local Secretaries will please take notice that no attention will be paid to orders for Due Stamps or supplies, unless the same is written on our regular ORDER SLIPS and accompanied by a remittance covering the fall amount of the order. The General Sympathetic Strike in Philadelphia. Man is known to be a thinking animal, at least people say so; but every now and then we come across incidents which reveals man as anything but the thinking animal he claims to be. Take for instance the present general sympathetic strike in Philadelphia. When the Central Labor Union of the City of Brotherly Love declared the strike, thousands, tens of thousands of unorganized people responded to the call. The Cloak Makers. Local No. 58 had a membership of 250. Over 3,000 left their employment to champion the cause of motormen and conductors; people whom they do not know. There was no special reason why they should sacrifice their position. Many of these unorganized cloakmakers have on several occasions turned against their fellow craftsmen in time of strikes. They helped the employers to break the organization, while the majority of them were satisfied to work for any wages the employers offered them. All appeals of the organization to induce them to join the union and demand from their employers better conditions of labor for themselves proved useless. Yet these same men who did not dare to stand up and fight for their own benefit, and the benefits of their own families, responded so readily to the call of the C.L.U. of Philadelphia to fight for the rights of others. No. we should say that man is a nervous, rather than a thinking animal. We cannot for a moment admit that these unorganized cloakmakers loved the motormen and conductors rather than themselves. It is a state of nervous excitement that compels us to take drastic action. Logic argument or reason will never do it. When the C. L. U. began to talk of a general sympathetic strike, the capitalist press thought the land contended that it is mere bluff, and assured us that the trade unions of Philadelphia will never dare to carry out their threat. They declared that the unions are nothing more than combinations and trusts, run for the benefit) of their own members. They stated that in this country there are no classes, that the laboring people are not a separate class in the community and finally, that the unionists will not dare to leave their employment for the good and sufficient reason, that these unionists are well aware that the moment they leave their better paid occupations their places will be taken by their natural enemies, the unorganized workpeople. “No,” they said, “all this talk of a general sympathetic strike is bluster and bluff.” Well, how did things turn out and how did the events of these two weeks justify the prediction of these self satisfied and “well informed” gentlemen of-the capitalist press? Even should the traction company and the city authorities of Philadelphia be successful in their attempt to crush the organization of the street railroad men of that city, the General Sympathetic strike has proved to be an overwhelming success. The working people of Philadelphia have responded manfully and heroically to the call of the C. L. U. The capitalists of this country know now what they have to expect in the future of any attempt to crush unionism. This sympathetic strike has also demonstrated fallacy of the contention of the capitalist press that the organized workmen, the labor union are the natural enemies of the non-union and unorganized work people of this country. This strike proved fully that the organ hired work people are simply the more energetic, intelligent and advanced portion of the laboring community, and that the non-organized portions understand and feel that the advantages which labor gains through organization is not confined to the members of the labor organisations, hot is shared by every man or woman who have to work for their living.


Since the sentimental man still opposes Woman’s Suffrage on the ground that woman must be protected and cared for by man, and that her sphere is “The Home,” we ask him to read the last report of the New York Committee on Congestion of Population and learn something of the way in which women are actually protected in New York homes. There were in the city, in 1905. 122 blocks, with a density of 75c persons per acre, and this density is increasing yearly. There are 101,117 absolutely windowless rooms in New York tenements. There are 80,000 buildings, housing nearly 3.000,000 people which are a standing menace for lack of fire-proofing. The city death rate is three points higher than London, and the annual cost to tax-payers for hospitals and institutions for women and children chargeable to congestion of population, is nearly 4 percent, of the total budget. The city pays a million and a half per-acre to care for its sick poor. One need not give further details but to sum up, we give the words of Mr. Laurence Veiller, Park Commissioner of New York City, who says: “The housing conditions here are without parallel in the civilized world. In no city of Europe, not in Naples or Rome, neither in London or in Paris, neither in Berlin, Vienna, nor Buda Pesth, not in Constantinople nor in St. Petersburg, not in ancient Edinburgh nor modern Glasgow, not in heathen Canton nor Bombay, are to be found such conditions as prevail in modern enlightened. 20th Century, Christian New York. Cannot even a sentimental man realize that it is woman’s duty to come out into politics for herself, and take a hand in changing the character of such homes?


