Infomotions, Inc.The Trade Union Woman / Henry, Alice, 1857-1943

Author: Henry, Alice, 1857-1943
Title: The Trade Union Woman
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): workers; union; labor; trade; women; league; industrial; trade union; union league; organization; new york; trade unionists; labor movement
Contributor(s): Richardson, James D. (James Daniel), 1843-1914 [Compiler]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 97,794 words (short) Grade range: 13-16 (college) Readability score: 44 (average)
Identifier: etext11424
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

Discover what books you consider "great". Take the Great Books Survey.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Trade Union Woman, by Alice Henry

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Trade Union Woman

Author: Alice Henry

Release Date: March 3, 2004 [EBook #11424]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Josephine Paolucci and the Online Distributed Proofreading

[Illustration: A Factory or a Home?]











This brief account of trade unionism in relation to the working-women
of the United States has been written to furnish a handbook of the
subject, and to supply in convenient form answers to the questions
that are daily put to the writer and to all others who feel the
organization of women to be a vital issue.

To treat the subject exhaustively would be impossible without years of
research, but meanwhile it seemed well to furnish this short popular
account of an important movement, in order to satisfy the eager desire
for information regarding the working-woman, and her attitude towards
the modern labor movement, and towards the national industries in
regard to which she plays so essential a part. Women are doing their
share of their country's work under entirely novel conditions, and
it therefore becomes a national responsibility to see that the human
worker is not sacrificed to the material product.

Many of the difficulties and dangers surrounding the working-woman
affect the workingman also, but on the other hand, there are special
reasons, springing out of the ancestral claims which life makes upon
woman, arising also out of her domestic and social environment, and
again out of her special function as mother, why the condition of the
wage-earning woman should be the subject of separate consideration. It
is impossible to discuss intelligently wages, hours and sanitation in
reference to women workers unless these facts are borne in mind.

What makes the whole matter of overwhelming importance is the wasteful
way in which the health, the lives, and the capacity for future
motherhood of our young girls are squandered during the few brief
years they spend as human machines in our factories and stores. Youth,
joy and the possibility of future happiness lost forever, in order
that we may have cheap (or dear), waists or shoes or watches.

Further, since the young girl is the future mother of the race, it is
she who chooses the father of her children. Every condition, either
economic or social, whether of training or of environment, which in
any degree tends to limit her power of choice, or to narrow its range,
or to lower her standards of selection, works out in a national and
racial deprivation. And surely no one will deny that the degrading
industrial conditions under which such a large number of our young
girls live and work do all of these, do limit and narrow the range of
selection and do lower the standards of the working-girl in making her
marriage choice.

Give her fairer wages, shorten her hours of toil, let her have the
chance of a good time, of a happy girlhood, and an independent, normal
woman will be free to make a real choice of the best man. She will not
be tempted to passively accept any man who offers himself, just
in order to escape from a life of unbearable toil, monotony and

So far, women and girls, exploited themselves, have been used as an
instrument yet further to cheapen and exploit men. In this direction
things could hardly reach a lower level than they have done.

Now the national conscience has at length been touched regarding
women, and we venture to hope that in proportion as women have been
used to debase industrial standards, so in like degree as the nation
insists upon better treatment being accorded her, the results may so
react upon the whole field of industry that men too may be sharers in
the benefits.

But there is a mightier force at work, a force more significant
and more characteristic of our age than even the awakened civic
conscience, showing itself in just and humane legislation. That is the
spirit of independence expressed in many different forms, markedly in
the new desire and therefore in the new capacity for collective action
which women are discovering in themselves to a degree never known

As regards wage-earning working-women, the two main channels through
which this new spirit is manifesting itself are first, their
increasing efforts after industrial organization, and next in the more
general realization by them of the need of the vote as a means of
self-expression, whether individual or collective.

Thus the trade union on the one hand, offering to the working-woman
protection in the earning of her living, links up her interests with
those of her working brother; while on the other hand, in the demand
for the vote women of all classes are recognizing common disabilities,
a common sisterhood and a common hope.

This book was almost completed when the sound of the war of the
nations broke upon our ears. It would be vain to deny that to all
idealists, of every shade of thought, the catastrophe came as a
stupefying blow. "It is unbelievable, impossible," said one. "It can't
last," added another. Reaction from that extreme of incredulity led
many to take refuge in hopeless, inactive despair and cynicism.

Even the few months that have elapsed have enabled both the
over-hopeful and the despairing to recover their lost balance, and to
take up again their little share of the immemorial task of humanity,
to struggle onward, ever onward and upward.

What had become of the movement of the workers, that they could have
permitted a war of so many nations, in which the workers of every
country involved must be the chief sufferers?

The labor movement, like every other idealist movement, contains a
sprinkling of unpopular pessimistic souls, who drive home, in season
and out of season, a few unpopular truths. One of these unwelcome
truths is to the effect that the world is not following after the
idealists half as fast as they think it is. Reformers of every kind
make an amount of noise in the world these days out of all proportion
to their numbers. They deceive themselves, and to a certain extent
they deceive others. The wish to see their splendid visions a reality
leads to the belief that they are already on the point of being
victors over the hard-to-move and well-intrenched powers that be. As
to the quality of his thinking and the soundness of his reasoning, the
idealist is ahead of the world all the time, and just as surely the
world pays him the compliment of following in his trail. But only in
its own time and at its own good pleasure. It is in quantity that he
is short. There is never enough of him to do all the tasks, to be
in every place at once. Rarely has he converts enough to assure a
majority of votes or voices on his side.

So the supreme crises of the world come, and he has for the time to
step aside; to be a mere onlooker; to wait in awe-struck patience
until the pessimist beholds the realization of his worst fears; until
the optimist can take heart again, and reviving his crushed and
withered hopes once more set their fulfillment forward in the future.

In spite of all, the idealist is ever justified. He is justified today
in Europe no less than in America; justified by the ruin and waste
that have come in the train of following outworn political creeds, and
yielding to animosities inherited from past centuries; justified by
the disastrous results of unchecked national economic competition,
when the age of international cooeperation is already upon us;
justified by the utter contempt shown by masculine rulers and
statesmen for the constructive and the fostering side of life,
typified and embodied in the woman half of society.

No! our ideals are not changed, nor are they in aught belittled
by what has occurred. It is for us to cherish and guard them more
faithfully, to serve them more devotedly than ever. Even if we must
from now on walk softly all the days of our life, and prepare to
accept unresentfully disappointment and heart-sickening delay, we can
still draw comfort from this:

  Hope thou not much, and fear thou not at all.

Meanwhile we sit, as it were, facing a vast stage, in front of us a
dropped curtain. From behind that veil there reaches our strained ears
now and then a cry of agony unspeakable, and again a faint whisper of

But until that curtain is raised, after the hand of the war-fiend is
stayed; until we can again communicate, each with the other as human
beings and not as untamed, primitive savages, we can know in detail
little that has happened, and foresee nothing that may hereafter

That some of America's industrial and social problems will be affected
radically by the results of the European war goes without saying; how,
and in what degree, it is impossible to foretell.

Meanwhile our work is here, and we have to pursue it. Whatever
will strengthen the labor movement, or the woman movement, goes to
strengthen the world forces of peace. Let us hold fast to that. And
conversely, whatever economic or ethical changes will help to insure a
permanent basis for world peace will grant to both the labor movement
and the woman movement enlarged opportunity to come into their own.


Chicago, July, 1915.





















A Factory or a Home?

In a Basement Sweatshop

Girl Gas Blowers

A Bindery

Interior of One of the Largest and Best Equipped Waist and Cloak
Factories in New York City

A Contrast


It was a revolutionary change in our ways of thinking when the idea of
development, social as well as physical, really took hold of mankind.
But our minds are curiously stiff and slow to move, and we still
mostly think of development as a process that has taken place, and
that is going to take place--in the future. And that change is the
very stuff of which life consists (not that change is taking place
at this moment, but that this moment is change), that means another
revolution in the world of thought, and it gives to life a fresh
meaning. No one has, as it appears to me, placed such emphasis upon
this as has Henri Bergson. It is not that he emphasizes the mere fact
of the evolution of society and of all human relations. That, he, and
we, may well take for granted. It has surely been amply demonstrated
and illustrated by writers as widely separated in their interpretation
of social evolution as Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx. But with the
further thought in mind that, alike in the lowliest physical organism
or in the most complex social organism, life itself is change, we view
every problem of life from another angle. To see life steadily and
see it whole is one stage. Bergson bids us see life on the move, ever
changing, growing, evolving, a creation new every moment.

For students of society this means that we are to aim at the
understanding of social processes, rather than stop short with the
consideration of facts; facts are to be studied because they go
to make up processes. We are not to stop short with the study of
conditions, but go on to find out what tendencies certain conditions
encourage. All social and industrial questions therefore are to be
interpreted in their dynamic rather than in their static aspects.

In the Labor Museum of Hull House is shown a very ingenious diagram,
representing the development on the mechanical side of the process of
spinning, one of the oldest of the arts. It consists of a strip of
cardboard, about a yard long, marked off into centuries and decades.
From 2000 B.C. up to A.D. 1500 the hand spindle was the only
instrument used. From 1500 up to the middle of the eighteenth century
the spinning-wheel was used as well. From the middle of the eighteenth
century up till today has been the period of the application of steam
to spinning machinery.

The profound symbolism expressed by the little chart goes beyond the
interesting fact in the history of applied physics and mechanics which
it tells, on to the tremendous changes which it sums up. The textile
industries were primarily women's work, and with the mechanical
changes in this group of primitive industries were inextricably bound
up changes far more momentous in the social environment and the
individual development of the worker.

Yet, if a profoundly impressive story, it is also a simple and plain
one. It is so easy to understand because we have the help of history
to interpret it to us, a help that fails us completely when, instead
of being able to look from a distance and see events in their due
proportions and in their right order, we are driven to extract as best
we can a meaning from occurrences that happen and conditions that lie
before our very eyes. That we cannot see the wood for the trees was
never more painfully true than when we first try to tell a clear story
amid the clatter and din of our industrial life. Past history is
of little assistance in interpreting the social and industrial
development, in which we ourselves are atoms. Much information is to
be obtained, though piecemeal and with difficulty, but especially
as relates to women, it has not yet been classified and ordered and
placed ready to hand.

The industrial group activities of women are the inevitable, though
belated result of the entry of women into the modern industrial
system, and are called forth by the new demands which life is making
upon women's faculties. We cannot stop short here, and consider these
activities mainly in regard to what has led up to them, nor yet as to
what is their extent and effect today. Far more important is it to try
to discover what are the tendencies, which they as yet faintly and
imperfectly, often confusedly, express.

In the labor movement of this country woman has played and is playing
an important part. But in its completeness no one knows the story,
and those who know sections of it most intimately are too busy
living their own parts in that story, to pause long enough to be its
chroniclers. For to be part of a movement is more absorbing than to
write about it. Whom then shall we ask? To whom shall we turn for even
an imperfect knowledge of the story, at once noble and sordid, tragic
and commonplace, of woman's side of the labor movement? To whom, you
would say, but to the worker herself? And where does the worker speak
with such clearness, with such unfaltering steadiness, as through her
union, the organization of her trade?

In the industrial maze the individual worker cannot interpret her own
life story from her knowledge of the little patch of life which is
all her hurried fingers ever touch. Only an organization can be an
interpreter here. Fortunately for the student, the organization does
act as interpreter, both for the organized women who have been drawn
into the labor movement and for those less fortunate who are still
struggling on single-handed and alone. The organized workers in one
way or another come into fairly close relations with their unorganized
sisters. Besides, the movement in its modern form is still so young
that there is scarcely a woman worker in the unions who did not begin
her trade life as an unorganized toiler.

Speaking broadly, the points upon which the trade-union movement
concentrates are the raising of wages, the shortening of hours,
the diminution of seasonal work, the abolition or regulation of
piece-work, with its resultant speeding up, the maintaining of
sanitary conditions, and the guarding of unsafe machinery, the
enforcement of laws against child-labor, the abolition of taxes for
power and working materials such as thread and needles, and of unfair
fines for petty or unproved offenses--and with these, the recognition
of the union to insure the obtaining and the keeping of all the rest.

A single case taken from a non-union trade (a textile trade, too)
must serve to suggest the reasons that make organization a necessity.
Twenty-one years ago in the bag and hemp factories of St. Louis, girl
experts turned out 460 yards of material in a twelve-hour day, the pay
being 24 cents per bolt (of from 60 to 66 yards). These girls earned
$1.84 per day (on the bolt of from 60 to 66 yards). Four years ago a
girl could not hold her job under 1,000 yards in a ten-hour day. "The
fastest possible worker can turn out only 1,200 yards, and the price
has dropped to 15 cents per hundred yards. The old rate of 24 cents
per bolt used to net $1.80 to a very quick worker. The new rate to one
equally competent is but $1.50. Workers have to fill a shuttle every
minute and a half or two minutes. This necessitates the strain of
constant vigilance, as the breaking of the thread causes unevenness,
and for this operators are laid off for two or three days. The
operators are at such a tension that they not only stand all day, but
may not even bend their knees. The air is thick with lint, which the
workers inhale. The throat and eyes are terribly affected, and it is
necessary to work with the head bound up, and to comb the lint from
the eyebrows. The proprietors have to retain a physician to attend the
workers every morning, and medicine is supplied free, as an accepted
need for everyone so engaged. One year is spent in learning the trade,
and the girls last at it only from three to four years afterwards.
Some of them enter marriage, but many of them are thrown on the human
waste-heap. One company employs nearly 1,000 women, so that a large
number are affected by these vile and inhuman conditions. The girls in
the trade are mostly Slovaks, Poles and Bohemians, who have not long
been in this country. In their inexperience they count $1.50 as good
wages, although gained at ever so great a physical cost."

These are intolerable conditions, and that tens of thousands are
enduring similar hardships in the course of earning a living and
contributing their share towards the commercial output of the country
only aggravates the cruelty and the injustice to the helpless and
defrauded girls. It is not an individual problem merely. It is a
national responsibility shared by every citizen to see that such
cruelty and such injustice shall cease. No system of commercial
production can be permanently maintained which ignores the primitive
rights of the human workers to such returns for labor as shall provide
decent food, clothing, shelter, education and recreation for the
worker and for those dependent upon him or her, as well as steadiness
of employment, and the guarantee of such working conditions as shall
not be prejudicial to health.

If the community is not to be moved either by pity or by a sense of
justice then perhaps it will awake to a realization of the national
danger involved when so many of the workers, and especially when
so many of the girls and women work under circumstances ruinous to
health, and affording, besides, small chance for all-round normal
development on either the individual or the social side. These are
evils whose results do not die out with the generation primarily
involved, but must as well through inheritance as through environment
injure the children of the workers, and their offspring yet unborn.

The passing away from the individual worker of personal control
over the raw material and the instruments of production, which has
accompanied the advent of the factory system, means that some degree
of control corresponding to that formerly possessed by the individual
should be assured to the group of workers in the factory or the trade.
Such control is assured through the collective power of the workers,
acting in cooeperation in their trade union. One reason why the woman
worker is in so many respects worse off than the man is because she
has so far enjoyed so little of the protection of the trade union in
her work. Why she has not had it, and why more and more she desires
it, is what I will try to show in the following pages.

There is one criticism, to which almost every writer dealing with a
present-day topic, lies exposed. That is, why certain aspects of the
subject, or certain closely related questions, have either not been
dealt with at all, or touched on only lightly. For instance, the
subject of the organization of wage-earning women is indeed bound up
with the industrial history of the United States, with the legal and
social position of women, with the handicaps under which the colored
races suffer, and with the entire labor problem.

In answer I can but plead that there had to be some limits. These
are all matters which have been treated by many others, and I
intentionally confined myself to a section of the field not hitherto

Though the greatest care has been taken to avoid errors, some mistakes
have doubtless crept in and the author would be glad to have these
pointed out. I acknowledge gratefully what I owe to others, whether
that help has come to me through books and periodical literature or
through personal information from those possessing special expert
knowledge. No one can ever begin to repay such a debt, but such thanks
as are possible, I offer here.

The brief historical sketch of the early trade unions is based almost
entirely upon the "History of Women in Trade Unions," Volume X, of the
"Report on the Condition of Women and Child Wage-Earners in the United
States," issued by the Commissioner of Labor, then Mr. Charles P.
Neill. Dr. John B. Andrews deals with the earlier period, and he shows
how persistent have been the efforts of working-women to benefit
themselves through collective action.

"Organization," he writes, "among working-women, contrary to the
general impression, is not new. Women, from the beginning of the
trade-union movement in this country have occupied an important place
in the ranks of organized labor. For eighty years and over, women
wage-earners in America have formed trade unions and gone on strike
for shorter hours, better pay, and improved conditions. The American
labor movement had its real beginning about the year 1825. In that
year the tailoresses of New York formed a union."

The history of women in trade unions he divides into four periods: (1)
the beginnings of organization, extending from 1825 to about 1840; (2)
the development of associations interested in labor reform, including
the beginnings of legislative activity, 1840 to 1860; (3) the
sustained development of pure trade unions, and the rise of the
struggle over the suffrage, 1860 to 1880; and (4) the impress and
educative influence of the Knights of Labor, 1881 to date, and the
present development under the predominant leadership of the American
Federation of Labor.




The earliest factory employment to engage large numbers of women was
the cotton industry of New England, and the mill hands of that day
seem to have been entirely native-born Americans. The first power loom
was set up in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1814, and the name of the
young woman weaver who operated it was Deborah Skinner. In 1817 there
were three power looms in Fall River, Massachusetts; the weavers were
Sallie Winters, Hannah Borden and Mary Healy.

The first form of trade-union activity among wage-earning women in the
United States was the local strike. The earliest of these of which
there is any record was but a short-lived affair. It was typical,
nevertheless, of the sudden, impulsive uprising of the unorganized
everywhere. It would hardly be worth recording, except that in such
hasty outbursts of indignation against the so unequal distribution of
the burdens of industry lies the germ of the whole labor movement.
This small strike took place in July, 1828, in the cotton mills
of Paterson, New Jersey, among the boy and girl helpers over the
apparently trifling detail of a change of the dinner hour from twelve
o'clock to one. Presently there were involved the carpenters, masons
and machinists in a general demand for a ten-hour day. In a week the
strike had collapsed, and the leaders found themselves out of work,
although the point on which the young workers had gone out was

It was among the mill operatives of Dover, New Hampshire, that the
first really important strike involving women occurred. This was in
December of the same year (1828). On this occasion between three
hundred and four hundred women went out. The next we hear of the Dover
girls is six years later, when eight hundred went out in resistance
to a cut in wages. These women and girls were practically all the
daughters of farmers and small professional men. For their day they
were well educated, often teaching school during a part of the year.
They prided themselves on being the "daughters of freemen," and while
adapting themselves for the sake of earning a living to the novel
conditions of factory employment, they were not made of the stuff to
submit tamely to irritating rules of discipline, to petty despotism,
and to what they felt was a breach of tacit agreement, involved in
periodical cutting of wages. Although most of them may have but dimly
understood that factory employment required the protection of a
permanent organization for the operatives, and looked to the temporary
combination provided by the strike for the remedy of their ills, still
there was more in the air, and more in the minds of some of the girl
leaders than just strikes undertaken for the purpose of abolishing
single definite wrongs.

That employers recognized this, and were prepared to stifle in the
birth any efforts that their women employes might make towards
maintaining permanent organizations, is evident by the allusions in
the press of the day to the "ironclad oath" by which the employe
had to agree, on entering the factory, to accept whatever wage the
employer might see fit to pay, and had to promise not to join any
combination "whereby the work may be impeded or the company's interest
in any work injured."

Also we find that no general gathering of organized workingmen could
take place without the question of the inroad of women into the
factories being hotly debated. All the speakers would be agreed that
the poorly paid and overworked woman was bringing a very dangerous
element into the labor world, but there was not the same unanimity
when it came to proposing a remedy. Advice that women should go back
into the home was then as now the readiest cure for the evil, for even
so early as this the men realized that the underpayment of women meant
the underpayment of men, while the employment of women too often
meant the dis-employment of men. But it was not long before the more
intelligent understood that there was some great general force at work
here, which was not to be dealt with nor the resultant evils cured by
a resort to primitive conditions. Soon there were bodies of workingmen
publicly advocating the organization of women into trade unions as the
only rational plan of coping with a thoroughly vicious situation.

Meanwhile such a powerful organ as the _Boston Courier_ went so far as
to say that the girls ought to be thankful to be employed at all.
If it were not for the poor labor papers of that day we should have
little chance of knowing the workers' side of the story at all.

During the next few years many women's strikes are recorded among
cotton operatives, but most of them, though conducted with spirit and
intelligence, seemed to have ended none too happily for the workers.
It is nevertheless probable that the possibility that these rebellious
ones might strike often acted as a check upon the cotton lords and
their mill managers. Indeed the strikes at Lowell, Massachusetts, of
1834 and 1836 involved so large a number of operatives (up to 2,500
girls at one time), and these were so brave and daring in their public
demands for the right of personal liberty and just treatment that the
entire press of the country gave publicity to the matter, although
the orthodox newspapers were mostly shocked at the "wicked
misrepresentations" of the ringleaders in this industrial rebellion.

The 1836 strike at the Lowell mills throws a curious light upon the
habits of those days. Something analogous to the "living-in" system
was in force. In 1825 when the Lowell mills were first opened, the
companies who owned the mills provided boarding-houses for their girl
operatives, and the boarding-house keepers had in their lease to agree
to charge them not more than $1.25 per week. (Their wages are said to
have rarely exceeded $2.50 per week.) But in these thirteen years
the cost of living had risen, and at this rate for board the
boarding-house keepers could no longer make ends meet, and many were
ruined. The mill-owners, seeing what desperate plight these women were
in, agreed to deduct from the weekly rent a sum equivalent to twelve
cents per boarder, and they also authorized the housekeepers to charge
each girl twelve cents more. This raised the total income of the
housekeepers to practically one dollar and fifty cents per head. As
there was no talk of raising wages in proportion, this arrangement was
equivalent to a cut of twelve cents per week and the girls rebelled
and went out on strike to the number of twenty-five hundred. In all
probability, however, it was not only the enforced lessening of their
wages, but some of the many irritating conditions as well that always
attend any plan of living-in, whether the employe be a mill girl, a
department-store clerk or a domestic servant, that goaded the girls
on, for we hear of "dictation not only as to what they shall eat and
drink and wherewithal they shall be clothed, but when they shall eat,
drink and sleep."

The strikers paraded through the streets of Lowell, singing,

  Oh, isn't it a pity that such a pretty girl as I
  Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
  Oh! I cannot be a slave,
  For I'm so fond of liberty
  That I cannot be a slave.

The girls appealed to the memories, still green, of the War of

"As our fathers resisted unto blood the lordly avarice of the British
ministry, so we, their daughters, never will wear the yoke which has
been prepared for us."

With this and many similar appeals they heartened one another. But
before the close of October, 1836, the strike was broken and the
girls were back at work on the employers' terms. Still an echo of the
struggle is heard in the following month at the Annual Convention
of the National Trades Union, where the Committee on Female Labor
recommended that "they [the women operatives] should immediately adopt
energetic measures, in the construction of societies to support each

Almost every difficulty that the working-woman has to face today had
its analogue then. For instance, speeding up: "The factory girls of
Amesbury have had a flare-up and turned out because they were told
they must tend two looms in future without any advance of wages."

A pitiful account comes from eastern Pennsylvania, where the cotton
industry had by this time a footing. Whole families would be in the
mill "save only one small girl to take care of the house and provide
the meals."

Yet the wages of all the members were needed to supply bare wants.
The hours in the mills were cruelly long. In the summer, "from five
o'clock in the morning until sunset, being fourteen hours and a half,
with an intermission of half an hour for breakfast and an hour for
dinner, leaving thirteen hours of hard labor." Out of repeated and
vain protests and repeated strikes, perhaps not always in vain, were
developed the beginnings of the trade-union movement of Pennsylvania,
the men taking the lead. The women, even where admitted to membership
in the unions, seem to have taken little part in the ordinary work of
the union, as we only hear of them in times of stress and strike.

The women who worked in the cotton mills were massed together by the
conditions of their calling, in great groups, and a sense of community
of interest would thus, one would think, be more easily established.
Women engaged in various branches of sewing were, on the other hand,
in much smaller groups, but they were far more widely distributed.
One result of this was that meeting together and comparing notes was
always difficult and often impossible. Even within the same town, with
the imperfect means of transit, with badly made and worst lit streets,
one group of workers had little means of knowing whether they were
receiving the same or different rates of pay for the same work, or for
the same number of work hours. So much sewing has always been done in
the homes of the workers that it is a matter of surprise to learn that
the very first women's trade union of which we have any knowledge
was formed, probably in some very loose organization, among the
tailoresses of New York in the year 1825. Six years later
the tailoresses of New York were again clubbed together for
self-protection against the inevitable consequences of reduced and
inadequate wages. Their secretary, Mrs. Lavinia Waight, must have
been a very new woman. She, unreasonable person, was not content with
asking better wages for her trade and her sex, but she even wanted
the vote for herself and her sisters. Indeed, from the expression she
uses, "the duties of legislation," she perhaps even desired that women
should be qualified to sit in the legislature. In this same year,
1831, there was a strike of tailoresses reported to include sixteen
hundred women, and they must have remained out several weeks. This
was not, like so many, an unorganized strike, but was authorized and
managed by the United Tailoresses' Society, of which we now hear for
the first time. We hear of the beginning of many of these short-lived
societies, but rarely is there any record of when they went under, or

Innumerable organizations of a temporary character existed from
time to time in the other large cities, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has the distinguished honor of being the home of Matthew
Carey, who was instrumental in starting the first public inquiry into
the conditions of working-women, as he was also the first in America
to make public protest against the insufficient pay and wretched
conditions imposed upon women, who were now entering the wage-earning
occupations in considerable numbers. He assisted the sewing-women of
all branches to form what was practically a city federation of women's
unions, the first of its kind. One committee was authorized to send to
the Secretary of War a protest against the disgracefully low prices
paid for army clothing. Matthew Carey was also held responsible,
rightly or wrongly, for an uprising in the book-binding establishments
of New York.

All this agitation among workers and the general public was having
some effect upon the ethical standards of employers, for a meeting of
master book-binders of New York disowned those of their number
who paid "less than $3 a week." An occasional word of support and
sympathy, too, filters through the daily press. The _Commercial
Bulletin_ severely criticized the rates the Secretary of War was
paying for his army clothing orders, while the _Public Ledger_ of
Philadelphia, speaking of a strike among the women umbrella sewers
of New York, commented thus: "In this case we decidedly approve the
turn-out. Turning out, if peaceably conducted, is perfectly legal, and
often necessary, especially among female laborers."

The next year we again find Matthew Carey helping the oppressed
women. This time it is with a letter and money to support the ladies'
Association of Shoe Binders and Corders of Philadelphia, then on
strike. Shoe-binding was a home industry, existing in many of the
towns, and open to all the abuses of home-work.

Lynn, Massachusetts, was then and for long after the center of
the shoe trade, and the scene of some of the earliest attempts of
home-workers to organize.


Nothing in the history of women's organizations in the last century
leaves a more disheartening impression than the want of continuity in
the struggle, although there was never a break nor a let-up in the
conditions of low wages, interminably long hours, and general
poverty of existence which year in and year out were the lot of the
wage-earning women in the manufacturing districts.

Although based in every instance upon a common and crying need, the
successive attempts of women at organization as a means of improving
their industrial condition are absolutely unrelated to one another.
Not only so, but it is pathetic to note that the brave women leaders
of women in one generation cannot even have known of the existence of
their predecessors in the self-same fight. They were not always too
well informed as to the conditions of their sister workers in other
cities or states, where distance alone severed them. But where time
made the gap, where they were separated by the distance of but one
lifetime, sometimes by a much shorter period, the severance seems to
have been to our way of thinking, strangely complete, and disastrously
so. Students had not begun to be interested in the troubles of
everyday folk, so there were no records of past occurrences of the
same sort that the workers could read. To hunt up in old files of
newspapers allusions to former strikes and former agreements is a
hard, slow task for the trained student of today; for those girls it
was impossible. We have no reason to believe that the names of Lavinia
Waight and Louisa Mitchell, the leaders of New York tailoresses in
1831, were known to Sarah Bagley or Huldah Stone, when in 1845 they
stirred Lowell. Each of the leaders whose names have come down to
us, and all of their unknown and unnamed followers had to take their
courage in their hands, think out for themselves the meaning of
intolerable conditions, and as best they could feel after the readiest
remedies. To these women the very meaning of international or even
interstate trade competition must have been unknown. They had every
one of them to learn by bitter experience how very useless the best
meant laws might be to insure just and humane treatment, if the ideal
of an out-of-date, and therefore fictitious, individual personal
liberty were allowed to overrule and annul the greatest good of the
greatest number.

This second period was essentially a seedtime, a time of lofty ideals
and of very idealist philosophy. The writers of that day saw clearly
that there was much that was rotten in the State of Denmark, and
they wrought hard to find a way out, but they did not realize the
complexity of society any more than they recognized the economic basis
upon which all our social activities are built. They unquestionably
placed overmuch stress upon clearing the ground in patches, literally
as well as metaphorically. Hence it was that so many plans for general
reform produced so little definite result, except on the one hand
setting before the then rising generation a higher standard of social
responsibility which was destined deeply to tinge the after conduct
and social activities of that generation, and on the other hand much
social experimenting upon a small scale which stored up information
and experience for the future. For instance the work done in trying
out small cooeperative experiments like that of Brook Farm has taught
the successors of the first community builders much that could only be
learned by practical experience, and not the least important of those
lessons has been how not to do it.

The land question, which could have troubled no American when in
earlier days he felt himself part proprietor in a new world, was
beginning to be a problem to try the mettle of the keenest thinkers
and the most eager reformers. And even so early as the beginning of
this second period there was to be seen on the social horizon a small
cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, which was to grow and grow till in
a few years it was to blot out of sight all other matters of public
concern. This was the movement for the abolition of slavery. Till that
national anachronism was at least politically and legally cleared out
of the way, there was no great amount of public interest or public
effort to be spared for any other subject. And yet were there any, on
either side of that great question, who guessed that the passing of
that even then belated institution was to give rise to and leave in
its train problems quite as momentous as the abolition of slavery, and
far more tremendous in their scope and range? By these problems we
have been faced ever since, and continue to be faced by them today.
To grant to any set of people nominal freedom, and deny them economic
freedom is only half solving the difficulty. To deny economic freedom
to the colored person is in the end to deny it to the white person,

The immediate cause which seems to have brought about the downfall of
the labor organizations of the first period (1825-1840) was the panic
of 1837, and the long financial depression which succeeded. We read,
on the other side of the water, of the "Hungry Forties," and although
no such period of famine and profound misery fell to the lot of the
people of the United States, as Great Britain and Ireland suffered,
the influence of the depression was long and widely felt in the
manufacturing districts of the Eastern states. Secondarily the workers
were to know of its effects still later, through the invasion of
their industrial field by Irish immigrants, starved out by that same
depression, and by the potato famine that followed it. These newcomers
brought with them very un-American standards of living, and flooded
the labor market with labor unskilled and therefore cheaper than the
normal native supply. When the year 1845 came it is to be inferred
that the worst immediate effects of the financial distress had passed,
for from then on the working-women made repeated efforts to improve
their condition. Baffled in one direction they would turn in another.

As earlier, there is a long series of local strikes, and another long
succession of short-lived local organizations. It is principally in
the textile trade that we hear of both strikes and unions, but also
among seamstresses and tailoresses, shoemakers and capmakers. New
York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Fall River and Lowell all
contributed their quota of industrial uprisings among the exasperated
and sorely pressed workers, with a sad similarity in the stories.

In a class by themselves, however, were the female labor reform
associations, which for some years did excellent work in widely
separated cities. These were strictly trade unions, in spite of their
somewhat vague name. They seem to have drawn their membership from the
workers in the local trades. That of Lowell, perhaps the best known,
originated among the mill girls, but admitted other workers. Lowell,
as usual, was to the fore in the quality of its women leaders. The
first president of the Association was the brilliant and able Sarah
G. Bagley. She and other delegates went before the Massachusetts
legislative committee in 1845, and gave evidence as to the conditions
in the textile mills. This, the first American governmental
investigation, was brought about almost solely in response to the
petitions of the working-women, who had already secured thousands of
signatures of factory operatives to a petition asking for a ten-hour

The Lowell Association had their correspondent to the _Voice of
Industry_, and also a press committee to take note of and contradict
false statements appearing in the papers concerning factory
operatives. They had most modern ideas on the value of publicity,
and neglected no opportunity of keeping, the workers' cause well in
evidence, whether through "factory tracts," letters to the papers,
speeches or personal correspondence. They boldly attacked legislators
who were false to their trust, and in one case, at least, succeeded
in influencing an election, helping to secure the defeat of William
Schouler, chairman of that legislative committee before which the
women delegates had appeared, which they charged with dishonesty in
withholding from the legislature all the most important facts brought
forward by the trade-union witnesses.

Other female labor reform associations existed about this period in
Manchester and Dover, New Hampshire. The first-named was particularly
active in securing the passage of the too soon wrecked ten-hour law.
In New York a similar body of women workers was organized in 1845 as
the Female Industrial Association. The sewing trades in many branches,
cap-makers, straw-workers, book-folders and stitchers and lace-makers
were among the trades represented. In Philadelphia the tailoresses in
1850 formed an industrial union. It maintained a cooeperative tailoring
shop, backed by the support of such cooeperative advocates as George
Lippard, John Shedden, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Oakes Smith. In
1853 the Industrial Union published a report of its activities,
showing that in two years the business had paid away in wages to
tailoresses more than four thousand dollars.

In the men's conventions of this time a number of women besides
the redoubtable Sarah Bagley took an active part, being seated as
delegates from their own labor reform associations. At the meeting in
1846 of the New England Workingmen's Association, for instance, Miss
Huldah J. Stone, of Lowell, was elected recording secretary, and Mrs.
C.N.M. Quimby was appointed one of the board of six directors. At all
the meetings of the New England Congress, which met several times a
year, the women's point of view was well presented by the delegates
from the various trades.

The National Industrial Congress, organized first in New York in 1845,
and which met yearly for the next ten years, was supposed to stand for
all the interests of the workingman and woman, but gave most of its
attention to the land question and other subjects of general reform.
This scattered the energies of the organizations and weakened their
power as trade unions. But in the long anti-slavery agitation, which
was just then rising to its height on the eve of the Civil War, even
the land question was forgotten, and the voice of the trade unionists,
speaking for man or woman, was utterly unheeded.

Imperfect as are the accounts that have come down to us, it is
clear that this second generation of trade unionists were educating
themselves to more competent methods of handling the industrial
problem. The women workers of Pittsburgh cooeperated with the women
of New England in trying to obtain from the manufacturers of their
respective centers a promise that neither group would work their
establishments longer than ten hours a day--this, to meet the ready
objection so familiar in our ears still, that the competition of
other mills would make the concession in one center ruinous to the
manufacturers who should grant it. This was the crowning effort of
the Pittsburgh mill-workers to obtain improvement. Strikes for higher
wages had failed. Strikes for a ten-hour day had failed. And now it is
pitiful to write that even this interstate cooeperation on the part of
the girls for relief by a peaceful trade agreement failed, too, the
employers falling back upon their "undoubted right" to run their
factories as many hours as they pleased.

The women then appealed to the legislatures, and between 1847 and
1851, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania all passed ten-hour
laws.[A] But they were not passed simultaneously, which gave the
employers in the particular state dealt with, the excuse that under
such legislation they could not face interstate competition in their
business, and since every law contained a saving clause permitting
contracting out by individual employers and employes, all these
beneficial acts were so much waste paper. The manufacturers expressed
themselves as willing enough to stand for the shorter work-day, but
absolutely declined to risk the loss of their business in competing
with those rival manufacturers who might take advantage of the "saving

[Footnote A: In the same year, 1847, a ten-hour law was passed in New
Hampshire and in Great Britain, with, however, very different outcome,
for in Great Britain the law was enforced, there being no complication
of state and national control there.]

For nearly fifty years after this period, the right to overwork
and the "right" to be overworked remained untouched by legislative
interference. And yet the need for labor legislation, restricting
hours, and for uniform federal legislation was as clearly evident then
as it is to us today, to meet the industrial needs and to satisfy the
undoubted rights of the working folk of the twentieth century.


The organization of labor upon a national basis really began during
this period. During the ten years from 1863 to 1873 there existed more
than thirty national trade unions. Of these only two, the printers and
the cigar-makers, admitted women to their membership. But in addition
the women shoemakers had their own national union, the Daughters of
St. Crispin. Women's unions of all sorts were represented in the
National Labor Union.

From this body women's local unions received every possible
encouragement. As far as I can understand, the National Labor Union
carried on little active work between conventions, but at these
gatherings it stood for equal pay for equal work, although, as it
appears to us, inconsistently and short-sightedly the delegates
refused to incorporate into their resolutions the demand for the
ballot as a needful weapon in the hands of women in their strivings
after industrial equality. The need for industrial equality had
been forced upon the apprehension of men unionists after they had
themselves suffered for long years from the undercutting competition
of women. That women needed to be strong politically in order that
they might be strong industrially was a step beyond these good

There were also two state labor unions, composed solely of women, the
Massachusetts Working-Women's League, and the Working-Women's Labor
Union for the state of New York.

But most of the organization work among women was still local in
character. The New England girl was now practically out of the
business, driven out by the still more hardly pushed immigrant. With
her departure were lost to the trades she had practiced the remnants
of the experience and the education several generations of workers had
acquired in trade unionism and trade-union policy and methods.

Still, at intervals and under sore disadvantages the poor newcomers
did some fighting on their own account. Although they were immigrants
they were of flesh and blood like their predecessors, and they
naturally rebelled against the ever-increasing amount of work that
was demanded of them. The two looms, formerly complained of, had now
increased to six and seven. The piece of cloth that used to be thirty
yards long was now forty-two yards, though the price per piece
remained the same. But strike after strike was lost. A notable
exception was the strike of the Fall River weavers in 1875. It was led
by the women weavers, who refused to accept a ten per cent. cut in
wages to which the men of the organization (for they were organized)
had agreed. The women went out in strike in the bitter month of
January, taking the men with them. The leaders selected three mills,
and struck against those, keeping the rest of their members at work,
in order to have sufficient funds for their purposes. Even so, 3,500
looms and 156,000 spindles were thrown idle, and 3,125 strikers were
out. The strike lasted more than two months and was successful.

Progress must have seemed at the time, may even seem to us looking
back, to be tantalizingly slow, but far oftener than in earlier days
do the annals of trade unionism report, "The strikers won." Another
feature is the ever-increasing interest and sympathy shown in such
industrial risings of the oppressed by a certain few among the more
fortunate members of society. One strike of cap-makers (men and
women), was helped to a successful issue by rich German bankers and
German societies.

The account of the condition of women in the sewing trades during
the sixties makes appalling reading. The wonder is not that
the organizations of seamstresses during those years were few,
short-lived, and attended with little success, but that among women so
crushed and working at starvation wages any attempt at organization
should have been possible at all. A number of circumstances combined
to bring their earnings below, far below, the margin of subsistence.
It was still the day of pocket-money wages, when girls living at home
would take in sewing at prices which afforded them small luxuries, but
which cut the remuneration of the woman who had to live by her needle
to starvation point.

It was still the period of transition in the introduction of the
sewing-machine. The wages earned under these circumstances were
incredibly low. The true sweating system with all its dire effects
upon the health of the worker, and threatening the very existence of
the home, was in full force. The enormous amount of work which was
given out in army contracts to supply the needs of the soldiers then
on active service in the Civil War, was sublet by contractors at the
following rates. The price paid by the Government for the making of
a shirt might be eighteen cents. Out of that all the worker would
receive would be seven cents. And cases are cited of old women,
presumably slow workers, who at these rates could earn but a dollar
and a half per week. Even young and strong workers were but little
better off. From innumerable cases brought to light $2 and $3 a week
seem to have been a common income for a woman. Some even "supported"
(Heaven save the mark!) others out of such wretched pittances.

Aurora Phelps, of Boston, a born leader, in 1869, gave evidence that
there were then in Boston eight thousand sewing-women, who did not
earn over twenty-five cents a day, and that she herself had seen the
time when she could not afford to pay for soap and firing to wash her
own clothes. She said that she had known a girl to live for a week on
a five-cent loaf of bread a day, going from shop to shop in search of
the one bit of work she was able to do. For by this time division of
work had come in, and the average machine operator was paid as badly
as the hand needlewoman.

The circumstance that probably more than any other accentuated this
terrible state of affairs was the addition to the ranks of the
wage-earners of thousands of "war widows." With homes broken up and
the breadwinner gone, these untrained women took up sewing as the only
thing they could do, and so overstocked the labor market that a
new "Song of the Shirt" rose from attic to basement in the poorer
districts of all the larger cities.

As early as 1864 meetings were held in order to bring pressure upon
the officials who had the giving out of the army contracts, to have
the work given out direct, and therefore at advanced prices to the
worker. Only three months before his death, in January, 1865, these
facts reached President Lincoln, and were referred by him to the
quartermaster with a request that "he should hereafter manage the
supplies of contract work for the Government, made up by women, so as
to give them remunerative wages for labor."

During these years a number of small unions were formed, some as far
west as Detroit and Chicago, but in almost every case the union later
became a cooeperative society. Some of them, we know, ceased to exist
after a few months. Of others the forming of the organization is
recorded in some labor paper, and after a while the name drops out,
and nothing more is heard of it.