Public libraries are for the whole people. Do they serve the whole people? Are there lost opportunities for service in the New York public libraries? A little “figuring*’ will answer the question. Most wage earners work from eight in the morning until six at night. Often they work until seven o’clock or eight. By hustling and eating a brief dinner, they can get to the theatre or public library by eight o’clock. And they are free on Sunday, which is their day of rest and self-upbuilding. It is clear from this that any utility, to be available to the wage earner, must lie open until 10 o’clock P. M., at least, and if possible on Sunday.  A theatre or library is closed on Sunday, and is closed at 9 o’clock in the evening, at least 9c per cent, of its possible utility to the wages earner is lost. The theatres, which need the wage earner in order to make profits, begin their day when the workday is ended. And they are open Sunday in so far as the law allows But the libraries, most of them close at 9 o’clock in the evening and are closed on Sundays. Are they used to the limit of their possibilities in behalf of the city’s wage earners.



A fundamental change in the method of compensating injured workmen was recommended in the report submitted to the Legislation March 22, by the commission created to investigate the question of employers’ liability, the causes of industrial accidents and similar matters. Two radical bills carrying out the committee’s recommendations were introduced. One, which applies only to certain specified employments where the trade hazard is great, provides that the workman’s heirs, no matter who is negligent or whether the risk was assumed,  receive in case of his death four years’ wages, not to exceed $3000, and in case of total or partial disability the workman shall receive 50 per cent, of the amount the was earning, payable weekly, but not more than $10 per week, during the continuance of the disability, not to exceed a period of eight years. Some of the employments which this bill affects are: The erection and demolition of bridges and buildings in which there is iron or steel framework; the operation of elevators, derricks, hoisting apparatus, locomotives, engines, trains or cars on steam roads and electric cars; the construction and repair of roadbeds; the construction of tunnels or subways, work on scaffolds, operation of electric wires and blasting.  The second bill introduces the principle of compensation for all accidents, but makes this voluntary and subject to agreement between employer and employee. It also amends the Employers’ Liability act so as considerably to increase the liability of the employer by abrogating or at least greatly modifying the assumption of the risk rule. It places upon the employer the burden of proving contributory negligence on the part of the employee whereas the law now requires the employee to prove his freedom from contributory negligence. The bill also modifies the fellow servant rule by declaring the employer liable for the negligence of any employee entrusted with any superintence or “by reason of the negligence of any employee entrusted with authority to direct, control or command any employee in the performance of the duty of such employee.”


801-809 G St., N. W. Washington, D. C, Mar. 1, 1910. Mr. John Alex. Dyche, Secretary, International- Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, 5-27 Third Avenue, New York. Dear Sir and Brother: In conformity with the instructions of the Toronto Convention of the American Federation of Labor and in accordance with the recommendation of the conference held at Pittsburg, Pa., which was endorsed by the Executive, Council of the A. F. of L., the International Unions are urged to request their members to contribute tenants each in support of the great test which has been and is still being made by the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers of North America, in defense of the rights of the workers as against the aggressions of the United States Steel Corporation, the officers of the organization advise that with some additional financial help victory may be shortly attained. particularly among the tin Plate Workers. In addition, it may charge against the United States tell Corporation have been presided to the President and by him referred to the Attorney-General, two interviews have been had with the Attorney-General and the evidence will be presented to him within a few days from this date. Charges will be preferred against the corporation before the Governors of Indiana, Ohio and other states. Everything will be done by all to aid in the splendid defense being made by the Iron. Steel and tin Plate Workers. Kindly carry out this suggestion as promptly and as thoroughly as possible, so that the members of the respective organizations may contribute ten cents each at the earliest possible moment to aid our fellow workers. Send all contributions to John Williams, Secretary Amalgamated Association. 503 House Building. Pittsburgh. Pa. Trusting that the compliance and response to the request contained in the above will be prompt and generous, and with kind regards. I remain, Fraternally yours. Attest: SAMUEL GOMPERS. President, A. F. of L. FRANK MORRISON, Secretary, A. F. of L.


Selected – New York Times.