Ten years later, in New York, there was formed a large, and for
several years very active association of umbrella-sewers. This
organization so impressed Mrs. Patterson, a visiting Englishwoman,
that when she returned home, she exerted herself to form unions among
working-women and encouraged others to do the same. It was through
her persistence that the British Women's Trade Union League came into

If the conditions in the sewing trades were at this period the very
worst that it is possible to imagine, so low that organization from
within was impossible, while as yet the public mind was unprepared to
accept the alternative of legislative interference with either hours
or wages, there were other trades wherein conditions were far more
satisfactory, and in which organization had made considerable

The Collar Laundry Workers of Troy, New York, had in 1866 about as bad
wages as the sewing-women everywhere, but they were spared the curse
of homework, as it was essentially a factory trade. The collars, cuffs
and shirts were made and laundered by workers of the same factories.
How early the workers organized is not known, but in the year 1866
they had a union so prosperous that they were able to give one
thousand dollars from their treasury towards the assistance of the
striking ironmolders of Troy, and later on five hundred dollars to
help the striking bricklayers of New York. They had in course of time
succeeded in raising their own wages from the very low average of
two dollars and three dollars per week to a scale ranging from eight
dollars to fourteen dollars for different classes of work, although
their hours appear to have been very long, from twelve to fourteen
hours per day. But the laundresses wanted still more pay, and in May,
1869, they went on strike to the number of four hundred, but after a
desperate struggle, in which they were supported by the sympathy of
the townspeople, they were beaten, and their splendid union put out of

Miss Kate Mullaney, their leader, was so highly thought of that in
1868 she had been made national organizer of women for the National
Labor Union, the first appointment of the kind of which there is any
record. She tried to save what she could out of the wreck of the
union by forming the Cooeperative Linen, Collar and Cuff Factory, and
obtained for it the patronage of the great department store of A.T.
Stewart, in Broadway.

The experiences of the women printers have been typical of the
difficulties which women have had to face in what is called a man's
trade of the highly organized class. The tragic alternative that is
too often offered to women, just as it is offered to any race or class
placed at an economic disadvantage, of being kept outside a skilled
trade, through the short-sighted policy of the workers in possession,
or of entering it by some back door, whether as mere undersellers or
as actual strike-breakers, is illustrated in all its phases in the
printing trade.

As early as 1856 the Boston Typographical Union seriously considered
discharging any member found working with female compositors. This
feeling, though not always so bluntly expressed, lasted for many
years. It was not singular, therefore, that under these circumstances,
employers took advantage of such a situation, and whenever it suited
them, employed women. These were not even non-unionists, seeing that
as women they were by the men of their own trade judged ineligible for
admission to the union. It is believed that women were thus the means
of the printers losing many strikes. In 1864 the proprietor of one of
the Chicago daily papers boasted that he "placed materials in remote
rooms in the city and there secretly instructed girls to set type, and
kept them there till they were sufficiently proficient to enter the
office, and thus enabled the employer to take a 'snap judgment' on his

After this a wiser policy was adopted by the typographical unions. The
keener-sighted among their members began not only to adopt a softer
tone towards their hardly pressed sisters in toil, but made it clear
that what they were really objecting to was the low wage for which
women worked.

The first sign of the great change of heart was the action of the
"Big Six," of New York, which undertook all the initial expenses
of starting a women's union. On October 12, 1868, the Women's
Typographical Union No. 1 was organized, with Miss Augusta Lewis as
president. Within the next three years women were admitted into the
printers' unions of Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
and Boston. Meantime, the Women's Typographical No. 1 was growing in
numbers and influence, and was evidently backed by the New York men's
union. It obtained national recognition on June 11, 1869, by receiving
a charter from the International Typographical Union of North America.
It was represented by two delegates at the International Convention
held in Cincinnati in 1870. One of these delegates was Miss Lewis
herself. She was elected corresponding secretary of the International
Union, and served, we are told, with unusual ability and tact. It is
less encouraging to have to add, that since her day, no woman has held
an international office.

The two contrary views prevailing among men unionists: that of the
man who said, "Keep women out at all hazards--out of the union,
and therefore out of the best of the trade, but out of the trade,
altogether, if possible," and that of the man who resigned himself to
the inevitable and contented himself with urging equal pay, and with
insisting upon the women joining the union, were never more sharply
contrasted than in the cigar-making trade. We actually find the
International Union, which after 1867 by its constitution admitted
women, being openly defied in this vital matter by some of its own
largest city locals. These were the years during which the trade was
undergoing very radical changes. From being a home occupation, or an
occupation carried on in quite small establishments, requiring very
little capital, it was becoming more and more a factory trade. The
levying by the government of an internal revenue tax on cigars, and
the introduction of the molding machine, which could be operated by
unskilled girl labor, seem to have been the two principal influences
tending towards the creation of the big cigar-manufacturing plant.

The national leaders recognized the full gravity of the problem,
and met it in a tolerant, rational spirit. Not so many of the local
bodies. Baltimore and Cincinnati cigar-makers were particularly
bitter, and the "Cincinnati Cigar-makers' Protective Union was for a
time denied affiliation with the International Union on account of its
attitude of absolute exclusion towards women."

In 1887 the Cincinnati secretary (judging from his impatience we
wonder if he was a very young man) wrote: "We first used every
endeavor to get women into the union, but no one would join, therefore
we passed the resolution that if they would not work with us we would
work against them; but I think we have taught them a lesson that will
serve them another time." This unhappy spirit Cincinnati maintained
for several years. The men were but building up future difficulties
for themselves, as is evident from the fact that in Cincinnati itself
there were by 1880 several hundred women cigar-makers, and not one of
them in a union.

As the Civil War had so profoundly affected the sewing trades, so
it was war, although not upon this continent, that added to the
difficulties of American cigar-makers. In the Austro-Prussian War,
the invading army entered Bohemia and destroyed the Bohemian cigar
factories. The workers, who, as far as we know, were mostly women, and
skilled women at that, emigrated in thousands to the United States,
and landing in New York either took up their trade there or went
further afield to other Eastern cities. This happened just about the
time that the processes of cigar-making were being subdivided and
specialized, so presently a very complicated situation resulted.
Finding the control of their trade slipping away from them, the
skilled men workers in the New York factories went out on strike, and
many of the Bohemian women, being also skilled, followed them, and so
it came about that it was American girls upon whom the manufacturers
had to depend as strike-breakers. Their reliance was justified. With
the aid of these girls, as well as that of men strike-breakers, the
employers gained the day.

To what extent even the more intelligent trade-union leaders felt true
comradeship for their women co-workers it is difficult to say. The
underlying thought may often have been that safety for the man lay in
his insisting upon just and even favorable conditions for women.
Even under conditions of nominal equality the woman was so often
handicapped by her physique, by the difficulty she experienced in
obtaining thorough training, and by the additional claims of her home,
that the men must have felt they were likely to keep their hold on the
best positions anyhow, and perhaps all the more readily with the union
exacting identical standards of accomplishment from all workers, while
at the same time claiming for all identical standards of wages.

There is certainly something of this idea in the plan outlined
by President Strasser of the International Cigar-makers, and he
represented the advance guard of his generation, in his annual report
in the year 1879.

"We cannot drive the females out of the trade but we can restrict this
daily quota of labor through factory laws. No girl under eighteen
should be employed more than eight hours per day; all overwork should
be prohibited; while married women should be kept out of factories at
least six weeks before and six weeks after confinement."

But it is a man's way out, after all, and it is the man's way still.
There is the same readiness shown today to save the woman from
overwork before and after confinement, although she may be thereby at
the same time deprived of the means of support, while there is no hint
of any provision for either herself or the baby, not to speak of other
children who may be dependent upon her. In many quarters today there
is the same willingness to stand for equal pay, but very little
anxiety to see that the young girl worker be as well trained as the
boy, in order that the girl may be able with reason and justice to
demand the same wage from an employer.



So little trace is left in the world of organized labor today of that
short-lived body, the Knights of Labor, that it might be thought
worthy of but slight notice in any general review.

But women have peculiar reason to remember the Knights, and to be
grateful to them, for they were the first large national organization
to which women were admitted on terms of equality with men, and in the
work of the organization itself, they played an active and a notable

From the year 1869 till 1878 the Knights of Labor existed as a secret
order, having for its aim the improvement of living conditions. Its
philosophy and its policy were well expressed in the motto, taken from
the maxims of Solon, the Greek lawgiver: "That is the most perfect
government in which an injury to one is the concern of all."

The career of the Knights of Labor, however, as an active force in the
community, began with the National Convention of 1878, from which time
it made efforts to cover the wage-earning and farming classes, which
had to constitute three-fourths of the membership. The organization
was formed distinctly upon the industrial and not upon the craft plan.
That is, instead of a local branch being confined to members of one
trade, the plan was to include representatives of different trades and
callings. That the fundamental interests of the wage-earner and the
farmer were identical, was not so much stated as taken for granted.
In defining eligibility for membership there were certain significant
exceptions made; the following, being considered as pursuing
distinctly antisocial occupations, were pointedly excluded: dealers
in intoxicants, lawyers, bankers, stock-brokers and professional

Women were first formally admitted to the order in September, 1881. It
is said that Mrs. Terence V. Powderly, wife of the then Grand Master
Workman, was the first to join. It is not known that any figures
exist showing the number of women who at any one time belonged to the
Knights of Labor, but Dr. Andrews estimates the number, about the year
1886, when the order was most influential, at about 50,000. Among this
50,000 were a great variety of trades, but shoe-workers must have
predominated, and many of these had received their training in trade
unionism among the Daughters of St. Crispin.

The Knights evidently took the view that the woman's industrial
problem must to a certain extent be handled apart from that of the
men, and more important still, that it must be handled as a whole.
This broad treatment of the subject was shown when at the convention
of 1885 it was voted, on the motion of Miss Mary Hannafin, a
saleswoman of Philadelphia, that a committee to collect statistics on
women's work be appointed. This committee consisted of Miss Hannafin
and Miss Mary Stirling, also of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Lizzie H.
Shute, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, who were the only women delegates
to the Convention.

At the next convention, held in 1886 in Richmond, Virginia, there were
sixteen women delegates, out of a total of six hundred. Mr. Terence
V. Powderly, Grand Master Workman, appointed the sixteen women as
a committee to receive and consider the report of this previously
appointed special committee of three. The result of their
deliberations was sufficiently remarkable. They set an example to
their sex in taking the free and independent stand they did. For they
announced that they had "formed a permanent organization, the object
of which will be to investigate the abuses to which our sex is
subjected by unscrupulous employers, to agitate the principle which
our order teaches of equal pay for equal work and abolition of child
labor." They also recommended that the expenses of this new woman's
department and the expenses of a woman investigator should be borne by
the order. The report was adopted and the memorable Woman's Department
of the Knights of Labor was created. Memorable for the purpose and
the plan that underlay its foundation, it was also memorable for the
character and achievements of the brilliant, able and devoted woman
who was chosen as general investigator.

Mrs. Leonora Barry was a young widow with three children. She had
tried to earn a living for them in a hosiery mill at Amsterdam, New
York. For herself her endeavor to work as a mill hand was singularly
unfortunate, for during her first week she earned but sixty-five
cents. But if she did not during that week master any of the processes
concerned in the making of machine-made stockings, she learned a good
deal more than this, a good deal more than she set out to learn. She
learned of the insults young girls were obliged to submit to on pain
of losing their jobs, and a righteous wrath grew within her at the
knowledge. During this hard time also she heard first of the Knights
of Labor, and having heard of them, she promptly joined. As she was
classified at the 1886 convention as a "machine hand," it is probable
that she had by this time taken up her original trade.

For four years Mrs. Barry did fine work. She combined in a remarkable
degree qualities rarely found in the same individual. She followed in
no one's tracks, but planned out her own methods, and carried out a
campaign in which she fulfilled the duties of investigator, organizer
and public lecturer. This at a time when the means of traveling were
far more primitive than they are today; and not in one state alone,
for she covered almost all the Eastern half of the country. We know
that she went as far west as Leadville, Colorado, because of the
touching little story that is told of her visit there. In that town
she had founded the Martha Washington Assembly of the Knights of
Labor, and when she left she was given a small parcel with the request
that she would not open it until she reached home. But, as she tells
it herself,

    My woman's curiosity got the better of me, and I opened the
    package, and found therein a purse which had been carried for
    fifteen years by Brother Horgan, who was with us last year,
    and inside of that a little souvenir in the shape of five
    twenty-dollar gold pieces. You say that I was the instrument
    through whose means the Martha Washington Assembly was organized.
    This is partially true, but it is also true that the good and true
    Knights of Leadville are as much the founder as I am.

She possessed a social vision, and saw the problems of the wrongs of
women in relation to the general industrial question, so that in her
organizing work she was many-sided. The disputes that she was forever
settling, the apathy that she was forever encountering, she dealt with
in the tolerant spirit of one to whom these were but incidents in the
growth of the labor movement. In dealing with the "little ones" in
that movement we hear of her as only patient and helpful and offering
words of encouragement, however small the visible results of her
efforts might be.

But towards those set in high places she could be intensely scornful,
as for instance when she is found appealing to the order itself,
asking that "more consideration be given, and more thorough
educational measures be adopted on behalf of the working-women of our
land, the majority of whom are entirely ignorant of the economic and
industrial question, which is to them of vital importance, and they
must ever remain so while the selfishness of their brothers in toil
is carried to such an extent as I find it to be among those who have
sworn to demand equal pay for equal work. Thus far in the history of
our order that part of our platform has been but a mockery of the
principle intended."

Mrs. Barry started out to make regular investigations of different
trades in which women were employed, in order that she might
accurately inform herself and others as to what actual conditions
were. But here she received her first serious check. She had no legal
authority to enter any establishment where the proprietor objected,
and even in other cases, where permission had been given, she
discovered afterwards to her dismay that her visits had led to the
dismissal of those who had in all innocence given her information,
as in the case quoted of Sister Annie Conboy, a worker in a mill, in
Auburn, New York. But little was gained by shutting out such a bright
and observant woman. Mrs. Barry's practical knowledge of factory
conditions was already wide and her relations with workers of the
poorest and most oppressed class so intimate that little that she
wanted to know seems to have escaped her, and she was often the
channel through which information was furnished to the then newly
established state bureaus of labor.

Baffled, however, in the further carrying out of her plans for a
thorough, and for that day, nation-wide investigation, she turned her
attention mainly to education and organizing, establishing new local
unions, helping those already in existence, and trying everywhere
to strengthen the spirit of the workers in striving to procure for
themselves improved standards.

In her second year of work Mrs. Barry had the assistance of a most
able headquarters secretary, Mary O'Reilly, a cotton mill hand from
Providence, Rhode Island. During eleven months there were no fewer
than three hundred and thirty-seven applications for the presence
of the organizer. Out of these Mrs. Barry filled two hundred and
thirteen, traveling to nearly a hundred cities and towns, and
delivering one hundred public addresses. She was in great demand as a
speaker before women's organizations outside the labor movement, for
it was just about that time that women more fortunately placed were
beginning to be generally aroused to a shamefaced sense of their
responsibility for the hard lot of their poorer sisters. Thus she
spoke before the aristocratic Century Club of Philadelphia, and
attended the session of the International Women's Congress held in
Washington, D.C., in March and April, 1887.

The wages of but two dollars and fifty cents or three dollars for a
week of eighty-four hours; the intolerable sufferings of the women and
child wage-earners recorded in her reports make heart-rending reading
today, especially when we realize how great in amount and how
continuous has been the suffering in all the intervening years.
So much publicity, however, and the undaunted spirit and unbroken
determination of a certain number of the workers have assuredly had
their effect, and some improvements there have been.

Speeding up is, in all probability, worse today than ever. It is
difficult to compare wages without making a close investigation in
different localities and in many trades, and testing, by a comparison
with the cost of living, the real and not merely the money value of
wages, but there is a general agreement among authorities that
wages on the whole have not kept pace with the workers' necessary
expenditures. But in one respect the worker today is much better off.
At the time we are speaking of, the facts of the wrong conditions,
the low wages, the long hours, and the many irritating tyrannies the
workers had to bear, only rarely reached the public ear. Let us thank
God for our muck-rakers. Their stories and their pictures are all the
while making people realize that there is such a thing as a common
responsibility for the wrongs of individuals.

Here is a managerial economy for you. The girls in a corset factory in
Newark, New Jersey, if not inside when the whistle stopped blowing (at
seven o'clock apparently) were locked out till half-past seven, and
then they were docked two hours for waste power.

In a linen mill in Paterson, New Jersey, we are told how in one branch
the women stood on a stone floor with water from a revolving cylinder
flying constantly against the breast. They had in the coldest weather
to go home with underclothing dripping because they were allowed
neither space nor a few moments of time in which to change their

Mrs. Barry's work, educating, organizing, and latterly pushing forward
protective legislation continued up till her marriage with O.R. Lake,
a union printer, in 1890, when she finally withdrew from active
participation in the labor movement.

Mrs. Barry could never have been afforded the opportunity even to set
out on her mission, had it not been for the support and cooeperation of
other women delegates. The leaders in the Knights of Labor were ahead
of their time in so freely inviting women to take part in their
deliberations. It was at the seventh convention, in 1883, that
the first woman delegate appeared. She was Miss Mary Stirling, a
shoe-worker from Philadelphia. Miss Kate Dowling, of Rochester, New
York, had also been elected, but did not attend. Next year saw two
women, Miss Mary Hannafin, saleswoman, also from Philadelphia, and
Miss Louisa M. Eaton, of Lynn, probably a shoe-worker. During the
preceding year Miss Hannafin had taken an active part in protecting
the girls discharged in a lock-out in a Philadelphia shoe factory, not
only against the employer, but even against the weakness of some of
the men of her own assembly who were practically taking the side of
the strike-breakers, by organizing them into a rival assembly. The
question came up in the convention for settlement, and the delegates
voted for Miss Hannafin in the stand she had taken.

It was upon her initiative, likewise, at the convention in the
following year, that the committee was formed to collect statistics
of women's work, and in the year after (1886), it was again Miss
Hannafin, the indefatigable, backed by the splendid force of sixteen
women delegates, who succeeded in having Mrs. Barry appointed general

One of the most active and devoted women in the Knights of Labor was
Mrs. George Rodgers, then and still of Chicago. For a good many years
she had been in a quiet way educating and organizing among the girls
in her own neighborhood, and had organized a working-women's union
there. For seven years she attended the state assembly of the Knights
of Labor, and was judge of the district court of the organization.
But it is by her attendance as one of the sixteen women at the 1886
National Convention, which was held in Richmond, Virginia, that she is
best remembered. She registered as "housekeeper" and a housekeeper
she must indeed have been, with all her outside interests a busy
housemother. There accompanied her to the gathering her baby of two
weeks old, the youngest of her twelve children. To this youthful trade
unionist, a little girl, the convention voted the highest numbered
badge (800), and also presented her with a valuable watch and chain,
for use in future years.

One cannot help suspecting that such an unusual representation of
women must have been the reward of some special effort, for it was
never repeated. Subsequent conventions saw but two or three seated to
plead women's cause. At the 1890 convention, the occasion on which
Mrs. Barry sent in her letter of resignation, there was but one woman
delegate. She was the remarkable Alzina P. Stevens, originally a mill
hand, but at this time a journalist of Toledo, Ohio. The men offered
the now vacant post of general investigator to her, but she declined.
However, between this period and her too early death, Mrs. Stevens was
yet to do notable work for the labor movement.

During the years that the Knights of Labor were active, the women
members were not only to be found in the mixed assemblies, but between
1881 and 1886 there are recorded the chartering of no fewer than one
hundred and ninety local assemblies composed entirely of women. Even
distant centers like Memphis, Little Rock and San Francisco were drawn
upon, as well as the manufacturing towns in Ontario, Canada. Besides
those formed of workers in separate trades, such as shoe-workers, mill
operatives, and garment-workers, there were locals, like the federal
labor unions of today, in which those engaged in various occupations
would unite together. Some of the women's locals existed for a good
many years, but a large proportion are recorded as having lapsed or
suspended after one or two years. Apart from the usual difficulties in
holding women's organizations together, there is no doubt that many
locals, both of men and of women, were organized far too hastily,
without the members having the least understanding of the first
principles of trade unionism, or indeed of any side of the industrial

The organizers attempted far too much, and neglected the slow, solid
work of preparation, and the no less important follow-up work; this
had much to do with the early decline of the entire organization. The
women's end of the movement suffered first and most quickly. From 1890
on, the women's membership became smaller and smaller, until practical
interest by women and for women in the body wholly died out.

But the genuine workers had sown seed of which another movement was to
reap the results. The year 1886 was the year of the first meeting
of the American Federation of Labor as we know it. With its gradual
development, the growth of the modern trade-union movement among women
is inextricably bound up.



As the Knights of Labor declined, the American Federation of Labor was
rising to power and influence. It was at first known as the Federation
of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada,
and organized under its present name in 1886. For some time the
Knights of Labor and the younger organization exchanged greetings and
counsel, and some of the leaders cherished the expectation that the
field of effort was large enough to give scope to both. The American
Federation of Labor, being a federation of trade unions, kept well in
view the strengthening of strictly trade organizations. The Knights,
as we have seen, were on the other hand, far more loosely organized,
containing many members, both men and women, and even whole
assemblies, outside of any trade, and they were therefore inclined to
give a large share of their attention to matters of general reform,
outside of purely trade-union or labor questions. It was the very
largeness of their program which proved in the end a source of
weakness, while latterly the activities of the organization
became clogged by the burden of a membership with no intelligent
understanding of the platform and aims.

But although the absence of adequate restrictions on admission to
membership, and the ease of affiliation, not to speak of other
reasons, had led to the acceptance of numbers of those who were only
nominally interested in trade unionism, it had also permitted the
entry of a band of women, not all qualified as wage-workers, but
in faith and deed devoted trade unionists, and keenly alive to the
necessity of bringing the wage-earning woman into the labor movement.
The energies of this group were evidently sadly missed during the
early years of the American Federation of Labor.

The present national organization came into existence in 1881, under
the style and title of the Federation of Trades and Labor Unions of
the United States and Canada. It reorganized at the convention of
1886, and adopted the present name, the American Federation of Labor.
It was built up by trade-union members of the skilled trades, and to
them trade qualifications and trade autonomy were essential articles
of faith. This was a much more solid groundwork upon which to raise a
labor movement. But at first it worked none too well for the women,
although as the national organizations with women members joined the
Federation the women were necessarily taken in, too. Likewise they
shared in some, at least, of the benefits and advantages accruing from
the linking together of the organized workers in one strong body. But
the unions of which the new organization was composed in these early
days were principally unions in what were exclusively men's trades,
such as the building and iron trades, mining and so on. In the trades,
again, in which women were engaged, they were not in any great numbers
to be found in the union of the trade. So the inferior position held
by women in the industrial world was therefore inevitably reflected in
the Federation. It is true that time after time, in the very earliest
conventions, resolutions would be passed recommending the organization
of women. But matters went no further.

In 1882 Mrs. Charlotte Smith, president and representative of an
organization styled variously the Women's National Labor League, and
the Women's National Industrial League, presented a memorial to the
Convention of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (the
Federation's name at that time), asking for the advice, assistance and
cooeperation of labor organizations. She mentioned that in 1880, there
were recorded 2,647,157 women as employed in gainful occupations. A
favorable resolution followed. At the convention of 1885, she was
again present, and was accorded a seat without a vote. On her request
again the delegates committed themselves to a resolution favoring the
organization of women.

In 1890 Delegate T.J. Morgan, of Chicago, introduced, and the
convention passed, a resolution, favoring the submission to Congress
of an amendment extending the right of suffrage to women. At this
convention appeared the first fully accredited woman delegate, Mrs.
Mary Burke, of the Retail Clerks, from Findlay, Ohio. A resolution was
introduced and received endorsement, but no action followed. It
asked for the placing in the field of a sufficient number of women
organizers to labor in behalf of the emancipation of women of the
wage-working class.

In 1891 there were present at the annual convention of the American
Federation of Labor Mrs. Eva McDonald Valesh and Miss Ida Van Etten.
A committee was appointed with Mrs. Valesh as chairman and Miss Van
Etten as secretary. They brought in a report that the convention
create the office of national organizer, the organizer to be a woman
at a salary of twelve hundred dollars a year and expenses, to be
appointed the following January, and that the constitution be so
amended that the woman organizer have a seat on the Executive Board.
The latter suggestion was not acted upon. But Miss Mary E. Kenney of
the Bindery Women (now Mrs. Mary Kenney O'Sullivan) was appointed
organizer, and held the position for five months. She attended the
1892 convention as a fully accredited delegate. Naturally she could
produce no very marked results in that brief period, and the remark
is made that her work was of necessity of a pioneer and missionary
character rather than one of immediate results--a self-evident
commentary. Later women were organizers for brief periods, one being
Miss Anna Fitzgerald, of the National Women's Label League.

As years passed on, and the American Federation of Labor grew by the
affiliation of almost all the national trade unions, it became the one
acknowledged central national body. Along with the men, such women
as were in the organizations came in, too. But it was only as a rare
exception that we heard of women delegates, and no woman has ever yet
had a seat upon the Executive Board, although women delegates have
been appointed upon both special and standing committees.

The responsibility for this must be shared by all. It is partly an
outgrowth of the backward state of the women themselves. They are at
a disadvantage in their lack of training, their lower wages and their
unconsciousness of the benefits of organization; also owing to the
fact that such a large number of women are engaged in the unskilled
trades that are hardest to organize. On the other hand, neither the
national unions, the state and central bodies, nor the local unions
have ever realized the value of the women membership they actually
have, nor the urgent necessity that exists for organizing all
working-women. To their own trade gatherings even, they have rarely
admitted women delegates in proportion to the number of women workers.
Only now and then, even today, do we find a woman upon the executive
board of a national trade union, and when it comes to electing
delegates to labor's yearly national gathering, it is men who are
chosen, even in a trade like the garment-workers, in which there is a
great preponderance of women.

Of the important international unions with women members there are but
two which have a continuous, unbroken history of over fifty years.
These are the Typographical Union, dating back to 1850, and the Cigar
Makers' International Union, which was founded in 1864.

Other international bodies, founded since, are:

  Boot and Shoe Workers' Union.                        1889
  Hotel and Restaurant Employes Union.                 1890
  Retail Clerks' International Protective Association. 1890
  United Garment Workers of America.                   1891
  International Brotherhood of Bookbinders.            1892
  Tobacco Workers' International Union.                1895
  International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.        1900
  Shirt, Waist and Laundry Workers International U'n.  1900
  United Textile Workers' Union.                       1901
  International Glove Workers' Union of N. America.    1902

One group of unions, older than any of these, dating back to 1885, are
the locals of the hat trimmers. These workers belong to no national
organization, and it is only recently that they have been affiliated
with the American Federation of Labor. They are not, as might be
judged from the title, milliners; they trim and bind men's hats. They
cooeperate with the Panama and Straw Hat Trimmers and Operators. In New
York the hat trimmers and the workers in straw are combined into one
organization, under the name of the United Felt, Panama and Straw Hat
Trimmers' and Operators' Union of Greater New York. The Hat Trimmers
are almost wholly a women's organization, and their affairs are
controlled almost entirely by women. The various locals cooeperate with
and support one another. But in their stage of organization this group
of unions closely resembles the local unions, whether of men or
women, which existed in so many trades before the day of nation-wide
organizations set in. Eventually it must come about that they join the
national organization. Outside of New York there are locals in New
Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The parent union is that of
Danbury, Connecticut.

The girl hat-trimmers, under the leadership of Melinda Scott, of
Newark and New York, have during the last ten years improved both
wages and conditions and have besides increased their numbers and
aided in forming new locals in other centers. They are known in the
annals of organized labor chiefly for the loyalty and devotion they
showed during the strike of the Danbury hatters in 1909. They not only
refused, to a girl, to go back to work, when that would have broken
the strike, but time after time, when money was collected and sent to
them, even as large a sum as one thousand dollars, they handed it
over to the men's organizations, feeling that the men, with wives
and children dependent upon them, were in even greater need than
themselves. "Seeing the larger vision and recognizing the greater
need, these young women gave to the mother and the child of their
working brothers. Although a small group, there is none whose members
have shown a more complete understanding of the inner meaning of trade
unionism, or a finer spirit of self-sacrifice in the service of their

When we try to estimate the power of a movement, we judge it by its
numbers, by its activities, and by its influence upon other movements.

As to the numbers of women trade unionists, we have very imperfect
statistics upon which to base any finding. If the statistics kept by
the Labor Bureau of the state of New York can be taken as typical of
conditions in other parts of the country, and they probably can,
the proportion of women unionists has not at all kept pace with the
increasing numbers of men organized. In 1894 there were in that state
149,709 men trade unionists, and 7,488 women. In 1902 both had about
doubled their numbers--these read: men, 313,592; women, 15,509. By
1908, however, while there were then of men, 363,761, the women had
diminished to 10,698. Since then, we have to note a marked change,
beginning with 1910, and continuing ever since. In 1913 the unionized
men reached 568,726, and the women 78,522. The increase of men in
the organized trades of the state during the twelvemonth preceding
September 30, 1913, was twenty per cent., while of women it was
one hundred and eleven per cent. This enormous increase, more than
doubling the entire union strength among women, is mainly due to the
successful organization in the garment trades in New York City.

So far there has been no adequate investigation covering the
activities of women in the labor world during the last or modern
period. We know that after the panic of 1893, which dealt a blow to
trade unionism among men, the movement among women was almost at a
standstill. We may feel that the international unions have failed to
see the light, and have mostly fallen far short of what they might
have done in promoting the organization of women workers; but we must
acknowledge with thankfulness the fact that they have at least kept
alive the tradition of trade unionism among women, and have thus
prepared the way for the education and the organization of the women
workers by the women workers themselves.

As to legislation, the steady improvement brought about through the
limitation of hours, through modern sanitary regulations, and through
child-labor laws, has all along been supported by a handful
of trade-union women, working especially through the national
organizations, in which, as members, they made their influence felt.

There were always brave souls among the women, and chivalrous souls,
here and there among the men, and the struggles made to form and keep
alive tiny local unions we shall probably never know, for no complete
records exist. The only way in which the ground can be even partially
covered is by a series of studies in each locality, such as the one
made by Miss Lillian Matthews, through her work in San Francisco.

In this connection it must be remembered that those uprisings among
women of the last century, were after all local and limited in
their effects and range. Most of them bore no relation to national
organization of even the trade involved, still less to an
all-embracing, national labor organization, such as the American
Federation of Labor. In these earlier stages, when organization of
both men and women was mainly local, women's influence, when felt
at all, was felt strongly within the locality affected, and it is
therefore only there that we hear about it.

Still, twenty-five years ago, the day of national organization had
already dawned. To organize a trade on a national scale is at best a
slow process, and it naturally takes a much longer time for women to
influence and enter into the administrative work of a national union,
than of a separate local union, which perhaps they have helped to
found. They are therefore too apt to lose touch with the big national
union, and even with its local branch in their own city. It is almost
like the difference between the small home kitchen, with whose
possibilities a woman is familiar, and the great food-producing
factory, run on a business scale, whose management seems to her
something far-removed and unfamiliar. It was not until 1904, when the
National Women's Trade Union League was formed out of unions with
women members, that women workers, as women, can be said to have begun
national organization at all. The account of that body is reserved for
another chapter.

Meanwhile as instances of the many determined localized efforts among
women to raise wages and better conditions, there follow here outlines
of the formation of the Working Women's Society in New York, the
successful organization of the Laundry Workers in San Francisco, and
of the splendid but defeated struggle of the girls in the packing
plants of Chicago.

In 1886 a small body of working-women, of whom Leonora O'Reilly was
one, began holding meetings on the. East Side of New York City, to
inquire into and talk over bad conditions, and see how they could be
remedied. They were shortly joined by some women of position, who saw
in this spontaneous effort one promising remedy, at least for some of
the gross evils of underpayment, overwork and humiliation suffered by
the working-women and girls of New York, in common with those in
every industrial center. Among those other women who thus gave their
support, and gave it in the truly democratic spirit, were the famous
Josephine Shaw Lowell, Mrs. Robert Abbe, Miss Arria Huntingdon and
Miss L.S. Perkins, who was the first treasurer of the little group.
Mrs. Lowell's long experience in public work, and her unusual
executive ability were of much value at first. The result of the
meetings was the formation of the Working Women's Society. They held
their first public meeting on February 2, 1888. In their announcement
of principles they declared "the need of a central society, which
shall gather together those already devoted to the cause of
organization among women, shall collect statistics and publish facts,
shall be ready to furnish information and advice, and, above all,
shall continue and increase agitation on this subject." Among their
specific objects were "to found trade organizations, where they do not
exist, and to encourage and assist existing labor organizations, to
the end of increasing wages and shortening hours." Another object was
to promote the passing and the enforcement of laws for the protection
of women and children in factories, and yet another the following up
of cases of injustice in the shops.

The Working Women's Society gave very valuable aid in the
feather-workers' strike. Without the Society's backing the women could
never have had their case put before the public as it was. Again, it
was through their efforts, chiefly, that the law was passed in 1890,
providing for women factory inspectors in the state of New York. It is
stated that this was the first law of the kind in the world, and that
the British law, passed shortly afterwards, was founded upon its

Not limiting itself to helping in direct labor organization, and
legislation, the Working Women's Society undertook among the more
fortunate classes a campaign of sorely needed education, and made upon
them, at the same time, a claim for full and active cooeperation in the
battle for industrial justice.

This was done through the foundation of the Consumers' League of New
York, now a branch of the National Consumers' League, which has done
good and faithful service in bringing home to many some sense of
the moral responsibility of the purchaser in maintaining oppressive
industrial conditions, while, on the other hand it has persistently
striven for better standards of labor legislation. It was through the
Consumers' League, and especially through the ability and industry of
its notable officer, Josephine Goldmark, that the remarkable mass of
information on the toxic effects of fatigue, and the legislation
to check overwork already in force in other countries was brought
together in such complete form, as to enable Louis Brandeis to
successfully defend the ten-hour law for women, first for Oregon, and
afterwards for Illinois. The Working Women's Society did its work at a
time when organization for women was even more unpopular than today.
It did much to lessen that unpopularity, and to hearten its members
for the never-ending struggle. All its agitation told, and prepared
the way for the Women's Trade Union League, which, a decade later,
took up the very same task.

In the year 1900, the status of the steam-laundry-workers of San
Francisco was about as low as could possibly be imagined. White men
and girls had come into the trade about 1888, taking the place of
the Chinese, who had been the first laundrymen on the West Coast.
Regarding their treatment, Miss Lillian Ruth Matthews writes:

    The conditions surrounding the employment of these first white
    workers were among those survivals from the eighteenth century,
    which still linger incongruously in our modern industrial
    organization. The "living-in" system was the order, each laundry
    providing board and lodging for its employes. The dormitories were
    wretched places, with four beds in each small room. The food was
    poor and scanty, and even though the girls worked till midnight or
    after, no food was allowed after the evening meal at six o'clock.
    Half-an-hour only was allowed for lunch. Early in the morning, the
    women were routed out in no gentle manner and by six o'clock the
    unwholesome breakfast was over, and every one hard at work....
    The girls were physically depleted from their hard work and poor
    nourishment. Their hands were "blistered and puffed, their feet
    swollen, calloused, and sore." One girl said, "Many a time I've
    been so tired that I hadn't the courage to take my clothes off.
    I've thrown myself on the bed and slept like dead until I got so
    cold and cramped that at two or three in the morning I'd rouse
    up and undress and crawl into bed, only to crawl out again at
    half-past five."

As to wages, under the wretched "living-in" system the girls received
but eight dollars and ten dollars a month in money. But even those who
lived at home in no instance received more than twenty-five dollars
a month, and in many cases widows with children to support would be
trying to do their duty by their little ones on seventeen dollars and
fifty cents a month.

In the summer of 1900, letters many of them anonymous, were received
both by the State Labor Commissioner and by the newspapers. A reporter
from the _San Francisco Examiner_ took a job as a laundry-worker, and
published appalling accounts of miserable wages, utter slavery as to
hours and degrading conditions generally. Even the city ordinance
forbidding work after ten at night (!) was found to be flagrantly
violated, the girls continually working till midnight, and sometimes
till two in the morning.

The first measure of improvement was the passing of a new ordinance,
forbidding work after seven in the evening. The workers, however,
promptly realized that the more humane regulation was likely to be as
ill enforced as the former one had been unless there was a union to
see that it was carried out.

About three hundred of the men organized, and applied to the Laundry
Workers' International Union for a charter. The men did not wish
to take the women in, but the executive board of the national
organization, to their everlasting credit, refused the charter unless
the women were taken in as well. Even so, a great many of the women
were too frightened to take any steps themselves, as the employers
were already threatening with dismissal any who dared to join a union,
but the most courageous of the girls, with the help of some of the
best of the men resolved to go on. Hannah Mahony, now Mrs. Hannah
Nolan, Labor Inspector, took up the difficult task of organizing. So
energetic and successful was she, that in sixteen weeks the majority
of the girls, as well as the men, had joined the new union. It was all
carried out secretly, and only when they felt themselves strong enough
did they come out into the open with a demand for a higher wage-scale
and shorter hours.

By April 1, 1901, the conditions in the laundry industry were
effectually revolutionized. The boarding system was abolished, wages
were substantially increased and the working day was shortened; girls
who had been receiving $8 and $10 a month were now paid $6 and $10 a
week; ten hours was declared to constitute the working day and nine
holidays a year were allowed. For overtime the employes were to be
paid at the rate of time and a half. An hour was to be taken at noon,
and any employe violating this rule was to be fined. The fine was
devised as an educative reminder of the new obligation the laborers
were under to protect one another, and to raise the standard of the
industry upon which they must depend for a living, so fearful was the
union that old conditions might creep insidiously back upon workers
unaccustomed to independence.

The next step was the nine-hour day, and this in good time was
obtained too, but only as the result of the power of the strong,
well-managed union.

The union was just five years old, when unheard-of disaster fell on
San Francisco, the earthquake and fire. Well indeed did the members
stand the test. Like their fellow-unionists, the waitresses, they
made such good use of their trade-union solidarity, and showed such
courage, wisdom and resource, that the union became even more to the
laundry-workers than it had been before this severe trial of its
worth. Two-thirds of the steam laundries had been destroyed, likewise
the union headquarters. Yet within a week all the camps and bread
lines had been visited, and members requested to register at the
secretary's home, and called together to a meeting.

Temporary headquarters were found and opened as a relief station,
where members were supplied with clothing and shoes. Within another
week the nine laundries that had escaped the fire resumed work, the
employes going back under the old agreement.

By the time the next April came round nine of the burnt laundries were
rebuilt, all on the most modern scale as to design and fittings, and
equipped with the very newest machinery. But still there were only
eighteen steam laundries to meet all San Francisco's needs, and
therefore business was very brisk. So in April, 1907, it seemed good
to the union leaders to try for better terms when renewing their
agreement. When they made their demand for the eight-hour day as well
as for increased wages, the proprietors refused, and eleven hundred
workers went out, the entire working force of fourteen laundries. The
other four laundries, with but two hundred workers altogether, had the
old agreement signed up, and kept on working. The strike lasted eleven
weeks, and cost the union over $24,000. Meanwhile the Conciliation
Committee of the Labor Council, after many conferences and much effort
succeeded in arranging a compromise, the working week to be fifty-one
hours, with a sliding scale under which the eight-hour day would
be reached in April, 1910. Work before seven in the morning was
prohibited, all time after five o'clock was considered overtime,
and must be paid for at time-and-a-half rate. The passing of the
eight-hour law in May, 1911, suggested to some ingenious employers a
method of getting behind their own agreement, at least to the extent
of utilizing their plant to the utmost. They accordingly proposed to
free themselves from any obligation to pay overtime, as long as the
eight consecutive hours were not exceeded. The leaders of the union
saw the danger lurking under this suggestion, in that it might mean
all sorts of irregular hours, or even a two-shift system, involving
perpetual night work, and going home from work long distances in the
middle of the night. After many months of haggling, the union won its
point. All work after five o'clock was to be paid at overtime rate,
with the exception of Monday, when the closing time was made six. This
because in all laundries there is apt to be delay in starting work on
Monday, as hardly any work can be done until the drivers have come in
from their first round, with bundles of soiled linen. This arrangement
remained in force at time of writing.

As regards wages, Miss Matthews estimates the average increase in the
twelve years since the Steam Laundry Workers' Union was first formed
at about thirty per cent. With the exception of the head marker, and
the head washer at the one end, each at twenty-two dollars and fifty
cents per week, and the little shaker girl on the mangle at seven
dollars per week at the other, wages range from eighteen dollars down
to eight dollars, more than the scale, however, being paid, it is
said, to every worker with some skill and experience. Apprentices are
allowed for in the union agreement.

The union does not permit its members to work at unguarded machinery,
hence accidents are rare, and for such as do happen, usually slight
ones, like burns, the union officials are inclined to hold the workers
themselves responsible.

All of the steam laundries in San Francisco, now thirty-two in number,
are unionized, including the laundries operated in one of the largest
hotels. The union regards with just pride and satisfaction the fine
conditions, short hours and comparatively high wages which its trade
enjoys, as well as the improved social standards and the spirit of
independence and cooeperation which are the fruit of these many years
of union activity.

But outside the labor organization, and at once a sad contrast and a
possible menace, lie two groups of businesses, the French laundries
and the Japanese laundries. The former are mostly conducted on the
old, out-of-date lines of a passing domestic industry, housed in
made-over washrooms and ironing rooms, equipped with little modern
machinery, most of the work being done by hand, and the employes being
often the family or at least the relatives of the proprietor. In their
present stage it is quite difficult to unionize these establishments
and they do cut prices for the proprietors of the steam laundries.

But both steam laundries and French laundries, both employers and
workers, both unionists and non-unionists are at least found in
agreement in their united opposition to the Japanese laundries, from
whose competition all parties suffer, and in this they are backed
by the whole of organized labor. The possibility of unionizing the
Japanese laundries is not even considered.

The story of the Steam Laundry Workers' Union of San Francisco is an
encouraging lesson to those toilers in any craft who go on strike. But
it also holds for them a warning. A successful strike is a good thing,
for the most part, but its gains can be made permanent only if, when
the excitement of the strike is over, the workers act up to their
principles and keep their union together. The leaders must remember
that numbers alone do not make strength, that most of the rank and
file, and not unfrequently the leaders too, need the apprenticeship
of long experience before any union can be a strong organization. The
union's choicest gift to its membership lies in the opportunity
thus offered to the whole of the members to grow into the spirit of

A few words should be said here of another strike among
laundry-workers, this time almost entirely women, which although as
bravely contested, ended in complete failure. This was the strike of
the starchers in the Troy, New York, shirt and collar trade. In the
Federal Report on the Condition of Women and Child Wage Earners, Mr.
W.P.D. Bliss gives a brief account of it. In 1905 the starchers
had their wages cut, and at the same time some heavy machinery was
introduced. The starchers went out, and organized a union, which over
one thousand women joined. They kept up the struggle from June, 1905,
throughout a whole summer, autumn and winter till March, 1906. It was
up till that time, probably the largest women's strike that had
ever taken place in this country and was conducted with uncommon
persistence and steadiness of purpose. They were backed by the
international union, and appointing a committee visited various
cities, and obtained, it is said, about twenty-five thousand dollars
in this way for the support of their members. Many meetings and street
demonstrations were held in Troy, and much bitter feeling existed
between the strikers and the non-union help brought in. The strike at
length collapsed; the firms continued to introduce more machinery,
and the girls had to submit. Mr. Bliss concludes: "The Troy union
was broken up and since then has had little more than a nominal

During the nineties there were a number of efforts made to organize
working-women in Chicago. Some unions were organized at Hull House,
where Mrs. Alzina P. Stevens and Mrs. Florence Kelley were then
residents. Mrs. George Rodgers (K. of L.), Mrs. Robert Howe, Dr.
Fannie Dickenson, Mrs. Corinne Brown, Mrs. T.J. Morgan, Mrs. Frank
J. Pearson, Mrs. Fannie Kavanagh and Miss Lizzie Ford were active
workers. Miss Mary E. Kenney (Mrs. O'Sullivan), afterwards the first
woman organizer under the American Federation of Labor, was
another. She was successful in reaching the girls in her own trade
(book-binding), besides those in the garment trades and in the shoe
factories, also in bringing the need for collective bargaining
strongly before social and settlement workers.

Chicago has long been the largest and the most important among the
centers of the meat-packing industry. None of the food trades have
received more investigation and publicity, and the need for yet
more publicity, and for stricter and yet stricter supervision is
perpetually being emphasized. But most of the efforts that have
been made to awake and keep alive a sense of public rights and
responsibility in the conducting of huge institutions like the Chicago
packing-plants, have centered on the danger to the health of the
consumer through eating diseased or decomposed meat. The public cares
little, and has not troubled to learn much about the conditions of the
workers, without whom there could be no stockyards and no meat-packing
industry. Not that some of the investigators have not tried to bring
this point forward. It was the chief aim of Upton Sinclair, when he
wrote "The Jungle," and yet even he discovered to his dismay that, as
he bitterly phrased it, he had hoped to strike at the heart of the
American people, and he had only hit them in their stomach.

But that is a story by itself. Let us go back to the brave struggle
begun by the women in the packing-plants in the year 1902 to improve
their conditions by organizing.

For a great many years prior to this, women had been employed in
certain branches of the work, such as painting cans and pasting on
labels. But towards the close of the nineties the packers began to put
women into departments that had always been staffed by men. So it was
when girls began to wield the knife that the men workers first began
to fear the competition of the "petticoat butchers." The idea of
organizing the girls, were they painters or butchers, as a way of
meeting this new menace, did not occur to them.

At this time, in the fall of 1902, the oldest and best workers were
Irish girls, with all the wit and quickness of their race. Especially
was Maggie Condon a favorite and a leader. She was an extremely quick
worker. With the temperament of an idealist, she took a pride in her
work, liked to do it well, and was especially successful in turning
out a great amount of work. Quicker and quicker she became till, on
the basis of the good wages she was making, she built up dreams of
comfort for herself and her family. One of her choicest ambitions was
to be able to afford a room of her own. But just so surely as she
reached the point where such a luxury would be possible, just so
surely would come the cut in wages, and she had to begin this driving
of herself all over again. Three times this happened. When her well
and hardly earned twenty-two dollars was cut the third time Maggie
realized that this was no way to mend matters. The harder she worked,
the worse she was paid! And not only was she paid worse, she who as
one of the best workers could stand a reduction better than most, but
the cut went all down the line, and affected the poorest paid and the
slowest workers as well.

Hannah O'Day was not one of the quick ones. Her strength had been too
early sapped. There was no child-labor law in Illinois when she should
have been at school, and at eleven she was already a wage-earner.
Along with the rest she also had suffered from the repeated cuts that
the pace-making of the ones at the top had brought about. It was
evident that something must be done. Maggie Condon, Hannah O'Day and
some of the others, began, first to think, and then to talk over the
matter with one another. They knew about the Haymarket trouble. There
were rumors of a strike the men had once had. They had heard of the
Knights of Labor, and wrote to someone, but nothing came of it. So
one day, when there was more than usual cause for irritation
and discouragement, what did Hannah O'Day do but tie a red silk
handkerchief to the end of a stick. With this for their banner and the
two leaders at their head, a whole troop of girls marched out into

The strike ended as most such strikes of the unorganized, unprepared
for, and unfinanced sort, must end, in failure, in the return to work
on no better terms of the rank and file, and in the black-listing of
the leaders. But the idea of organization had taken root, and this
group of Irish girls still clung together. "We can't have a union,"
said one, "but we must have something. Let us have a club, and we'll
call it the Maud Gonne Club." This is touching remembrance of the
Irish woman patriot.

Time passed on, and one evening during the winter of 1903 Miss Mary
McDowell, of the University of Chicago Settlement, was talking at a
Union Label League meeting, and she brought out some facts from what
she knew of the condition of the women workers in the packing-houses,
showing what a menace to the whole of the working world was the
underpaid woman. This got into the papers, and Maggie Condon and her
sister read it, and felt that here was a woman who understood. And she
was in their own district, too.

So it came about that the Maud Gonne Club became slowly transformed
into a real union. This took quite a while. The girls interested used
to come over once a week to the Settlement, where Michael Donnelly
was their tutor and helper. Miss McDowell carefully absented herself,
feeling that she wanted the girls to manage their own affairs, until
it transpired that they wished her to be there, and thought it strange
that she should be so punctilious. After that she attended almost
every meeting. When they felt ready, they obtained the charter with
eight charter members and were known as Local 183 of the Amalgamated
Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America. Little by little
the local grew in numbers. One July night the meeting was particularly
well attended and particularly lively, none the less so that
the discussion was carried on to the accompaniment of a violent
thunderstorm, the remarks of the excitable speakers being punctuated
by flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder. The matter under
consideration was to parade or not to parade on the coming Labor Day.
The anxious question to decide was whether they could by their
numbers make an impression great enough to balance the dangers of the
individual and risky publicity.

The vote was cast in favor of parading. When the day came the affair
was an entire success. Two wagons gaily trimmed were filled with girls
in white dresses, carrying banners and singing labor songs. The happy
results were seen at subsequent meetings of the union, for after that
other girls from other than the Irish group came in fast, peasant
girls, wearing their shawls, and colored girls, till, when the union
was six months old, it had five hundred members. The initiation of
the first colored girl was a touching occasion. Hannah O'Day had been
present at one of the men's meetings, on an evening when it had been
a colored man who at the ceremony of initiation had presented white
candidates for membership, and the sense of universal brotherhood had
then come over her as a sort of revelation. And there were others who
felt with her. One night, Hannah being doorkeeper at her own union
meeting, a colored girl applied to be admitted. Hannah called out:
"A colored sister is at the door; what'll I do with her." It was the
young president herself, Mollie Daley, though she had been brought up
to think of colored folks as "trash," who, with a disregard of strict
parliamentary law, but with a beautiful cordiality, broke in with: "I
say, admit her at once, and let yez give her a hearty welcome." The
girl who was very dark, but extremely handsome, had been not a little
nervous over the reception that might await her. She was quite
overcome when she found herself greeted with hearty applause.

On another occasion, on the question being asked from the ritual: "Any
grievances?" a sensitive colored girl arose, and said a Polish girl
had called her names. The Polish girl defended herself by saying:
"Well, she called me Polak, and I won't stand for that." The president
summoned them both to the front. "Ain't you ashamed of yourselves?"
She proceeded: "Now shake and make up, and don't bring your grievances
here, unless they're from the whole shop."

The girls had good training in union principles from the first, so
that if their phrases were sometimes a trifle crude, they were none
the less the expression of genuine good sense. For instance, some
complaint would be brought forward, and in the early days the question
would come: "Is this your own kick, or is it all of our kick?" A sound
distinction to make, quite as sound as when later on, the officers
having learned the formal phrases, they would put it in another
way, and say: "Is this a private grievance or is it a collective

Instead of the old hysterical getting mad, and laying down their tools
and walking out, when things did not go right, grievances were now
taken to the union, and discussed, and if supported by the body, taken
to the foreman and managers by the business agent, Maud Sutter.

From the beginning the women delegates from Local 183 to the Packing
Trades Council of Chicago were on an equality with the men, and girl
delegates attended the convention of the National Association at
Cincinnati and also at St. Louis.

It is sad to record that through no fault of their own, the girls'
organization met an early downfall. It passed out of existence after
the stockyards' strike of 1904, being inevitably involved in the
defeat of the men, and going down with them to disaster.

The Irish leadership that produced such splendid results, is now, in
any case, not there to be called upon, as the girls now employed in
the packing-plants of Chicago are practically all immigrant girls from
eastern Europe. When the present system of unorganized labor in the
trade is abolished, as some day it must be, it will only be through a
fresh beginning among an altogether different group, that it will be
possible to reach the women.

But the spirit that permeated Local 183 has never wholly died in the
hearts of those who belonged to it, and it springs up now and then
in quarters little expected, calling to remembrance Maggie Condon's
reason for pushing the union of which she was a charter member and the
first vice-president. "Girls, we ought to organize for them that comes
after us."



One of the least encouraging features of trade unionism among women
in the United States has been the small need of success which has
attended efforts after organization in the past, especially the lack
of permanence in such organizations as have been formed. In the brief
historical review it has been shown how fitful were women's first
attempts in this direction, how limited the success, and how temporary
the organizations themselves.

It is true there is an essential difference between the loose and
momentary cooeperation of unorganized workers aiming at the remedying
of special grievances, and disbanding their association whenever that
particular struggle is over, and a permanent organization representing
the workers' side all the time and holding them in a bond of mutual
helpfulness. Most of the strikes of women during the first half of the
last century, like many today, sprang from impatience with intolerable
burdens, and the "temporary union," often led by some men's
organization, merely dissolved away with the ending of the strike,
whether successful or not. But altogether apart from such sporadic
risings as these, there were, as we have seen, from a very early
period, genuine trade unions composed of working-women.

The Women's Trade Union League is the first organization which has
attempted to deal with the whole of the problems of the woman in
industry on a national scale. As we have seen, there have been,
besides the many women's unions, and the men's unions to which women
have been and are admitted, the large body, the Women's National Union
Label League, and a number of women's auxiliaries in connection with
such unions as the Switchmen, the Machinists, and the Typographical
Union. The Women's Union Label League has, however, devoted most
of its energies to encouraging the purchase and use of union-made
products. The women's auxiliaries have been formed from the wives of
men from that particular union. They have often maintained a fund for
sick and out-of-work members and their families, and have besides
furnished a social environment in which all could become better
acquainted, and they would besides take an active part in the
entertainment of a national convention, whenever it came to their
city. But except indirectly, none of these associations have aided in
the organization of women wage-earners, still less have taken it for
their allotted task. Perhaps earlier, the formation of such a body
as the National Women's Trade would have been impracticable. But it
certainly responds to the urgent needs of today, and is, after all,
but a natural development of the trade-union movement, with especial
reference to the crying needs of women and children in the highly
specialized industries.

The individual worker, restless under the miseries of her lot, and
awakening also, it may be, to a sense of the meaning of our industrial
system, learns to see the need of the union of her trade. When she
does so, she has taken a distinct step forward. If an extensive trade,
the local is affiliated with the international, but neither local nor
international, as we shall see, as yet grant to the woman worker the
same attention as they give to the man, because to men trade unionists
the men's problems are the chief and most absorbing. So what more
natural than that women belonging to various unions should come
together to discuss the problems that are common to them all as
women workers, whatever their trade, and aid one another in their
difficulties, cooeperate in their various activities, and thus, also,
be able to present to their brothers the collective expression of
their needs? Upon this simple basis is the local Women's Trade Union
League formed. Linking together the organized women of the same
city, it brings them, through the National League, into touch and
communication with the trade-union women in other cities.

While it is true that organization can neither be imposed nor forced
upon any group, it is no less true that when girls are ready such a
compact body, founded upon so broad a basis, can bring about results
both in the line of education and organization which no other branch
of the labor movement is equipped or fitted to do. And many labor
leaders, who have sadly enough acknowledged that the labor movement
that did not embrace women was like a giant carrying one arm in a
sling, have already gratefully admitted that such a league of women's
unions can produce results under circumstances where men, unaided,
would have been helpless.

For the origin of the Women's Trade Union League, we must go back to
1874, when Mrs. Emma Patterson, the wife of an English trade unionist
and herself deeply impressed with the deplorable condition of women
wage-earners everywhere, was on a visit to the United States. The
importance of combination as a remedy was freshly brought home to her
through what she saw of the women's organizations then most prominent
and flourishing in New York, the Parasol and Umbrella Makers' Union,
the Women's Typographical Union, and the Women's Protective Union.
She returned to England with a plan for helping women workers to help
themselves. Shortly afterwards she and others whom she interested
formed the Women's Protective and Provident League, the title later
on being changed to the bolder and more radical British Women's Trade
Union League, a federation of women's unions, with an individual
membership as well. It is known to the public on this side of the
water through the visits of Mary Macarthur, its very able secretary.

This body had been in existence nearly thirty years before the
corresponding organization was formed in this country. About 1902 Mr.
William English Walling had his attention drawn to what the British
Women's Trade Union League was accomplishing among some of the poorest
working-women in England.

He mentioned what he had learned to others. Among the earliest to
welcome the idea of forming such a league was Mrs. Mary Kenney
O'Sullivan, a bindery-worker of Boston, long in touch with the labor
movement. In the fall of 1903 the American Federation of Labor was
holding its annual convention in that city. The presence of so many
labor leaders seemed to make the moment a favorable one. A meeting of
those interested was called in Faneuil Hall on November 14. Mr. John
O'Brien, president of the Retail Clerks' International Protective
Union, presided. Among the trades represented were the Ladies' Garment
Workers, the United Garment Workers, the Amalgamated Meat Cutters
and Butcher Workmen, Clerks, Shoe Workers and Textile Workers. The
National Women's Trade Union League was organized and the following
officers elected: president, Mrs. Mary Morton Kehew, Boston;
vice-president, Miss Jane Addams, Chicago; secretary, Mrs. Mary Kenney
O'Sullivan, Boston; treasurer, Miss Mary Donovan, Boot and Shoe
Workers; board members, Miss Mary McDowell, Chicago; Miss Lillian D.
Wald, New York; Miss Ellen Lindstrom, United Garment Workers; Miss
Mary Trites, Textile Workers; Miss Leonora O'Reilly, Ladies' Garment

The one main purpose of the new league, as of its British prototype,
was from the first the organization of women into trade unions, to
be affiliated with the regular labor movement, in this case with
the American Federation of Labor, and the strengthening of all such
organizations as already existed. While, as in England, the backbone
of the League was to consist of a federation of women's unions,
provision was made for taking into individual membership not only
trade unionists, but those women, and men too, who, although not
wage-earners themselves, believed that the workers should be organized
and were unwilling that those who toil should suffer from unjust

A branch of the National Women's Trade Union League was formed in
Chicago in January, 1904; another in New York in March of the same
year, and a third in Boston in June of the same year. With these three
industrial centers in line, the new campaign was fairly begun.

The first three years were occupied mainly with preparatory work,
becoming known to the unions and the workers, and developing
activities both through the office and in the field.

Early in 1907 Mrs. Raymond Robins, of Chicago, became National
President, a position which she has held ever since. To the tremendous
task of aiding the young organization till it was at least out of its
swaddling clothes she brought boundless energy and a single-minded
devotion which admitted of attention to no rival cause. Being a woman
of independent means, she was able to give her time entirely to the
work of the League. She would be on the road for weeks at a time,
speaking, interviewing working-women, manufacturers or legislators,
all the while holding the threads, organization here, legislation

But the first opportunity for the Women's Trade Union League to do
work on a large scale, work truly national in its results, came
with the huge strikes in the sewing trades of 1909-1911. To these a
separate chapter is devoted. It is sufficient here to say that the
backing given by the National League and its branches in New York, in
Philadelphia and in Chicago was in great part responsible for the very
considerable measure of success which has been the outcome of these
fierce industrial struggles. On the whole, the strikers gained much
better terms than they could possibly have done unassisted. Almost
entirely foreigners, they had no adequate means of reaching with their
story the English-speaking and reading public of their city. The
Leagues made it their particular business to see that the strikers'
side of the dispute was brought out in the press and in meetings and
gatherings of different groups. It is related of one manufacturer,
whose house was strike-bound, that he was heard one day expressing
to a friend in their club his bewilderment over the never-ending
publicity given to this strike in the daily newspapers, adding that it
was a pity; these affairs were always better settled quietly.

To win even from failure success, to win for success permanence, was
the next aim of the League, and nowhere has this constructive policy
of theirs brought about more significant results than in the aid which
they were able to give to the workers in the sewing trades. In New
York it was the League which made possible the large organizations
which exist today among the cloak-makers, the waist-makers and other
white-goods-workers. The League support during the great strikes, and
its continued quiet work after the strikes were over, first showed the
public that there was power and meaning in this new development, this
new spirit among the most oppressed women workers. The attitude of the
League also convinced labor men that this was no dilettante welfare
society, but absolutely fair and square with the labor movement. The
Chicago League, after helping in the same way in the garment-workers'
strike which is now in its fifth year, contributed towards bringing
about the agreement between the firm of Hart, Schaffner and Marx,
Chicago, and their employes, an agreement controlling the wages and
the working conditions of between 7,000 and 10,000 men and women, the
number varying with the season and the state of trade. The plan of
preference to unionists, which gives to this form of contract the name
of the "Preferential Shop," had its origin in Australia, where it is
embodied in arbitration acts, but in no single trade there had it been
applied on such a huge scale. The Protocol of Peace, which is a trade
agreement similar to that of the Hart, Schaffner and Marx employes,
and which came into force first in the cloak and suit industry in New
York after the strike of 1913, affects, it is stated, the enormous
number of 300,000 workers.[A]

[Footnote A: In May, 1915, the Protocol was set aside by the cloak and
suit manufacturers. A strike impended. Mayor Mitchel called a Council
of Conciliation, Dr. Felix Adler as chairman. Their report was
accepted by the union and finally by the employers, and industrial
peace was restored.]

Just as sound and important work is being done all the time with many
smaller groups. For instance, the straw-and panama-hat-makers of New
York tried to organize and were met by a number of the manufacturers
with a black list. A general strike was declared on February 14, 1913.
The League members were able to give very valuable aid to the strikers
by assisting in picketing and by attending the courts when the pickets
were arrested. This strike had to be called off, and was apparently
lost, but the union remains and is far stronger than before the strike
took place.

But better results even than this were gained in the strike in the
potteries in Trenton, New Jersey. The Central Labor Union of Trenton
and all the trade-union men in the city gave splendid cooeperation to
the strikers. They handed over the girls to the care of Miss
Melinda Scott, the League organizer, and under her directions the
inexperienced unionists did fine work and helped to bring about a
satisfactory settlement. This success gave heart of grace to the
girls in certain woolen and silk mills of Trenton. Wages there were
appalling. They varied from two dollars and fifty cents to eleven
dollars. Many children, nominally fourteen, but looking very young,
were employed. The owner of the factory at length consented to meet
the workers with the League organizer in conference at the New York
headquarters, and after several weeks the strike was settled on the
workers' terms.

The New York organizer also helped the Boston League in the strike of
the paper factories of Holyoke, Massachusetts. The cause of the strike
here was an arrangement under which eight girls could be got to do the
work of twelve. Here the workers actually stood up for a share of the
profits under the new arrangement, or else that the discharged girls
should be reinstated. The manufacturers chose the latter alternative.

The Candy Workers' Union in Boston was also formed through the Women's
Trade Union League. The girls had walked all over Boston for two days
asking policemen, carmen and anyone else who would listen to them how
to form a union. They had no umbrellas, and their shoes were dripping
with the wet. They were Jewish, Italian and American girls. As a
result of the organization formed they obtained a very material raise
in wages, the better allotment of work in the slack season and the
taking up of all disputed questions between the manufacturers and the

From experience gained during these gigantic industrial wars, the
National League has laid down definite conditions under which its
locals may cooeperate with unions in time of strike. These take part
only in strikes in which women are involved, and then only after
having been formally invited to assist, and on the understanding that
two League representatives may attend all executive meetings of the
strikers' union. It has been found that the lines in which the aid of
the Women's Trade Union League is of most value to any exploited group
are these: (1) organization and direction of public opinion; (2)
patrolling the streets; (3) fair play in the courts; (4) help in the
raising of funds through unions and allies; (5) where workers are
unorganized, help in the formation of trade-union organization.

The League workers thus make it their business to open up channels of
publicity, at least giving the papers something to talk about, and
reaching with the strikers' side of the story, churches, clubs, and
other associations of well-meaning citizens, who are not at all in
touch with organized labor. Allies, in particular, can do much to
preserve traditions of fair play, in regard to the use of the streets
for peaceful picketing. By providing bonds for girls arrested,
lawfully or unlawfully, and by attending in person such cases when
these come up in court, they are standing for the principles of

In addition, the local leagues are willing to take charge of the
arrangements under which girls are sent to other unions, asking for
moral and financial aid. Men trade unionists long ago discovered how
irresistible a pleader the young girl can be, but they are not always
equally impressed with the need of safeguarding the girls, often
little more than children, chosen for these trying expeditions, and
sent off alone, or at best, two together, to distant industrial
centers. The working-girl needs no chaperon, but equally with her
wealthier sister, she does require and ought to receive motherly care
and oversight. She is perhaps leaving home for the first time, and
there should be someone to see to it that when she arrives in a
strange city a comfortable and convenient lodging-place has been found
for her. She should be shown how to conserve her strength in finding
her way from one locality to another in following up the evening
meetings of unions, and she should have some woman to turn to if she
should become sick. Points, all of these, the busy secretaries of
central labor bodies may very easily overlook, accustomed as they are
to deal with mature men, in the habit of traveling about the country,
who may surely be left to take care of themselves.

The activities of the local leagues vary in detail in the different
cities. In all there are monthly business meetings, the business
run by the girls, with perhaps a speaker to follow, and sometimes
a program of entertainment. Lectures on week evenings, classes and
amusements are provided as far as workers and funds permit. The first
important work among newly arrived women immigrants in the Middle West
was done by the Chicago League, and this laid the groundwork for the
present Immigrants' Protective League. Headquarters are a center for
organizing, open all the time to receive word of struggling unions,
helping out in difficulties, counseling the impulsive, and encouraging
the timid. When a group of workers see for themselves the need of
organization, a body of experienced women standing ready to mother a
new little union, the hospitable room standing open, literally night
and day, can afford the most powerful aid in extending organization
among timid girls. If courage and daring are needed in this work,
courage to stand by the weak, daring to go out and picket in freezing
weather with unfriendly policemen around, patience is if possible more
essential in the organizer's make-up. It often takes months of
gentle persistence before the girls, be they human-hair-workers or
cracker-packers, or domestic workers or stenographers, see how greatly
it is to their own interest to join or to form a labor organization.
Many locals formed with so much thought and after so much pains, drop
to pieces after a few months or a year or two. That is a universal
experience in the labor movement everywhere. But it does not therefore
follow that nothing has been gained. Even a group so loosely held
together that it melts away after the first impulse of indignation
has died out is often successful in procuring shorter hours or better
wages or improved conditions for the trade or shops of their city.
Besides each individual girl has had a little bit of education in what
cooeperation means, and what collective bargaining can do. The League
itself is a reminder, too, that all working-girls have many interests
in common, whatever their trade.

But besides aiding in the forming of new locals, the Women's Trade
Union League can be a force strengthening the unions already
established. Each of the leagues has an organization committee, whose
meetings are attended by delegates from the different women's trades.
These begin mostly as experience meetings, but end generally in either
massing the effort of all on one particular union's struggle, or
in planning legislative action by which all women workers can be

In New York and Boston, Chicago and St. Louis and Kansas City the
local leagues have in every case had a marked effect upon industrial
legislation for women. They have been prime movers in the campaigns
for better fire protection in the factories in both New York and
Chicago, and for the limitation of hours of working-women in the
states of New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Missouri, and for
minimum-wage legislation in Massachusetts and Illinois.

In every one of these states the Women's Trade Union League has first
of all provided an opportunity for the organized women of different
trades to come together and decide upon a common policy; next, to
cooeperate with other bodies, such as the State Federation of Labor,
and the city centrals, the Consumers' League, the American Association
for Labor Legislation, and the women's clubs, in support of such
humane legislation. Much of the actual lobbying necessary has been
done by the girls themselves, and they have exercised a power out
of all proportion to their numbers or the tiny treasury at their
disposal. No arguments of sociologists were half so convincing to
legislators or so enlightening to the public as those of the girls who
had themselves been through the mill. "Every hour I carry my trays I
walk a mile," said Elizabeth Maloney of the Waitresses' Union. "Don't
you think that eight hours a day is enough for any girl to walk?"

When we turn to the National League itself, if there is less to record
of actual achievement, there are possibilities untold. Never before
have all the work of this country had an organization, open to all,
with which to express themselves on a national scale.

Early in 1905 the Executive Board of the League appointed a committee
with Mary McDowell chairman to secure the cooeperation of all
organizations interested in the welfare of woman in demanding a
federal investigation and report upon the conditions of working-women
and girls in all the principal industrial centers. Miss McDowell
called to her aid all the forces of organized labor, the General
Federation of Women's Clubs and other women's associations, the social
settlements and church workers. So strengthened and supported, the
committee then went to Washington, and consulted with President
Roosevelt and the then Commissioner of Labor, Dr. Charles P. Neill.

Miss McDowell, more than any other one person, was responsible for the
passing in 1907 of the measure which authorized and the appropriation
which made possible the investigation which during the next four
years the Department of Commerce and Labor made. The result of that
investigation is contained in the nineteen volumes of the report.

The first gatherings of any size at which League members met
and conferred together were the interstate conferences, held
simultaneously in Boston, New York and Chicago, the first in the
summer of 1907 and the second in 1908. The former was the first
interstate conference of women unionists ever held in the United
States, and it was therefore a most notable event. Especially was it
interesting because of the number of women delegates who came from
other states, and from quite distant points, Boston drawing them from
the New England states, New York from its own extensive industrial
territory, and Chicago from the Middle West. Inspired by what she
heard in Chicago, Hannah Hennessy went back to found the St. Louis
Women's Trade Union League. It was at the first interstate conference,
also, that a committee was appointed to wait upon the American
Federation of Labor Executive Board, during the Norfolk Convention
in November, 1907. The Illinois State Committee of the Women's Trade
Union League, whose fine legislative work helped to secure the passage
of the present ten-hour law for women, also grew out of the discussion
which came up in the Chicago conference.

The lines on which the League is developing can be observed through
the work done and reported upon at the biennial conventions of which
five have been held. The first, at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1907, was
an informal gathering of but seven delegates, women who had been
attending the convention of the American Federation of Labor of that
year. Subsequent conventions have taken place every two years since
then. These have been held in Chicago, Boston and St. Louis and New
York respectively. On each occasion about seventy delegates have
reported. They are certainly a picked lot of girls. They are trained,
trained not in fancy debate, but in practical discussion. They have
met with employers in trade conferences where an error in statement or
a hasty word might mean a cut in wages or an increase in hours for
two years to come. They have met with their fellow-workers in union
meetings, where, if a girl aspires to lead her sisters or brothers,
she has to show both readiness of wit and good-humored patience in
differing from the others.

These women are growing too, as all must grow who live on life's
firing line, and shrink not from meeting the very hardest problems of
today. The working-woman, in her daily struggle comes up against every
one of them, and not one can be evaded.

Industrial legislation, judicial decisions, the right to organize, the
power to vote, are to the awakened working-woman not just academic
questions, but something that affects her wages, her hours. They may
mean enough to eat, time to rest, and beyond these home happiness and
social freedom.

In two directions especially can the growing importance of the women's
trade-union movement be observed: on the one hand in the incessant
appeals, coming from all over the continent, to the National League,
for advice and assistance in organizing women into the local unions
of their trade; on the other in the degree in which it is gradually
coming to be recognized by public men, by politicians, by business
men, as well as by students and thinkers, that it is to organized
women they must turn, whenever they want an authoritative expression
as to the working-women's needs and desires.

Two sets of resolutions discussed and passed by the fourth biennial
convention of the National Women's Trade Union League, held in 1913,
were afterwards published broadcast over the country, and have been
of marked educational value. The one pleaded for the speedy
enfranchisement of women for these reasons: because the most costly
production and the most valuable asset of any nation is its output of
men and women; because the industrial conditions under which more than
six million girls and women are forced to work is an individual and
social menace; and because working-women as an unenfranchised class
are continually used to lower the standards of men. The League
in particular protested against the ill-judged activities of the
anti-suffrage women, "a group of women of leisure, who by accident of
birth have led sheltered and protected lives, and who never through
experience have had to face the misery that low wages and long hours

This stirring, appeal made a profound impression on suffragists and
anti-suffragists alike, in the labor world, and amid the general
public. It was of course hotly resented by that small group of women
of privilege, who think they know better than working-women what are
the needs of working-women. Its deep significance lay in that it was
a voice from the voiceless millions. It gave many pause to think and
catch, as they had never caught before, the vital meaning underlying
the demand for the vote.

The other series of resolutions expressed no less forcefully the
women's consciousness of the intimate connection between education and
labor, and pressed home the fact that organized laboring-women are
watchful of the work being done in our public schools, and are anxious
that it should be brought and kept up to the level of present-day
needs. As is mentioned elsewhere, these resolutions laid special
stress upon the necessity of making all courses of industrial training
coeducational, of including in them the history of the evolution of
industry, and the philosophy of collective bargaining, and of insuring
that all boys and girls, before they leave school to go to work,
have a knowledge of the state and federal laws that exist for their
protection. These resolutions were sent to 1,075 boards of education
in the United States. Replies have been received from twenty-six
boards in fifteen states. Of these fourteen already have vocational
training in their schools, two are planning such training, and six
referred the resolutions to committees. Of those having training in
the schools, thirteen have courses open to both boys and girls, and
one has courses for girls exclusively, but is planning to open a
school for boys.

The National League for four years published its own magazine, _Life
and Labor_, with a double function; on the one hand as the organ of
the League activities, and the expression of the members' views; on
the other as a running diary of what was happening in the world of
working-women, for the information of students and of all interested
in sociological matters.

In the chapter on The Woman Organizer allusion is made to the efforts
of the League to train women as trade-union organizers. Miss Louisa
Mittelstadt, of Kansas City, and Miss Myrtle Whitehead, of Baltimore,
belonging to different branches of the Brewery Workers, came to
Chicago to be trained in office and field work, and are now making
good use of their experience. One was sent by the central labor body,
and the other by the local league. Miss Fannie Colin was a third
pupil, a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers, from New
York City.

A word in conclusion regarding some of the typical leaders who are
largely responsible for the policy of the League, and are to be
credited in no small measure with its successes.

After Mrs. Raymond Robins, the national president, already spoken of,
and standing beside her as a national figure comes Agnes Nestor, of
Irish descent, and a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, upon whose
slight shoulders rest alike burdens and honors. Both she bears
calmly. She is a glove-worker, and the only woman president of an
international union. She is both a member of the National Executive
Board of the Women's Trade Union League, and the president of the
Chicago League, and she has served as one of the two women members of
the Federal Commission on Industrial Education. She has done fine work
as a leader in her own city of Chicago, but neither Chicago, nor even
Illinois, can claim her when the nation calls.

Melinda Scott is English by birth, belongs to New York, and has
achieved remarkable results in her own union of the hat-trimmers. It
is not during the exciting stage of a perhaps spectacular strike that
Miss Scott shines; it is during the weary time when only patience and
endurance can hold the girls together, and afterwards, when, whether
the strike is lost or won, enthusiasm is apt to flag, and when
disputes bid fair to break down the hardly won agreement.

Initiated at sixteen into the Knights of Labor, Leonora O'Reilly took
the vows that she has ever since kept in the spirit and in the letter.
After many years spent as a garment-worker, she became a teacher in
the Manhattan Trade School for Girls. She was one of the charter
members of the New York Women's Trade Union League and has always been
one of its most effective speakers. Leonora and her Celtic idealism
have made many converts.

Russia in America is embodied in Rose Schneidermann. She is the living
representative of the gifts that the Slavic races, and especially
the Russian Jew, have contributed to American life. Coming here in
childhood, her life has been spent in New York.

As an example of her achievements, for four years she worked
untiringly among the white-goods-workers of New York, until they
were strong enough to call a general strike, a strike which was so
successful that they won a great part of their demands, and ever since
have held their union together, seven thousand strong. Penetrated with
the profound sadness of her people, and passionately alive to the
workers' wrongs, Rose Schneidermann can stir immense audiences, and
move them to tears as readily as to indignation. For her all the hope
of the world's future is embodied in two movements, trade unionism on
the one hand and socialism on the other.


Women picking rags collected from households. These rags have neither
been cleaned nor disinfected and give off dust at every handling.]


The New York League owes much of its success to Mary Dreier, the
sister of Mrs. Raymond Robins. She was its president for several
years, and by her perseverance and devotion, did much to build up the
organization in its early days.

The rest of the League leaders must be summed up even more briefly.
Mary Anderson, a member of the Boot and Shoe Workers' International
Board, is of Scandinavian origin, and has all the steadfastness of the
Swedes. Another very excellent organizer and much-loved trade unionist
is Emma Steghagen, also of the Boot and Shoe Workers, and for seven
years secretary of the Chicago League. She may be called the League
veteran, for her association with trade unionism began with the
Knights of Labor. Others are Mary McEnerney, Mary Haney, Hilda

Elizabeth Maloney, she of the snapping eyes and fervent heart,
marshals her waitresses through strike after strike against grinding
employers, or she eloquently pleads their cause, whether in the state
legislature, or with her own International, at the convention of
the Hotel and Restaurant Employes, if the men show themselves a bit
forgetful, as they sometimes do, of the girls' interest.

Nelle Quick, bindery woman, has been transferred from her trade-union
activities in St. Louis to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the state
of Missouri.

From among clerical workers came into the League women who have
left their mark, Helen Marot and Alice Bean, of New York, and Mabel
Gillespie, of Boston, while Stella Franklin, the Australian, for long
held the reins of the national office in Chicago.

Gertrude Barnum, who graduated into trade unionism from settlement
work, and Josephine Casey, of the Elevated Railroad Clerks, are two
who were long actively associated with the Woman's Trade Union League,
but of late years both have been organizers under the International of
the Ladies' Garment Workers.

Among the allies, the non-wage-earners, are Mary Dreier, president of
the New York League, who was also the only woman member of the New
York State Factory Investigating Commission; Mrs. Glendower Evans,
notable for her service in advancing legislation for the minimum wage;
Mary McDowell, of the University of Chicago Settlement, mother of
the stockyards folk, beloved of the Poles and the Bohemians and the
Ruthenians, who cross the ocean to settle on the desolate banks of
Bubbly Creek. Mrs. D.W. Knefler, of St. Louis, did pioneering work for
girlish trade unionism in that conservative city.

Miss Gillespie, the Secretary of the Boston Women's Trade Union
League, has been for years its main standby. Working in cooeperation
with the young president, Miss Julia O'Connor, of the Telephone
Operators, her influence in the labor movement is an important factor
in the Massachusetts situation. She is a member of the State Minimum
Wage Commission.

Young as is the League, some most heroic members have already passed
into the unseen. Adelaide Samuels was a teacher in the public schools
who, in the day of very small things for the New York League, acted as
treasurer and chairman of the label committee. In her scant leisure
she worked patiently towards the end that girls in the poorest trades
should win for themselves the power of making the collective bargain.
She died before she could have seen any tangible results from her

Hannah Hennessy, who carried away from the first interstate conference
in Chicago a vision in her heart of a Women's Trade Union League in
every large city, a few years later laid down her life as the result
of the hardships endured while picketing on behalf of the Marx and
Haas strikers. Her youth had slipped away, and her strength had been
sapped by weary years as an ill-paid garment-worker, so that exposure
to cold and wet found her power of resistance gone, and a few weeks
later she was no more.

At the other end of the social scale, but thrilled with the same
unselfish desire to better the conditions of the girl toilers, stood
Carola Woerishofer, the rich college girl, who, once she was committed
to the cause, never spared herself, picketing today, giving bonds
tomorrow for the latest prisoner of the strike, spending a whole hot
summer in a laundry, that she might know first-hand what the toiler
pays that we may wear clean clothes. And so on, until the last
sad scene of all, when on duty as inspector of the New York State
Immigration Bureau, her car capsized, and Carola Woerishofer's brief,
strenuous service to humanity was ended.

From yet another group came Frances Squire Potter, formerly professor
of English Literature in the University of Minnesota, who a few
years ago became profoundly impressed with the unfair and oppressive
conditions under which working-women live and toil. Thus was she led
far away from academic fields, first into suffrage work, and later
into the National Women's Trade Union League. Until her health gave
way, about a year before her death, she acted as official lecturer for
the League. Through her unique gifts as a speaker, and her beautiful
personality, she interpreted the cause of the working-woman to many
thousands of hearers. She was also departmental editor of _Life and
Labor_, the League's magazine.

Great have been the vicissitudes of the labor movement among men, but
for many years now, the tendency towards national cohesion has been
growing. This tendency has been greatly strengthened by the rapid
development, and at the same time, the cheapening of the means of
transport and communication between distant regions of the country.

In the advantages arising from this general growth of the labor
movement, both in its local activities and on its national side, women
workers have indeed shared. This is true, both on account of the
direct benefits accruing to them through joining mixed organizations,
or being aided by men to form separate organizations of their own,
and also through the vast assistance rendered by organized labor in
obtaining protective legislation for the most utterly helpless and
exploited toilers, for example, the child-labor laws which state after
state has placed upon the statute book, sanitary regulations, and laws
for the safeguarding of machinery dangerous to workers.

Still, compared with the extensive movement among men, in which the
women have been more or less a side issue, feminine trade unionism has
been but fitful in its manifestations, and far indeed from keeping
pace with the rate at which women have poured into the industrial
field. The youth of a large number of the girl workers, and the fact
that, as they grow up, so many of them pass out of the wage-earning
occupations, marriage, and the expectation of marriage, the main
obstacles that stand in the way today in getting women to organize and
to hold their unions together, furnish also the underlying causes of
the want of continuity of the trade-union movement among women since
it first began in the United States in the early part of the last
century. The too frequent change in the personnel of the members, and
therefore in the composition of the union itself, means an absence
of the permanence of spirit which is an essential condition for the
handing on in unbroken succession of standards of loyalty and esprit
de corps.

It is continuity that has rendered possible all human progress,
through the passing on from all of us to our successors, of each
small acquirement, of each elevation of standard. Where, but for
such continuity would be the college spirit, that descends upon and
baptizes the newcomer as he enters the college gates? Where, but for
continuity would be the constantly rising standards of morality and
social responsibility? Where, but for continuity would be national
life and all that makes patriotism worthy? Where, indeed, would be
humanity itself?

The average man is a wage-earner, and as such a fit subject for
organization. If extensive groups of men remain unorganized, the
responsibility lies partly on the trade unions, and is partly
conditioned by our social and political environment. But either way, a
man is a trade unionist or he is not. The line is clear cut, and trade
unions therefore admit no one not actually a worker in their own

But it is not so with women. Outside the wage-earning groups there
is the great bulk of married women, and a still considerable, though
ever-lessening number of single women, who, although productive
laborers, are yet, owing to the primitive and antiquated status of
home industry, not acknowledged as such in the labor market. Not
being remunerated in money, they are not considered as wage-earners.
(Witness the census report, which, in omitting those performing unpaid
domestic duties from the statistics of gainful occupations, does but
reflect the tragic fact that woman's home work has no money value and
confirms the popular impression that "mother doesn't work.")

Yet another force to be reckoned with in estimating the difficulties
which stand in the way of unionizing women is the widespread hostility
to trade unionism, as expressed through newspaper and magazine
articles, and through public speakers, both religious and secular. The
average girl, even more than the average man, is sensitive to public
opinion, as expressed through such accepted channels of authority. The
standards of public opinion have been her safeguard in the past, and
she still looks to them for guidance, not realizing how often such
commonly accepted views are misinterpretations of the problems she
herself has to face today. In the middle of the last century, a period
that was most critical for men's unions in England, a number of
leaders of public thought, men of influence and standing in the
community, such as Charles Kingsley, Frederick Denison Maurice and
others, came to the help of the men by maintaining their right to
organize. In the United States, during the corresponding stage of
extreme unpopularity, Horace Greeley, Charles A. Dana and Wendell
Phillips extended similar support to workingmen. We today are apt
to forget that women's unions with us are just now in the very same
immature stage of development, as men's unions passed through half a
century ago. The labor men of that day had their position immensely
strengthened by just such help afforded from outside their immediate
circle. It is therefore not strange that women's unions, at their
present stage of growth, should be in need of just such help.

To sum up, in addition to all the difficulties which have to be met
by men in the labor movement, women are at a disadvantage through the
comparative youth and inexperience of many female workers, through
their want of trade training, through the assumption, almost universal
among young girls, that they will one day marry and leave the trade,
and through their unconscious response to the public opinion which
disapproves of women joining trade unions.

It is then the lack of permanence, of continuity in spirit and in
concerted action, produced by all these causes, working together, and
the difficulties in the way of remedying this lack of permanence,
which this young organization, the National Women's Trade Union League
of America, has fully and fairly recognized, and which, with a courage
matched to its high purpose, it is facing and trying to conquer.