How narrow seems the still round of ladies’ lives. And ladies’ duties in their smiling world. The day this Titan woman, gray with years, goes out across the void to prove her soul! Brief are the pains of motherhood, that end in motherhood’s long joy; but she has borne. The age-long travail of a cause that lies. Still-born at last on History’s cold lap And yet she rests not; yet she will not drink The cup of peace held to her parching lips By smug Dishonor’s hand. Nay. forth she fares. Old and alone, on exile’s rocky road— That well-worn road with snows incarnadined. By blood drops from her feet long years agone. Mother of power, my soul goes out to you As a strong swimmer goes to meet the sea Upon whose vastness he is like a leaf. What are the ends and purposes of song. Save as a bugle at the lips of Life To sound reveille to a drowsing world When some great deed is rising like the sun?


A Story, by Gertrude Barnum. The hand buttonhole makers and finishers were leaning towards the grimy windows of the children’s jacket shop for the last of the quickly fading daylight. Through the stifling effluvium of bad plumbing, rotting wall paper, escaping fuel gas, and exudations of underwashed and overcrowded humanity, rose the pungent odor of boiling coffee. A pallid “Pollack” in a frenzy of hurry struck her neighbor in the check as she drew out an arm’s length of thread. “Excuse me,” she-said; hastily-changing the direction of her flying needle. “Sure,” said the round backed Italian woman without looking up from her steady falling. “I hope I won’t be long in this shop,” said a deep eyed Russian girl, pushing aside her stack of little Buster Brown coats to make room on the table for her cup. “I expect to take up literature and journalism soon.” “Expect to better yourself at that?” asked a middle-aged American woman who was cheerily dispensing coffee. “For myself it is nothing But that the world should know how the working classes struggle and starve under the present system.” “Pass the sugar on to Graziella. She’s starving under your nose,” laughed the American. Then as her fellow workers shifted their cramped positions to partake of the welcome “treat,” she continued. “I guess the world is on to the way we struggle and starve, already, as much as they’ll ever get to be, from reading about it. And what’s more, the world will stand for it as long as we will. For all they care, we can go right on rushing from 8 a. m. to 9 p. m. every day, busy season, so as to bring on slack season that much quicker. As long as we sit gasping at those kids carrying off home-weak on their heads, I don’t know how we expect the world to do any different.” “Sh—h!” said the Russian girl, at the foreman approached with a pile of “finished” work on his arm and a lowering scowl on his forehead. “You expect the examiner to pass such goods?” he exclaimed, excitedly, pointing out jagged stitches and fraying seams on coat after coat, as he flung them on the table. The Russian girl began to rip her returned work in sullen silence, while the man lit the gas, with anything but complimentary comments upon her skill. After he had got well out of hearing, she broke out hysterically: “Slaves! That’s what we are!” We shall work twelve hours a day to pay the landlord—nothing else. We must work as fast as machines; and if one little stitch is not just so, we can lose our time ripping. If we say one word, out we go upon the street! We breathe all the time poison. What can we do?” “Now you’re shouting,” interrupted the American. “You’ve struck the point. What can we do? What’s the answer? Do you want to know? When you ask the cutters. They didn’t get their ten hours, and scale of prices, by writing ‘literature’ or ‘journalism.’ They got it being skilled cutters that were needed in the jacket business, and then laying down the hours and prices they would stand for. It’s up to us to put up the kind of sewing they can’t get from every new immigrant that lands at Governor’s Island, and then get the cutters to stand by us for what’s coming to us. What can we do? We can get a signed contract. That’s what. Then we’ll know where we’re at ” When the next busy season opened in the jacket trade, a flushed little middle aged hand-buttonhole maker came out of the office of her shop, followed by two trembling young “finishers” and four stalwart old “cutters.” Her fellow workers awaited her, eagerly, in their ‘ accustomed places around the table, and as she approached, a deep-, eyed Russian girl asked: “Well, and what do our masters say?” “They signed it, O. K.” she cried joyfully, and as she looked around upon their surprised and radiant faces, she added, emphasizing every word: “The best kind of literature mid journalism for working people to take up is signed “Trade Agreements.”  Take in your hand once more the Pilgrim’s staff— Your delicate hand misshapen from the nights In Kara’s mines; bind on your unbent back. That long has borne the burdens of the race, The exile’s bundle, and upon your feet Strap the worn sandals of a tireless faith. You are too great for pity. After you We send not sobs, but songs; and all our days We shall walk cavalier knowing where you are. —Elsa Barker.


“Life it made tip of sob*, sniffle*, and smiles, with the sniffles predominating” is the way O. Henry, the short-story writer, sums up his philosophy of life. Perhaps this has something to do with the secret of the phenomenal success of Sydney Porter (as he is known in private life) during the last seven years as a popular short-story writer. His work commends the highest prices editors pay and editors pay for breadth and depth of appeal. They reason that O. Henry gives than the cubic area they want. It is almost a fixed idea of publishers that volumes of short stories are bad risks; but a collection in book form of stories by O. Henry finds a waiting crowd Usually each brief-story— vivid, human, real—lays bare some cruel roughness of the social fabric at the same time that it gives a quaint, dear glimpse of good and happiness and fun. “Of course,” says O. Henry. “We often hear ‘shop-girls’ spoken’ of. No such persons exist. There are girls who work in shops. They make their living that way. But why turn their occupation into an adjective? Let us lie fair. We do not refer to the girls who live on Fifth Avenue as ‘marriage girls.” It is a common temptation to compare a recent arrival in literature with its veterans or its gods. O. Henry’s indifference to the English language as he makes it do his bidding, is like the big indifference of Kipling. A likeness to Dickens is more obvious. There, is the largeness of philosophy and sympathy, the gleam and flash of wit, humor grotesque and deep, and the half-intimate gaiety of manner that, after all, is not really gay and not really intimate…. O. Henry’s methods of work, as be himself described them, are simple, “Rule I of story-writing is to write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule 2. In writing, forget the public. I get a story thoroughly in mind before I sit down at my table. Then I write it out quickly, and, without revising it, send it to my publishers. In this way. I am able to judge my work almost as the public judges it. I’ve seen stories in type that I didn’t at first blush recognize as my own.”  Do you have tin when you can’t write?” I asked him’, “Oh, yes, sometimes I have dry spells that last for two or three months. In this event, I never force myself. I get out and see things arid talk to people. In the meantime, there has just appeared a new volume of his short stories entitled “The Roads of. Destiny,” and he will continue to appear before the public from time .to time in the magazines, to  which he has been, during his years of New York life, a regular contributor. IS IT SOMETIMES SO. Among applicants for service as a general housemaid in a Pittsburgh family was a raw-boned Irish girl of rather forbidding aspect. “Do you love children?” asked the mistress of the house, when satisfied that the girl would suit with respect to most requirements. “Well, mum,” responded the Celt, with a grim smile, “that all depend’ on the wages.”—Sunday Magazine.


Who is to blame for present industrial evils? Is it not everyone who has the chance to vote to improve conditions, and yet fails to vote and vote right? Workers and public as well as employers are responsible for tin of any business. There is no business possible till the workers, and employers, and the purchasers get together. All three are represented in the business and combine in deciding its character The old-fashioned employer still speaks of “my business” and presents any attempts of public or of workers to “interfere in my business.” But the fact is, that business—any business—is in reality more the affair of the workers in it and of the purchasing public than of the employer. Employees, and consumers have more votes on the question of the character of business, than have the employers; because there are so many more workers and buyers than “bosses.” And now look at the way workers vote on industrial questions! The great majority do not vote at all—especially the. great majority of the women, —although they all have the power of the ballot, in the Trade Union, which puts them in a condition to control the wages and conditions in each trade. The few even in the organized trades, “run* the Trade Union elections, fill the offices and decide all the important measures; while the many fail to vote or vote with little thought allowing themselves to be used as tools of this faction or that, and then, if dissatisfied with the results contenting themselves with asking “What’s the good of a union anyway?” This is especially the attitude of a large majority of working women. We hear a great deal to day about “Woman Suffrage,” and nearly all women who read these pages are clamoring for the right to vote. Yet in their trades, where they have the right to vote in the union on the questions which most affect their welfares, and, in some instances, their very lives, they refuse to vote, or vote for this or that officer, and this or that measure for the most casual reason or none at all. The working woman has a most important ballot in her hands to-day and too often she throws it away—or merely—plays with it When will she understand that it gives her power to change what she does not like in her union, and to change what is hardest to best in her work? Besides this Trade Union ballot working men and women have another ballot in their hands to-day. Every time they make a purchase, however small, they are voting for good or bad conditions for the voters. There is no way of avoiding this responsibility. Their vote as purchasers must be cast, and it is theirs to decide whether it shall be cast rightly or wrongly. Why do they not cease railing at the cruelty of the capitalist long enough to realize their own share in perpetuating the present hideous industrial conditions? They themselves are continually voting for child labor, for tuberculosis in the factories and tenements; for the army of the unemployed. Theirs is the blame for the pining away of little babies in windowless rear tenement rooms for the maiming and murder of heads of families by unguarded machinery, or poisonous sweat-shop air; for the pitiful faces in the bread-line; for the tragic figures on the park benches; for the white slaves and the court victims, and the suicides. As purchasers, they are casting their votes continuously and overwhelmingly for all of these tragedies. No purchaser who fails to buy Union Label articles, is guiltless. Lastly there is the political vote. The other day, the Rev. Dr. Underbill of New York City, in an antisuffrage speech before the Republican Hub, made the following claim: “As working men have never gained a single thing by their political power, so working women will find their suffrage is useless to them.” In very truth, until very recently, working men have thrown away or sold their political vote. Up to this very day, they have failed to double the power of the workers by giving the political ballot to women, and then using that double power to revolutionize industrial conditions. Let working men and women cease to rail at conditions and begin to vote at them. Let them talk less of rights and more o^ duties. Let them get and use the full Industrial Ballot.