The Women's Trade Union League, while essentially a part of the labor
movement, has yet its own definite role to play, and at this point it
is well to note the response made by organized labor in supporting the
League's efforts. It works under the endorsement of both the American
Federation of Labor and the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada, and
has received in its undertakings the practical support, besides,
of many of the most influential of the international unions, in
occupations as different as those of the shoe-workers, the carpenters
and the miners. The rank and file of the local organizations, in city
after city, have given the same hearty and unqualified approval to the
League's pioneering work, in bringing the unorganized women and girls
into the unions, and in carrying on a constant educative work among
those already organized. As an instance of this openly expressed
approval, take the cordial cooeperation which the Chicago League has
ever received from the Chicago Federation of Labor and its allied
locals. But, owing to the complexity of women's lives, the varied
and inconsistent demands that are made upon their energies, the
organization of the League has to be somewhat different from that of
any body which labor men would have formed for themselves.

Locally the relationship varies. In St. Louis the League has never
been represented in the central body by its own delegates, but by
members representing primarily their own organizations, such as
Bindery Women and Boot and Shoe Workers. In Boston, New York and
Chicago each League is represented by its own delegates. In Kansas
City, Missouri, again, not only are the delegates of the League seated
in the central body, but every union of men in it pays a per capita
tax into the funds of the Kansas City Women's Trade Union League.

The National League receives a certain amount of financial support
from the American Federation of Labor, and from a number of the
international unions, several of the latter being affiliated with the
League. State federations, city central bodies, and local unions in
different parts of the country give similar cooeperation and money

As the labor movement is organized, it collects into suitable groups
the different classes of wage-earners. But the average housekeeping,
married woman, although both worker and producer, is not a
wage-earner, although more and more, as the home industries become
specialized is she becoming a wage-earner for at least part of her
time. But, as our lives are arranged at present the largest proportion
of married women and a considerable number of single women are
ineligible for admission as members of any trade union. Are
they therefore to be shut out from the labor movement, and from
participation in its activities, no matter how closely their own
interests are bound up with it, no matter how intensely they are in
sympathy with its aims, no matter though as single girls they may have
been members of a union?

We have noted already how much stronger the labor movement would be
if the women and girls engaged in the trades were brought in through
organization. Still further would organized men be advantaged if their
movement were reinforced by this great body of home-keeping women,
vast in numbers, and with their untouched reserves of energy and

Again, it is only by making room for such women within the labor
movement that women can be represented in sufficient numbers in the
councils of labor. As long as there was no recognized way of admitting
the home woman to even a tiny corner of the labor field, as long as
entry was restricted solely to the wage-earning woman, there seemed
no chance of women being ever in anything but a hopeless minority in
either local or international union, and that minority, too, composed
so largely of young and inexperienced girls. Is it any wonder, then,
that the interests of the working-girls have suffered, and that, as a
ready consequence, workingmen's interests have suffered, too.

The Women's Trade Union League is also bringing into touch with the
labor movement other women's organizations, and especially winning
their increased cooeperation in the campaigns for legislation. It is
largely through the ally[A] membership that the Women's Trade Union
League has been able to reach the public ear as well as to attract
assistance and cooeperation, especially from the suffragists and the
women's clubs. The suffragists have always been more or less in
sympathy with labor organizations, while outside labor circles, the
largest body to second the efforts of organized labor in the direction
of humanity has been the women's clubs, whether expressing themselves
through the General Federation, or through local activity in their
home towns. An immense group of women thus early became committed
to an active opposition to the employment of children either in
factories, or under the even more dangerous and demoralizing
conditions which await mere babies in the street or in tenement homes.

[Footnote A: An ally is a man or a woman of any class not a worker
in any organized trade who believes in the organization of women and
subscribes to the following League platform.

1. Organization of all workers into trade unions.
2. Equal pay for equal work.
3. Eight-hour day.
4. A living wage.
5. Full citizenship for women.]

There is a similar movement going on within the National Young Women's
Christian Association. The reason for this stand being taken by
women's organizations was characteristic. The impelling force that
urged those women on was something far deeper than mere philanthropy.
It was the acceptance by a whole group of women of the old
responsibilities of motherhood, in the new form that these must take
on if new conditions are to be met. It was as if the motherhood of the
country had said in so many words: "Social conditions are changing,
but we are still the mothers of the new generation. Society is
threatened with this calamity, that they will pass beyond our care
before the needs and claims of childhood have been satisfied. As
individuals we are now powerless. Let us see what cooeperation will do
to right conditions that are fast slipping beyond our control."

But how unconscious the vast number of women of this type were, either
of the true nature of the force they were obeying or the point whither
they were tending, was graphically illustrated at the Biennial
Federation of Women's Clubs in St. Paul, in 1906, when a woman
protested from the floor against the appointment of a committee to
deal with industrial conditions. She added that she was all in favor
of the Federation working against child labor, but they had no call to
interfere in industrial questions.

This is an illustration of how the rank and file of the clubwomen
became committed to industrial reform as part of their program, and
incidentally, although there were those among their leaders who well
knew whither the movement was tending. The Women's Trade Union League
represents one of the forces that is leading on the most conservative
among them to stand forth for industrial justice consciously and
deliberately, while the League's special aims are brought the nearer
to accomplishment by the support of this other group of women.

The Women's Trade Union League is, and as long as it fulfills its
present function, will surely remain, a federation of trade unions
with women members, but it finds a niche and provides an honorable and
useful function for the wives of workingmen, for ex-trade-union women,
and for others who endorse trade unionism and gladly give their
support to a constructive work, aiming at strengthening the weakest
wing of labor, the unorganized, down-driven, underpaid working-girls.

If the League is to be an organization open to, and aiming at
including eventually the great majority of working-women, it must be
so flexible as to admit the woman who works in the home without formal
wages, as well as the woman who works for an employer for wages. Both
are in many respects upon the same footing in relation to society.
Both are earners and producers. Both require the help of organization.
Both should be an integral part of the labor movement. Both therefore
may be consistently received as dues-paying members into Women's Trade
Union Leagues, even although we are still too confused and puzzled
to permit of housewives forming their own unions, and therefore such
members have to be received as allies.

In thus leaving open a door, however, through which all working-women
may enter the League, the founders were mindful of the fact, and have
it embodied in the constitution, that the main strength must lie in
the increasing number of wage-earning girls and women who are socially
developed up to the point of being themselves organized into trade
unions. The League has so far grown, and can in the future grow
normally, only so far as it is the highest organized expression of the
ideals, the wishes and the needs of the wage-earning girl.

As for the woman of wealth, I should be the last to question her right
to opportunities for self-development, or to deny her the joy of
assisting her sorely driven sisters to rise out of the industrial
mire, and stand erect in self-reliant independence. But if the League
is to grow until it becomes the universal expression of the woman's
part in organized labor, then the privilege of assisting with
financial help the ordinary activities of the League can be hers only
during the infancy of the body. No organization can draw its nurture
permanently from sources outside of itself, although many a movement
has been nursed through its early stages of uncertainty and struggle
by the aid of the sympathetic and understanding outsider.



In September, 1909, the name of the Triangle Shirt Waist Company,
which has since become a word of such ill omen, was known to few
outside the trade. The factory had not then been wrapped in the flames
and smoke of the Asch fire, that was to cut short the lives of one
hundred and forty-three workers, and to blight the existence and mar
the happiness of many more.

But by a not altogether inexplicable coincidence, it had been among
the employes of this very firm that the smoldering flames of human
discontent broke out, that were to grow into the "Strike of the Forty
Thousand," a strike that proved to be but the first of a long series
of revolts among the foreign garment-workers of the largest cities in
the East and the Middle West.

It is true that in such an extensive trade as that of making
ready-made clothes, with its low wages and its speeding-up, its
sweating and its uncertainty of employment, there is always a strike
on somewhere. At that very time, there were in progress two strikes of
quite respectable size: one in Boston, under the Ladies' Tailors'
and Dressmakers' Union, and the other in St. Louis, where the
long-drawn-out Marx and Haas strike involving the makers of men's
ready-made clothing, was in its first stage.

But outside of labor circles, these strikes were attracting no
particular attention. The public were not even aware of what was
happening, and would have been entirely indifferent if they had known.

The turning out of ladies' ready-made waists is an immense business in
New York. The trade, like other branches of garment-making, is largely
in the hands of Jewish employers. The workers are principally recently
arrived foreigners, Russian and other Slavic Jews, Italians and other
immigrants from eastern Europe. They are in an overwhelming majority
women, or, to be more accurate, girls.

During all the earlier part of the year 1909 the Ladies' Waist Makers'
Union No. 25 had been showing quite undue activity and unwelcome
persistence in preaching unionism and its advantages among all and
sundry of these foreign girls, and with quite unusual success. The
managers of the Triangle Shirt Waist Company awoke one morning to a
sense of what was happening. To quote from a writer in _The Outlook_:

    One of the firm appeared before the girls and told them in kind
    phrases that the company was friendly to the union, and that
    they desired to encourage it, and that they might better give
    assistance, they would like to know what girls belonged to it. The
    girls, taken in by this speech, acknowledged their membership;
    only, instead of a few that the company had thought to discover
    and weed out, it developed that one hundred and fifty girls were
    members. That evening they were told, in the same kind way, that,
    because of a lull in the trade, due to an uncertainty as to
    fashions in sleeves, there was for the time being no more work.
    The girls took their discharge without suspicion; but the next
    morning they saw in the newspaper advertisements of the company
    asking for shirt-waist operators at once. Their eyes opened by
    this, the girls picketed the shop, and told the girls who answered
    the advertisement that the shop was on strike. The company
    retaliated by hiring thugs to intimidate the girls, and for
    several weeks the picketing girls were being constantly attacked
    and beaten. These melees were followed by wholesale arrests of
    strikers, from a dozen to twenty girls being arrested daily.

Out of ninety-eight arrested all but nineteen were fined in sums of
from one to ten dollars.

With the aid of the police and a complaisant bench the Triangle
Company had been successful in its attempt to empty the young union's
treasury, and had likewise intimidated the workers till their courage
and spirit were failing them. The manufacturers had accomplished their

At this stage the New York Women's Trade Union League took up the
battle of the girls. Every morning they stationed allies in front
of the factory, to act as witnesses against illegal arrest, and to
prevent interference with lawful picketing. The wrath of the police
was then turned upon the League. First one and then another ally was
arrested, this performance culminating in the unlawful arrest of Mary
Dreier, president of the League. The police were sadly fooled upon
this occasion, and their position was not in any degree strengthened,
when they angrily, and just as unreasonably freed their prisoner, as
soon as they discovered her identity. "Why didn't you tell me you was
a rich lady? I'd never have arrested you in the world."

This was good copy for the newspapers, and the whole story of wrongful
discharge, unlawful arrest and insulting treatment of the strikers by
the police began to filter into the public mind through the columns of
the daily press. It was shown that what had happened in the case of
the Triangle employes had been repeated, with variations, in the case
of many other shops. Respectable and conservative citizens began to
wonder if there might not be two sides to the story. They learned,
for instance, of the unjust "bundle" system, under which the employer
gives out a bundle of work to a girl, and when she returns the
completed work, gives her a ticket which she can convert into cash on
pay day. If the ticket, a tiny scrap of paper, should be lost, the
girl had no claim on the firm for the work she had actually done.
Again, some employers had insisted that they paid good wages, showing
books revealing the astonishing fact that girls were receiving thirty
dollars, thirty-five dollars, and even forty dollars per week. Small
reason to strike here, said the credulous reader, as he or she perused
the morning paper. But the protest of the libelled manufacturer lost
much of its force, when it was explained that these large sums were
not the wage of one individual girl, but were group earnings, paid to
one girl, and receipted for by her, but having to be shared with two,
three or four others, who had worked with and under the girl whose
name appeared on the payroll.

Monday, November 22, was a memorable day. A mass meeting had been
called in Cooper Union to consider the situation. Mr. Gompers was one
of the speakers. At the far end of the hall rose a little Jewish girl,
and asked to be heard. Once on the platform, she began speaking in
Yiddish, fast and earnestly. She concluded by saying she was tired of
talking, and so would put the motion for a general strike of the whole
trade. One who was present, describing the tense dramatic moment that
followed, writes: "The audience unanimously endorsed it. 'Do you mean
faith?' said the chairman. 'Will you take the old Jewish oath,' And
up came 2,000 Jewish hands with the prayer, 'If I turn traitor to the
cause I now pledge, may this hand wither and drop off at the wrist
from this arm I now raise.'" The girl was Clara Lemlich, from the
Leiserson factory. She did not complain for herself, for she was a
fairly well-paid worker, making up to fifteen dollars in the rush
season, but for her much poorer sisters.

The response within that hall typified the response next day outside.
I quote the words of an onlooker:

    From every waist-making factory in New York and Brooklyn, the
    girls poured forth, filling the narrow streets of the East Side,
    crowding the headquarters at Clinton Hall, and overflowing into
    twenty-four smaller halls in the vicinity. It was like a mighty
    army, rising in the night, and demanding to be heard. But it was
    an undisciplined army. Without previous knowledge of organization,
    without means of expression, these young workers, mostly under
    twenty, poured into the Union. For the first two weeks from 1,000
    to 1,500 joined each day. The clerical work alone, involved in,
    registering and placing recruits was almost overwhelming. Then
    halls had to be rented and managed, and speakers to be procured.
    And not for one nationality alone. Each hall, and there were
    twenty-four, had to have speakers in Yiddish, Italian and English.
    Every member of the League was pressed into service. Still small
    halls were not enough. Lipzin's Theatre was offered to the
    strikers, and mass meetings were held there five afternoons a

    Meanwhile committees were appointed from each shop to settle upon
    a price list. As the quality of work differed in different shops,
    a uniform wage was impossible and had to be settled by each shop
    individually. When the hundreds of price lists were at last
    complete, meetings were arranged for each shop committee and their
    employers. Again the price list was discussed, and a compromise
    usually effected. In almost every shop, however, an increase of
    from 15 to 20 per cent. was granted.

Apart from wages, the contract insured significant improvements.
Besides calling for recognition of the union it demanded full pay for
legal holidays, limited night work during the rush season to eight
P.M., abolished all Sunday work, did away with the inside contracting
system, under which one girl took out work for several, and provided
for a fair allotment of work in slack seasons.

After one hundred and ninety firms had signed up, and the majority
of the strikers had returned to their shops, an attempt was made to
settle with the still obdurate employers through arbitration, at the
suggestion of the National Civic Federation.

Meanwhile picketing was going on; the pickets were being punished, not
only with heavy fines, thus depleting the union's treasury, but with
terms in the workhouse. Some of these criminals for principle were
little girls in short skirts, and no attempt was made to separate
them when in confinement from disorderly characters. But what was the
result? The leaders saw to it that a photograph was taken of such a
group, with "Workhouse Prisoners" pinned across the breast of each,
and worn as a badge of honor, a diploma of achievement, and the
newspapers were but too glad to print the picture. When that spirit
of irrepressible energy and revolt once possesses men or women,
punishment is converted into reward, disgrace transmuted into honor.

This it was, more even than the story of the wrongs endured, which had
its effect on the public. In the rebound of feeling the illegality of
the police behavior was admitted. The difficulties put in the way of
the courageous little pickets led to the forming of parades, and
the holding of meetings even in a class of society where no one had
counted on receiving sympathy. The ladies of the rich and exclusive
Colony Club learned from the girls themselves of the many
disadvantages connected with waist-making. For instance that in the
off season there was little regular work at all; and that all the time
there were the fines and breakages. One girl told how she had been
docked for a tucking foot, which, as she said, just wore out on her,
"It wasn't really my fault," she concluded, "and I think the boss
should look out for his own foots."

Said another: "When a girl comes five minutes late at my shop, she is
compelled to go home. She may live outside of the city, it does not
matter, she must go home and lose a day.

"We work eight days in the week. This may seem strange to you who know
that there are only seven days in the week. But we work from seven
in the morning till very late at night, when there's a rush, and
sometimes we work a week and a half in one week."

The socialist women did yeoman service, protecting the pickets,
attending the trials, speaking at meetings and taking a full share of
the hard work. The organized suffragists and clubwomen were drawn into
the thick of the fight. They spread the girls' story far and wide,
raised money, helped to find bonds, and were rewarded by increased
inspiration for their own propaganda.

The enormous extent of the strike, being, as it was, by far the
largest uprising of women that has ever taken place upon this
continent, while adding proportionately to the difficulties of
conducting it to a successful issue, yet in the end deepened and
intensified the lesson it conveyed.

In the end about three hundred shops signed up, but of these at least
a hundred were lost during the first year. This was due, the workers
say, partly to the terrible dullness in the trade following the
strike, and partly to the fact that they were not entirely closed

Since then, however, the organization has grown in strength. It was
one of these coming under the protocol, covering the Ladies' Garment
Workers, in so many branches, which was agreed to after the strikes
in the needle trades of the winter of 1913. The name was changed from
Ladies' Waist Makers, to Ladies' Waist and Dress Makers.

But the waist-makers' strike was not confined to New York. With
the opening of their busy season, the New York manufacturers found
themselves hard pressed to fill their orders, and they were making
efforts to have the work done in other cities, not strike-bound. One
of the cities in which they placed their orders was Philadelphia.
It was with small success, however, for the spirit of unrest was
spreading, and before many weeks were over, most of the Philadelphia
waist-makers had followed the example of their New York sisters.

The girls were in many respects worse off in Philadelphia than in New
York itself. Unions in the sewing trades were largely down and out
there, and public opinion was opposed to organized labor.

When the disturbance did come, it was not so much the result of any
clever policy deliberately thought out, as it was the sudden uprising
and revolt of exasperated girls against a system of persistent cutting
down extending over about four years. A cent would be taken off here,
and a half-cent there, or two operations would be run into one, and
the combined piece of work under one, and that a new, name would bring
a lower rate of pay. The practice of paying for oil needles, cotton
and silk had been introduced, a practice most irritating with its
paltry deduction from a girl's weekly wage. Next there was a system of
fines for what was called "mussing" work. Every one of these so-called
improvements in discipline was deftly utilized as an excuse for taking
so much off the girls' pay.

Patience became exhausted and the girls just walked out. Two-thirds of
the waist-makers in the city walked out. Of these about eighty-five
per cent., it is believed, were Jewish girls, the rest made up of
Italians with a few Poles. The girls who did not go out were mostly
Americans. One observer estimated at the time that about forty per
cent. of those in the trade were under twenty years of age, running
down to children of twelve.

When the workers, with no sort of warning or explanation, or making
any regular preliminary demands, just quit, it upset matters
considerably. A little girl waist-maker may appear to be a very
insignificant member of the community, but if you multiply her by
four thousand, her absence makes an appreciable gap in the industrial
machine, and its cogs fail to catch as accurately as heretofore. So
that even the decent manufacturers felt pretty badly, not so much
about the strike itself, as its, to them, inexplicable suddenness.
Such men were suffering, of course, largely for the deeds of their
more unscrupulous fellow-employers.

One manufacturer, for instance, had gained quite a reputation for
his donations to certain orphanages. These were to him a profitable
investment, seeing that the institutions served to provide him with a
supply of cheap labor. He had in his shop many orphans, who for two
reasons could hardly leave his employ. They had no friends to whom to
go, and they were also supposed to be under obligations of gratitude
to their benefactor-employer. One of his girl employes, to whom he
paid seven dollars a week, turned out for that wage twelve dollars'
worth of work. This fact the employer admitted, justifying himself by
saying that he was supporting her brother in an orphanage.

It was a hard winter, and the first week of the strike wore away
without a sign of hope. Public opinion was slow to rouse, and the
newspapers were definitely adverse. The general view seemed to be that
such a strike was an intolerable nuisance, if not something worse. At
length the conservative _Ledger_ came out with a two-column editorial,
outlining the situation, and from then on news of the various
happenings, as they occurred, could be found in all the papers. But
the girls were unorganized. There was no money, and they faced
the first days of the new year in a mood of utter discouragement.
Organizers from the International of the Ladies' Garment Workers had,
however, come on from New York to take charge. The strikers were
supported by the Central Labor Union of Philadelphia, under the
leadership of the capable John J. Murphy, and representatives of the
National Women's Trade Union League, in the persons of Mrs. Raymond
Robins and Miss Agnes Nestor, were already on the scene.

In the struggle itself, the New York experiences were repeated. The
fight went on slowly and stubbornly. Arrests occurred daily and still
more arrests. Money was the pressing need, not only for food and rent,
but to pay fines and to arrange for the constantly needed bonds to
bail out arrested pickets. At length a group of prominent Philadelphia
women headed by Mrs. George Biddle, enlisted the help of some leading
lawyers, and an advisory council was formed for the protection of
legal rights, and even for directing a backfire on lawbreaking
employers by filing suits for damages. With such interest and
such help money, too, was obtained. The residents of the College
Settlement, especially Miss Anna Davies, the head resident, and Miss
Anne Young, the members of the Consumers' League, the suffragists and
the clubwomen all gave their help.

These women were moved to action by stories such as those of the
little girl, whom her late employer had been begging to return to his
deserted factory. "The boss, he say to me, 'You can't live if you not
work.' And I say to the boss, 'I live not much on forty-nine cents a

As in New York, the police here overreached themselves in their zeal,
and arrested a well-known society girl, whom they caught walking
arm-in-arm with a striking waist-maker. Result, the utter discomfiture
of the Director of Public Safety, and triumph for the fortunate
reporters who got the good story.

An investigation into the price of food, made just then by one of the
evening newspapers came in quite opportunely, forcing the public to
wonder whether, after all, the girls were asking for any really higher
wage, or whether they were not merely struggling to hold on to such
a wage as would keep pace with the increasing prices of all sorts of
food, fuel, lighting, the commonest clothing and the humblest shelter.

The strike had gone on for some weeks, when an effort was made to
obtain an injunction forbidding the picketing of the Haber factory.
This was finally to crush the strike and down the strikers. But
in pressing for an injunction the manufacturers came up against a
difficulty of their own making. The plea that had all along been urged
upon the union had been the futility of trying to continue a strike
that was not injuring the employers. "For," they had many times said,
"we have plenty of workers, our factories are going full blast."
Whereas the Haber witnesses in the injunction suit were bringing proof
of how seriously the business was being injured through the success of
the girl pickets in maintaining the strike, and, the money loss, they
assured the court was to be reckoned up in thousands of dollars. This
inconsistency impressed the judge, and the strikers had the chance
of telling their story in open court. "Strikers' Day" was a public
hearing of the whole story of the strike.

That night both sides got together, and began to discuss a
working agreement. After twenty-five hours of conference between
representatives of the Shirt Waist Makers' Union and of the
Manufacturers' Association, an agreement was arrived at, giving the
workers substantial gains; employment of all union workers in the
shops without discrimination; a fifty-two-and-a-half-hour week and
no work on Saturday afternoon; no charges for water, oil, needles or
ordinary wear and tear on machinery; wages to be decided with the
union for each particular shop, and all future grievances to be
settled by a permanent Board of Arbitration; the agreement to run till
May 1, 1911.

The workers' success was, unfortunately, not lasting. Owing to the
want of efficient local leadership, the organization soon dropped to
pieces. That gone, there was nothing left to stand between the toilers
and the old relentless pressure of the competitive struggle,
ever driving the employers to ask more, and ever compelling the
wage-earners to yield more. The Philadelphia shirt-waist strike of
1910 furnishes a sad and convincing proof of how little is gained
by the mere winning of a strike, however bravely fought, unless the
strikers are able to keep a live organization together, the members
cooeperating patiently and steadily, so as to handle the fresh shop
difficulties which every week brings, in the spirit of mutual help as
well as self-help.

These first Eastern strikes in the garment trades, although local in
their incidence, were national in their effects. There had been so
much that was dramatic and unusual in the rebellion of the workers,
and it had been so effectively played up in the press of the entire
country that by the time spring arrived and the strikes were really
ended, and ended in both cities with very tangible benefits for the
workers, there was hardly anyone who had not heard something about the
great strikes, and who had not had their most deeply rooted opinions
modified. It was an educational lesson on the grand scale. But the
effects did not stop here. The impression upon the workers themselves
everywhere was wholly unexpected. They had been encouraged and
heartened to combine and thus help one another to obtain some measure
of control over workshop and wages.

The echoes of the shirt-waist strikes had hardly died away, when there
arose from another group of dissatisfied workers, the self-same cry
for industrial justice.

There is no doubt that the Chicago strike which began among the makers
of ready-made men's clothing in September, 1910, was the direct
outcome of the strikes in New York and Philadelphia. While the Western
uprising had many features in common with these, yet it presented
difficulties all its own, and in its outcome won a unique success.
Not only was the number of workers taking part greater than in the
previous struggles, but, owing to the fact of a large number of the
strikers being men, and a big proportion of these heads of families,
the poverty and intense suffering resulting from months of
unemployment extended over a far larger area. Also the variety
of nationalities among the strikers added to the difficulties of
conducting negotiations. Every bit of literature put out had to be
printed in nine languages. And lastly, the want of harmony between
certain of the national leaders of the union involved, and the deep
distrust felt by some of the local workers and the strikers for a
section of them provided a situation which for complexity it would be
hard to match. That the long-continued struggle ended with so large
a measure of success for the workers was in part owing to the
extraordinary skill and unwearied patience displayed in its handling,
and in part to the close and intimate cooeperation between the local
strike leaders, both men and women, the Chicago Federation of Labor
and the Chicago Women's Trade Union League. Much also had been learned
from recent experience in the strikes immediately preceding.

The immediate cause of the first striker going out was a cut in the
price of making pockets, of a quarter of a cent. That was on September
22 in Shop 21, in the Hart, Schaffner and Marx factories. Three weeks
later the strike had assumed such proportions that the officers of the
United Garment Workers' District Council No. 6 were asking the Women's
Trade Union League for speakers. The League organized its own Strike
Committee to collect money, assist the pickets and secure publicity.
At the instance of the League also an independent Citizens' Committee
was formed.

In time of sorest need was found efficient leadership. The
garment-workers of Chicago, in their earlier struggles with the
manufacturers, had had no such powerful combination to assist them as
came to their aid now, when a Joint Strike Conference controlled
the situation, with representatives upon it from the United Garment
Workers of America International Executive Board, from the Chicago
District Council of the same organization, from the Special Order
Garment Workers, the Ready Made Garment Workers, the Chicago
Federation of Labor and the Women's Trade Union League. The American
Federation of Labor sent their organizer, Emmett Flood, the untiringly
courageous and the ever hopeful.

The first step to be taken was to place before the public in clear and
simple form the heterogeneous mass of grievances complained of. The
Women's Trade Union League invited about a dozen of the girls to tell
their story over a simple little breakfast. Within a week the story
told to a handful was printed and distributed broadcast, prefaced, as
it was, by an admirable introduction by the late Miss Katharine Coman,
of Wellesley College, who happened to be in Chicago, and who was
acting as chairman of the grievance committee. The Citizens'
Committee, headed by Professor George Mead, followed with a statement,
admitting the grievances and justifying the strike.

From then on the story lived on the front page of all the newspapers,
and speakers to address unions, meetings of strikers, women's clubs
and churches were in constant demand. Here again, the suffragist and
the socialist women showed where their sympathies lay and of what
mettle they were made. Visiting speakers, such as Miss Margaret
Bondfield and Mrs. Philip Snowden, took their turn also. The socialist
women of Chicago issued a special strike edition of the _Daily
Socialist_. With the help of the striking girls as "newsies" they
gathered in the city on one Saturday the handsome sum of $3,345.
Another group of very poor Poles sent in regularly about two hundred
dollars per week, sometimes the bulk of it in nickels and dimes. A
sewing gathering composed of old ladies in one of the suburbs sewed
industriously for weeks on quilts and coverings for the strikers. Some
small children in a Wisconsin village were to have had a goose for
their Christmas dinner, but hearing of little children who might have
no dinner, sent the price of the bird, one dollar and sixty-five
cents, into the strikers' treasury.

At first strike pay was handed out every Friday from out of the funds
of the United Garment Workers. But on Friday, November 11, the number
of applicants for strike pay was far beyond what it was possible to
handle in the cramped office quarters. Through some misunderstanding,
which has to this day never been explained, the crowd, many thousands
of men, women and children, were denied admittance to the large wheat
pit of the Open Board of Trade, which, it was understood, had been
reserved for their use. It was a heart-rending sight, as from early
morning till late afternoon they waited in the halls and corridors and
outside in the streets. At first in dumb patience and afterwards in
bewilderment, but all along with unexampled gentleness and quietness.

At this point, Mr. John Fitzpatrick, president of the Chicago
Federation of Labor, took hold of a situation already difficult, and
which might soon have become dangerous. He explained to the crowd that
everyone would be attended to in their various district halls, and
that all vouchers already out would be redeemed. This relieved the
tension, but the Joint Strike Committee were driven to take over at
once the question of relief, so that none should be reduced to accept
that hunger bargain, which, as Mrs. Robins put it, meant the surrender
of civilization.

With such an immense number of strike-bound families to support,
the utmost economy of resources was necessary, and it was resolved
hereafter to give out as little cash as possible, but to follow the
example of the United Mine Workers and others and open commissary
stations. This plan was carried out, and more than any other one plan,
saved the day. Benefits were handed over, in the form of groceries on
a fixed ration scale. As far as we know, such a plan had never before
been adapted to the needs of women and children, nor carried out by
organized labor for the benefit of a large unorganized group. Of
the economy of the system there is no question, seeing that a
well-organized committee can always purchase supplies in quantities at
wholesale price, sometimes at cost price, and frequently can, as was
done in this instance, draw upon the good feeling of merchants and
dealers, and receive large contributions of bread, flour, coal and
other commodities. Commissary stations were established in different
localities. Here is a sample ration as furnished at one of the stores,
although, thanks to the kindness of friends, the allowance actually
supplied was of a much more varied character:

  Bread     18 loaves
  Coffee     1 lb.
  Sugar      5 lbs.
  Beans      5 lbs.
  Oatmeal    2 pkgs. (large)
  Ham       10 lbs.

For Italians, oatmeal was replaced by spaghetti, and Kosher food for
those of the orthodox Jewish faith was arranged for through orders
upon local grocery stores and kosher butchers in the Jewish quarter.
The tickets entitling to supplies were issued through the shop
chairman at the local halls to those strikers known to be in greatest

The commissary plan, however, still left untouched such matters as
rent, fuel, gas, and likewise the necessities of the single young men
and girls. Also the little babies and the nursing mothers, who needed
fresh milk, had to be thought of and provided for. There were certain
strictly brought up, self-respecting little foreign girls who
explained with tears that they could not take an order on a restaurant
where there were strange people about, because "it would not be
decent," a terrible criticism on so many of our public eating places.
So a small separate fund was collected which gave two dollars a week
per head, to tide over the time of trouble for some of these sorely
pressed ones. There was a committee on milk for babies, and another on
rent, and the League handled the question of coal.

With these necessities provided for, the strikers settled down to a
test of slow endurance. Picketing went on as before, and although
arrests were numerous, and fines followed in the train of arrests, the
police and the court situation was at no time so acute as it had been
in either New York or Philadelphia.

The heroism shown by many of the strikers and their families it would
be hard to overestimate. Small inconveniences were made light of.
Families on strike themselves, or the friends of strikers would crush
into yet tighter quarters so that a couple of boys or two or three
girls out of work might crowd into the vacated room, and so have a
shelter over their heads "till the strike was over." A League member
found her way one bitter afternoon in December to one home where lay
an Italian woman in bed with a new-born baby and three other children,
aged three, four and five years respectively, surrounding her. There
was neither food nor fuel in the house. On the bed were three letters
from the husband's employer, offering to raise his old pay from
fifteen to thirty dollars per week, if he would go back to work and so
help to break the strike. The wife spoke with pride of the husband's
refusal to be a traitor. "It is not only bread we give the children.
We live not by bread alone. We live by freedom, and I will fight for
it though I die to give it to my children." And this woman's baby was
one of 1,250 babies born into strikers' homes that winter.

To me those long months were like nothing so much as like living in a
besieged city. There was the same planning for the obtaining of food,
and making it last as long as possible, the same pinched, wan faces,
the same hunger illnesses, the same laying of little ones into baby
graves. And again, besides the home problems, there was the same
difficulty of getting at the real news, knowing the meaning of what
was going on, the same heart-wearing alternations of hope and dread.

Through it all, moreover, persisted the sense that this was something
more than an industrial rising, although it was mainly so. It was
likewise the uprising of a foreign people, oppressed and despised.
It was the tragedy of the immigrant, his high hopes of liberty and
prosperity in the new land blighted, finding himself in America, but
not of America.

By the end of November the manufacturers were beginning to tire of
watching their idle machinery, and the tale of unfilled orders grew
monotonous. There began to be grumbles from the public against the
disastrous effects upon business of the long-continued struggle.
Alderman Merriam succeeded in having the City Council bring about a
conference of the parties to the strike "to the end that a just and
lasting settlement of the points in controversy may be made."

Messrs Hart, Schaffner and Marx, a firm employing in forty-eight shops
between eight and nine thousand workers, agreed to meet with the
committee and the labor leaders. After long hours of conferring
a tentative agreement was at length arrived at, signed by the
representatives of all parties, approved by the Chicago Federation
of Labor, and, when referred to the army of strikers for their
confirmation, was by them _rejected_. Indeed the great majority
refused even to vote upon it at all. This was indeed a body blow to
the hopes of peace. For the unfavorable attitude of the strikers there
were, however, several reasons. The agreement, such as it was, did not
affect quite a fourth of the whole number of workers who were out, and
a regular stampede back to work of the rest, with no guarantee at all,
was greatly to be dreaded. Again, a clause discriminating against
all who it should be decided had been guilty of violence during the
strike, gave deep offense. It was felt to be adding insult to injury,
to allude to violence during a struggle conducted so quietly and with
such dignity and self-restraint. But a further explanation lay in the
attitude of mind of the strikers themselves. The idea of compromise
was new to them, and the acceptance of any compromise was a way out of
the difficulty, that was not for one moment to be considered. Thus it
came about that a settlement that many an old experienced organization
would have accepted was ruled quite out of court by these new and
ardent converts to trade unionism, who were prepared to go on, facing
destitution, rather than yield a jot of what seemed to them an
essential principle.

Organized labor, indeed, realized fully the seriousness of the
situation. The leaders had used their utmost influence to have the
agreement accepted, and their advice had been set aside.

What view, then, was taken of this development of these central
bodies and by the affiliated trades of the city, who were all taxing
themselves severely both in time and money for the support of the

The democracy of labor was on this occasion indeed justified of its
children, and the supreme right of the strikers to make the final
decision on their own affairs and abide by the consequences was
maintained. Plans were laid for continuing the commissary stores, and
just at this stage there was received from the United Garment Workers
the sum of $4,000 for the support of the stores. The strikers were
also encouraged to hold out when on January 9 the firm of Sturm-Mayer
signed up and took back about five hundred workers. Also, a committee
of the state Senate began an inquiry into the strike, thus further
educating the public into an understanding of the causes lying back of
all the discontent, and accounting for much of the determination not
to give in.

All the same, the prospects seemed very dark, and the strikers and
their leaders had settled down to a steady, dogged resistance. It was
like nothing in the world so much as holding a besieged city, and
the outcome was as uncertain, and depended upon the possibility
of obtaining for the beleaguered ones supplies of the primitive
necessaries of life, food and fuel. And the fort was held until about
the middle of January came the news that Hart, Schaffner and Marx had
opened up negotiations, and presently an agreement was signed, and
their thousands of employes were back at work.

They were back at work under an agreement, which, while it did not,
strictly speaking, recognize the union, did not discriminate against
members of the union. Nay, as the workers had to have representation
and representatives, it was soon found that in practice it was only
through their organization that the workers could express themselves
at all.

This is not the place in which to enlarge upon the remarkable success
which has attended the working out of this memorable agreement. It is
enough to say that ever since all dealings between the firm and
their employes have been conducted upon the principle of collective

The agreement with Messrs. Hart, Schaffner and Marx was signed on
January 14, 1911, and the Joint Conference Board then bent all
its efforts towards some settlement with houses of the Wholesale
Clothiers' Association and the National Tailors' Association for the
twenty or thirty thousand strikers still out.

Suddenly, without any warning the strike was terminated. How and why
it has never been explained, even to those most interested in its
support. All that is known is that on February 3 the strike was called
off at a meeting of the Strikers' Executive Committee, at which Mr.
T.A. Rickert, president of the United Garment Workers of America, and
his organizers, were present. This was done, without consulting the
Joint Conference Board, which for fourteen weeks had had charge of
the strike, and which was composed of representatives from the United
Garment Workers of America, the Garment Workers' local District
Council, the strikers' own Executive Committee, the Chicago Federation
of Labor, and the Women's Trade Union League.

This meant the close of the struggle. Three out of the four commissary
stations were closed the following day, and the fourth a week later.

As regards the great mass of strikers then left, it was but a hunger
bargain. They had to return to work without any guarantee for fair
treatment, without any agency through which grievances could be dealt
with, or even brought before the employers. And hundreds of the
workers had not even the poor comfort that they could go back.
Business was disorganized, work was slack, and the Association houses
would not even try to make room for their rebellious employes. The
refusal of work would be made more bitter by the manner of its
refusal. Several were met with the gibe, "You're a good speaker,
go down to your halls, they want you there." One employer actually
invited a returned striker into his private office, shook hands with
him as if in welcome, and then told him it was his last visit, he
might go!

The beginning of the present stage of the industrial rebellion among
working-women in the United States may be said to have been made with
the immense garment-workers' strikes. All have been strikes of the
unorganized, the common theory that strikes must have their origin in
the mischief-breeding activities of the walking delegate finding no
confirmation here. They were strikes of people who knew not what
a union was, making protest in the only way known to them against
intolerable conditions, and the strikers were mostly very young women.
One most significant fact was that they had the support of a national
body of trade-union women, banded together in a federation, working
on the one hand with organized labor, and on the other bringing in as
helpers large groups of outside women. Such measure of success as came
to the strikers, and the indirect strengthening of the woman's cause,
which has since borne such fruit, was in great part due to the
splendid reinforcement of organized labor, through the efforts of this
league of women's unions.

I need touch but lightly on the strikes in other branches of the
sewing trades, where the history of the uprising was very similar.

In July, 1910, 70,000 cloak-makers of New York were out on strike
for nine weeks asking shorter hours, increase of wages; and sanitary
conditions in their workshops. All these and some minor demands were
in the end granted by the Manufacturers' Association, who controlled
the trade, but the settlement nearly went to pieces on the rock of
union recognition. An arrangement was eventually arrived at, on the
suggestion of Mr. Louis Brandeis, that the principle of preference
to unionists, first enforced in Australia, should be embodied in the
agreement. Under this plan, union standards as to hours of labor,
rates of wages and working conditions prevail, and, when hiring help,
union men of the necessary qualifications and degree of skill must
have precedence over non-union men. With the signing of the agreement
the strike ended.

January, 1913, saw another group of garment-workers on strike in New
York. This time there were included men and women in the men's garment
trades, also the white-goods-workers, the wrapper and kimono-makers,
and the ladies' waist-and dress-makers. There is no means of knowing
how many workers were out at any one time, but the number was
estimated at over 100,000. The white-goods-workers embraced the
very youngest girls, raw immigrants from Italy and Russia, whom the
manufacturers set to work as soon as they were able to put plain seams
through the machine, and this was all the skill they ever attained.
These children from their extreme youth and inexperience were
peculiarly exposed to danger from the approaches of cadets of the
underworld, and an appeal went out for a large number of women to
patrol the streets, and see that the girls at least had the protection
of their presence.

The employers belonging to the Dress and Waist Manufacturers'
Association made terms with their people, after a struggle, under an
agreement very similar to that described above in connection with the

One of the most satisfactory results of the strikes among the
garment-workers has been the standardizing of the trade wherever an
agreement has been procured and steadily adhered to. It is not only
that hours are shorter and wages improved, and the health and safety
of the worker guarded, and work spread more evenly over the entire
year, but the harassing dread of the cut without notice, and of
wholesale, uncalled-for dismissals is removed. Thus is an element
of certainty and a sense of method and order introduced. Above all,
home-work is abolished.

In an unstandardized trade there can be no certainty as to wages and
hours, while there is a constant tendency to level down under the
pressure of unchecked competition from both above and below. There is
too frequent breaking of factory laws and ignoring of the city's fire
and health ordinances, because the unorganized workers dare not, on
peril of losing their jobs, insist that laws and ordinances were made
to be kept and not broken. Also, in any trade where a profit can be
made by giving out work, as in the sewing trades, we find, unless this
is prevented by organization or legislation, an enormous amount of
home-work, ill-paid and injurious to all, cutting down the wages
of the factory hands, and involving the wholesale exploitation of

Home-work the unions will have none of, and therefore, wherever the
collective bargain has been struck and kept, there we find the giving
out of work from the factory absolutely forbidden, the home guarded
from the entrance of the contractor, motherhood respected, babyhood
defended from the outrage of child labor, and a higher standard of
living secured for the family by the higher and securer earnings of
the normal breadwinners.

Everywhere on the continent the results of these strikes have been
felt, women's strikes as they have been for the most part. The trade
unionists of this generation have been encouraged in realizing
how much fight there was in these young girls. All labor has been
inspired. In trade after trade unorganized workers have learned the
meaning of the words "the solidarity of labor," and it has become
to them an article of faith. Whether it has been button-workers in
Muscatine, or corset-workers in Kalamazoo, shoe-workers in St. Louis,
or textile-workers in Lawrence, whether the struggle has been crowned
with success or crushed into the dust of failure, the workers have
been heartened to fight the more bravely because of the thrilling
example set them by the garment-workers, and have thus brought the day
of deliverance for all a little nearer hand.

Again, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the public has been taught
many lessons. The immense newspaper publicity, which could never have
been obtained except for a struggle on a stupendous scale, has proved
a campaign of education for young and old, for business man and
farmer, for lawyer and politician, for housewife and for student.
It has left the manufacturer less cocksure of the soundness of his
individualist philosophy. More often is he found explaining and even
apologizing for industrial conditions, which of yore he would have
ignored as non-existent. He can no longer claim from the public his
aforetime undisputed privilege of running his own business as he
pleases, without concern for either the wishes or the welfare of
employes and community.