Why English Working Women Want the Vote.

In the fearful condition of the English working women may be found an explanation of the suffrage movement in that country. Recent investigations show that the average weekly earnings of working women all over England are only one dollar and seventy-five cents. Thousands of these women earn only from sixty cents to one dollar and ten cents a week. In the city of London there are thousands of starving women who cannot secure work and have no income. A careful English authority states that in London alone their are two million English people who have no employment and are without income. While conditions among the factory women of the United States are not so deplorable as among the English working women, we are in no position to boast Wage statistics of the working women in our own country reveal in too many instances fearful poverty conditions and deprivation of the necessities of life. The wages of working women all over the world prove that the financial situation of women cannot be left entirely to men. It is only by amicable union and organization among themselves that the women of our own and other countries can realize better commercial prosperity.


The Woman’s Trade Union League of Illinois is bending every effort to keep upon the statute book of Illinois, the laws prohibiting tin employment of women more than ten hours a day. They have brought out much evidence to show that more efficient service is rendered, that fewer accidents occur and less “spoiled work” follows the shorter day’s work. Statistics show that the mortality among working women is higher than among other classes and higher than among working men. On this subject Dr. Rachel Yarros, of the Chicago Woman’s Club, says, “the perpetuation of the race depend upon an improvement in working conditions among the poorer classes; maternity is detrimentally influenced by long working hours only by the adoption of a ten hour working law can the women of the working classes reach a physical state that would insure proper conditions for the perpetuation of the  race.” To the Officers and Members of Affiliated Locals, Greetings. The sentiment for a General Strike among the Cloakmakers in New York City union or non-union men is growing daily. Rarely do we ever hear objections raised against it. On the contrary, wherever you go you hear people asking, when will this strike be called? What are you waiting for?” The idea of a General Strike as the only means of improving the Condition of labor in our trade is a new one. For the last few cars a considerable number of our Members have been contending that the only way of improving the conditions of labor in our trade would by means of a General Strike. Any one who is thoroughly familiar with the conditions in the Cloak and Skirt trade in this city, must admit that a General Strike, even If unsuccessful, in the sense that the employers will not concede the recognition of the union and the closed shop, must have the effect of raising earnings of the work people engaged in this trade. The principal reason why the earnings of the work people engaged in this trade is constantly becoming lower, while the cost of living is increasing, is license in this trade there has been for years no important strikes Since 1896 the Cloak and Skirt Makers have not engaged in an earnest struggle with the employers for better conditions. Except a few shop strikes which could have to effect on a trade where there are more than 1200 firms, the employers had a free hand in arranging conditions and fixing prices to suit themselves. They have lost all respect and fear for the cloakmakers. The work people on the other hand have lost their self-respect, have lost the courage to stand up and fight for humane conditions. It is useless, we have often been told by our members, to call out a few shops strides at the beginning of the season, organize them, compel the employers to pay union prices and give us union conditions, when even-where our people are working for next to nothing. The employers will keep up a union shop only in the height of the season for a few weeks, or a couple of months at the most. After which time he will discharge the union people and replace them with non-union men. No agreements, securities or notes can compel a few employers to have union shops in a city where there are tens of thousands unorganized men. who are constantly travelling iron shop to shop trying to find the “right place.” At the beginning of the season we are compelled to call strikes to organize shops and at the end of the season we must fight again against lockouts. So it goes from year to year and season to season. Each time we succeed in unionizing new shops and take in new