The results are also seen in the fact that it is now so much easier
to get the workers' story across the footlights in smaller local
struggles, such as those of the porcelain-workers in Trenton and! the
waitresses in Chicago; in the increasing success in putting through
legislation for the limitation of hours and the regulation of wages
for the poorest paid in state after state. By state or by nation
one body after another is set the task of doing something towards
accounting for the unceasing industrial unrest, towards solving the
general industrial problem. Even if to some of us the remedial
plans outlined seem to fall far short of the mark, they still are a
beginning and are a foretaste of better things ahead.

The conferences and discussions on unemployment are an admission,
however belated, that a society which has, in the interests of the
privileged classes, permitted the exploitation of the worker, must
face the consequences, bear some of the burden, and do its share
towards preventing the continuance of the evil. We do not cure
smallpox by punishing the patient, nor do we thus prevent its
recurrence among others. We handle the disease both by treating the
sick person himself, and by finding the causes that lead to its
spread, and arresting these. Industrial eruptive diseases have to
be dealt with in like fashion, the cause sought for, and the social
remedy applied fearlessly.



The melting-pot of the races is also the melting-pot of nationalities.
The drama that we are witnessing in America is a drama on a more
tremendous scale than can ever have been staged in the world before.

By the unawakened and so-called pure American the incoming Italian or
Jew is regarded as an outsider, who may be graciously permitted to hew
wood and draw water, to forge steel in a rolling-mill or to sew in a
factory, to cut ice or make roads for the rest of us, and who may,
on the other hand, be given the cold shoulder more or less politely,
generally less, when it comes to acquaintanceship, to the simple
democratic social intercourse which we share with those whom we admit
as our equals.

I, too, am an immigrant, although an English-speaking and Anglo-Saxon
immigrant. Therefore I am accepted among Americans as one of
themselves. But there comes to me often a bitter sense of separation
from my fellow-immigrants, a separation by not one wall, but many.
First, the wall we none of us can help, the wall raised by difference
of language. Next, the wall raised by different manners and customs.
This we might try to scale oftener than we do. Again, there are
separating walls, harder than these either to surmount or to lay low,
walls of provincial arrogance and crass self-satisfaction, and the
racial pride that is mostly another name for primitive ignorance.

An ordinary city-dwelling American or an English-speaking foreigner
earning a living in business or in one of the professions or even in
some of the skilled trades might live a lifetime in the United States
and never meet non-Americanized foreigners socially at all. In church
or club or on the footing of private entertainment these first-comers
and their friends keep themselves to themselves. And although among us
such race-defined limits are less hard and fast than, say, the lines
of class in old European countries, still there they are. The less
enlightened do not even think about the immigrant within our shores
at all. Those somewhat more advanced will talk glibly about the
Americanization of the foreigner that is going on all the time. So is
it. That is true, but the point here to be noted is that the desirable
and inevitable process of the Americanization of the foreigner, and
his assimilation by and into the American nation takes place outside
the charmed circles wherein these good respectable folks dwell; takes
place in spite of their indifference; takes place without their active
assistance, without their cooeperation, save and except so far as that
cooeperation is unconscious and unavoidable.

The Americanizing process takes place in the street, in the cars, in
the stores, in the workshop, at the theater, and the nickel show, in
the wheatfield and on the icefield; best and quickest of all in the
school, and nowhere so consciously as in the trade union, for all that
section of foreigners whom organized labor has been able to reach
and draw into its fold. Carried out for the most part in crude and
haphazard fashion the process goes on, only in the vast majority of
cases it is far slower than it need be.

Too many are but little touched, or touched only in painful ways by
the Americanizing process, especially the married women who stay in
their homes. Their lot is so often a tragedy. They have lost their own
country and yet have not gained another. Even this is not the worst.
The younger folks are in some fashion made over into American men and
women. And here comes in the crucial question which concerns something
more than universality of opportunity, quality of opportunity. These
little Poles and Ruthenians and Bohemians are finally made over into
Americans. Their life-contribution will be given to the generation now
growing up, of which they will form a part. We want that contribution
to be as fine as possible. They cannot give more than they themselves
are. And what they are to be in very large part we are making them.
Will they not be all the finer citizens-to-be if we come closer to
them and to their parents in the warm friendly social relations of

The plane of social intercourse is the last to be transformed by
democracy. Here is it that aristocratic and undemocratic limitations
hamper us the longest. Here we are still far behind the fine, free and
admirable planing out of differences, and rounding off of angles and
making over of characters that is part of the democracy of the street
and the marketplace. Here between strangers is the closest physical
nearness. Here the common need to live and earn a living supplies a
mutual education through the very acts of serving and being served,
of buying and selling and using the common thoroughfares and means
of transportation. And that basic democracy of the street and the
marketplace is all between strangers.

It is the very fact that this blending of peoples, this rubbing off of
racial angles, takes place in and through the commonplace surroundings
of everyday life, that blinds most to the greatness and the wonder
of the transformation and to the pressing importance of the right
adjustments being made, and made early. But to the observer whose eyes
are not holden, there comes a sense that he is every day witnessing a
warfare of Titans, that in these prosaic American communities it is
world powers that are in clash and in conflict while in preparation
for the harmony to be.

Upon careful consideration it would appear that the immigrant problem
is only a slightly varied expression of the general social and
economic problem. It focuses public attention because the case of the
immigrant is so extreme. For instance, whatever conditions, industrial
or civic, press hardly upon the American worker, these conditions
press with yet greater hardship upon the alien. The alien and his
difficulties form therefore a first point of contact, the point where
the social reformer begins with his suggestions for improvement.
The very same thought unconsciously forms the basis of many of the
proposed methods of dealing with the immigrant, however startlingly
these may differ from one another in expression. On the one hand we
have such suggestions as that of Mr. Paul Kellogg, which he called "A
Labor Tariff, A Minimum Wage for the Immigrant." It does not take
very acute reasoning to perceive that if such a proposal were ever to
become law, it would not be very long before there would have to be a
universal minimum wage for everyone.

On the other hand, Mr. Edward B. Whitney in his Memorandum appended to
the Report of the Commission of the State of New York argues thus
in discussing the claim made by the majority of the Commission that
certain special help and protection is needed by the alien. He asks
"whether, if a further extension of this kind of state charity is to
be made, it would not be better to take up something for the benefit
of our own citizens or for the benefit of citizen and alien alike."
Mr. Whitney is entirely logical. Only progress rarely takes place for
logical reasons, or on lines dictated by logic, but it does in
almost all cases follow the line of least resistance, and the wise
progressive accepts gratefully whatever he can get, without being too
anxious as to whether it seems to be logically the next step or not.

The immigrant has hitherto been used as an excuse to permit the
dehumanizing of our cities; he has been used industrially as an
instrument to make life harder for the hardly pressed classes of
workers whom he joined on his arrival here. That such has been his
sorry function has been his misfortune as well as theirs. Would it not
be equally natural and far more fair to utilize his presence among us
to raise our civic and economic and industrial standards? It is no
new story, this. Out of every social problem we can construct a
stepping-stone to something better and higher than was before. The
most that we know of health has been learned through a study of
the misadjustments that bring about disease. What has been done
educationally to assist the defective, the handicapped and the
dependent has thrown a flood of light upon the training of the normal
child. Through work undertaken in the first instance for the benefit
of the exceptions, the minority, the whole community has benefited.

In this connection no one will deny that immigrants, both men and
women, have their handicaps. In the great majority of instances they
are handicapped by an upbringing among primitive conditions, by their
unavoidable ignorance of our language and our customs, and by a quite
natural mental confusion as to our standards of conduct, to them
so curiously exacting in some respects as, for instance, where the
schooling of their children is concerned, so incomprehensibly lax in
others, say, in the unusual freedom accorded to those same children
when grown but a little older.

We shall find that whatever we do for the immigrant will be, in the
end, so much accomplished for the good of all. Let us lessen this
unfair pressure upon him, as far as we can, and we shall surely find
that in helping him to help himself, we have, at the same time,
benefited all workers.

It is easy to see that the great strikes in the sewing and textile
trades of the last few years have proved a searchlight especially into
women's industrial conditions, educating the whole public by informing
them of the terrible price paid for our comfort by the makers of the
commonest articles of household purchase and use, the sacrifice of
youth, health, happiness, and life itself demanded by any industry
which exacts of the employes cruelly long hours of work at an
exhausting speed, and which for such overwork pays them wretchedly.

These uprisings have besides stimulated to an encouraging degree the
forming of an intelligent public opinion upon the problem of the
immigrant, and a wholesomely increased sense of responsibility towards
the immigrant. And indeed it was time. Miss Grace Abbott, director of
the Chicago League for the Protection of Immigrants, tells a story,
illustrating how very unintelligent an educated professional man can
be in relation to immigrant problems.

"Not long ago," she says, "I listened to a paper by a sanitary
engineer, on the relation between the immigrant and public health. It
was based on a study of typhoid fever in a certain city in the United
States. He showed that most typhoid epidemics started among our
foreign colonies, and spread to other sections. This, he explained, is
because the foreigner has been accustomed to a pure water supply, and
is therefore much more susceptible to typhoid than the American
who has struggled since birth against the diseases which come from
polluted water.

"Instead, then, of urging this as an additional reason for giving
us all decent water, he drew the remarkable conclusion that in the
interests of the public health, some new basis for the exclusion of
immigrants must be adopted. In this way," Miss Abbott adds, "most
discussions on the immigrant are diverted, and leave the fundamental
problems quite untouched. For whether we adopt a literary and physique
test, increase the head-tax, and do all the other things suggested by
the restrictionists, thousands of immigrants will continue to come to
us every year."

Apart from general considerations, these gigantic industrial
upheavals have afforded to the public-spirited citizen an unsurpassed
opportunity of understanding and appreciating the industrial problem
as it affects and is affected by the immigrant girl and young woman. A
few of us, here and there, from personal and trade experience knew the
facts years ago as well as they are generally known today. But not
all the Government reports, not an army of investigators could have
imparted this knowledge to the public, and impressed upon them the
sordid suffering of the working and living conditions of the foreign
woman in the sewing trades in any great American city.

For in strikes of such magnitude, where whole groups of the
participators themselves lived for months in a white heat of idealism
and enthusiasm, life-stories are no longer dragged out of shy retiring
girls, but are poured out in a burning flood by those very same girls,
now quite transformed by the revolution through which they have
passed, and by the new ideas of liberty and sisterhood with which they
are possessed.

I speak of the woman worker here, because it is she who is my concern
at present, and in all the now historic strikes she has played a very
large part. Indeed in the first of these risings, in the shirtwaist
strikes of 1909-1910 in New York and Philadelphia, very few men
workers were involved, and in the huge Chicago strike, 1910-1911,
among the makers of men's ready-made clothing, although there the girl
strikers numbered only about one-fourth of the whole, even that fourth
made up the very respectable total of, it is believed, somewhere
around 10,000 individuals, the population of a small city. Indeed it
would give most Americans pause to be told that in this same Chicago
strike the whole of the workers, men and women together, numbered more
than the troops that Washington was able to place in the field at any
one time during the War of Independence.

Most of these strikes have been strikes of unorganized workers, who
did not know even of the existence of a union till after they had gone
out, and therefore with no idea of appealing to an organization for
even moral support. In Chicago the strikers belonged to nine different
nationalities, speaking as many different languages, so it is clear
that the pressure must have been indeed irresistible that forced so
many thousands with apparently no common meeting-ground or even common
means of communication out of the shops into the street. When
the organized strike, they know why. When the unorganized of one
nationality and one tongue strike, they can tell one another why. Yet
these people struck in spots all over the city almost simultaneously,
although in most cases without any knowledge by one group that other
groups were also resisting oppression and making a last stand against
any further degradation of their poor standards of living. Amid every
variety of shop grievance, and with the widest possible difference
in race, language and customs, they shared two disadvantageous
conditions: industrially they were oppressed, and socially they were
subject races. Therefore they were one people, in spite of their nine
nationalities. These two conditions acted and reacted upon one another
complicating and intensifying the struggle. But because of this very
intensity it has been easier for the onlooker to separate out the real
questions at issue, easier for the sympathetic American to come into
wholesome and human relationship with this large body of his brothers
and sisters. To him they could be one group, for their interests
were one, and they had been too long separated from him and from one
another by the accidents of birth and speech.

So the searchlight turned on then on the sewing trades has since cast
its enlightening beams on industrial conditions in other trades, in
which, too, one race is perpetually played off against another with
the unfailing result of cuts in wages and lowering of standards of

All tests of admission to secure some measure of selection among new
arrivals are but experiments in an untried field. We have no tests but
rough-and-ready ones, and even these are often inconsistent with one
another. For instance, for a good many years now the immigration
inspectors have taken such precautions as they could against the
admission of the insane, but it is only recently that modified Binet
tests have been used to check the entry of a socially far more
injurious class, the congenitally feebleminded.

Those who have worked extensively among newly arrived foreign girls
find that they arrive here with, as a rule, much less idea of what
awaits them, what will be expected of them, and the difficulties
and even dangers they may encounter, than the men. When the Chicago
Women's Trade Union League began its immigration department a few
years ago, it was found that three dollars was about the average
sum which a girl had in her pocket when she reached the city of her
destination. Ten dollars was felt to be a fortune, while I have since
heard of young girls landing alone in a great city, and without a
single cent with which to leave the depot. It is often said, why do
their mothers let them go away (sixteen and eighteen are common ages)
so young, so inexperienced? It must be remembered that many of the
Polish and Lithuanian girls, for example, come from small villages.
The mothers themselves have never seen a big city, and have not
the remotest conception of any place of more than five hundred
inhabitants, where the distances are short, and where everyone knows
everyone else. They have no idea of the value of money, when it comes
to earning and spending it in America. Three dollars a week is to
mother, as to daughter, an ample sum for the young traveler.

It often happens that many of the young immigrants have had letters
from those who had preceded them. But we know what human nature is.
The person who succeeds proudly writes home the good news. The still
more successful person is able to take a trip home and display the
visible signs of his or her wealth. The unsuccessful, as a rule,
either does not write at all, or writing, does not admit the
humiliating truth.

In the ignorance and inexperience of the young foreign girl the white
slaver finds his easiest prey, and the betrayer is too often the man
speaking her own tongue. On this terrible subject the nation, like
other nations, is beginning to wake up to its responsibilities in
relation to the immigrant girl as in relation to other girls. This
special danger to young womanhood is so linked with other social
questions that I merely allude to it here, because of the certainty
I entertain that much even of this danger would lessen if the
trade-union movement among women were so strong and so extensive that
any woman, young or old, could travel from place to place as a member
of a truly world-wide organization. Then she would have a better
chance of arriving well posted as to ways of earning her living, and
of finding friends in every city and every town and village.

It may be urged that there exist already organizations world-wide in
their scope, such as the religious associations, for the very purpose
of safeguarding wandering girlhood. There are, and they accomplish a
notable amount of good. But their appeal is not universal; they never
have money or workers enough to cope adequately with a task like this,
and they are not built upon the sound economic basis of the trade

The immigrant problem was not encountered by the first factory workers
here, who were American-born. So we find the earliest leaders in the
trade organization of women were wholly drawn from the daughters of
the native settlers. They felt and spoke always as free-women, "the
daughters of freemen." When this class of girls withdrew from the
factories, they gave place to the Irish immigrant, in some respects a
less advanced type than themselves. I have briefly traced some of the
economic reasons which affected the rise, growth and eventual passing
away of the various phases of trade unionism among women in this
country. The progress of these was radically modified by the influx
into the trades of workers from one nation after another; by the
passing from a trade or a group of trades of body after body of the
old workers, starved out or giving way before the recent arrivals,
whose pitiful power to seize the jobs of the others and earn some sort
of a living, has lain in their very weakness and helplessness.

So the first Irish girls who came into the factory life of New England
were peasants, with no knowledge of city life, but quick and ready to
learn. They went into the new occupations, and picked up the new ways
of doing things. And by the time they had grasped the meaning of this
strange industrial world in which they found themselves, they were
in the relentless grasp of machine-controlled industry. Under
untold handicaps they had to begin at the very beginning, and start
rebellions on their own account. From the sixties on we can detect the
preponderance of Irish names in the annals of early trade unionism.
When they had adapted themselves to their conditions, for they quickly
became Americanized, they showed in the trade unions which they
organized the remarkable qualities for political leadership which the
Irish and Irish-Americans have ever since displayed in this country.
The important role which Irish and Irish-American men have played in
the councils of American trade unionism is well known, and their power
today remains very great. So as regards the women, by glancing over
the past we can readily trace the influence of the Irish girl, in the
efforts after organization, unsuccessful as these often were. It was
Maggie McNamara who led the Brooklyn Female Burnishers' Association
in 1868. It was during the sixties that Kate Mullaney was leading her
splendid body of Troy laundresses, and twenty years later we find
Leonora Barry, another Irish girl, as the leading spirit among the
women of the Knights of Labor.

Except in isolated instances, no other race has come to the front
among working-women until recently. We read of German women and
Bohemian women as faithful unionists. But Germans, Bohemians and
Scandinavians advanced or lost ground along with the others. By this
time, moreover, the nation had become more habituated to absorbing
immigrants from various nations, and the distinction between races
was less accentuated after a few years' residence. On the part of the
Germans and Scandinavians, amalgamation has been so speedy, and in the
end so complete, that most of those who have been here some time, and
invariably the children of the first-comers, are Americans through and

With the foreign peoples that we have with us today, the situation
is somewhat different. Certain general principles are common to the
course of all these migrations. They originate, on the one hand, in
economic pressure, complicated not unfrequently with religious wars or
persecutions, and on the other, in the expectation of better times
in a new country. They meet the demands of a new country, asking for
labor, and are further subject to the inducements of agents. Under our
haphazard social arrangements, the newly arrived often meet wretched
conditions, and have no means of knowing how they are being used to
lower yet further wages for themselves and others.

Always, whatever their own descent and history, the older inhabitants
feel resentment, knowing no more than their unfortunate rivals what
is the underlying reason of the trouble. Milder forms of antagonism
consist in sending the immigrant workers "to Coventry," using
contemptuous language of or to them, as we hear every day in "dago"
or "sheeny," and in objections by the elders to the young people
associating together, while the shameful use that is continually made
of the immigrants as strike-breakers may rouse such mutual indignation
that there are riots and pitched battles as a consequence.

The first indignant efforts to exclude the intruders are vain. More
and more do experienced trade unionists admit this, and plead for the
acceptance of the inevitable, and turn all their energies towards the
organization of the unwelcome rivals. Scabs they must be, if
left alone. Better take them in where they can be influenced and
controlled, and can therefore do less damage. Here is where the help
of the foreign organizer is so essential to overcome the indifference
and quell the misgivings of the strangers in a situation where the
influence of the employer is almost always adverse.

At length the immigrant gains a footing; he is left in possession,
either wholly or partly, and amalgamation to a great degree takes
place. A generation grows up that knew not the sad rivalry of their
fathers, for fresh industrial rivalries on different grounds have
replaced the old, as sharply cut, but not on race lines.

Every one of these stages can be seen today in all the industrial
centers and in many rural ones, with one people or another.

While the tendency of the organized labor movement, both in the United
States and in Canada, is towards restriction, whether exercised
directly through immigration laws, or indirectly through laws against
the importation of contract labor, there exist wide differences of
opinion among trade unionists, and in the younger groups are many who
recognize that there are limits beyond which no legislation can
affect the issue, and that even more important than the conditions of
admission to this new world is the treatment which the worker receives
after he passes the entrance gate. If it is necessary in the interests
of those already in this country to guard the portals carefully, it is
equally necessary for the welfare of all, that the community through
their legislators, both state and national, should accept the
responsibility of preventing the ruthless exploitation of immigrants
in the interest of private profit. Exploited and injured themselves,
these become the unconscious instruments of hardly less ruthless
exploitation and injury to their fellows in the competitive struggle
for a bare subsistence.

Such exploitation could be in some degree checked through the
authorities assuming control, and especially by furnishing to the new
arrivals abundant information and advice, acquainting them with the
state of the labor market in different localities and at different
times. It is for the authorities also to see that the transportation
of newly arrived foreigners from place to place is rendered secure;
to encourage their early instruction in the language and laws of the
country and the ordinances of the city, along with enlightenment as to
the resources in time of trouble, which lie open to the poorest, if
they but know where to turn.

In the first number of the _Immigrants in America Review_, the editor,
Frances A. Kellor, points out what an unusual opportunity has been
granted to America to formulate a definite program with reference
to alien residents. Now is the time, she insists, to perfect laws,
establish systems and improve conditions, when, owing to the European
War, but few immigrants are arriving, and therefore, when no great
rush of people demand expedients. "Now is the time to build, to
repair, to initiate, so we may obviate the necessity for expedients."

The writer shows that efforts ought to be directed along seven lines,
and the work on these seven lines should be closely cooerdinated.

1. _Transportation_. The safe transportation of admitted aliens to
their destination.

2. _Employment_. Security of employment, and adequate cooerdinated,
regulated labor-market organization.

3. _Standards of living_. Making it possible for the immigrant
to adopt and maintain better standards of living, by removal of
discriminations in localities, housing and sanitation, and by
preventing overcrowding.

4. _Savings_. Information regarding savings banks, loan funds,
agricultural colonies, and legislation regarding the same.

5. _Education_. Reduction of illiteracy, the teaching of civics, and
extension of opportunity of education and industrial training.

6. _Citizenship_. Higher and simpler naturalization requirements, and
processes, and placing the legal status of the alien upon a just and
consistent foundation.

7. _Public Charges_. National and state cooeperation in the care of any
who may become public charges.

No one can suppose that every Greek boy desires to become a shoeblack,
or that every Scandinavian girl is fitted for domestic service and for
nothing else; that every Slavic Jewess should become a garment-worker;
that every Italian man should work on the roads; that the Lithuanian
and Hungarian, no matter what their training or their ability, should
be compelled to go into the steel-rolling mills. All this because they
land speaking no English, and not knowing how to place themselves in
occupations better adapted to their inclinations and qualifications.
No one knows how many educated and trained men and women are thus
turned into hewers of wood and drawers of water, to the ruin of their
own lives and the loss of the community.

The unregulated private employment office, the padrone and the
sweat-shop are the agencies who direct the newcomers to jobs, whether
it be in the city or out in the country camp.

Many of the new arrivals would gladly take up agriculture, if they
knew where to go, and were safeguarded against imposition--having a
fee taken, for instance, and then landed several hundred miles away,
penniless, to find all the jobs gone.

The immigrant on landing is very much like the child leaving school to
go to work, and requires vocational guidance just as sorely.

The needs of the alien are closely related to the general question of
unemployment. He suffers in an acute degree from the want of system in
the regularization of industry, and the fact that we have failed
to recognize unemployment, and all irregularity of employment as
a condition to be met and provided against by industry and the

Americans take credit to themselves that so many immigrants do well,
succeed, become prosperous citizens and members of society, but wish
to shoulder none of the blame when the alien falls down by the way, or
lives under such home conditions that his babies die, and his older
children fall out of their grades, drift into the street trades or
find their way into the juvenile court. Americans forget how many of
all these evil results are due to the want of social machinery to
enable the alien to fit into his new surroundings, or the neglect to
set such social machinery agoing where it already exists. In the small
towns it is not unusual for health ordinances to be strictly enforced
in the English-speaking localities, and allowed to remain a dead
letter in the immigrant districts. In Chicago it was in the stockyards
district that garbage was dumped for many years; garbage, the product
of other wards, that the residents of those other wards insisted be
removed from their back-doors. How much of the high infant death-rate
among stockyards families has been due to the garbage exposed and
decaying, so carefully brought there, from the fine residential

Legally the alien suffers under a burden of disabilities of which he
is usually wholly unaware, until he has broken some law or regulation
devised, it would appear, often for his discomfiture, rather than
for anyone's else benefit. These laws and regulations, in themselves
sometimes just and sometimes unjust, make up a mass of the most
inconsistent legislation. State laws, varying from state to state, and
city ordinances equally individual limit the employment of aliens
on public work. Peddlers' and fishers' licenses come under similar
restrictions; so with the owning of property, the right to leave
property by will, say, to a wife and children in Europe, and the right
even to protection of life, in violation of treaty rights. "The state
courts have never punished a single outrage of this kind" [violence at
the hands of a mob]. The federal government, Miss Kellor states, makes
a payment to a victim's heirs out of a secret service fund "if the
ambassador is persistent, and threatens to withdraw from Washington if
the murder of his countrymen is not to be punished."

These are all most serious handicaps, and certainly the need for
investigation of all laws, the codifying of many, and the abolition of
some is urgent.

If some of these handicaps were lifted from the immigrant, complaint
against under-cutting competition of cheap foreign labor would largely
cease, and the task of organizers among the foreign workers would be
much simplified, even while we are waiting for the day when it will be
possible for all to obtain work without turning others out of their
jobs, which can only come about when we produce intelligently for the
use of all, instead of for the profit of the exceptional few.

Here and there work on the lines sketched out is beginning, even
though much of it is as yet unrelated to the rest. The community is
making headway, in the acknowledgment by various states, headed by New
York, of the just claim of the immigrant, once he is admitted within
our borders, to the protection of the government. For long after
the Federal authorities took over the control of immigration, their
concern was limited to some degree of restriction over the entry
of foreigners, and the enforcement of deportation, when such was
considered necessary. Quite a fresh departure, however, was made
in the year 1910, when the state of New York, following the
recommendations of its State Commission on Immigration (1909),
established its Bureau of Industries and Immigration, which really
grew out of the activities of a private society. Other communities
are also realizing their responsibility. California established a
permanent Commission on Immigration and Housing in 1913, and the
Investigating Commissions of Massachusetts and New Jersey recommended
similar agencies in their reports to the legislatures in 1914.

New York has already accomplished excellent results, and more
important still, has shown the direction, in which other states may
both follow and cooeperate. A few years more may see us with interstate
legislation insuring the better care and protection of immigrants all
over the country, interstate legislation being the curiously
indirect method which the United States has hit upon to overcome
the imperfections and deficiencies of its national instrument of
government. One of these days may even find the Federal House at
Washington taking over, in other lines besides that of foreign
workers, the functions outlined for it in the first instance by the
daughter states.

The United States Government has recently entered a new field in the
passage of a law, authorizing the protection of immigrants in transit
to their destination, and providing for the establishment of a station
in Chicago, where the immigrants will go on their arrival, and will
thus be protected from the gross frauds from which they have so long
suffered. The present administration also promises an experiment
in the development of the Bureau of Information in the Immigration

It is not so easy for any of us to give the same dispassionate
consideration to the problem that is with us as to that which has long
been settled, and has passed away into the calm atmosphere of history.
And truly, there are complications in the present situation which our
fathers had not to face. And first, the much greater dissimilarity in
training, mental outlook, social customs, and in the case of the
men and women from eastern Europe, not to speak of Asia, the utter
unlikeness in language, makes mutual knowledge and understanding much
more difficult, and the growth of mutual confidence, therefore, much

No one has yet analyzed the effects upon the nervous system of the
migrating worker, of the unsettlement of habits, and the change of
surroundings and social environment, working in connection with the
changed climatic conditions, and the often total change in food. This
is one phase of the immigrant problem which deserves the most careful
study. And when, as too often in the case of the Russian Jew, this
complete alteration of life is piled on top of the persecutions so
many of them have endured, and the shocks so many have sustained
before leaving their native land, the normal, usual effects of
the transition are emphasized and exaggerated, and it may take a
generation or longer before complete Americanization and amalgamation
is brought about.

The longer such a change is in being consummated, the more is the
new generation likely to retain some of their most characteristic
qualities permanently; to retain and therefore to impress these upon
the dominant race, in this case upon the American nation, through
association, and finally, through marriage. Especially is this a
probable result where we find such vitality and such intensely
prepotent power as among the Jews.

In reference to trade-union organization among women, while each
nationality presents its own inherent problem, there is equally
no doubt but that each will in the future make its own special
contribution towards the progress and increased scope of the movement
among the women workers.

As matters are developing today, the fulfillment of this promise of
the future has already begun most markedly among the Slavic Jewesses,
especially those from Russia. These young women have already brought,
and are every day bringing into the dreary sweatshop and the
speeded-up factory a spirit of fearlessness and independence both
in thought and action, which is having an amazing effect upon the
conditions of factory industry in the trades where they work. So also,
supporting and supported by the men of their own race, these Russian
Jewish girls, many of them extremely young, are inspiring their
fellow-workers and interpenetrating the somewhat matter-of-fact
atmosphere of American trade unionism with their own militant
determination and enthusiasm. With most, the strike has been their
initiation into trade unionism, often the general strike in their own
trade, the strike on a scale hitherto unparalleled in trades where
either the whole or a very considerable proportion of the workers are
women. Some again, especially among the leaders, approach unionism
through the ever open door of socialism. If I speak here of the women
of the Slavic Jewish race, it is not that I wish to ignore the men. I
have to leave them on one side, that is all.

These girls add to courage and enthusiasm, such remarkable gifts of
intellect and powers of expression as to make them a power wherever
they have become awakened to the new problems that face them here and
now, and to their own responsibilities in relation thereto. They are
essentially individualists. They do not readily or naturally either
lean upon others or cooeperate with others, nor yet confide in others.
They come here with a history generations long of ill-treatment and
persecution. Many thousands of them have witnessed their dearest
tortured, outraged and killed with the narrowest possible escape from
some similar fate themselves. To most any return to their native
country is completely barred, and they do not therefore nurse the
hope, so inveterately cherished by the Italians, for instance, that
they may some day be able to go back.

When the Russian Jewish girl first hears of a trade union, she has
usually been some years in one of our cities, working in a factory or
a sweatshop, let us say as a garment-worker. The religious and social
liberty which she has here learnt to consider her due has stimulated
her desire for further freedom, while the tremendous industrial
pressure under which she earns her daily bread stirs the keenest
resentment. One day patience, Jewish girlish patience, reaches its
limit. A cut in wages, exhausting overtime, or the insults of an
overbearing foreman, and an unpremeditated strike results. It may be
small, poorly managed, and unsuccessful. The next time things may go
better, and the girls come in touch with a union, and take their first
lessons in the meaning of collective bargaining. (What is passing in
the minds of the rank and file at this stage I am not certain. The
obscurities of their psychology are more difficult to fathom.) But I
am sure that to the leaders of the young protestants it is not so
much in the light of a tower of refuge that the trade union presents
itself, but rather as an instrument by means of which they believe
that they can control a situation which has become unbearable. As
happens to many endowed with the gift of leadership, they travel much
farther than they had any idea of when they set out. As time goes on,
if they are real leaders, they learn to understand human nature in
its varied aspects, the human nature of bosses, as well as the human
nature of their fellow-wage-earners. After a year or two as presidents
or secretaries of their local, you will hear these fiery-tongued
little orators preaching endurance, in order to gain an end not
obtainable today, aye, even advising compromise, they to whom the very
word compromise had erstwhile been impossible. This implies no loss of
principle, no paltering with loyalty, but merely putting in practice
the wisdom of the experienced statesman. Nearly all, sooner or later,
embrace the socialist philosophy, and many are party members. In that
philosophy they find a religious sanction in their most determined
struggles after victory, and unfailing support and consolation in the
hour of defeat.

As for the rank and file, with them, too, something of the same mental
processes probably goes on in a minor degree; but they are much longer
in learning their lesson, and meanwhile are often exceedingly hard to
direct. They are impulsive beyond belief. It used once to be remarked
that Jewish girls were the easiest of all to organize during a strike,
and the hardest of all to hold in the union afterwards. This is
fortunately not so true today, now that there are a few trained
leaders of their own race, whom they trust, and who understand their
moods, and know, better than most Americans, how to handle them.

The alien is forever being resented as an obstacle, even if an
unconscious one, in the way of organization. Yet as far as women are
concerned, it is to this group of aliens in particular that is due the
recent tremendous impulse towards organization among the most poorly
paid women. In the sewing trades, and in some other trades, such as
candy-making, it is the American girls who have accepted conditions,
and allowed matters to drift from bad to worse. It is the foreign
girl, and especially the Slavic Jewess who has been making the fight
for higher wages, shorter hours, better shop management, and above
all, for the right to organize; and she has kept it up, year after
year, and in city after city, in spite of all expectations to the

One of the indirect benefits of the colossal strikes in the sewing
trades in which these Jewish girls have played so conspicuous a
part has been the increasing degree in which those of differing
nationalities have come to understand one another, as men and women
having common difficulties and common rights, as all alike members
of the great working people. Through sore trial many have learnt the
meaning of "class consciousness," who never heard of the word.

The new spirit is beginning to touch the Italian girl, and as time
goes on, she, too, will be brought into the fold of unionism. To meet
with large success, we need as leaders and organizers, Italians, both
men and women, of the type of Arthur Carotti, as capable and devoted.
The Italian girl is guarded in her home as is the girl of no other
race, and this works both for good and for evil. The freedom of the
streets, accorded so unquestioningly to their girls by the parents of
other nationalities, is conscientiously denied to the Italian girl. No
respectable family would permit their daughters to go to any sort of
an evening gathering, to attend church or dance or union meeting,
unless accompanied by father, mother or brother. While no one can
help deeply respecting the principles of family affection and
responsibility which dictate this code of manners, there is equally no
blinking the fact that it raises a most serious barrier in the way of
organizing girls of Italian parentage. Nor on the other hand is it
of the least avail to protect the girl against the evils of the
industrial system of which the whole family form a part. In especial
it does not serve to shield her from the injurious effects of cruel
overwork. In no class of our city population do we find more of this
atrocious evil, misnamed homework than among Italian families,
and whether it is sewing, artificial-flower-or feather-making or
nut-picking, neither grown daughters nor little children are spared
here. Along with the mother and under her eye, the whole group
work day after day, and often far into the night at occupations in
themselves harmless enough under proper conditions, but ruinous to
health and happiness when permitted to intrude under the family roof.
For the wrong of home-work is not to be measured even by the injury
suffered by the workers themselves. All parasitic trades, such as
these, lower wages in the open market. The manufacturer is continually
impelled to cut down wages in his shops to keep pace with the
competition of the ill-remunerated home-worker.

As I have said above, I believe that every race that has settled down
here in this America has some special contribution to bestow, which
will work for good to the whole labor movement. I have instanced the
case of the Slavic Jewess as one who has certainly arrived. From
others the gift has still to come. From the Italian girl it will come
in good time, for they are beginning to enter the unions now, and from
the lips of their own fellow-countrywomen even Italian mothers will
learn to accept for their daughters the gospel they will not listen to
from foreigners like ourselves. The most severely handicapped of all
the nationalities so far, to my thinking, is the Polish. They are what
is called pure Slavs, that is, with no Jewish blood. They are peasant
girls and cannot be better described than they are in a pamphlet
on "The Girl Employed in Hotels and Restaurants," published by the
Juvenile Protective League to Chicago.

In these places Polish girls are chosen for the following reasons:

1. Because they come of strong peasant stock, and accomplish a large
amount of work.

2. They are very thorough in what they do.

3. They are willing to take low wages.

4. They are very submissive, that is, they never protest.

5. They are ignorant of the laws of this country, and are easily
imposed upon.

6. They never betray their superiors, no matter what they see.

What a scathing indictment of the American people is set forth in this
brief summing up!

The trades that swallow up these strong, patient, long-enduring
creatures are work in the meat-canning plants, and dish-washing and
scrubbing in restaurants and hotels. These really valuable qualities
of physical strength and teachableness, unbalanced by any sense of
what is due to themselves, let alone their fellow-workers, prove their
industrial ruin.

It is only when they are fortunate enough to get into a better class
of work, and when they chance upon some well-organized establishment
and are drawn into the union as a matter of course that we find Polish
girls in unions at all. Intellectually they are not in the running
with the Russian Jewess and the peasant surroundings of their
childhood have offered them few advantages. One evening, for instance,
there were initiated into a glove-workers' local seventeen new Polish
members. Of these two only were able to read and write English, and of
the remainder not more than half were able to read and write Polish.
As to what is to be the later standing and the ultimate contribution
of the Polish girl, I cannot hazard a guess. I only know that she
possesses fine qualities which we are not utilizing and which we may
be obliterating by the cruel treatment so many thousands of Polish
girls are receiving at our hands.

I cannot see any prospect of organizing them in any reasonable numbers
at present. The one thing we can do to alleviate their hard lot is to
secure legislation--legislation for shorter hours and for the minimum

Their suspiciousness is perhaps the chief barrier in the way of social
elevation of the Poles. That Poles can be organized is shown by
the remarkable success of the Polish National Alliance and kindred
societies. Their capacity for cooeperation is seen in their
establishment of their own cooeperative stores.



The problems that face the woman organizer are many and complex. They
are the harder to handle, inasmuch as there is very little assistance
to be had from any body of tradition on the subject among women
workers. The movement for organization among women is still so
inchoate. The woman organizer turns to the more experienced men
leaders, and finds that often, even with the best will in the world,
they cannot help her. The difficulties she meets with are, in detail,
so different from theirs that she has to work out her own solutions
for herself.

It is indeed a blind alley in which she has so often to move. The
workers are young and ignorant, therefore, by all odds, they require
the protection of both legislation and organization. Again, the
workers are young and ignorant, and therefore they have not learnt the
necessity for such protection. Their wages are in most cases low,
too low for decent self-support. But just because their wages are so
inadequate for bare needs it is in many cases all the more difficult
to induce them to deduct from such scanty pay the fifty cents a month
which is the smallest sum upon which any organization can pay its way
and produce tangible benefits for its members.

Left to her own devices, the solution of her financial difficulties
which the average girl finds is always to lessen her expenses so as to
manage on the lessening wage that is inevitable in all trades if not
resisted. To find a cheaper room, to take one more girl into her room,
to spend a few cents a day less for food--these are the near-hand
economies that first present themselves to the girlish mind. This is
on the economizing side. When it comes to trying to earn more, to work
longer hours is surely the self-evident way of increasing the contents
of the weekly pay envelope. The younger and inexperienced the worker,
the more readily is she fooled into believing that the more work she
turns out, under a piece-work system, the more money will she earn,
not only in that week but in the succeeding weeks.

To this child-like and simple code of worldly wisdom and of ethics,
the policy advised by the organizer is indeed entirely foreign. To
some very good girls, indeed, it seems ethically wrong not to work
your hardest, or, as they say, do your best, especially when you are
urged to. To more, it seems a silly, not to say impossible plan, not
to try and earn as big a wage as possible. But the organizer comes in
and she approaches the question from the other end. She does not talk
about a standard of living, but she preaches it all the time. It is
her business and her vocation to bring the girls to see that the first
step towards getting more wages is to want more wages, to ask for more
wages, and then, seeing that the single girl has no power of bringing
about this result by herself, to show them that they must band
together with the determination to make their wage square with their
ideas of living, and not think that they must forever square their
mode of living with their wage.

In the acceptance into the mind of this idea is involved a complete

It is in making of this ideal theory a living force, by helping girls
to put it into practice in everyday shop life that the girl organizer
has her special work cut out for her. And here she necessarily
contrasts favorably with the average man organizer when he tries to
deal with girls, because she understands the girl's work and the
girl's problems better, and the girl knows that she does.

I have taken wages as the prime subject of the organizer's activities
only because wages form the crux of the whole question. There, without
any deceiving veils falling between, we come close up to the real
point at issue between the employer and the employed, between the
employe and the community, the standard of living that is possible,
as measured by the employe's share of the product of labor. But in
practice, money wages form only one element of the standard of living
problem, although the one around which least confusion gathers.

Whatever form the demands of labor organizations may take, the essence
of the demand is the same: better terms for the worker always, however
temporary circumstances or technical details may obscure the issue.

That this holds of reductions in hours of work has become a truism
among trade unionists, who recognize that any reduction of hours
of work eventually, though not perhaps immediately, results in a
readjustment of wages, whether week-workers or piece-workers or both
be involved, till the original money wage at any rate is reached,
supposing, of course, that no other influence enters in as an element
to lessen rates of pay.

The question of equal pay for equal work involves indeed much more
complicated issues, as regards both the individual worker and the
whole body of women workers in the trade or branch of the trade
affected. But even here, the underlying purpose is the same, the
assuring, to the total number of workers whose labor has gone into the
production, of a certain amount of finished marketable work, of an
increased, or at the least, not a lessened share of the product of
their toil. It is not to be questioned that if women are permitted
to work at the same operations as men for a lesser remuneration, the
man's wage must go down. In addition, he may, even at the lowered
rate, lose his job, as the employer may cherish the not altogether
groundless hope that he may cut down the women's wage yet further and
employ yet more women, and yet fewer men.

In the same way the provision of better sanitary conditions, the
fencing off of dangerous machinery, the prohibition usually of
dangerous processes or of the use of dangerous materials, such as lead
or white phosphorus, all involve an addition small or large, to the
cost of manufacture. If, however, there be in all these instances an
increase in the cost of manufacture there are also results to the
well-being of the workers, which, if they could be measured in money,
would be out of all proportion to the money cost to the employer or
to the purchasing community. But again, it is the maintenance of the
workers' ideal standard of living which causes the trade union to
demand that their share of the product of their toil shall not be
lessened by needless or avoidable risks to life or limb or health.

I have taken these demands in the order, in which, generally speaking,
the organizer can induce the young girl worker to consider them in her
own case. Better pay makes by far the easiest appeal, whether it be to
the very young girl with her eager desire for a good time or to her
older sister upon whom, quite surely, years have laid some of life's
increasing burdens.

Next in order of attractiveness came shorter hours, especially if the
wage-earners can be assured that wages will stay where they are.

But nothing short of both years and trade experience, apparently, will
impress upon the worker all that is implied in those words that we
write so easily and pronounce so glibly--sanitary conditions.

The young girls have all the blessed, happy-go-lucky care-free-ness
of children, the children they are in years. They start out on their
wage-earning career with the abounding high spirits and the stores of
vitality of extreme youth. They are proud of their new capacity to
earn, to begin to keep themselves and to help the mother and the
others, and at first it does not seem to them as if anything could
break them down or kill them. They do not at first associate bad air
with headaches or sore throats, nor long standing with backaches, nor
following the many needles of a power sewing-machine with eye trouble.
The dangerous knife-edge on the revolving wheel, or the belting
that may catch hair or clothing is to them only an item in the
shop-furnishings, that they hope may not catch them napping.