members, for the people in the shops organized in the previous season have been locked out by their employers. The net result of this kind of activity on the part of the union is demoralization instead of organization. This is, in short, the sentiment often expressed among the rank and file of our members. The leaders, on the other hand, did not care to entertain these opinions for they were not sure how far these sentiments were shared by the great mass of unorganized cloakmakers. Our organization was too small to be in a position to control a strike with such a huge mass of work people engaged the cloak and skirt trade. Others were of the opinion that through sympathetic agitation we will finally succeed in organizing the trade slowly, step by step. We also thought that the calling of a strike with a weak organization would end in a state of things that is prevailing now among the men’s tailors. General strikes are called each season, for as soon as the strike is over, the organization falls to pieces and the employers take back from the workpeople the advantages gained by the men as a result of the strike. Every one of us was decidedly opposed to introduce into our trade a state of affairs which will necessitate Periodical General Strikes as the case is with the New York locals of the United Garment Workers of America. An organization has a right to call a strike only then when they have good chances of not only winning a strike, but securing a permanent organization, strong enough to retain the concessions and the advantages which a strike will gain for them. ” Lately conditions have radically changed. Nobody doubts now the attitude of the great mass of Cloakmakers toward a General Strike. Our organization has been growing lately and is now large and powerful enough to control the situation and lead such a strike. We have every reason to believe, that besides being in a position to win the strike right through, we will also be in a position to control the situation after the strike is over. The general sentiment among the work people in our trade, not only in the city of New York, but throughout the length and breadth of this country, is in favor of unionism. The desire for improvement and the willingness to organize is noticeable everywhere among the work people engaged in all branches of the Ladies’ Garment Trades. Within the last six months we have more than doubled the number of our local unions. While the number of members in the locals is growing still faster. The phenomenal success of the Ladies’ Waist Makers had convinced the worst pessimists amongst us, that now is the best opportunity and the best time for a big movement among the cloak and skirt makers for better conditions. Experience has taught us that slow and systematic work in the way of building up an organization, can succeed only in a trade and locality where the work people consist of a more or less settled and solid mass. But in New York the largest port for immigration into the U. S. and a trade which absorbs yearly over 10,000 new arrivals, and from which thousands leave for the West or take up a new occupation, in such places and under such conditions slow and systematic agitation is useless. And as long as the conditions in the trade in New York City will be as bad as they are now, there is no hope for any improvement among the work people in our trade in other cities. These are the reasons why the cloak and skirt makers in this city, in spite of the indefatigable work and agitation carried on for the last ten years to organize our trade and the adoption of all known possible means of building up an organization has not met with the success expected. In a city and trade which absorbs thousands of people of various nationalities and where the individual workman is lost among tens of thousands of work people scattered in the large area and divided in over 1,300 shops there is no place for systematic organization. Only a huge uprising can move and electrify the masses and the individuals and bring about a radical change in conditions of labor. In order that the results of the strike should have a lasting effect and we should not be reduced to the conditions of the New York Garment Workers with their Periodical General Strikes, we must be prepared with all necessary means prior to the strike being called. We must have more money than the Cloak and Skirt Makers locals possess and more than the International Union with its regular 10c. Per Capita can donate. The expense of conducting a General Strike in which men are mostly engaged, must be much larger than that of the Indies’ Waist Makers strike, in which only boys and girls were engaged. We do not expect a protracted struggle with the Cloak manufacturers.

CORRESPONDENCE. To the Editor of the Ladies’ Garment Workers Journal:

In reviewing the situation in Cleveland, O., with my short experience, I find that something will have to be done along the line of organization of English speaking locals. Those who work at the trade, speaking English, are handicapped in attending meetings, because the tailors and pressors are mostly Jewish and carry on their business in that language. I also find among the English speaking people, objections to the way the Jewish brothers act in regards to calling strikes. They claim that they (the Hebrews) are always striking and stirring up trouble when it is not necessary. He that as it may, there is a great deal to do before we can get anywhere near a perfect organization. What I would suggest is, first, let us all do what we can to get into the organization, all those who are eligible, at the same time not forgetting to drill all in discipline and teaching the principles of unionism. This can easily be accomplished if we will lay aside our personal prejudices and also stop finding faults with each other, getting through with our routine business as soon as possible and taking up the study of economics. It is very important that we understand the causes that have driven us to organize, and this is the Class Struggle. The employing class, or Capitalist Class, are compelled, tinder the present system to compete with their brother capitalists, and he who can put his goods on the market the cheapest is the successful one. The working class who have nothing to sell but their labor power, must have a master, if the workers are not organized. The master can dictate almost any terms he sees fit, for if one will not accept, others are bound to do so through dire necessity. But if the workers are united, they are in some sort of a position to demand better wages and conditions. The workers realizing the power of consolidation, are beginning to see the importance of their combining their interest and working as one, remembering that an injury to one is the concern of all. Getting back to the local situation, it will take hard and patient work before the trade in Cleveland will be of any strength. A great man of those working at the trade are receiving (in their estimation) good treatment and wages. They are hard to reach, they also believe, that by joining tire union they will lose their jobs or be called out on strike. To those workers I wish to say: Should you all come into the union the boss could not afford to discharge you, for if he did he would not be able to get others. And as for being called on strike, that would be a matter for yourselves to decide. If the majority believe they are not receiving just treatment, and the employer refuses to heed their request, it might be well to strike, to compel! him to recognize your demands- That will be as said, your matter, and you decide. In closing, let all brothers and sisters, do all they can to get those working in their shops to join our organization. John G. Willet, General Organizer.


Editor G. W. Perkins of the “Cigar Makers’ Official Journal writes some good doctrine. In his last issue he says: “The trade-union movement came into existence as a living necessity for the protection and advancement of the producing classes. It seeks to obtain to-day a fair share of the wealth created for the use, wellbeing and comfort of the masses. The trade unions are not content to pass rosy resolutions glorifying a Utopian future, and starving to death in an effort to reach it. It rather insists that the workers shall receive every dollar it can justly demand for the use, advancement and well-being of the present toilers. It is the natural, logical and most feasible means whereby and through which the workers can protect and advance their material, economic and social well-being. And in this connection, it has done more than any other or all agencies combined. The trade unionist does not know, and does not pretend to know, what the future state shall be. While he hopes it will be better than the present, he is most concerned, and rightly so, in what is best for himself and his fellow workers right now. and how best to obtain it. Experience and common sense teaches, and all men with sound minds know that the trade-union movement is the proper working class movement. They are also mindful of its imperfections and shortcomings, and they manfully strive to correct them, instead of trying to destroy the movement itself. They also know that the ability to do good and go ahead is always handicapped not by the union or its system, but by the non-unionists who have failed to fall into line and do their share in the good work so necessary for the well-being of all workers. All true trade unionists hope for a better living existence, and all know that the trade union movement is paving the way for a higher moral, social, economic and scientific life for all mankind. The trade union movement will live to fulfill the most sanguine expectations and claims of its most enthusiastic supporters.”  Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, was the first witness called to Stand on March 9th in Chicago on behalf the Switchmen’s Union of North America, whose wage dispute with eight railroads is now under discussion before the board of arbitration, as provided by the Erdman Act. Mr. Gompers testified that in his judgment the work of switch men is the most hazardous of all classes of workingmen. This. In says, is evident by the fact that lift insurance premiums for switchmen are higher than for other craftmen. The Sacramento Street Carmen Union, No. 356, signed an agreement with the Gas and Electric Street Railway Company. Several changes of benefit to the men when arranged—an increase of 2 cents an hour in wage, and reduction of tin period from five to three years when employees will be entitled to receive the maximum wage. The scale will run from 20 to 32 cents an hour Richard Cornelius represented the international union in the conferences with the company and addressed the union before leaving Sacramento.


Next Year’s Convention Invited Our Enemies to St. Louis. The convention of the United Miners of America will meet next year at St. Louis. Four of the principal business men’s organizations of St. Louis, including tin Manufacturers’ Association, in which is the Bucks Stove and Range company, invited the miners to meet there.

There is no excuse for you wearing a Non-Union Waist. Sig. Klein of 50 Third Ave N. Y. City, sells Union Label Waists.

© Digital Commons IRL