All along the progress of labor organization has been exceedingly slow
among women as compared with men, and has been far indeed from keeping
pace with the rate at which increasing numbers of women have
poured into the industrial field. So that it was not strange that
well-meaning labor men, judging from personal experiences or arguing
from analogy, came to the conclusion, paralyzing indeed to their own
strivings after an all-inclusive, nation-wide organization of the
workers, that women could not be organized. Or if such a labor man did
not like to put it quite so bluntly, even to himself, he would shake
his head, and regretfully remark that women did not make good trade
unionists. If someone less experienced or more hopeful came along with
plans for including or for helping women, the veteran trade unionist
had too often a number of facts to bring forward, the bald accuracy of
which was not to be disputed, of how in his own trade the women were
scabbing on the men by working for a lower wage, or that they were so
indifferent about the meetings, or worse still, how that women's local
did so fine during the strike, and then just went to pieces, and now
there wasn't any local at all.

"Facts are not to be explained away," he would conclude. No, they are
not to be explained away, but some facts may be explained, and not
unfrequently the explanation is based upon some other fact, which has
been overlooked. With the present question, the one important fact
which explains a good deal is the youth of so many women workers. This
by no means disposes of each particular situation with its special
difficulties, but it does help to explain the general tendency among
the women to be neglectful of meetings and to let their local go to
pieces, which so distracts our friend.

This new competitor with men, whom we think of and speak of as a
woman, is in many cases not a woman at all, but only a girl, very
often only a child. From this one fact arises a whole class, of
conditions, with resulting problems and difficulties totally different
from any the man trade unionist has to deal with among men.

The first and most palpable difficulty is that the majority of workers
are yet at the play age. They are still at the stage when play is
one of the rightful conditions under which they carry on their main
business of growing up. Many of them are not ready to be in the
factory at all. Certainly not for eight, ten or twelve hours a day.
And so those young things, after an unthankful and exhausting day's
toil, are not going to attend meetings unless these can be made
attractive to them. And the meeting that may appear entirely right and
even attractive to the man of thirty or forty will be tiresome and
boring past endurance to the girl of sixteen or eighteen.

Then there are other huge difficulties to encounter. The very first
principles of cooeperative action and mutual responsibility are unknown
to the great majority of the young workers. Too rarely does it
happen, that in her own home the girl has learnt anything about trade
unionism, at least trade unionism for women. The greater number of
girls are not the daughters of factory mothers. The mother, whether
American or foreign-born, grew up herself in simpler conditions, and
does not begin to comprehend the utterly changed environment in which
her little daughter has to work when she enters a modern factory. If
American, she may; have married just out of her father's home, and if
foreign-born she may have been tending silkworms or picking grapes
in Italy, or at field-work in Poland or Hungary. Very different
occupations these from turning raw silk into ribbon or velvet in an
Eastern mill, or labelling fruit-jars in an Illinois cannery.

Again, neither in the public nor in the parochial school are the
workers-to-be taught anything concerning the labor movement or the
meaning of collective bargaining. Even if they should have attained
the eighth grade with its dizzy heights of learning, the little
teaching they have received in civics has not touched upon either of
the most vital problems of our day, the labor movement or the woman

The mere youth, however, of the girl workers is not in itself the
chief or the most, insuperable difficulty. If these girls were boys
we might look forward to their growing up in the trade, gaining
experience and becoming ever more valuable elements in the union
membership. But after a few years the larger percentage of the girls
marry and are lost to the union and to unionism for good. Nay, a girl
is often such a temporary hand that she does not even remain out
her term of working years in one trade, but drifts into and out of
half-a-dozen unskilled or semi-skilled occupations, and works for
twenty different employers in the course of a few years. The head of a
public-school social center made it her business to inquire of fifty
girls, all over sixteen, and probably none over eighteen how long each
had held her present job. Two only had been over a year at the one
place. The rest accounted for such short periods as four months, six
weeks, two weeks, at paper-box-making, candy-packing or book-binding
with, of course, dull seasons and periods of unemployment between.

In the organized trades conditions are not quite so exasperating, but
even in these the short working term of the girl employe means an
utter lack of continuity in the membership of the trade and therefore
of the union. The element of permanence in men's organizations is in
great measure the result of the fact that men, whether they remain in
one particular trade or shift to another, are at least in industry for
life as wage-earners, unless indeed they pass on into the employing or
wage-paying class.

But instead of seeing in the temporary employment of so many girls
only another reason why they need the protection and the educational
advantages of organization, we have been too contented to let ill
alone, and all alike, the girl, the workingman, and the community are
suffering for this inertia.

In this connection the first and most important matter to take up is
that of women organizers, for women workers will never be enrolled in
the labor movement of America in adequate numbers except through women
organizers. And where are these today?

A most emphatic presentation of the practical reasons why the man
organizer can rarely handle effectively young women workers, and why
therefore women are absolutely necessary if the organization on any
large scale is to be successful, was made before the Convention of the
American Federation of Labor in Toronto in 1909.

The speaker was Mr. Thomas Rumsey of Toledo. He described his own
helplessness before the problem. He told, how, to begin with, it was
not possible for a man to have that readiness of access to the girl
workers when in their own homes and in their leisure hours which the
woman organizer readily obtained.

"If a girl is living at home," he said, "it is not quite, so awkward,
but if she is in lodgings I can't possibly ask to see her in her own
room. If I talk to her at all it will be out on the street, which is
not pleasant, especially if it is snowing or freezing or blowing a
gale. It is not under these conditions that a girl is likely to see
the use of an organization or be attracted by its happier and more
social side." Then he went on to say that he himself often did not
know what best to say to his girl when he had caught her. He was
ignorant, perhaps almost as ignorant as an outsider, of the conditions
under which she did her work. He might know or be able to find out her
wages and hours; he might guess that there was fining and speeding up,
but he would know nothing of the details, and on any sanitary question
or any moral question he would be utterly at sea. He could neither
put the questions nor get the answers, nor in any way win the
girl's confidence. Therefore, Mr. Rumsey concluded, if the American
Federation of Labor is going to acknowledge its responsibilities in
the great field of labor propaganda among women it must seriously take
up the question of organizing women by women.

On a similar basis of reasoning it is easy to see that in the great
majority of cases the successful organization of the women in any
particular trade can be best carried out by one of themselves, a
woman from their own trade. Not only do the girls believe that she
understands their difficulties better than anyone else, but in most
instances she does indeed bring to her work that exact knowledge of
details and processes which gives the girls confidence that she
can fairly state their case, that she will not, through technical
ignorance, ask for impossibilities, nor on the other hand permit
herself to be browbeaten by a foreman or superintendent because
she does not know anything about the quality of material used, the
peculiarities of a machine or the local or seasonal needs of the
trade. Employers and managers also quickly recognize when organizers
know whereof they talk. They, like the employes, realize that with
such competent and efficient organizers or business agents they, too,
are on firmer ground, even though they may not always acknowledge it.

To these sound general rules there are exceptions. There are cases
where a man organizer can be invaluable, especially in some great,
even if temporary, crisis. Also, there are in the American labor
movement a few women who possess a genius for organizing on the very
broadest lines. So profound is their sympathy with all their sisters,
so thorough their grasp of general principles, so quick their
perception of details, so intimate their knowledge of human nature and
so sound and cool their judgment that they can be sent far afield
into trades quite foreign to those of which they have had personal
experience, and make a success of it. But such as these are rare and,
when found, to be prized and cherished. The ordinary everyday way of
drawing the women workers into the union and into the labor movement
would be to have in every trade women from that trade at work all
the time organizing their fellow-workers and holding them in the

When the preliminary difficulties of organization have been met and
overcome, when the new union has been set on its feet or the old one
strengthened, there remains for the girl leader to keep her forces

The commonest complaint of all is that women members of a trade union
do not attend their meetings. It is indeed a very serious difficulty
to cope with, and the reasons for this poor attendance and want of
interest in union affairs have to be fairly faced.

At first glance it seems curious that the meetings of a mixed local
composed of both men and girls, should have for the girls even less
attraction than meetings of their own sex only. But so it is. A
business meeting of a local affords none of the lively social
intercourse of a gathering for pleasure or even of a class for
instruction. The men, mostly the older men, run the meeting and often
are the meeting. Their influence may be out of all proportion to their
numbers. It is they who decide the place where the local shall meet
and the hour at which members shall assemble. The place is therefore
often over a saloon, to which many girls naturally and rightly object.
Sometimes it is even in a disreputable district. The girls may prefer
that the meeting should begin shortly after closing time so that they
do not need to go home and return, or have to loiter about for two or
three hours. They like meetings to be over early. The men mostly name
eight o'clock as the time of beginning, but business very often will
not start much before nine. Then, too, the men feel that they have
come together to talk, and talk they do while they allow the real
business to drag. Of course, the girls are not interested in long
discussions on matters they do not understand and in which they have
no part and naturally they stay away, and so make matters worse, for
the men feel they are doing their best for the interests of the union,
resent the women's indifference, and are more sure than ever that
women do not make good unionists.

Among the remedies proposed for this unsatisfactory state of affairs
is compulsory attendance at a certain number of meetings per year
under penalty of a fine or even losing of the card. (A very drastic
measure this last and risky, unless the trade has the closed shop.)

Where the conditions of the trade permit it by far the best plan is to
have the women organized in separate locals. The meetings of women and
girls only draw better attendances, give far more opportunity for all
the members to take part in the business, and beyond all question form
the finest training ground for the women leaders who inconsiderable
numbers are needed so badly in the woman's side of the trade-union
movement today.

Those trade-union women who advocate mixed locals for every trade
which embraces both men and women are of two types. Some are mature,
perhaps elderly women, who have been trade unionists all their lives,
who have grown up in the same locals with men, who have in the long
years passed through and left behind their period of probation and
training, and to whose presence and active cooeperation the men have
become accustomed. These women are able to express their views in
public, can put or discuss a motion or take the chair as readily as
their brothers. The other type is represented by those individual
women or girls in whom exceptional ability takes the place of
experience, and who appreciate the educational advantages of working
along with experienced trade-union leaders. I have in my mind at this
moment one girl over whose face comes all the rapture of the keen
student as she explains how much she has learnt from working with men
in their meetings. She ardently advocates mixed locals for all. For
the born captain the plea is sound. Always she is quick enough to
profit by the men's experience, by their ways of managing conferences
and balancing advantages and losses in presenting a wage-scale or
accepting an agreement. At the same time she is not so overwhelmed by
their superiority, born of long practice in handling such situations,
but that she retains her own independence of judgment and clearness
of vision, and at the fitting moment will rise and place the woman's
point of view before her male co-workers. Oh yes, for herself she is
right, and for the coming woman she is right, too. But the risk is
rather that she and such as she pressing on in their individual
advancement will outstep the rank and file of their sisters at the
present stage while trade unionism among women is still so young a
movement, and one which under the most hopeful circumstances will
have to fulfill for many years the task of receiving, teaching and
assimilating vast numbers of young and quite untrained, in many cases
non-English-speaking girls.

The mixed local for all mixed trades is, I believe, the ultimate
goal which women trade unionists ought to keep in mind. But with the
average girl today the plan does not work. The mixed local does
not, as a general rule, offer the best training-class for new girl
recruits, in which they may obtain their training in collective
bargaining or cooeperative effort. To begin with, they are often so
absurdly young that they stand in the position of children put into
a class at school two or three grades ahead of their capacity and
expected to do work for which they have had no preparation through the
earlier grades. Many of the discussions that go on are quite above
the girls' heads. And even when a young girl has something to say and
wishes to say it, want of practice and timidity often keep her silent.
It is to be regretted, too, that some trade-union men are far from
realizing either the girls' needs in their daily work or their
difficulties in meetings, and lecture, reprove or bully, where they
ought to listen and persuade.

The girls, as a rule, are not only happier in their own women's local,
but they have the interest of running the meetings themselves. They
choose their own hall and fix their own time of meeting. Their
officers are of their own selecting and taken from among themselves.
The rank and, file, too, get the splendid training that is conferred
when persons actually and not merely nominally work together for a
common end. Their introduction to the great problems of labor is
through their practical understanding and handling of those problems
as they encounter them in the everyday difficulties of the shop and
the factory and as dealt with when they come up before the union
meeting or have to be settled in bargaining with an employer.

But there are other and broader reasons still why it is women who
should in the main be the leaders and teachers of women in the trade
union, that newest and best school for the working-women. Women have
always been the teachers of the race. It was in the far-back ages with
motherhood as their normal school that primitive women learnt their
profession and handed on to their daughters their slowly acquired
skill. Whenever woman has been left to self-development on her own
lines her achievements have always been in the constructive direction.
Always she has been busy helping to make some young thing grow,
whether the object of her solicitous attention were a wild grass, a
baby, or an art. What does education mean but the drawing forth of
latent qualities? Is not the best teacher the one who calls these
forth? Are not women teachers, trained, wise, and patient, urgently
needed in the labor movement of our day? Just now, when the number of
young girls in industry is so great, the girls need them, we know.
Possibly the men also would be the gainers through their influence.
The labor movement is a constant fight, it is true, but it is also a
school of development. In the near future we hope it will mean to
all workers even more than a discipline, a storehouse of culture, a
provider of joy and of pleasure, of care in sickness, of support in
adversity, and best of all, a preparation for and a hastener on of
that cooeperative commonwealth for which more and more of us ever watch
and pray.

The need for the woman organizer admitted, the demand for women
organizers becomes pressing. And where are they to be found? The reply
is that they are not to be found, not yet. If the organizers were
to be obtained such requests would be increased fourfold. But the
material is ready to hand. The born organizer, with initiative,
resource, courage and patience exists in every trade, in every city,
and she comes of every race. But on the one hand she is untrained, and
on the other cannot stop to receive training unless for a little while
she is relieved from the pressing necessity of earning her living.

The problem of how to provide women organizers in response to the
demand for such workers, with its solution, was admirably put by Mrs.
Raymond Robins, in her presidential address before the Fourth Biennial
Convention of the National Women's Trade Union League in St. Louis, in
June, 1913, when she said:

The best organizers without question are the trade-union girls. Many
a girl capable of leadership and service is held within the ranks
because neither she as an individual nor her organization has money
enough to set her free for service. Will it be possible for the
National Women's Trade Union League to establish a training-school
for women organizers, even though in the beginning it may be only a
training-class, offering every trade-union girl a scholarship for a

The course finally outlined included a knowledge of the principles
of trade unionism, and their practical application in field-work, a
knowledge of labor legislation, of parliamentary law, and practice in
writing and speaking.

In the following year, 1914, the League was able to give several
months of training to three trade-union girls. Cordial cooeperation
was received from both the University of Chicago and North-western
University. For the present no further students have been received,
because of the need of larger financial resources to maintain classes
in session regularly.

The need for a training-school is attested by the constant demands
for women organizers received at the headquarters of the League from
central labor bodies and men's unions, and by the example of the
thorough training given to young women taking up work in other fields
somewhat analogous. Such a school for women might very well prove in
this country the nucleus of university extension work in the labor
movement for both men and women, similar to that which has been so
successfully inaugurated in Great Britain, and which is making headway
in Canada and in Australia.

At the Seattle Convention of the American Federation of Labor held in
November, 1914, a resolution was passed levying an assessment of one
cent upon the entire membership to organize women. Efforts were mainly
concentrated upon workers in the textile industry, to which special
organizers, both men and women, were assigned. There is no trade
which has worse conditions, and consequently wages and regularity
of employment are immediately affected adversely by any industrial

Women in the labor movement will have to make their own mistakes
and earn their own experience. I have dwelt elsewhere upon the many
advantages that accrue to women and girls from belonging to an
organization so vital and so bound up with some of our most
fundamental needs, as the trade union. On the very surface it
is evident that in such a body working-women learn to be more
business-like, to work together in harmony, to share loyally the
results of their united action, whether these spell defeat or success.
If they err, they promptly learn of their mistakes from their,
fellow-workers, men or women, from employers, and from their families.

Here, however, is perhaps the place to call attention to one markedly
feminine tendency, which should be discouraged in these early days
lest in process of time it might even gain the standing of a virtue,
and that is the inclination among the leaders to indulge in unlimited
overwork in all their labor activities. Labor men overwork too, but
not, as a rule, to the same degree, nor nearly so frequently as women.

Do not mistake. Women do not fall into this error because they are
trade unionists, or because they are inspired by the labor movement or
by the splendid ideals or by the aspiration after a free womanhood.

No! Trade-union and socialist and suffrage women overwork because they
are women, because through long ages the altruistic side has been
overdeveloped. They have brought along with them into their public
work the habit of self-sacrifice, and that overconscientiousness
in detail which their foremothers acquired during the countless
generations when obedience, self-immolation and self-obliteration were
considered women's chief duties. Personally these good sisters are
blameless. But that does not in the least alter the hard fact that
such overdevotion is an uneconomical expenditure of nervous energy.

When a wiser onlooker, wise with the onlooker's wisdom, urges
moderation even in overwork, there is put forward the pathetic plea,
variously worded:

"So much to do, so little time to do it."

I have never heard that hard-to-be-met argument so well answered as by
a woman physician, who gave these reasons to her patient, one of the
overdevoted ilk.

"Agreed," she said, "there is so much to do that you cannot possibly
do it all, nor the half, nor the tenth, nor the fiftieth part of it.
Furthermore, the struggle is going on for a long, long time, and there
are occasions ahead when your aid will be needed as badly or more
badly than today. And when that hour comes, if you do not take care
of yourself now, you will not be there to furnish the help others
require. Not that I think you are dangerously ill, but I'm reminding
you that, at the rate you are going, your working years, the years
during which your energy and your initiative will last, are going to
be few, so pull up and go slow!

"You are a leader, and you are so, partly at least, because you are a
highly trained person. It has taken many years to train you up to this
pitch of efficiency. You can handle agreements, at a pinch you can
draft a bill. You are a favorite and influential speaker. You are
invaluable in a strike, and you have often prevented strikes. We all
want you to go on doing all these things. Now, tell me, which is
the most valuable to the whole labor movement, a few years of your
activity, or many years?"

That puts the matter in a nutshell.

I do not wish to overlook the fact that there are exceptional
occasions when overwork to the extent of breakdown or even death is
justified, or to have it supposed that I think mere life our most
valuable possession, or that there may not be many a time when truly
to save your life is to lose it. But I repeat that habitual, everyday
overwork, is uneconomical, injurious to the cause we serve, and likely
to lessen rather than heighten the efficiency of the indispensable
leaders when the supreme test comes.



When we begin! to survey the vast field of industry covered by
different occupations we get the same sense of confusion that comes
to us when we look at an ant-heap. The workers are going hither and
thither, with apparently no ordered plan, with no unity or community
of purpose that we can discover. But those who have given time and
patience to the task have been able to read order even in the chaos of
the ant-hill. And so may we, with our far more complex human ant-hill,
if we will set to work. The material for such a study lies ready to
our hand in bewildering abundance; but to make any practical studies
which shall aid the workers and the thinking public to follow the line
of least resistance in raising standards of wages and of status as
well will be the work of many years and of many minds. Even today
there are some general indications of how the workers are going to
settle their own problems.

Some foreign critics and some critics at home are very severe upon the
backwardness of the labor movement in the United States, and in
these criticisms there is a large element of truth. Yet there is one
difficulty under which we labor on this continent, which these critics
do not take into consideration. That is the primal one of the immense
size of the country, along with all the secondary difficulties
involved in this first one. There has never been any other country
even attempting a task so stupendous as ours--to organize, to make
one, to obtain good conditions for today, to insure as good and better
conditions for tomorrow, for the wage-earning ones out of a population
of over ninety millions spread over three million square miles. And
with these millions of human beings of so many different races, with
no common history and often no common language, this particular task
has fallen to the lot of no other nation on the face of this earth.
Efforts at organization of the people and by the people, are
perpetually being undermined. Capitalism is nationally fairly well
organized, so that there has been all the time more and more agreement
among the great lords of finance, not to trespass on one another's
preserves. But it is not so with the workers. Even in trades where
there exists a formal national organization, there will be towns and
states where it will either be non-existent or extremely weak, so that
workers, especially the unskilled, as they drift from town to town in
search of work, tend to pass out of, rather than into, the union of
their trade. And thus members of every trade organization live in
dread of the inroad into their city or their state of crowds of
unorganized competitors for their particular kind of employment. Why,
if it were Great Britain or Germany, by the time we had organized one
state, we should have organized a whole country.

But the big country is ours, and the big task must be shouldered.

It is only natural that trade-union organization should have
progressed furthest in those occupations which, as industries, are the
most highly developed. The handicrafts of old, the weaving and the
carving and the pottery, have through a thousand inventions become
specialized, and the work of the single operative has been divided
up into a hundred processes. These are the conditions, and this the
environment under which the workers most frequently organize. The
operations have become more or less defined and standardized, and the
operatives are more readily grouped and classified. Also, even amid
all the noise and clatter of the factory, they have opportunity for
becoming acquainted, sometimes while working together, or at the noon
hour, or when going to or coming from work. There are still few enough
women engaged in factory work who have come into trade unions, but the
path has at least been cleared, both by the numbers of men who have
shown the way, and by the increasing independence of women themselves.
Similar reasoning applies to the workers in the culinary trades. These
also are the modern, specialized forms of the old domestic arts of
cooking and otherwise preparing and serving food. The workers, the
cooks and the waitresses, have their separate, allotted tasks; they
also have opportunities of even closer association than the factory
operatives. These opportunities, which may be used among the young
folks to exchange views on the latest nickel show, to compare the
last boss with the present one, may also, among the older ones, mean
talking over better wages and hours and how to get them, and here may
spring up the beginnings of organization.

The number of women organized into trade unions is still
insignificant, compared with those unreached by even a glimmering of
knowledge as to what trade unionism means. The movement will not only
have to become stronger numerically in the trades it already includes.
It must extend in other directions, taking in the huge army of the
unskilled and the semi-skilled, outside of those trades, so as
to cover the fruit-pickers in the fields and the packers in the
canneries, the paper-box-makers, the sorters of nuts and the knotters
of feathers, those who pick the cotton from the plant, as well as
those who make the cotten into cloth. Another group yet to be enrolled
are the hundreds of thousands of girls in stores, engaged in selling
what the girls in factories have made, and still other large groups
of girls in mercantile offices who are indirectly helping on the same
business of exchange of goods for cash, and cash for goods, and who
are just as truly part of the industrial world and of commercial life.
But the pity is that the girl serving at the counter and the girl
operating the typewriter do not know this.

Take two other great classes of women, who have to be considered and
reckoned with in any wide view of the wage-earning woman. These are
nurses and teachers. The product of their toil is nothing that can be
seen or handled, nothing that can be readily estimated in dollars and
cents. But it must none the less be counted to their credit in any
estimate of the national wealth, for it is to be read in terms of
sound bodies and alert minds.

Large numbers of women and girls are musicians, actresses and other
theatrical employes. The labor movement needs them all, and, although
few of them realize it, they need the labor movement. These are
professions with great prizes, but the average worker makes no big
wage, has no assurance of steadiness of employment, of sick pay when
out of work, or of such freedom while working as shall bring out the
very best that is in her.

In almost all of these occupations are to be found the beginnings
of organization on trade-union lines. The American Federation of
Musicians is a large and powerful body, of such standing in the
profession that the entire membership of the Symphony Orchestras in
all the large cities of the United States and Canada (with the single
exception of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) belongs to it. Women, so
far, although admitted to the Federation, have had no prominent part
in its activities.

Nurses and attendants in several of the state institutions of Illinois
have during the last two years formed unions. Already they have had
hours shortened from the old irregular schedule of twelve, fourteen
and even sixteen hours a day to an eight-hour workday for all, as far
as practicable. The State Board is also entirely favorable to concede
higher wages, one day off in seven, and an annual vacation of two
weeks on pay, but cannot carry these recommendations out without an
increased appropriation from the legislature.

There are now eight small associations of stenographers and
bookkeepers and other office employes, one as far west as San
Francisco, while there is at least one court reporters' union.

The various federations of school-teachers have worked to raise school
and teaching standards as well as their own financial position. They
have besides, owing to the preponderance of women in the teaching
profession, made a strong point of the justice of equal pay for equal
work. Women teachers are perhaps in a better position to make this
fight for all their sex than any other women.

The fact that so many bodies of teachers have one after another
affiliated with the labor movement has had a secondary result in
bringing home to teachers the needs of the children, the disadvantages
under which so many of them grow up, and still more the handicap under
which most children enter industry. So it has come about that the
teaching body in several cities has been roused to plead the cause of
the workers' children, and therefore of the workers, and has brought
much practical knowledge and first-hand information before health
departments, educational authorities, and legislators.

Yet another angle from which the organization of teachers has to be
considered is that they are actually, if not always technically,
public employes. Every objection that can be raised against the
organization of public employes, if valid at all, is valid here. Every
reason that can be urged why public employes should be able to give
collective expression to their ideas and their wishes has force here.

The domestic servant, as we know her, is but a survival in culture
from an earlier time, and more primitive environment. As a personal
attendant, with no limitation of hours, without defined and
standardized duties, and taking out part of her wages in the form of
board and lodging, also at no standardized valuation, she will have to
be improved out of existence altogether.

On the other hand as a skilled worker, she fills an important function
in the community, satisfying permanent human needs, preparing food to
support our bodies, and making clean and beautiful the homes wherein
we dwell. Surely humanity is not so stupid that arrangements cannot be
planned by which domestic workers can have their own homes, like
other people, hours of leisure, like other workers, and organizations
through which they may express themselves. The main difficulty in
the immediate future is that the very reason why organization is
so urgently needed by domestic workers is the reason why it is so
difficult to form organizations, the individual isolation in which the
girls live and work. The desire for common action assuredly is there;
one little group after another are meeting and talking over their
difficulties, and planning how they can overcome them. The obstacles
in the way of forming unions of domestic workers are tremendous. What
such groups need, above all, is a union headquarters, with comfortable
and convenient rooms, in which girls could meet their friends during
their times off, or in which they could just rest, if they wanted to,
for many have no friend's house to go to during their precious free
days. Such a headquarters should conduct an employment agency. Other
activities would probably grow out of such a center, and the workers
cooeperating would help towards the solving of that domestic problem
which is their concern even more intimately than it is that of those
whom, as things are, they so unwillingly serve. That the finest type
of women are already awake, and nearing the stage when they themselves
recognize the need of organization, is evident from the fact that
in Chicago, Buffalo and Seattle, there lately sprang up almost
simultaneously, small associations of household workers formed to
secure regular hours and better living conditions.

There is no class of women or girls more urgently in need of a radical
change in their economic condition than department-store clerks. To
this need even the public has of late become somewhat awakened,
thanks mainly to a troop of investigators and to the writers in the
magazines, who on the one hand have roused nation-wide horror by means
of revelations regarding the white-slave traffic, and on the other
have brought to that same national audience painful enlightenment as
to the chronic starvation of both soul and body endured by so many
brave and patient young creatures, who on four, five or six dollars
a week just manage to exist, but who in so doing, are cheated of all
that makes life worth living in the present, and are disinherited of
any prospect of home, health and happiness in the future.

This story has been told again and again. Yet the public has not yet
learned to relate it to any effectual remedy. Undoubtedly organization
has done a great deal for this class in other countries, notably in
England and in Germany, and in this country also, in the few cities
where it has been brought about. But meanwhile their numbers are
increasing, and it hardly seems human for us to wait while all these
young lives are being ruined in the hope that a few years hence the
department-store clerks succeeding them may be able to save themselves
through organization, when there is another remedy at hand. That
remedy is legislation to cover thoroughly hours, wages and conditions
of work. No one suggests depending exclusively on laws. One reason,
probably, why the freeing of the negro slave has been so often merely
a nominal freeing is because he was able to play so small a part
himself in the gaining of his freedom. It was a gift, truly, from the
master race. But no one, surely, would use that argument in reference
to children, and an immense proportion of the department-store
employes are but children, children between fourteen and eighteen,
and in some states much younger. One hears of occasional instances
in which even children have banded together and gone on strike.
School-children have done it. The little button-sewers of Muscatine,
Iowa, formed a juvenile union during the long strike of 1911. But
these are such exceptional instances that they can hardly count in
normal times. And that such a large body of children and very young
girls are included among department-store employes adds immensely to
the difficulty of gaining over the grown-up women to organization.

[Illustration: A BINDERY

Hand folders on platform. Machine folder and hand gatherers below.]


Perhaps at some future time children may mature mentally earlier. If
along with this, education is more efficient, and the civic duty of a
common responsibility for the good of all is taught universally in our
schools, even the child at fourteen may become class-conscious, and
willing to fight and struggle for a common aim. But if that day
ever comes, it will be in the far future, and let us hope that then
childish energies may be free to find other channels of expression and
childish cooeperation be exerted for happier aims. The child of today
is often temporarily willful and disobedient, but on the whole he (and
more often she) is pathetically patient and long-suffering under all
sorts of hardships and injustices, and has no idea of anything like an
industrial rebellion. Indeed overwork and ill-usage have upon children
the markedly demoralizing effect of cowing them permanently, so that
in oppressing a child you do more than deprive him of his childhood,
you weaken what ought to be the backbone of his maturity. But improve
conditions, whether by law or otherwise, and you will have a more
independent "spunky" child, a better prospect of having him, when
grown up, a more wholesomely natural rebel. Indeed more or less, this
applies to human beings of any age.

As regards the minimum wage, the objection raised by certain among the
conservative labor leaders has been that it will retard organization
and check independence of spirit. This reasoning seems quite academic,
in view of the fact that it is the most oppressed workers who are
usually the least able and willing to assert themselves. Give them
shorter hours or better wages, and they will soon be pleading for
still shorter hours and yet higher wages. Wherever the regulation
of wages, through that most democratic method, that of wages boards
composed of representatives of workers and employers, has been
attempted, organization has been encouraged, and this plan of
legalized collective bargaining has been applied to trade after trade.
In Victoria, Australia, the birthplace of the system, and the state
where it has been longest in force, and more fully developed than
anywhere else, the number of trades covered has grown in less than
twenty years from the four experimental trades of shoemaking, baking,
various departments of the clothing trades and furniture-making to 141
occupations, including such varied employments as engravers, plumbers,
miners and clerical workers.

It is hardly necessary to say that minimum wages boards in Australia
control the wages of men as well as of women. This question, however,
does not enter into practical labor statesmanship in the United States
today, but the minimum wage for women is a very live issue, and its
introduction in state after state is supported by the working-women,
both speaking as individuals and through their organizations.

The objections of employers to any regulation of wages is partly
economic, as they fear injury to trade, a fear not sustained by
Australian experience, or by the experience of employers in trades
in this country, in which wages have been raised and are largely
controlled by strong labor organizations. In especial, employers
object to an unequal burden imposed upon the state or states first
experimenting with wages boards. This has no more validity than a
similar objection raised against any and all interference between
employer and employe, whether it be limitation of hours, workmen's
compensation acts or any other industrial legislation. It is only that
another adjustment has to be made, one of the many that any trade
and any employer has always to be making to suit slightly changing
circumstances. And often the adjustment is much less, and the
advantage to the employer arising from having more efficient and
contented employes greater than anticipated. Competition is then not
for the cheapest worker, but for the most efficient.

Public responsibility for social and economic justice is likely to
be quickened and maintained by the very existence of these permanent
boards created not so much to remedy acute evils as to establish in
the industry conditions more nearly equitable.

It has ever been found that in regard to ordinary factory legislation,
organized employes were the best inspectors to see that the law was
enforced. This principle holds good in even a more marked degree,
where the representatives of the workers have themselves a say in the
decision, as is the case during the long sessions of a wages board,
where all who take part in the discussions and in the final agreement
are experts in the trade, and intimately acquainted with the practical
details of the industry.

The very same misgivings as are felt and expressed by employers and by
the public regarding the effect of legislation for the regulation of
wages have been heard on every occasion when any legal check has been
proposed upon the downward pressure upon the worker, inevitable under
our system of competition for trade and markets. What a cry went up
from the manufacturers of Great Britain when a bill to check the
ruthless exploitation of babies in the cotton mills was introduced
into the House of Commons. The very same arguments of interference
with trade, despotic control over the right of the employe to bargain
as an individual, are urged today, no matter how often their futility
and irrelevance have been exposed.

The question of organization and the white alien has been dealt with
in another chapter, but organization cannot afford to stop even here.
It will never accomplish all that trade unionists desire and what the
workers need until those of every color, the Negro, the Indian, the
Chinese, the Japanese, the Hindoo are included. The southern states
are very imperfectly organized, and trade unionism on any broad scale
will never be achieved there until the colored workers are included.
In this the white workers, neither in the North nor in the South, have
yet recognized their plain duty. It is not the American Federation
itself which is directly responsible, but the national and local
unions in the various trades, who place difficulties in the way of
admitting colored members. "Ordinarily," writes Dr. F.E. Wolfe in his
"Admission to Labor Unions," published by the Johns Hopkins University
Press, "the unimpeded admission of Negroes can be had only where the
local white unionists are favorable. Consequently, racial antipathy
and economic motive may, in any particular trade, nullify the policies
of the national union." This applies even in those cases where the
national union itself would raise no barrier. I think it may be safely
added that there are practically no colored women trade unionists, the
occasional exception but serving to emphasize our utter neglect, as
regards organization, of the colored woman.

Yet another world waiting to be conquered is the Dominion of Canada,
Canada with its vast area and its still small population, yet with its
cities, from Montreal to Vancouver, facing the very same industrial
problems as American cities, from New York to San Francisco. The
organization of women is, so far, hardly touched in any of the

One encouraging circumstance, and significant of the intimate
connection between the two halves of North America, is the fact that
the international union of each trade includes those dwelling both in
the United States and in Canada; these internationals are in their
turn, for the most part affiliated with both the American Federation
of Labor and the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada.

Whenever, then, the women of Canada seriously begin to unionize,
advance will be made through these existing international
organizations. As mentioned elsewhere, the Canadian Trades and Labor
Congress of Canada has endorsed the work of the National Women's Trade
Union League of America, and seats a fraternal delegate from the
League at its conventions.

It can only be a question of time, and of increasing industrial
pressure, when an active trade-union movement will spring up among
Canadian women. Among those who advocate and are prepared to lead in
such a movement are the President of the Trades and Labor Congress,
Mr. J.C. Watters, Mr. James Simpson of the Toronto _Industrial
Banner_, Mrs. Rose Henderson of Montreal, Mr. J.W. Wilkinson,
President of the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council, and Miss Helena
Gutteridge, also of Vancouver.

The President of the National Women's Trade Union League, in her
opening address before the New York convention in June, 1915, summed
up the situation as to the sweated trades tellingly:

    For tens of thousands of girl and women workers the average wage
    in sweated industries still is five, eight and ten cents an hour,
    and these earnings represent, on the average, forty weeks' work
    out of a fifty-two week year. Further, in the report of the New
    York State Factory Investigation Commission we find that out of a
    total of 104,000 men and women 13,000 receive less than $5.00 a
    week, 34,000 less than $7.00 a week, 68,000 less than $10.00 a
    week and only 17,000 receive $15.00 a week or more. These low
    wages are not only paid to apprentices either in factories or
    stores but to large numbers of women who have been continuously
    in industry for years. Again, the New York State Factory
    Investigating Commission tells us that half of those who have five
    years' experience in stores are receiving less than $8.00 a week,
    and only half of those with ten years' experience receive $10.00 a
    week. Dr. Howard Woolston of the Commission has pointed out: "Even
    for identical work in the same locality, striking differences in
    pay are found. In one wholesale candy factory in Manhattan no male
    laborer and no female hand-dipper is paid as much as $8 a week,
    nor does any female packer receive as much as $5.50. In another
    establishment of the same class in the same borough every male
    laborer gets $8 or over, and more than half the female dippers and
    packers exceed the rates given in the former plant. Again, one
    large department store in Manhattan pays 86 per cent. of its
    saleswomen $10 or over; another pays 86 per cent. of them less.
    When a representative paper-box manufacturer learned that cutters
    in neighboring factories receive as little as $10 a week, he
    expressed surprise, because he always pays $15 or more. This
    indicates that there is no well-established standard at wages in
    certain trades. The amounts are fixed by individual bargain, and
    labor is 'worth' as much as the employer agrees to pay."

It has been estimated by the Commission that to raise the wages of two
thousand girls in the candy factories from $5.75 to $8.00 a week, the
confectioners in order to cover the cost will have to charge eighteen
cents more per hundred pounds of candy. It is also estimated that if
work shirts cost $3.00 a dozen, and the workers receive sixty cents
for sewing them we can raise the wages ten per cent. and make the
labor cost sixty-six cents. The price of those dozen shirts has been
raised to $3.06. The cost of labor in the sweated industries is a
small fraction of the manufacturing cost.

In the face of such evidence is there anyone who can still question
that individual bargaining is a menace against the social order and
that education and equipment in organization and citizenship become a
social necessity?

Women unionists, like men in the labor movement, are continually asked
to support investigations into industrial conditions, investigations
and yet more investigations. They are asked to give evidence before
boards and commissions, they are asked to furnish journalists and
writers of books with information. They have done so willingly,
but there is a sense coming over many of us that we have had
investigations a-plenty; and that the hour struck some time ago for at
least beginning to put an end to the conditions of needless poverty
and inexcusable oppression, which time after time have been unearthed.

No one who heard Mrs. Florence Kelley at the Charities and Corrections
Conference in St. Louis in 1910 can forget the powerful plea she
made to social workers that they should not be satisfied with
investigation. Not an investigation has ever been made but has told
the same story, monotonous in its lesson, only varying in details;
workers, and especially women workers, are inadequately paid. Further
she considers that investigations would be even more thorough and
drastic if the investigators, the workers and the public knew that
something would come out of the inquiry beyond words, words, words.

Investigation alone never remedied any evil, never righted any
injustice. Yet as far as the community are concerned, average men and
women seem quite content when the investigation has been made, and
stop there. What is wrong? Will no real improvement take place till
the workers are strong enough individually and collectively to
manage their own affairs, and through organization, cooeperation, and
political action, or its equivalent insure adequate remuneration,
and prevent overwork, speeding up, and dangerous and insanitary

In a degree investigation has prepared the way for legislation.
Legislation will undoubtedly play even a bigger part than it has done
in the protection of the workers. Almost all laws for which organized
labor generally works affect women as well as men, whether they are
anti-injunction statutes, or workmen's compensation acts, or factory
laws. But there is another class of laws, specially favoring women,
about which women have naturally more decided opinions than men. These
are laws as to hours, and more recently as to wages, which are or are
to be applicable to women alone. A just and common-sense argument
extends special legislative protection to women, because of their
generally exploited and handicapped position; but the one strong plea
used in their behalf has been health and safety, the health and safety
of the future mothers of society. At this point we pause. In all
probability such protection will be found so beneficial to women that
it will be eventually extended to men.

One group of laws in which labor is vitally interested is laws
touching the right of the workers to organize. Many of the most
important judicial decisions in labor cases have turned upon this
point. In this are involved the right to fold arms, and peacefully to
suggest to others to do the same; the right to band together not to
buy non-union goods, and peacefully to persuade others not to buy.

One angle from which labor views all law-making is that of
administration. A law may be beneficial. It is in danger on two sides.
The first the risk of being declared unconstitutional, a common fate
for the most advanced legislation in this country; or, safe on that
side, it may be so carelessly or inefficiently administered as to be
almost useless. In both cases, strong unions have a great influence in
deciding the fate and the practical usefulness of laws.

Whether in the making, the confirming, or the administering of laws,
the trade unions form the most important channel through which the
wishes of the workers can be expressed. Organized labor does not speak
only for trade unionists; it necessarily, in almost every case, speaks
for the unorganized as well, partly because the needs of both are
usually the same, and partly because there is no possible method
by which the wishes of the working people can be ascertained, save
through the accepted representatives of the organized portion of the

An excellent illustration of how business can and does adjust itself
to meet changing legal demands is seen in what happened when the
Ten-Hour Law came in force in the state of Illinois in July, 1909.

The women clerks on the elevated railroads of Chicago, who had been in
the habit of working twelve hours a day for seven days a week at $1.75
a day, were threatened with dismissal, and replacement by men. But
what happened? At first they had to accept as a compromise a temporary
arrangement under which they received eleven hours' pay for ten hours'
work. Their places were not, however, filled by men, and now, they are
receiving for their ten-hour day $1.90 or 15 cents more than they had
previously been paid for a twelve-hour day, and in addition they now
are given every third Sunday off duty. This showed the good results of
the law, particularly when there was a strong organization behind the
workers. Mercantile establishments came in under the amended Ten-hour
Law two years later.

The new law was, on the whole, wonderfully well observed in Chicago,
and as far as I have been able to learn, in the smaller towns as well.
There were some violations discovered, and plenty more, doubtless,
remained undiscovered. But the defaulting employers must have been
very few compared with the great majority of those who met its
requirement faithfully and intelligently. The proprietors and managers
of the large Chicago department stores, for instance, worked out
beforehand a plan of shifts by which they were able to handle the
Christmas trade, satisfy their customers, and at the same time,
dismiss each set of girls at the end of their ten-hour period. To meet
the necessities of the case a staff of extra hands was engaged by each
of the large department stores. This was a common arrangement. The
regular girls worked from half-past eight till seven o'clock, with
time off for lunch. The extra hands came on in the forenoon at eleven
o'clock and worked till ten in the evening, with supper-time off.
Certain of the stores varied the plan somewhat, by giving two hours
for lunch. These long recesses are not without their disadvantages.
They mean still a very long day on the stretch, and besides, where is
a girl to spend the two hours? She cannot go home, and it is against
the law for her to be in the store, for in the eye of the law, if she
remains on the premises, she is presumably at work, and if at work,
therefore being kept longer than the legal ten hours.

That a law which had been so vigorously opposed should on the whole
have been observed so faithfully in the second largest city in the
United States, that it should in that city have stood the test, at
its very initiation, of the rush season, is a fact full of hope and
encouragement for all who are endeavoring to have our laws keep pace
with ideals of common justice.

Some time afterwards the constitutionality of the law was tested in
the courts. Since then, complaints have died away. There is no record
of trading establishments having been compelled to remove to another
state, and we no longer even hear of its being a ruinous handicap to
resident manufacturers. Even reactionary employers are now chiefly
concerned in putting off the impending evil, as they regard it, of
an eight-hour day, which they know cannot be very far off, as it has
already arrived on the Pacific Coast.

If the acquiescence of Illinois employers was satisfactory, the effect
upon the girls was remarkable and exceeded expectations. During that
Christmas week, the clerks were tired, of course, but they were not in
the state of exhaustion, collapse, and physical and nervous depletion,
which they had experienced in previous years. This bodily salvation
had been expected. It was what organized women had pleaded for and
bargained for, what the defending lawyers, Mr. Louis D. Brandeis and
Mr. William J. Calhoun had urged upon the judges, when the Supreme
Court of Illinois had been earlier called upon to pass upon the
validity of the original ten-hour law, although department-store
employes had not been included within the scope of its protection.

But the girls were more than not merely worn-out to the point of
exhaustion. Most of them were more alive than they had ever been since
first they started clerking. They were happy, and surprised beyond
measure at their own good fortune. Those juniors who could just
remember how different last Christmas had been, those seniors
whose memories held such searing recollections of many preceding
Christmases, were one in their rejoicing and wonderment. They caught
a dim vision of a common interest. Here was something which all could
share. That one was benefited did not mean another's loss.

From girl after girl I heard the same story. I would ask them how they
were getting on through the hard time this year. "Oh," a girl would
answer, "it wasn't so bad at all. You see we've got the ten-hour law,
and we can't work after the time is up. It's just wonderful. Why, I'm
going to enjoy Christmas this year. I'm tired, but nothing like I've
always been before. Last Christmas Day I couldn't get out of bed, I
ached so, and I couldn't eat, either."

And yet, while the girls, thanks to the new law, were having something
like decent, though by no means ideal hours of work, the young
elevator boys, in the same store were working fourteen hours and a
half, day in, day out.

So imperfect yet are the results of much that is accomplished!

There are now two states, Mississippi and Oregon, which have ten-hour
laws, applying to both men and women, and including the larger
proportion of the workers. There are also federal statutes, state
laws and municipal ordinances limiting the hours and granting the
eight-hour day to whole groups of workers, either in public or
semi-public employ, or affecting special occupations such as mining.
Thus it is clear, that for both sexes there is now abundant legal
precedent for any shortening of hours, which has its place in a more
advanced social and industrial development.



The profound impression that has been left upon contemporary thought
by the teaching of Lester Ward and those who have followed him, that
woman is the race, has been felt far and wide outside the sphere of
those branches of science, whose students he first startled with the
thought. His idea is indeed revolutionary as far as our immediate past
and our present social arrangements and sex relations are concerned,
but is natural, harmonious and self-explanatory if we regard life,
the life of our own day, not as standing still, but as in a state of
incessant flux and development, and if we are at all concerned to
discover the direction whither these changes are driving us. It
indeed may well have been that the formal enunciation of the primary
importance of woman in the social organism has played its own part in
accelerating her rise into her destined lofty position, though in the
main, any philosophy can be merely the explanation and the record of
an evolution wherein we are little but passive factors.

This much is certain, that the insistent driving home by this school
of thinkers of woman, woman, woman, as the center and nucleus whence
is developed the child and the home, and all that civilization stands
for, and whose rights as an independent human being are therefore to
be held of supreme importance in the normal evolution of the race, has
served as an incessant reminder to practical workers and reformers in
the sphere of education as well as to leaders of the woman movement.
Especially has this been true when tackling the problems more
immediately affecting women, because these are the truly difficult
problems. Whatever touches man's side of life alone is comparatively
simple and easily understood, and therefore easier of solution. So in
the rough and ready, often cruel, solutions which nature and humanity
have worked out for social problems, it has always been the man
whose livelihood, whose education and whose training have been first
considered, and whose claims have been first satisfied. For this there
are several reasons. Man's possession of material wealth, and his
consequent monopoly of social and political power have naturally
resulted in his attending to his own interests first. The argument,
too, that man was the breadwinner and the protector of the home
against all outside antagonistic influences, which in the past he has
generally been, furnished another reason why, when any class attained
to fresh social privileges, it was the boy and the man of that class,
rather than the woman and the girl, who benefited by them first. The
woman and the girl would come in a poor second, if indeed they were in
at the dividing of the spoils at all.

There is, however, another reason, and one of profound significance,
which I believe has hardly been touched upon at all, why woman has
been thus constantly relegated to the inferior position. Her problems
are, as I said above, far more difficult of settlement. Because of her
double function as a member of her own generation and as the potential
mother of the next generation, it is impossible to regard her life as
something simple and single, and think out plans for its arrangement,
as we do with man's. So in large measure we have only been following
the line of least resistance, in taking up men's difficulties
first. We have done so quite naturally, because they are not so
overwhelmingly hard to deal with, and have attacked woman's problems,
and striven to satisfy her needs, only when we could find time to get
round to them. This is most strikingly exemplified in the realm of
education. Take the United States alone. It was ever to the boy that
increasing educational advantages were first offered.

In the year 1639 the authorities of the town of Dorchester,
Massachusetts, hesitated as to whether girls should be admitted to
the apparently just established school. The decision was left "to the
discretion of the elders and seven men." The girls lost. In "Child
Life in Colonial Days" Mrs. Annie Grant is quoted. She spent her
girlhood in Albany, N.Y., sometime during the first half of the
eighteenth century. She says it was very difficult at that time to
procure the means of instruction in those districts. The girls learned
needlework from their mothers and aunts; they learnt to read the
Bible and religious tracts in Dutch; few were taught writing. Similar
accounts come from Virginia.

Was it university education that was in question, how many
university-trained men had not American colleges turned out before
Lucy Stone was able to obtain admission to Oberlin?

Harvard was opened in 1636. Two hundred years elapsed before there was
any institution offering corresponding advantages to girls. Oberlin
granted its first degree to a woman in 1838. Mount Holyoke was founded
in 1837, Elmira in 1855 and Vassar in 1865.

That a perfectly honest element of confusion and puzzle did enter into
the thought of parents and the views of the community, it would be
vain to deny. These young women were incomprehensible. Why were they
not content with the education their mothers had had, and with the
lives their mothers had led before them? Why did they want to leave
comfortable homes, and face the unknown, the hard, perhaps the
dangerous? How inexplicable, how undutiful! Ah! It was the young
people who were seeing furthest into the future; it was the fathers
and mothers who were not recognizing the change that was coming over
the world of their day.

If then, for the combination of reasons outlined, women have always
lagged in the rear as increasing educational advantages of a literary
or professional character have been provided or procured for boys, it
is not strange, when, in reading over the records of work on the new
lines of industrial education, trade-training and apprenticeship
we detect the very same influences at work, sigh before the same
difficulties, and recognize the old weary, threadbare arguments, too,
which one would surely think had been sufficiently disproved before to
be at least distrusted in this connection. This, however, must surely
be the very last stand of the non-progressivists in education as
regards the worker. The ideals of today aim at education on lines that
will enable every child, boy and girl alike, born in or brought
into any civilized country, to develop all faculties, and that will
simultaneously enable the community to benefit from this complete,
all-round development of every one of its members.

There is one consideration to which I must call attention, because,
when recognized, it cannot but serve as the utmost stimulus to our
efforts to arrange for vocational education for girls on the broadest
lines. It is this. Whatever general, national or state plans prove the
most complete and satisfactory for girls, will, speaking generally, at
the same time be found to have solved the problem for the boy as well.
The double aim, of equipping the girl to be a mother as well as human
being, is so all-inclusive and is therefore so much more difficult of
accomplishment, that the simpler training necessary for a boy's career
will be automatically provided for at the same time. Therefore the
boy is not likely to be at a disadvantage under such a coeducational
system as is here implied. For it is to nothing short of coeducation
that the organized women of the United States are looking forward,
coeducation on lines adapted to present-day wants. What further
contributions the far-off future may hold for us in the never wholly
to be explored realm of human education in its largest acceptance,
we know not. Until we have learned the lesson of today, and have set
about putting it in practice, such glimpses of the future are not
vouchsafed to us.

In such an age of transition as ours, any plan of vocational training
intended to include girls must be a compromise with warring facts, and
will therefore have to face objections from both sides, from those
forward-looking ones who feel that the domestic side of woman's
activities is overemphasized, and from those who still hark back, who
would fain refuse to believe that the majority of women have to be
wage-earners for at least part of their lives. These latter argue
that by affording to girls all the advantages of industrial training
granted or which may be granted to boys, we are "taking them out of
the home." As if they were not out of the home already!

This assumption will appear to most readers paradoxical, if indeed it
does not read as a contradiction in terms. A little thought, however,
will show that it is just because we are all along assuming the
economic primacy of the boy, that the girl has been so disastrously
neglected. It is true that the boy is also a potential father, and
that his training for that lofty function is usually ignored and will
have to be borne in mind, though no one would insist that training
for fatherhood need occupy a parallel position with training for
motherhood. But popular reasoning is not content with accepting this
admission; it goes on to draw the wholly unwarranted conclusion that
while the boy ought to be thoroughly taught on the wage-earning
side, and while such teaching should cover all the more important
occupations, to which he is likely to be called, the girl's
corresponding training shall as a matter of course be quite a
secondary matter, fitting her only for a limited set of pursuits, many
of these ranking low in skill and opportunities of advancement, and
necessarily among the most poorly paid; these being all occupations
which we choose to assume girls will enter, such as sewing or
box-making. Only recently have girls been prepared for the textile
trades, though they have always worked in these, first in the home and
since then in the factories. Still less is any preparation thought
of for the numberless occupations that necessity and a perpetually
changing world are all the while driving girls to take up. There were
in 1910, 8,075,772 women listed as wage-earners in the United States.
Would it not be as well, if a girl is to be a wage-earner, that
she should have at least as much opportunity of learning her trade
properly, as is granted to a boy?

Setting aside for the moment the fact that girls are already engaged
in so many callings, it is poor policy and worse economy to argue that
because a girl may be but a few years a wage-earner, it is therefore
not worth while to make of her an efficient, capable wage-earner. That
is fair to no one, neither to the girl herself nor to the community.
The girl deserves to be taken more seriously. Do this, and it will
then be clear that a vocational system wide enough and flexible enough
to fit the girl to be at once a capable mother-housekeeper, and a
competent wage-earner, will be a system adequate to the vocational
training of the boy for life-work in any of the industrial pursuits.
It is self-evident that the converse would not hold.

And first, to those readers of advanced views who will think that I
am conceding even too much in thus consenting apparently to sink
the human activities of the woman in those of the mother during the
greater part of maturity. Touching the question of personal human
development, I concede nothing, as I assert nothing, but I accept
present-day facts, and desire to make such compromise with them as
shall clear the way for whatever forms of home and industrial life
shall evolve from them most naturally and simply. We may observe
with satisfaction and hopefulness that the primitive collection of
unrelated industries which have so long lingered in the home to the
detriment of both and which have confused our thoughts as to which
were the essential and permanent, and which the merely accidental and
temporary functions of the home, are gradually coming within the range
of the specialized trades, and as such are freeing the home from
so much clutter and confusion, and freeing the woman from so many
fettering bonds. But the process is a slow one, and again, it may
not even go on indefinitely. There may be a limit in the process of
specializing home industries. So far as it has gone, different classes
of women are very unequally affected by it. In the United States,
where these changes have gone on faster and further than anywhere
else, the two classes whose occupations have been most radically
modified have been, first and chiefly, the young girl from fourteen to
twenty-four, of every class, and next the grownup woman, who has taken
up one of the professions now for the first time open to women, and
this almost irrespective of whether she is married or single.

As to the young girl, the transformation of the home plus industries
to the home, pure and simple, a place to live in and rest in, to love
in and be happy in, has so far already been effected, that in the home
of the artisan and the tradesman there is not now usually sufficient
genuine, profitable occupation for more than one growing or grown girl
as assistant to her mother. For two reasons the other daughters will
look out of doors for employment. The first reason is that under
rearranged conditions of industry, there is nothing left for them
to do at home. The second is not less typical of these altered
conditions. The father cannot, even if he would, afford to keep them
at home as non-producers. If the processes of making garments and
preparing food are no longer performed by the members of the
family for one another, the outsiders who do perform them must be
remunerated, and that not in kind, as, for example, with board and
lodging and clothing, but in money wages, in coin. And their share of
the money to enable this complicated system of exchange of services to
be carried out, must be earned by the unmarried daughters of the house
through their working in turn at some wage-earning occupation, also

The young woman who has entered medicine, or law, or dentistry, who
paints pictures or writes books, is on very much the same economic
basis as the young working-girl. She, too, is accepted as part of the
already established order of things, and the present generation has
grown up in happy ignorance of the difficulties experienced by the
pioneers in all these professions in establishing their right to
independent careers. The professional woman who has married finds
herself so far on a less secure foundation. Every professional woman
who has children has to work out for herself the problem of the mutual
adjustment of the claims of her profession and her family, but so many
have solved the difficulties and have made the adjustment that it
seems only a question of time when every professional woman may accept
the happiness of wifehood and motherhood when it is offered to her
without feeling that she has to choose once for all between a happy
marriage and a successful professional career.

Not a few professional women, writers, and speakers, have gone on to
infer that a similar solution was at hand for the working-girl on her
marriage. Not yet is any such adjustment or rather readjustment of
domestic and industrial activities in sight for her. Whatever changes
may take place in the environment of the coming American woman, the
present generation of working-girls as they marry are going to find
their hands abundantly filled with duties within the walls of their
own little homes. We know today how the health and the moral welfare
of children fare when young mothers are prematurely forced back into
the hard and exhausting occupations from which marriage has withdrawn

Again, the factory conditions of modern industry have been brought to
their present stage with one end in view--economy of time and material
with the aim of cheapening the product. The life and the smooth
running of the human machine, when considered at all, has been thought
of last, and in this respect America is even one of the most backward
of the civilized nations. Hence factory life is hard and disagreeable
to the worker. Especially to the young girl is it often unendurable.
A girl who has been some years in a factory rarely wants her young
sister to come into it, too. She herself is apt to shift from one shop
to another, from trade to trade, always in the hope that some other
work may prove less exhausting and monotonous than that with which she
is familiar by trying experience. Two forces tend to drive girls early
out of industrial life: on the one hand, the perfectly normal instinct
of self-protection in escaping from unnatural and health-ruining
conditions and on the other the no less normal impulse leading
to marriage. But oftener than we like to think, the first is the
overmastering motive.

Let us now take up the objections of those far more numerous to whom
the provision of trade-training for girls seems superfluous, when not
harmful, and who especially shrink from the suggestion of coeducation.
To satisfy them, let us marshal a few facts and figures.

Of every kind of education that has been proposed for girls, whether
coeducational or not, we have always heard the same fears expressed.
Such education would make the girl unwomanly, it would unfit her for
her true functions, a man could not wish to marry her, and so on. The
first women teachers and doctors had indeed a hard time. After being
admitted to the profession only at the point of the sword, so to
speak, they had to make good, and in face of all prejudice, prove
their ability to teach or to cure, so as to keep the path open for
those who were to follow after them. No similar demand should be
logically made of the working-girl today when she demands coeducation
on industrial lines. For she is already in the trades from which you
propose so futilely to exclude her, by denying her access to the
technical training preparatory to them, and for fitting her to
practice them.

Take some other occupations which employ women in great numbers:
textile mill operatives, saleswomen, tobacco-workers, cigar-workers,
boot-and shoe-workers, printers, lithographers, and pressmen, and
book-binders. You can hardly say that these are exceptions, for here
are the figures, from the occupational statistics of the census of

[Footnote A: The statement that appeared in the report on
"Occupations" in the census returns of 1910, that there were but
nine occupations in which women were not employed, has been widely
commented upon.

An explanation appearing in the corresponding volume of the census
report for 1910 shows the great difficulties that enumerators and
statisticians experience in getting at exact facts, wherever the
situation is both complex and confused. The census officials admit
their inability to do so in the present instance, although they have
revised the figures with extreme care. With all possible allowance for
error, women still appear in all but a minority of employments. The
classification of occupations is on a different basis, and the number
of divisions much larger; yet even now out of four hundred and
twenty-nine separately listed, women are returned as engaged in all
but forty-two. On the other hand there is only one trade which does
not embrace men, that of the (untrained) midwife.]

Textile mill operatives                 330,766
Saleswomen                              250,438
Tobacco-workers and cigar-makers         71,334
Boot- and shoe-makers and repairers      61,084
Printers, lithographers and pressmen     27,845
Book-binders                             22,012

Just here we can see a rock ahead. In the very prospects that we
rejoice over, of the early introduction of public industrial
training, we can detect an added risk for the girl. If such technical
instruction is established in one state after another, but planned
primarily to suit the needs of boys only, and the only teaching
afforded to girls is in the domestic arts, and in the use of the
needle and the pastebrush for wage-earning, where will our girls be
when a few years hence the skilled trades are full of her only too
well-trained industrial rivals? In a greater degree than even today,
the girl will find herself everywhere at a disadvantage for lack of
the early training the state has denied to her, while bestowing
it upon her brother, and the few industrial occupations for which
instruction is provided will be overcrowded with applicants.

That women should take such an inferior position in the trades they
are in today is regrettable enough. But far more important is it to
make sure that they obtain their fair share of whatever improved
facilities are provided for "the generation knocking at the door"
of life. Working-women or women intimately acquainted with
working-women's needs, should have seats on all commissions, boards
and committees, so that when schemes of state industrial training are
being planned, when schools are built, courses outlined, the interests
of girls may be remembered, and especially so that they be borne in
mind, when budgets are made up and appropriations asked for.

If not, it will only be one other instance of an added advantage to
the man proving a positive disadvantage to the woman. You cannot
benefit one class and leave another just as it was. Every boon given
to the bettered class increases the disproportion and actually helps
to push yet further down the one left out.

Among the many influences that make or mar the total content of life
for any class, be that class a nation, a race, an industrial or
economic group, there is one, the importance of which has been all
too little realized. That influence we may call expectance. It is
impossible for anyone to say how far a low standard of industrial
or professional attainment held out before the girl at her most
impressionable age, a standard that to some degree, therefore,
develops within her, as it exists without her, ends in producing the
very inefficiency it begins by assuming. But psychology has shown us
that suggestion or expectance forms one element in the developing of
faculty, and this whether it be manual dexterity, quickness of memory
or exercise of judgment and initiative.

In all probability, too, this element of expectance has indirect as
well as direct effects, and the indirect are not the least fruitful in
results. To illustrate: it is certain that if we start out by
assuming that girls are poor at accounts, that they cannot understand
machinery, that they are so generally inefficient as to be worth less
wages than boys, any such widespread assumption will go a long way
to produce the ignorant and incompetent and inefficient creatures it
presupposes girls to be. But it will do more than this. Such poor
standards alike of performance and of wages will not end with the
unfortunate girls themselves. They will react upon parents, teachers,
and the community which so largely consists of the parents and which
employs the teachers. Those preessentials and antecedents of the
competent worker, training, trainers, and the means and instruments
of training, will not be forthcoming. What is the use of providing
at great expense industrial training for girls, when the same money,
spent upon boys, would produce more efficient workers? What is the
use of giving girls such training, when they are presumably by nature
unfitted to benefit by it?



The United States started its national existence with an out-of-doors
people. Until comparatively recent years, the cities were small, and
the great bulk of the inhabitants lived from the natural resources of
the country, that is to say, from the raw products of the mines and
the forests, and the crops grown upon the plains by a most primitive
and wasteful system of agriculture. But the days have forever gone
when a living can be snatched, so to speak, from the land in any of
these ways. The easily gotten stores of the mines and forests are
exhausted; the soil over many millions of acres has been robbed of its
fertility. The nation is now engaged in reckoning up what is left in
the treasury of its natural resources, estimating how best to conserve
and make profitable use of what is left.

The nation might have done this sooner, but there was in the West
always fresh land to open up and in the East, after a time, a new
source of income in the factory industries, that were more and more
profitably absorbing capital and labor. So that although pioneer
conditions gradually passed away, and it became less easy to wrest a
living from plain or mountain or mine, the idea of finding out what
was wrong, improving methods of agriculture, conserving the forest
wealth by continual replanting or working the less rich mines at a
profit through new processes, or the utilization of by-products, did
not at first suggest itself.

When, on the other hand, we turn to the manufacturing occupations,
we find that they have followed an analogous, though not precisely
similar, course of evolution. Certainly from the first the
manufacturers showed themselves far ahead of their fellows in the
economical management of the raw material, in the adoption of every
kind of labor and time-saving device and in the disposal of refuse.
But in their way they have been just as short-sighted. They carried
with them into the new occupations the very same careless habits of
national extravagance. They, too, went ahead in a similar hustling
fashion. This time the resources that were used up so recklessly were
human resources, the strength and vitality of the mature man, the
flesh and blood of little children, their stores of energy and
youthful joy and hope. By overwork or accident, the father was cut
off in his strong manhood, the boy was early worn out, and the young
girl's prospects of happy motherhood were forever quenched.

There are now signs of a blessed reaction setting in here, too, and it
is largely owing to the efforts of organized labor. The principles of
conservation and of a wise economy, which are re-creating the plains
of the West and which will once more clothe with forests the slopes of
the mountains, are at work in the realm of industry. Not a year passes
but that some state or another does not limit anew the hours during
which children may work, or insist upon shorter hours for women, or
the better protection from dangerous machinery, or the safeguarding
of the worker in unhealthy occupations. Organized labor, ever
running ahead of legislation in its standards of hours and sanitary
conditions, provides a school of education and experiment for the
whole community, by procuring for trade unionists working conditions
which afterwards serve as the model for enlightened employers, and as
a standard that the community in the end must exact for the whole body
of workers.

But more must be done than merely keeping our people alive, by
insisting they shall not be killed in the earning of their bread.
Leaders of thought and many captains of industry have at last grasped
the fact that the worker, uneducated and not trained in any true
sense, is at once a poor tool and a most costly one. Other countries
add their quota of experience, to back up public opinion and
legislative action. Hence the demand heard from one end of the land
to the other for industrial training. The public everywhere after a
century of modern factory industry are at length beginning to have
some definite ideas regarding industrial training for boys who are to
supply the human element in the factory scheme. (Regarding girls, they
still grope in outer darkness.)

For many years economists were accustomed to express nothing but
satisfaction over the ever-advancing specialization of industry. They
saw only the cheapening of the product, the vast increase in the total
amount produced, and the piling up of profits, and they beheld in all
three results nothing but social advantage. Verily both manufacturer
and consumer were benefited. When the more thoughtful turned their
attention to the actual makers through whose labors the cloth and
the shoes and the pins of specialized industry were produced, they
satisfied themselves that the worker must also be a sharer in the
benefits of the new system; for, said they, everyone who is a worker
is also a consumer. Even though the worker who is making shoes has
to turn out twenty times as much work for the same wages, still as
a consumer he shares in the all-round cheapening of manufactured
articles, and is able to buy clothes and shoes and pins so much the
cheaper. That the cost of living on the whole might be greater, that
the wage of the worker might be too low to permit of his purchasing
the very articles into the making of which his own labor had gone, did
not occur to these _a priori_ reasoners. It has taken a whole century
of incredibly swift mechanical advance, associated at the same time
with the most blind, cruel, and brutal waste of child life and adult
life, to arrive at the beginning of an adjustment between the demands
of machine-driven industry and the needs and the just claims of the
human workers. We have only just recovered from the dazed sense of
wonderment and pride of achievement into which modern discoveries
and inventions, with the resultant enormous increase of commerce
and material wealth, plunged the whole civilized world. We are but
beginning to realize, what we had well-nigh totally overlooked, that
even machine-driven industry with all that it connotes, enormously
increased production of manufactured goods, and the spread of physical
comfort to a degree unknown before among great numbers, is not the
whole of national well-being; that by itself, unbalanced by justice to
the workers, it is not even an unmixed boon.

I have tried to follow up the evolution of our present industrial
society on several parallel lines: how industry itself has developed,
how immigration affects the labor problem as regards the woman worker,
and the relation of women to the vocations in the modern world. Let us
now glance at our educational systems and see how they fit in to the
needs of the workers, especially of the working-women. For our present
purpose I will not touch on education as we find it in our most
backward states, but rather as it is in the most advanced, since it
is from improvement in these that we may expect to produce the best
results for the whole nation.

Free and compulsory public education was established to supply
literary and cultural training at a time when children still enjoyed
opportunities of learning in the home, and later in small shops
something of the trades they were to practice when grown-up. I know
of a master plumber, who twenty years ago, as a child of eleven, made
friends with the blacksmith and the tinsmith in the little village
where he lived, and taught himself the elements of his trade at the
blacksmith's anvil and with the tinsmith's tools. At fourteen that boy
knew practically a great deal about the properties of metals, could
handle simple tools deftly, and was well prepared to learn his trade
readily when the time came.

As the most intelligent city parents cannot as individuals furnish
their children with similar chances today, we must look to the public
schools, which all citizens alike support, to take up the matter, and
supply methodically and deliberately, that training of the eye and
hand, and later that instruction in wage-earning occupations which in
former days, as in the case quoted, the child obtained incidentally,
as it were, in the mere course of growing up.

On the literary side, it is true, schools are improving all the time.
History is now taught by lantern slides, showing the people's lives,
instead of by a list of dates in a catechism. Geography is illustrated
in the garden plot of the school playground. But in responding to the
new claims which a new age and a changed world are making upon them,
schools and teachers are only beginning to wake up. The manual
training gradually being introduced is a hopeful beginning, but
nothing more. The most valuable and important work of this kind is
reserved for the upper grades of the grammar schools and for certain
high schools, and the children who are able to make use of it are for
the most part the offspring of comfortably off parents, enjoying all
sorts of educational privileges already. Education, publicly provided,
free and compulsory, therefore presumably universal, was established
primarily for the benefit of the workers' children, yet of all
children it is they who are at this moment receiving the least benefit
from it. Many circumstances combine to produce this unfortunate
result. The chief direct cause is poverty in the home. So many
families have to live on such poor wages--five and six hundred dollars
a year--that the children have neither the health to profit by the
schooling nor the books nor the chance to read books at home when the
home is one or perhaps two rooms. The curse of homework in cities ties
the children down to willowing feathers or picking nuts or sewing on
buttons, or carrying parcels to and from the shop that gives out the
work, deprives them of both sleep and play, makes their attendance at
school irregular, and dulls their brains during the hours they are
with the teacher. In the country the frequently short period of school
attendance during the year and the daily out-of-school work forced
from young children by poverty-harassed parents has similar disastrous

Even in those states which have compulsory attendance up to fourteen,
many children who are quite normal are yet very backward at that age.
The child of a foreign-speaking parent, for instance, who never hears
English spoken at home, needs a longer time to reach the eighth grade
than the child of English-speaking parents.

Chicago is fairly typical of a large industrial city, and there the
City Club found after investigation that forty-three per cent. of
the pupils who enter the first grade do not reach the eighth grade;
forty-nine per cent. do not go through the eighth grade; eleven per
cent. do not reach the sixth grade, and sixteen per cent. more do not
go through the sixth grade.

A child who goes through the eighth grade has some sort of an
equipment (on the literary side at least) with which to set out in
life. He has learned how to read a book or a newspaper intelligently,
and how to express himself in writing. If he is an average child he
has acquired a good deal of useful information. He will remember much
of what he has learned, and can turn what knowledge he has to some
account. But the child who leaves school in the fifth or sixth grade,
or, perhaps, even earlier, is apt to have no hold on what he has been
taught, and it all too soon passes from his memory, especially if he
has in his home surroundings no stimulus to mental activity. Poor
little thing! What a mockery to call this education, so little as
it has fitted him to understand life and its problems! What he has
learned out of school, meanwhile, as often as not, is harmful rather
than beneficial.

The school door closes and the factory gate stands open wide. The
children get their working papers, and slip out of the one, and
through the other. At once, as we arrange matters, begins the fatal
effect of handing over children, body and soul, into the control of
industry. After a few days or weeks of wrapping candy, or carrying
bundles or drawing out bastings, the work, whatever it is, becomes but
a mere mechanical repetition. A few of the muscles only, and none of
the higher faculties of observation, inquiry and judgment come
into play at all, until, at the end of two years the brightest
school-children have perceptibly lost ground in all these directions.

Two of the most precious years of life are gone. The little workers
are not promoted from performing one process to another more
difficult. They are as far as ever from any prospect of learning a
trade in any intelligent fashion. The slack season comes on. The
little fingers, the quick feet are not required any longer. Once more
there is a scurrying round to look for a job, less cheerfully this
time, the same haphazard applying at another factory for some other
job, that like the first needs no training, like the first, leads
nowhere, but also like the first, brings in three or four dollars
a week, perhaps less. A teacher at a public-school social center
inquired of a group of fifty girls, cracker-packers, garment-workers
and bindery girls, how long each had been in her present situation.
Only one had held hers eighteen months. No other had reached a year in
the same place. The average appeared to be about three or four months.

Worse still is another class of blind-alley occupation. These are the
street trades. The newsboy, the messenger and the telegraph boy often
make good money to begin with. Girls, too, are being employed by some
of the messenger companies. These are all trades, that apart from the
many dangers inseparable from their pursuit, spell dismissal after two
or three years at most, or as soon as the boy reaches the awkward age.
The experience gained is of no use in any other employment, and the
unusual freedom makes the messenger who has outgrown his calling
averse to the discipline of more regular occupations.

What a normal vocational education can be, and a normal development of
occupation, is seen in the professions, such as law and medicine. The
lawyer and the doctor are, it is true, confining themselves more and
more to particular branches of their respective callings, and more
and more are they becoming experts in the branch of law or medicine
selected. The lawyer specializes in criminal cases or in damage suits,
in commercial or constitutional law; he is a pleader or a consultant.
The doctor may decide to be a surgeon, or an oculist, an anesthetist
or a laboratory worker. And the public reap the benefit in more expert
advice and treatment. But the likeness between such professional
specialization and the dehumanizing and brain-deadening industrial
specialization, which is the outgrowth of the factory system, is one
in name only as was admirably put by Samuel Gompers, when presiding
over the Convention of the American Federation of Labor at Toronto in

"It must be recognized that specialists in industry are vastly
different from specialists in the professions. In the professions,
specialists develop from all the elements of the science of the
profession. Specialists in industry are those who know but one part
of a trade, and absolutely nothing of any other part of it. In the
professions specialists are possessed of all the learning of their
art; in industry they are denied the opportunity of learning the
commonest elementary rudiments of industry other than the same
infinitesimal part performed by them perhaps thousands of times over
each day."

When the speaker emphasized these points of unlikeness, he was at the
same time, and in the same breath, pointing out the direction in which
industry must be transformed. Training in the whole occupation
must precede the exercise of the specialty. Furthermore, as all
professional training has its cultural side, as well as its strictly
professional side, so the cultural training of the worker must ever
keep step with his vocational training.

The motto of the school should be, "We are for all," for it is what
teachers and the community are forever forgetting. Think of the
innumerable foundations in the countries of the old world, intended
for poor boys, which have been gradually appropriated by the rich. Of
others again, supposed to be for both boys and girls, from which the
girls have long been excluded. The splendid technical schools of this
country, nominally open to all boys, at least, are by their very terms
closed to the poor boy, however gifted. To give to him that hath
is the tendency against which we must ever guard in planning and
administering systems of public education. With many, perhaps most,
educational institutions, as they grow older, more and more do they
incline to improve the standards of their work, technically speaking,
but to bestow their benefits upon comparatively fewer and fewer

I would not be understood to deprecate original research, or the
training of expert professional workers in any field, still less as
undervaluing thoroughness in any department of teaching. But I plead
for a sense of proportion, that as long as the world is either so poor
or its wealth and opportunities so unequally distributed, a certain
minimum of vocational training shall be insured to all.

We recognize the need for thorough training in the case of the coming
original investigator, and the expert professional, and they form the
minority. We do not recognize the at least equally pressing need for
the thorough training of the whole working population, and these make
up the vast majority. In so far as the pre-vocational work in primary
schools, the manual work and technical training in high schools,
the short courses, the extension lectures and the correspondence
instruction of universities are meeting this urgent popular need, just
so far are they raising all work to a professional standard, just so
far are they bringing down to the whole nation the gifts of culture
and expert training that have hitherto been the privilege of the few.

I have often noticed college professors, in turning over the leaves of
a university calendar or syllabus of lectures, pass lightly over the
pages recounting the provision made for short courses, summer schools,
extension or correspondence work, and linger lovingly over the
fuller and more satisfactory program outlined for the teacher or
the professional worker. The latter is only apparently the more
interesting. Take Wisconsin's College of Agriculture, for example. It
sends forth yearly teachers and original investigators, but quite as
great and important a product are the hundreds of farmers and farmers'
sons who come fresh from field and dairy to take their six weeks'
training in the management of cattle or of crops, and to field and
dairy return, carrying away with them the garnered experience of
others, as well as increased intelligence and self-reliance in
handling the problems of their daily toil.

Anna Garlin Spencer, in her "Woman and Social Culture," points out
how our much-lauded schools of domestic economy fail to benefit the
schoolgirl, through this very overthoroughness and expensiveness how
they are narrowed down to the turning out of teachers of domestic
economy and dietitians and other institutional workers. Domestic
economy as a wage-earning vocation cannot be taught too thoroughly,
but what every girl is entitled to have from the public school during
her school years is a "short course" in the simple elements of
domestic economy, with opportunity for practice. It is nothing so very
elaborate that girls need, but that little they need so badly. Such a
course has in view the girl as a homemaker, and is quite apart from
her training as a wage-earner.

When again we turn to that side, matters are not any more promising.
If the boy of the working classes is badly off for industrial
training, his sister is in far worse case. Some provision is already
made for the boy, and more is coming his way presently, but of
training for the girl, which shall be adequate to fit her for
self-support, we hear hardly anything. We have noted that women are
already in most of the trades followed by men, and that the number of
this army of working, wage-earning women is legion; that they are
not trained at all, and are so badly paid that as underbidders they
perpetually cut the wages of men. Nay, the young working-girl is even
"her own worst competitor--the competitor against her own future home,
and as wife and mother she may have to live on the wage she herself
has cheapened."

And to face a situation like this are we making any adequate
preparation? With how little we are satisfied, let me illustrate.
In the address of Mrs. Raymond Robins as president of the National
Women's Trade Union League of America before their Fourth Biennial
Convention in St. Louis, in June, 1913, she told how "in a curriculum
of industrial education we find that under the heading 'Science' boys
study elementary physics, mechanics and electricity, and girls the
action of alkalies, and the removal of stains. While under 'Drawing'
we read, 'For boys the drawing will consist of the practical
application of mechanical and free-hand work to parts of machinery,
house plans, and so forth. Emphasis will be placed upon the reading of
drawings, making sketches of machine parts quickly and accurately. For
the girls the drawing will attempt to apply the simple principles
of design and color to the work. The girls will design and stencil
curtains for the dining-and sewing-rooms and will make designs for
doilies for the table. They will plan attractive spacing for tucks,
ruffles and embroidery for underwear.' Women have entered nearly three
hundred different occupations and trades in America within the past
quarter of a century, three hundred trades and occupations, and they
are to qualify for these by learning to space tucks attractively."

In the very valuable Twenty-fifth Annual Report of the Commissioner of
Labor, published in 1910, which is devoted to industrial education,
there is but one chapter dealing with girls' industrial schools,
in itself a commentary upon the backwardness of the movement for
industrial education where girls are affected. It is true that the
schools included under this heading do not account for all the school
trade-training given to girls in this country, for the classification
of industrial schools, where there is no general system, is
very difficult, and under no plan of tabulation can there be an
all-inclusive heading for any one type. For instance a school for
colored girls might be classified either as a school for Negroes or as
a school for girls, as a public school, a philanthropic school, or an
evening school, and a school giving trade-training to boys might also
include girls. The writer of this most exhaustive report, however,
states definitely that "trade schools for girls are rare, and even
schools offering them industrial courses as a part of their work are
not common."

It is impossible to consider vocational training without bearing in
mind the example of Germany. Germany has been the pioneer in this work
and has laid down for the rest of us certain broad principles, even if
there are in the German systems some elements which are unsuitable to
this country. These general principles are most clearly exemplified
in the schools of the city of Munich. Indeed, when people talk of the
German plan, they nearly always mean the Munich plan. What it aims at

1. To deal in a more satisfactory way with the eighty or ninety per
cent. of children who leave school for work at fourteen, and to bridge
over with profit alike to the child, the employer and the community
the gap between fourteen and sixteen which is the unsolved riddle of
educators everywhere today.

2. To retain the best elements of the old apprenticeship system,
though in form so unlike it. The boy (for it mainly touches boys) is
learning his trade and he is also working at his trade, and he has
cultural as well as industrial training, and this teaching he receives
during his working hours and in his employer's time.

3. To provide teachers who combine ability to teach, with technical

4. To insure, through joint boards on which both employers and workmen
are represented, even if these boards are generally advisory, only an
interlocking of the technical class and the factory, without which any
system of vocational instruction must fall down.[A]

[Footnote A: As to how far this is the case, there is a difference
of opinion among authorities. Professor F.W. Roman, who has made so
exhaustive a comparative study of vocational training in the United
States and Germany, writes: "In Germany, there is very little local
control of schools, or anything else. The authority in all lines is
highly centralized." (The Industrial and Commercial Schools of the
United States and Germany, 1915, p. 324.) Dr. Kerchensteiner is quoted
by the Commercial Club of Chicago as saying, in a letter to Mr. Edwin
G. Cooley, that the separate administrative school-boards of Munich
form an essential part of the city's school-system.]

5. To maintain a system which shall reach that vast bulk of the
population, who, because they need technical training most urgently,
are usually the last to receive it.

Many of the most advanced educators in this country join issue with
the usual German practice on some most important points. These
consider that it is not sufficient that there be a close interlocking
of the technical school and class and the factory. It is equally
essential that vocational education, supported by public funds, shall
be an integral part of the public-school system, of which it is indeed
but a normal development, and therefore that we must have a unit and
not a dual system. Only thus can we insure that vocational education
will remain education at all and not just provide a training-school
for docile labor as an annex and a convenient entrance hall to the
factory system. Only thus can we insure democracy in the control of
this new branch of public activity. Only thus can the primary schools
be kept in touch with the advanced classes, so that the teacher, from
the very kindergarten up, may feel that she is a part of a complete
whole. Then indeed will all teachers begin to echo the cry of one whom
I heard say: "You ask us to fit the children for the industries. Let
us see if the industries are fit for the children."

Another point in which we must somewhat modify any European model is
in the limited training provided for girls. A country which is
frankly coeducational in its public schools, state universities and
professional colleges, must continue to be so when installing a new
educational department to meet the changed and changing conditions of
our time.

The parliament of organized labor in the United States has taken a
liberal view and laid down an advanced program on the subject of
vocational training. In 1908 the American Federation of Labor
appointed a committee on industrial education consisting of nineteen
members, of whom two were women, Agnes Nestor, International Secretary
of the Glove Workers' Union, and Mrs. Raymond Robins, President of the
National Women's Trade Union League of America. Its very first report,
made in 1909, recommended that the Federation should request the
United States Department of Commerce and Labor to investigate the
subject of industrial education in this country and abroad.

The report of the American Federation of Labor itself, includes
a digest of the United States Bureau of Labor's report, and was
published as Senate Document No. 936. It is called "The Report of the
Committee on Industrial Education of the American Federation of Labor,
compiled and edited by Charles H. Winslow."

Whatever narrowness and inconsistency individual trade unionists may
be charged with regarding industrial education, the leaders of the
labor movement give it their endorsement in the clearest terms. For
instance, this very report, comments those international unions which
have already established supplemental trade courses, such as the
Typographical Union, the Printing Pressmen's Union, and the Photo
Engravers' Union, and other local efforts, such as the School for
Carpenters and Bricklayers in Chicago and the School for Carriage,
Wagon, and Automobile Workers of New York City. All trade unions which
have not adopted a scheme of technical education are advised to take
the matter up.

On the question of public-school training, the American Federation of
Labor is no less explicit and emphatic, favoring the establishment of
schools in connection with the public-school system in which pupils
between fourteen and sixteen may be taught the principles of the
trades, with local advisory boards, on which both employers and
organized labor should have seats. But by far the most fundamental
proposal is the following. After outlining the general instruction on
accepted lines, they proceed as follows:

"The shop instruction for particular trades, and for each trade
represented, the drawing, mathematics, mechanics, physical and
biological science applicable to the trade, the history of that
trade, and a sound system of economics, including and emphasizing the
philosophy of collective bargaining."

The general introduction of such a plan of training would mean that
the young worker would start out on his wage-earning career with an
intelligent understanding of the modern world, and of his relations to
his employer and to his fellow-laborers, instead of, as at present,
setting forth with no knowledge of the world he is entering, and
moreover, with his mind clogged with a number of utterly out-of-date
ideas, as to his individual power of control over wages and working

[Footnote A: History, as it is usually taught, is not considered from
the industrial viewpoint, nor in the giving of a history lesson
are there inferences drawn from it that would throw light upon the
practical problems that are with us today, or that are fast advancing
to meet us. When a teacher gives a lesson on the history of the United
States, there is great stress laid upon the part played by individual
effort. All through personal achievements are emphasized. The
instructor ends here, on the high note that personal exertion is the
supreme factor of success in life, failing unfortunately to point out
how circumstances have changed, and that even personal effort may have
to take other directions. Of the boys and girls in the schools of the
United States today between nine and fourteen years of age, over eight
millions in 1910, how many will leave school knowing the important
facts that land is no longer free, and that the tools of industry
are no more, as they once were, at the disposal of the most
willing-worker? And that therefore (Oh, most important therefore!) the
workers must work in cooeperation if they are to retain the rights
of the human being, and the status signified by that proud name, an
American citizen.]

If we wish to know the special demands of working-women there is no
way so certain as to consult the organized women. They alone are at
liberty to express their views, while the education they have had
in their unions in handling questions vital to their interests as
wage-earners, and as leaders of other women gives clearness and
definiteness to the expression of those views.

If organized women can best represent the wage-earners of their sex,
we can gain the best collective statement of their wishes through
them. At the last convention of the National Women's Trade Union
League in June, 1913, the subject of industrial education received
very close attention. The importance of continuation schools after
wage-earning days have commenced was not overlooked. An abstract of
the discussion and the chief resolutions can be found in the issue of
_Life and Labor_ for August, 1913.

After endorsing the position taken up by the American Federation of
Labor, the women went on to urge educational authorities to arm the
children, while yet at school, with a knowledge of the state and
federal laws enacted for their protection, and asked also "that such
a course shall be of a nature to equip the boy and girl with a full
sense of his or her responsibility for seeing that the laws are
enforced," the reason being that the yearly influx of young boys and
girls into the industrial world in entire ignorance of their own state
laws is one of the most menacing facts we have to face, as their
ignorance and inexperience make exploitation easy, and weaken the
force of such protective legislation as we have.

Yet another suggestion was that "no working certificates be issued to
a boy or girl unless he or she has passed a satisfactory examination
in the laws which have been enacted by the state for their

In making these claims, organized working-women are keeping themselves
well in line with the splendid statement of principles enunciated by
that great educator, John Dewey:

    The ethical responsibility of the school on the social side must
    be interpreted in the broadest and freest spirit; it is equivalent
    to that training of the child which will give him such possession
    of himself that he may take charge of himself; may not only adapt
    himself to the changes that are going on, but have power to shape
    and direct them.

When we ask for coeducation on vocational lines, the question is sure
to come up: For how long is a girl likely to use her training in a
wage-earning occupation? It is continually asserted and assumed she
will on the average remain in industry but a few years. The mature
woman as a wage-earner, say the woman over twenty-five, we have been
pleased to term and to treat as an exception which may be ignored in
great general plans. Especially has this been so in laying out schemes
for vocational training, and we find the girl being ignored, not only
on the usual ground that she is a girl, but for the additional,
and not-to-be-questioned reason that it will not pay to give her
instruction in any variety of skilled trades, because she will be
but a short time in any occupation of the sort. Hence this serves to
increase the already undue emphasis placed upon domestic training as
all that a girl needs, and all that her parents or the community ought
to expect her to have. This is only one of the many cases when we try
to solve our new problems by reasoning based upon conditions that have
passed or that are passing away.

In this connection some startling facts have been brought forward by
Dr. Leonard P. Ayres in the investigations conducted by him for the
Russell Sage Foundation. He tried to find the ages of all the women
who are following seven selected occupations in cities of the United
States of over 50,000 population. The occupations chosen were those in
which the number of women workers exceeds one for every thousand of
the population. The number of women covered was 857,743, and is just
half of all the women engaged in gainful employment in those cities.
The seven occupations listed are housekeeper, nursemaid, laundress,
saleswoman, teacher, dressmaker and servant. No less than forty-four
per cent. of the housekeepers are between twenty-five and forty-four.
Of dressmakers there are fifty-one per cent. between these two ages;
of teachers fifty-eight per cent.; of laundresses forty-nine per
cent., while the one occupation of which a little more than half are
under twenty-five years is that of saleswoman, and even here there are
barely sixty-one per cent., leaving the still considerable proportion
of thirty-nine per cent. of saleswomen over the age of twenty-five.
It is pretty certain that these mature women have given more than the
favorite seven years to their trade. It is to be regretted that the
investigation was not made on lines which would have included some of
the factory occupations. It is difficult to see why it did not. Under
any broad classification there must be more garment-workers, for
instance, in New York or Chicago, than there are teachers. However, we
have reason to be grateful for the fine piece of work which Dr. Ayres
has done here.

The _Survey_, in an editorial, also quotes in refutation of the
seven-year theory, the findings of the commission which inquired
into the pay of teachers in New York. The commissioners found that
forty-four per cent. of the women teachers in the public schools had
been in the service for ten years or more, and that only twenty-five
per cent. of the men teachers had served as long a term.

It can hardly be doubted that the tendency is towards the lengthening
of the wage-earning life of the working-woman. A number of factors
affect the situation, about most of which we have as yet little
definite information. There is first, the gradual passing of the
household industries out of the home. Those women, for whom the
opportunity to be thus employed no longer is open, tend to take up or
to remain longer in wage-earning occupations.

The changing status of the married woman, her increasing economic
independence and its bearing upon her economic responsibility, are all
facts having an influence upon woman as a wage-earning member of the
community, but how, and in what degree, they affect her length of
service, is still quite uncertain. It is probable too, that they
affect the employment or non-employment of women very differently in
different occupations, but how, and in what degree they do so is mere
guess-work at present.

Much pains has been expended in arguing that any system of vocational
training should locally be co-related with the industries of the
district. Vain effort! For it appears that the workers of all ages are
on the move all the time. Out of 22,027 thirteen-year-old boys in the
public schools of seventy-eight American cities, only 12,699, or a
little more than half, were living in the places of their birth. And
considering the _wanderlust_ of the young in any case, is anything
more probable than that the very first thing a big proportion of this
advancing body of "vocationally trained" young men and women will want
to do will be to try out their training in some other city? And why
should they not?

If there has ever been voiced a tenderer plea for a universal
education that shall pass by no child, boy or girl, than that of Stitt
Wilson, former Socialist Mayor of Berkeley, I do not know it. If there
has ever been outlined a finer ideal of an education fitting the
child, every child, to take his place and fill his place in the new
world opening before him, I have not heard of it. He asks that we
should submit ourselves to the leadership of the child--his needs, his
capacities, his ideal hungers--and in so doing we shall answer many
of the most disturbing and difficult problems that perplex our
twentieth-century civilization. Even in those states which make the
best attempt at educating their children, from three-fourths to
nine-tenths, according to the locality, leave the schools at the age
of thirteen or fourteen, and the present quality of the education
given from the age of twelve to sixteen is neither an enrichment in
culture, nor a training for life and livelihood. It is too brief for
culture, and is not intended for vocation.

Mr. Wilson makes no compromise with existing conditions; concedes not
one point to the second-rate standards that we supinely accept; faces
the question of cost, that basic difficulty which most theoretical
educators waive aside, and which the public never dreams of trying to
meet and overcome. Here are some of his proposals.

    The New Education [he writes] will include training and experience
    in domestic science, cookery and home-making; agriculture and
    horticulture; pure and applied science, and mechanical and
    commercial activities with actual production, distribution and
    exchange of commodities. Such training for three to six millions
    of both sexes from the age of twelve to twenty-one years will
    require land, tools, buildings of various types, machinery,
    factory sites by rail and water, timber, water and power sources.

    As all civilization is built upon the back of labor, and as
    all culture and leisure rests upon labor, and is not possible
    otherwise, so all cultural and liberal education, as generally
    understood, shall be sequent to the productive and vocational. The
    higher intellectual education should grow out of and be earned by
    productive vocational training.

    Hence our schools should be surrounded by lands of the best
    quality obtainable, plots of 10, 50, 100 and more acres. These
    lands should be the scene of labor that would be actually
    productive and not mere play.... In such a school the moral
    elements of labor should be primary, viz.: joy to the producer,
    through industry and art; perfect honesty in quality of material
    and character of workmanship; social cooeperation, mutualism, and
    fellowship among the workers or students; and last, but not least,
    justice--that is, the full product of labor being secured to the

He plans to make the schools largely self-supporting, partly through
land endowments easier to obtain under the system of taxation of land
values that is possibly near at hand in the Golden State, for which
primarily the writer is planning. The other source of income would be
from the well-directed labor of the students themselves, particularly
the older ones. He quotes Professor Frank Lawrence Glynn, of the
Vocational School at Albany, New York, as having found that the
average youth can, not by working outside of school hours, but in the
actual process of getting his own education, earn two dollars a week
and upward. Elsewhere, Mr. Wilson shows that the beginnings of such
schools are to be found in operation today, in some of the best reform
institutions of the country.

For all who desire university training, this would open the door. They
would literally "work their way" through college. One university'
president argues for some such means of helping students: "We need
not so much an increase of beneficiary funds as an increase of the
opportunities for students to earn their living." This is partly
to enable them to pay; for their courses and thereby acquire an
education, but chiefly because through supporting themselves they gain
self-confidence and therefore the power of initiative.[A]

[Footnote A: "The social and educational need for vocational training
is equally urgent. Widespread vocational training will democratize
the education of the country: (1) by recognizing different tastes and
abilities, and by giving an equal opportunity to all to prepare for
their lifework; (2) by extending education through part-time and
evening instruction to those who are at work in the shop or on
the farm." Report of the Commission on National Aid to Vocational
Instruction, 1914, page 12.]



It is a lamentable fact that the wholesome and normal tendency towards
organization which is now increasingly noticeable among working-women
has so far remained unrelated to that equally normal and far more
deeply rooted and universal tendency towards marriage.

As long as the control of trade unionism among women remained with
men, no link between the two was likely to be forged; the problem
is so entirely apart from any that men unionists ever have to face
themselves. It is true that with a man the question of adhering to
a union alike in times of prosperity or times of stress may be
complicated by a wife having a "say-so," through her enthusiasm or her
indifference when it means keeping up dues or attending meetings; yet
more, when belonging to a union may mean being thrown out of work or
ordered on strike, just when there has been a long spell of sickness
or a death with all the attendant expenses, or when perhaps a new
baby is expected or when the hard winter months are at hand and the
children are lacking shoes and clothes. Still, roughly speaking, a man
worker is a unionist or a non-unionist just the same, be he single or

But how different it is with a girl! The counter influence exerted by
marriage upon organization is not confined to those girls who leave
the trade, and of course the union, if they have belonged to one,
after they have married. The possibility of marriage and especially
the exaggerated expectations girls entertain as to the improvement in
their lot which marriage will bring them is one of the chief adverse
influences that any organization composed of women or containing many
women members has to reckon with, an influence acting all the time on
the side of those employers who oppose organization among their girls.

It has been the wont of many men unionists in the past and is the
custom of not a few today, to accept at its face value the girl's own
argument: "What's the use of our joining the union? We'll be getting
married presently." It is much the same feeling, although unspoken,
that underlies the ordinary workingman's unwillingness to see women
enter his trade and his indifference to their status in the trade once
they have entered it. The man realizes that this rival of his is but a
temporary worker, and he often, too often, excuses himself tacitly,
if not in words, from making any effort to aid her in improving her
position or from using his influence and longer experience to secure
for her any sort of justice, forgetting that the argument, "She'll
soon get married" is a poor one at best, seeing that as soon as one
girl does marry her place will immediately be filled by another, as
young, as inexperienced as she had been, and as utterly in need of the
protection that experienced and permanent co-workers could give her.
The girl, although she guesses it not, is only too frequently made the
instrument of a terrible retribution; for the poor wage, which was
all that she in her individual helplessness was able to obtain for
herself, is used to lower the pay of the very man, who, had he stood
by her, might have helped her to a higher wage standard and at the
same time preserved his own.

Again, the probability of the girl marrying increases on all sides the
difficulties encountered in raising standards alike of work and of
wages. Bound up with direct payment are those indirect elements of
remuneration or deduction from remuneration covered by length of
working-hours and by sanitary conditions, since whatever saps the
girl's energy or undermines her health, whether overwork, foul air,
or unsafe or too heavy or overspeeded machinery, forms an actual
deduction from her true wages, besides being a serious deduction from
the wealth-store, the stock of well-being, of the community.

Up till comparatively recent times the particular difficulties I
have been enumerating did not exist, since, under the system of home
industries universal before the introduction of steam-power, there was
not the same economic competition between men and women, nor was there
this unnatural gap between the occupation of the woman during her
girlhood and afterwards in her married life. In the majority of cases,
indeed, she only continued to carry on under her husband's roof the
very trades which she had learned and practiced in the home of her
parents. And this applied equally to the group of trades which we
still think of as part of the woman's natural home life, baking and
cooking and cleaning and sewing, and to that other group which have
become specialized and therefore are now pursued outside the home,
such as spinning and weaving. It was true also in large part of the
intrinsically out-of-door employments, such as field-work.

In writing about a change while the process is still going on, it is
extremely difficult to write so as not to be misunderstood. For there
are remote corners, even of the United States, where the primitive
conditions still subsist, and where woman still bears her old-time
relation to industry, where the industrial life of the girl flows on
with no gap or wrench into the occupational life of the married woman.
Through wifehood and motherhood she indeed adds to her burdens, and
complicates her responsibilities, but otherwise she spends her days
in much the same fashion as before, with some deduction, often, alas,
inadequate, to allow for the bearing and rearing of her too frequent
babies. Also in the claims that industry makes upon her in her
relation to the productive life of the community, under such primitive
conditions, her life rests upon the same basis as before.

As a telling illustration of that primitive woman's occupations, as
she carries them on among us today, the following will serve. Quite
recently a friend, traveling in the mountainous regions of Kentucky,
at the head of Licking Creek, had occasion to call at a little
mountain cabin, newly built out of logs, the chinks stopped up
with clay, evidently the pride and the comfort of the dwellers. It
consisted of one long room. At one end were three beds. In the center
was the family dining-table, and set out in order on one side a number
of bark-seated hickory chairs made by the forest carpenters. On the
other a long bench, probably intended for the younger members of the
family. Facing the door, as the visitor entered, was a huge open
fireplace, with a bar across, whence hung three skillets of kettles
for the cooking of the food. The only occupant of the cabin at that
hour in the afternoon was an old woman. She was engaged in combing
into smoothness with two curry-combs a great pile of knotted wool,
washed, but otherwise as it came off the sheep's back. The wool was
destined to be made into blankets for the household. The simple
apparatus for the carrying-out of the whole process was there at hand,
for the spinning-wheel stood back in a corner of the room, while the
big, heavy loom had, for convenience' sake, been set up on the porch.
That old woman's life may be bare and narrow enough in many ways, but
at least she is rich and fortunate in having the opportunity for the
exercise of a skilled trade, and in it an outlet for self-expression,
and even for artistic taste in the choice of patterns and colors.
Far different the lot of the factory worker with her monotonous and
mindless repetition of lifeless movements at the bidding of the
machine she tends. The Kentucky mountain woman was here practicing in
old age the art she had acquired in her girlhood. Those early lessons
which had formed her industrial education, were of life-long value,
both in enriching her own life, and by adding to her economic and
therefore social value, alike as a member of her own household, and as
a contributor to the wealth of the little community.

We once had, universally, and there still can be found in such
isolated regions, an industrial arrangement, soundly based upon
community and family needs, and even more normally related to the
woman's own development, better expressing many sides of her nature
than do the confused and conflicting claims of the modern family and
modern industry render possible for vast numbers today. And this,
although wide opportunity for personal and individual development was
so sadly lacking, and the self-abnegation expected from women was so
excessive, that the intellectual and emotional life must often have
been a silent tragedy of repression.

Among our modern working-women in urban localities, we find today no
such settled plan for thus directing the activities of women to meet
modern needs and conditions. Neither home nor school furnishes our
girls with a training fitting them for a rich and varied occupational
life. The pursuits into which most of them drift or are driven, do
indeed result in the production of a vast amount of manufactured
goods, food, clothing, house and personal furnishings of all sorts,
and of machinery with which may be manufactured yet more goods. Much
of this product is both useful and beneficial to us all, but there
are likewise mountains of articles fashioned, neither useful nor
beneficial, nor resulting in any sort of use, comfort or happiness to
anyone: adulterated foods, shoddy clothes, and toys that go to pieces
in an hour.

Certainly the girl worker of this twentieth century produces per head,
and with all allowances made for the cost of the capital invested in
factory and machinery, and for superintendence, far and away more in
amount and in money value than did her girl ancestor of a hundred
years ago, or than her contemporary girl ancestor of today in the
Kentucky and Tennessee mountains, or than her other sister, the
farmer's daughter in agricultural regions, who still retains hold of
and practices some of the less primitive industries.

But the impulse to congratulate ourselves upon this vastly increased
product of labor is checked when we take up the typically modern
girl's life at a later stage. We have observed already that her life
during her first fourteen years is utterly unrelated to the next
period, which she spends in store or factory. The training of her
childhood has been no preparation for the employments of her girlhood.
She is but an unskilled hand, the last cog in a machine, and if these
prove but seven lean years for her, it is only what we might expect.
When they are ended, and married life entered upon, we are again
struck by the absence of any relation between either of these two
life-periods and the stage preceding, and by the fact that at no time
is any intelligent preparation made either for a wage-earning or
a domestic career. This means an utter dislocation between the
successive stages of woman's life, a dislocation, the unfortunate
results of which, end not with the sex directly affected, but bring
about a thousand other evils, the lowering of the general wage
standard, the deterioration of home life, and serious loss to
the children of the coming generation. As far as we know, such a
dislocation in the normal development of women's lives never took
place before on any large scale. I am speaking of it here solely in
relation to the sum of the well-being of the whole community. As it
affects the individual girl and woman herself it has been dealt with
under other heads.

The cure which the average man has to propose is pithily summed up in
the phrase: "Girls ought to stay at home." The home as woman's
sole sphere is even regarded as the ultimate solution of the whole
difficulty by many men, who know well that it is utterly impracticable
today. A truer note was struck by John Work, when addressing himself
specially to socialist men:

    It would be fatal to our prospects of reaching the women with
    the message of socialism if we were to give the millions of
    wage-earning women to understand that we did not intend to let
    them continue earning their own living, but proposed to compel
    them to become dependent upon men. They price what little
    independence they have, and they want more of it.

    It would be equally fatal to our prospects of reaching the women
    with the message of socialism if we were to give the married women
    to understand that they must remain dependent upon men. It is one
    of the most hopeful signs of the times that they are chafing under
    the galling chains of dependence.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Far from shutting women out of the industries, socialism will do
    just the opposite.

    It will open up to every woman a full and free opportunity to earn
    her own living and receive her full earnings.

    This means the total cessation of marrying for a home.

The degree of irritation that so many men show when expressing
themselves on the subject of women in the trades is the measure of
their own sense of incompetence to handle it. The mingled apathy and
impatience with which numbers of union men listen to any proposal to
organize the girls with whom they work arises from the same mental
attitude. "These girls have come into our shop. We can't help it.
We didn't ask them. They should be at home. Let them take care of

The inconsistency of such a view is seen when we consider that in the
cities at least an American father (let alone a foreign-born father)
is rarely found nowadays objecting to his own girls going out to work
for wages. He expects it, unless one or more are needed by their
mother at home to help with little ones or to assist in a small family
store or home business. He takes it as a matter of course that his
girls go to work as soon as they leave school, just as his boys do.
And yet the workman in a printing office, we will say, whose own
daughter is earning her living as a stenographer or teacher, will
resent the competition of women type-setters, and will both resent and
despise those daughters of poorer fathers, who have found their way
into the press or binding-rooms. Unionists or non-unionists, such men
ignore the fact that all these girls have just as much right to earn
an honest living at setting type, or folding or tipping and in so
doing to receive the support and protection of any organization there
is, as their own daughters have to take wages for the hours they spend
in schoolroom or in office. The single men but echo the views of the
older ones when such unfortunately is the shop tone, and may be even
more indifferent to the girls' welfare and to the bad economic results
to all workers of our happy-go-lucky system or no-system.

I do not wish to be understood as accepting either the girl's present
economic position or the absorption in purely domestic occupations of
the workingman's wife as a finality. It is a transitional stage that
we are considering. I look forward to a time, I believe it to be
rapidly approaching, when the home of the workingman, like everyone's
else home, will be truly the home, the happy resting-place, the
sheltering nest of father, mother and children, and when through the
rearrangement of labor, the workingman's wife will be relieved from
her monotonous existence of unrelieved domestic drudgery and overwork,
disguised under the name of wifely and maternal duties, when the
cooking and the washing, for instance, will be no more part of
the home life in the humblest home than in the wealthiest. The
workingman's wife will then share in the general freedom to occupy
part of her time in whatever occupation she is best fitted for, and,
along with every other member of the community she will share in the
benefits arising from the better organisation of domestic work.

However, this blessed change has not yet come to pass, and of all
city-dwellers, the wife of the workingman seems to be furthest away
from the benefits of the transformation. Therefore, in considering
the connection between the girl's factory life and her probable
occupational future in married life, I have purposely avoided dwelling
upon what is bound to arrive some time in the future, and have tried
to face facts as they exist today, dealing as far as possible with the
difficulties of the generation of girls now in the factories, those
about to enter, and those passing out, remembering only, with a
patience-breeding sense of relief, that the conditions of today may
not necessarily be the conditions of tomorrow.

I therefore accept in its full meaning domesticity, as practiced by
the most domestic woman, and as preached by the domestic woman's most
ardent advocate among men. Nor am I expressing resentment at the fact
that when a girl leaves the machine-speeded work of the factory, it is
only to take up the heavy burden of the workingman's wife, as we know
it. She must be wife and mother, and manager of the family income, and
cook and laundress and housemaid and seamstress. The improvement of
her position and the amelioration of her lot can only come slowly,
through social changes, as expressed in the woman movement, and
through the widening scope of the principle of specialization.

Even today, without any such radical changes as are foreshadowed
above, the gap between schooldays and working years, between working
years and married life, can to some extent be bridged over if we plan
to do so from the beginning. As has been shown, organized women are
already advocating some such orderly plan for the girl's school
training, as should blend book-learning with manual instruction and
simple domestic accomplishments. But also, in order to deal justly
and fairly by the girl, any reasonable scheme of things would also
presuppose such strict control of the conditions of industry, that
hours would be reasonably short, that in the building and running of
machinery there should be borne in mind always the safety and health
of the workers, instead of, as today, expecting almost all the
adaptation to be on the part of the worker, through pitting the
flexible, delicate, and easily injured human organism against the
inflexible and tireless machine. Other essential conditions would be
the raising of the standard of living, and therefore of remuneration,
for all, down to the weakest and least skilled, and the insistence
upon equal pay for equal work, tending to lessen the antagonism
between men and women on the industrial field. Thus doubly prepared
and adequately protected the girl would pass from her wage-earning
girlhood into home and married life a fresher, less exhausted creature
than she usually is now. Further, she would be more likely to bring to
the bearing and rearing of her children a constitution unenfeebled
by premature overwork and energies unsapped by its monotonous grind.
Again, her understanding of industrial problems would make her a more
intelligent as well as a more sympathetic helpmate. Hand in hand,
husband and wife would more hopefully tackle fresh industrial
difficulties as these arose, and they would do so with some slight
sense of the familiarity that is the best armor in life's battle.

Besides there is the other possibility, all too often realized, that
lies in the background of every such married woman's consciousness.
She may be an ideally domestic woman, spending her time and strength
on her home and for the Welfare of her husband and children, yet
through no fault of hers, her home may be lost to her, or if not
lost, at least kept together only by her own unremitting efforts as a
wage-earner. It often happens that marriage in course of time proves
to be anything but an assurance of support. Early widowed, the young
mother herself may have to earn her children's bread. Or the husband
may become crippled, or an invalid, or he may turn out a drunkard and
a spendthrift. In any of these circumstances, the responsibility and
the burden of supporting the entire family usually falls upon the
wife. Is it strange that the group so often drift into undeserved
pauperism, sickness and misery, perhaps later on, even into those
depths of social maladjustment that bring about crime?

The poorly paid employment of office-cleaning is sadly popular among
widows and deserted wives, because, being followed during the evening,
and sometimes night hours, it leaves a mother free during the day to
attend to her cooking and housework and sewing, and be on the spot to
give the children their meals. Free! The irony of it! Free, that is,
to work sixteen hours or longer per day, and free to leave her little
ones in a locked-up room, while she earns enough to pay the rent and
buy the food. Ask any such widowed mother what she is thinking of, as
she plies mop and scrubbing-brush after the offices are closed and the
office force gone home, and she will tell you how she worries for fear
something may have happened to the baby while she is away. She wonders
whether she left the matches out of the reach of four-year-old Sammy;
and Bessie, who isn't very strong, is always so frightened when the
man on the floor above comes home late and quarrels with his wife.

The theory on which the poor woman was paid her wages when as a single
girl she used to draw her weekly pay-envelope, that a fair living wage
for a woman is what is barely sufficient to support herself, rather
falls down when a whole household has to be kept out of a girl's
miserable pay.

All these difficulties would be eased for such overburdened ones, if
their early training had been such as to leave them equipped to meet
the vicissitudes of fortune on fairer terms, and if the conditions of
industrial life, allotting equal pay to workers of both sexes, had
also included reasonable opportunities for advancement to higher
grades of work with proportionately increased pay.

Meanwhile, married women, less handicapped than these, are
experimenting on their own account, and are helping to place the work
of wives as wage-earners on a more settled basis. The wife of the
workingman who has no children, and who lives in a city finds she has
not enough to do in the little flat which is their home. The stove
in winter needs little attention; there is not enough cooking and
cleaning to fill up her time, and as for sewing she can buy most of
their clothing cheaper than she can make it. But any little money she
can earn will come in useful; so she tries for some kind of work,
part-time work, if she can find it. In every big city there are
hundreds of young married women who take half-time jobs in our
department stores or who help to staff the lunch-rooms or wash up or
carry trays, or act as cashiers in our innumerable restaurants. As
half-day girls such waitresses earn their three or four dollars a
week, besides getting their lunch. Very frequently they do not admit
to their fellow-workers that they are married, for the single girl
with her own hard struggle on her hands is apt to resent such
competition. A worker who is in a position to accept voluntarily a
half-time job of this sort is one who must have some other means of
meeting part of her living expenses. A home in the background is such
an aid. The increasingly large number of part-time workers, lessen,
the others reckon, the number of jobs to be had by the ones that have
to work all day, and may tend also to lower wages, since any partly
subsidized worker can afford to take less than the girl who has to
support herself out of her earnings. The latter has never heard of
parasitic trades, and yet in her heart she knows there is something
not quite right here, something that she blindly feels she would like
to put an end to.

She is quite right in resisting any lowering of wages, but she will
have to accept this inroad into the trades of these exceptionally
placed married women. She will have to throw her efforts into another
channel, using organization to raise the position of working-women
generally into dignified industrial independence. For this still
limited number of half-time married women workers are but the leaf on
the stream, showing the direction events are taking. As specialization
goes on, as the domestic industries are more and more taken out of our
homes, as the gifted and trained teacher more and more shares in the
life of the child, more and more will the woman after she marries
continue to belong to the wage-earning class by being a part-time
worker. To propose eliminating the present (sometimes unfair)
competition of the married woman with the single girl, by excluding
her from any or every trade is as futile as the resentment of men
against all feminine rivals in industry.

We have been observing, so far, how the lives of women have been
modified, often, not for the better, by the industrial revolution. Let
us glance now in passing at the old home industries themselves, and
note what is still happening. One after another has been taken, not
merely out of the home, where they all originated, but out of the
hands of the sex who invented and developed them. Trade after trade
has thus been taken over from the control of women, and appropriated
and placed on a modern business basis by men. I make no criticism upon
this transference beyond remarking that you hear no howl about it
from the supplanted ones, as you never fail to do over the converse
process, when male workers are driven out of occupations to make way
for women, whose cheapness makes them so formidable an industrial
competitor. But whichever way it works, sex discrimination usually
bodes no good to the lasting interest of any of the workers. When a
trade passes out of the status of a home industry, and takes on the
dignity of an outside occupation, women are rarely in a position to
take hold of it in its new guise. We find men following it, partly
because they are more accustomed to think in terms of professional
skill, and partly because they are in the business swim, and can
more easily gain command of the capital necessary to start any new
enterprise. Men then proceed to hire the original owners as employes,
and women lose greatly in their economic status.

This is the general rule, though it is by no means wholly the sex
line that divides the old-fashioned houseworker from the specialized
professional, though this habitual difference in standing between
groups of different sex does tend to blur fundamental issues. The
economic struggle in its bare elements would be easy to follow
compared with the complex and perpetually changing forms in which it
is presented to us.

But the home industries are not yet fully accounted for and disposed
of. Some of the household occupations, essential once to the comfort
and well-being of the family, are shrinking in importance, prior to
vanishing before our eyes, because now they do not for the most part
represent an economical expenditure of energy. Meanwhile, however,
they linger on, a survival in culture, and in millions of homes today
the patient housewife is striving with belated tools to keep her
family fed and clothed and her house spotless.

Take the cleaning process, for example, and watch what is happening.
Dr. Helen Sumner draws attention to the fact that we ourselves are
witnessing its rapid transformation. It is being taken out of the
hands of the individual houseworker, who is wont to scrub, sweep and
dust in the intervals between marketing, cooking, laundry-work or
sewing, and by whom it is performed well or ill, but always according
to the standards of the individual household, which means that
there are no accepted standards in sweeping, scrubbing and dusting.
House-cleaning is becoming a specialized, skilled trade, performed by
the visiting expert and his staff of professionally trained employes.
Even if as yet these skilled and paid workers enter an ordinary home
only at long intervals, when the mystic process of spring cleaning
seems to justify the expense, the day is plainly in sight when the
usual weekly cleaning will be taken over by these same visitors.
At present the abruptness of the change is broken for us by the
introduction into the market, and the use by the house-mother
of various hand-driven machines, a vast improvement upon the
old-fashioned broom, and accustoming women to the idea of new and
better methods of getting rid of dirt. Few realize the tremendous
import of this comparatively insignificant invention, the atmospheric
cleaner, or what a radical change it is bringing about in the thoughts
of the housewife, whose ideas on the domestic occupations so far have
been mostly as confused as those of the charwoman, who put up on her
door the sign: "Scrubbing and Window-Cleaning Done Here." In the same
way the innumerable electric appliances of today are simplifying the
labors of the housewife; but their chief value is that through them
she is becoming accustomed to the thought of change, and being led on
to distinguish between the housework that can be simplified, and still
done at home, and the much larger proportion which must sooner or
later be relegated to the professional expert, either coming in
at intervals or performing the task elsewhere. And this is true,
fortunately, of women in the country as well as in the cities.

We have traveled a long way during the last hundred and fifty years
or so, and in that time have witnessed the complete transference from
home to factory of many home industries, notably spinning and weaving,
and soap-and candle-making. Others like the preparation of food are
still in process of transference. The factory industries are the
direct and legitimate offspring of the primitive home industries, and
their growth and development are entirely on the lines of a normal

[Illustration: _Courtesy of The Pine Mountain Settlement_ Primitive
Industry. Kentucky mountain woman at her spinning-wheel. 1913]

[Illustration: _Courtesy of The Chicago School of Civics and
Philanthropy_ Italian Woman Home Finisher]

But there is another form of industry that is a ghastly hybrid, the
"home-work" that has been born of the union of advanced factory
methods and primitive home appliances. Such a combination could never
have come into existence, had the working classes at the time of the
inception of machine-driven industry possessed either an understanding
of what was happening, or the power to prevent their own exploitation.
The effects of this home-work are in every way deadly. There is not a
single redeeming feature about the whole business. Like the spinner
or the weaver of olden times, the sewing-machine operator or the
shirt-finisher of the present day provides her own workroom, lighting
and tools, but unlike her, she enjoys no freedom in their use, nor has
she any control over the hours she works, the prices she asks or the
class of work she undertakes.

With the home-worker hard-driven by her sister in poverty, and driving
her in turn, helpless both in their ignorance under the modern
Juggernaut that is destroying them, pushed ever more cruelly by
relentless competition, the last stronghold, the poor little home
itself, goes down. The mother has no time to care for her children,
nor money wherewith to procure for them the care of others. In her
frantic desire to keep them alive, she holds the whip over her own
flesh and blood, who have to spend their very babyhood in tying
feather-flues or pulling out bastings. Home-work, this unnatural
product of nineteenth-century civilization, as an agency for summarily
destroying the home is unparalleled. Nor do its blighting effects end
with homes wrecked, and children neglected, stunted and slain. The
proud edifice of modern industry itself, on whose account homes
are turned into workshops, children into slaves, and mothers into
slave-drivers, is undermined and degraded by this illegitimate
competition, the most powerful of all factors in lowering wages, and
preventing organization among regular factory hands. The matter lies
in a nutshell. Industry which originated in the home could be safely
carried on there only as long as it remained simple and the operations
thereof such as one individual could complete. As soon as through the
invention of power-driven machinery industry reached the stage of high
specialization and division of labor, at once it became a danger to
the home, and the home a degradation to it. It was at the call of
specialized industry that the factory came into existence, and only in
the factory can it be safely housed.

A similar and, if it were possible, a worse form of family and group
slavery prevails outside of the cities in the poorer farming regions
and in the cotton states. It is harder to reach and to handle, and
there is cause to fear that it is increasing. Especially in the busy
season when the corn has to be harvested or the cotton picked the
mother is considered as a toiler first, and she is to have her babies
and look after her poor little home and her children as a mere
afterthought. The children are contributors to the family support from
the time they can toddle and schooling comes a bad second in making
the family arrangements. One reason for this growing evil is the
threatening degradation and disappearance of the independent farmer
class, who made up what would have been called in England formerly the
yeomanry of this country, and their replacement by a poor peasantry
degraded by the wretched terms upon which they are driven to snatch a
bare existence from a patch of land to which they are tied by lease,
by mortgage or by wages, and which they have neither the money nor the
knowledge to cultivate to advantage.

The Federal Commission on Industrial Relations has brought to light
some startling facts in this phase of our social life, as in many
others. I can refer to the evidence of but one witness. She speaks for
many thousands. This is as it is quoted in the daily press.

  Picture for the moment the drama staged at Dallas.
  Mrs. I. Borden Harriman of New York is presiding over
  the commission. Mrs. Levi Stewart, the wife of a tenant
  farmer, is on the witness stand. Mrs. Stewart is a shrinking
  little woman with "faded eyes and broken body." She wears
  a blue sunbonnet. Her dress of checkered material has lost
  its color from long use. In a thin, nervous voice she
  answers the questions of the distinguished leader of two
  kinds of "society."

  "Do you work in the fields?" Mrs. Harriman began.

  "Yes, ma'am."

  "How old were you when you married?"


  "How old was your husband?"


  "Did you work in the fields when you were a child?"

  "Oh, yes'm, I picked and I chopped."

  "Have you worked in the fields every year?"

  "I do in pickin' and choppin' times."

  "And you do the housework?'

  "There ain't no one else to do it."

  "And the sewing?"

  "Yes, ma'am. I make all the clothes for the children
  and myself. I make everything I wear ever since I was

  "Do you make your hats?"

  "Yes, ma'am. I make my hats. I had only two since I
  was married."

  "And how long have you been married?"

  "Twenty years."

  "Do you do the milking?"

  "Most always when we can afford a cow."

  "What time do you get up in the morning?"

  "I usually gits up in time to have breakfast done by 4
  o'clock in summer time. In the winter time we are through
  with breakfast by sun-up."

  "Did you work in the fields while you were carrying your

  "Oh, yes, sometimes; sometimes almost nigh to birthin'

  "Is this customary among the tenant farmers' wives you
  have known?"

  The answer was an affirmative nod.

Let us now once more consider the home, and compare factory operations
with the domestic arts. There is no doubt that in cooking, for
instance, the housewife finds scope for a far higher range of
qualifications than the factory girl exercises in preparing tomatoes
in a cannery, or soldering the cans after they are filled with the
cooked fruit. The housewife has first of all to market and next to
prepare the food for cooking. She has to study the proper degree of
heat, watch the length of time needed for boiling or baking in their
several stages, perhaps make additions of flavorings, and serve
daintily or can securely. There is scarcely any division of housework
which does not call for resource and alertness. Unfortunately,
however, although these qualities are indeed called for, they are
not always called forth, because the houseworker is not permitted to
concentrate her whole attention and interest upon any one class of
work, but must be constantly going from one thing to another. Hence
women have indeed acquired marvelous versatility, but at what a heavy
cost! The houseworker only rarely acquires perfect skill and deftness
or any considerable speed in performing any one process. Her
versatility is attained at the price of having no standards of
comparison established, and worse than all, at the price of working
in isolation, and therefore gaining no training in team-work, and so
never having an inkling of what organized effort means.

Our factory systems, on the other hand, go to the other extreme, being
so arranged that the majority of workers gain marvelous dexterity, and
acquire a dizzying rate of speed, while they are apt to lose in both
resourcefulness and versatility. They do not, however, suffer, to
anything like the same degree, from isolation, and factory life, even
where the employers are opposed to organization, does open a way to
the recognition of common difficulties and common advantages, and
therefore leads eventually in the direction of organization. In the
factory trades the workers have to some extent learnt to be vocal. It
is possible for an outsider to learn something of the inner workings
of an establishment. Upon the highly developed trades, the searchlight
of official investigation is every now and then turned. From
statistics we know the value of the output. We are also learning a
good deal about the workers, the environment that makes for health or
invalidism, or risk to life, and we are in a fair way to learn more.
The organized labor movement furnishes an expression, although still
imperfect, of the workers' views, and keeps before the public the
interests of the workers, even of the unorganized groups.

But with the domestic woman all this is reversed. In spite of the fact
that in numbers the home women far exceed the wage-earners, the value
of their output has been ignored, and as to the conditions under
which it is produced, not even the most advanced and progressive
statisticians have been able to arrive at any estimate. Of sentiment
tons have been lavished upon the extreme importance of the work of the
housewife in the home, sometimes, methinks, with a lingering misgiving
that she might not be too well content, and might need a little
encouragement to be induced to remain there. What adulation, too,
has been expended upon the work of even the domestic servant, with
comparisons in plenty unfavorable to the factory occupations into
which girls still persist in drifting. Yet in freedom and in social
status, two of the tests by which to judge the relative desirability
of occupations, the paid domestic employments take inferior ranks.
Again, they offer little prospect of advance, for they lead nowhere.

Further, as noted in an earlier chapter in the census reports all
women returning themselves as engaged in domestic duties (not being
paid employes), were necessarily not listed as gainfully employed. Yet
it is impossible to believe that compared with other ways of employing
time and energy, the hours that women spend in cooking and cleaning
for the family, even if on unavoidably primitive lines, have no value
to the community. Or again, that the hours a mother spends in caring
for her baby, later on in helping with the lessons, and fitting the
children for manhood or womanhood, have no value in the nation's
account book. I will be reminded that this is an unworthy way of
reckoning up the inestimable labors of the wife and mother. Perhaps
so. Yet personally, I should much prefer a system of social economics
which could estimate the items at a fair, not excessive value, and
credit them to the proper quarter.

A well-known woman publicist recently drew attention to the vast
number of the women engaged in domestic life, and expressed regret
that organizations like the National Women's Trade Union League
confined their attention so exclusively to the women and girls
employed in factories and stores, who, even today, fall so far short
numerically of their sisters who are working in the home or on
the farm. The point is an interesting one, but admits of a ready
explanation. Every movement follows the line of least resistance,
and a movement for the industrial organization of women must first
approach those in the most advanced and highly organized industries.
As I have shown, we really know very much more about the conditions of
factory workers than of home-workers. The former have, in a degree,
found their voice, and are able to give collective expression to their
common interests.

The League recently urged upon the Secretary for Labor, the
recognition, as an economic factor, of the work of women in the
household trades; the classification of these occupations, whether
paid or unpaid, on a par with other occupations, and lastly, that
there be undertaken a government investigation of domestic service.

In this connection a long step forward has just been taken through
the inquiries, which during the last two years, the Department of
Agriculture has been making as to the real position of women on the
farm, and has been making them of the women themselves. This came
about through a letter addressed to the Secretary from Mr. Clarence
Poe, Raleigh, North Carolina, under date of July 9, 1913, in which he
said: "Have some bulletins for the farmer's wife, as well as for the
farmer himself. The farm woman has been the most neglected factor
in the rural problem, and she has been especially neglected by the
National Department of Agriculture. Of course, a few such bulletins
are printed, but not enough."

A letter was accordingly sent out from Washington to the housewives of
the department's 55,000 volunteer crop correspondents, on the whole a
group of picked women. They were invited to state both their personal
views and the results of discussions with women neighbors, their
church organization or any women's organization to which they might
belong. To this letter 2,225 relevant replies were received, many
of these transmitting the opinions of groups of women in the

The letter asked "how the United States Department of Agriculture can
better meet the needs of farm housewives." Extracts from the replies
with comments have been published in the form of four bulletins. Many
of the letters make tragic reading: the want of any money of their
own; the never-ending hours; the bad roads and poor schools; neglect
in girlhood and at times of childbirth. A great many thoughtless
husbands will certainly be awakened to a sense of neglected
opportunities, as well as to many sins of commission.

The bulletins contain appendices of suggestions how farm women can
help one another, and how they may gain much help from the certainly
now thoroughly converted Department of Agriculture, through farmer's
institutes for women, through demonstrations and other extension
work under the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, and through the formation of
women's and girls' clubs.

It is of the utmost importance to society, as well as to herself, that
the whole economic status of the married woman, performing domestic
duties, should be placed upon a sounder basis. It is not as if the
unsatisfactory position of the average wife and mother could confine
its results to herself. Compared with other occupations, hers fulfills
none of the conditions that the self-respecting wage-earner demands.
The twenty-four-hour day, the seven-day week, no legal claim for
remuneration, these are her common working conditions. Other claims
which a husband can and usually does make upon her I leave unnoticed;
also the unquestioned claim of her children upon her time and
strength. Marital duties, as they are evasively termed, could not
be exacted from any wage servant. Moreover, the very existence of
children whom the married pair have called into being is but an
argument, on the one hand, for the father taking a larger share in
their care, and on the other, for the lightening of the mother's
multifarious burden by the better organization of all household work,
as well as everything that belongs to child culture and care.

The poor working conditions she suffers under, and the uncertainty of
her position, reduce many a woman's share in the married partnership
to that of an employe in a sweated trade. This kind of marriage,
therefore, like all other sweated trades tends to lower the general
market value of women's work. This is casting no reflection upon the
hundreds of thousands of husbands who do their part fairly, who share
and share alike whatever they have or earn with their wives. How many
a workingman regularly hands over to his wife for the support of the
home the whole of his earnings with perhaps the barest deduction,
a dollar or two, or sometimes only a few cents, for small personal
expenditures. Many wives enjoy complete power over the family purse.
Or the married pair decide together as to how much they can afford to
spend on rent and food and clothing, and when sickness or want of work
face them, they meet the difficulty together. The decisions made, it
is the wife who has the whole responsibility for the actual spending.

But though so often a man does fulfill in spirit as in letter his
promise to support, as well as to love and honor the girl he has
married, there is very little in the laws of any country to compel
him. And because the man can slip the collar more easily than the
woman can, the woman's position is rendered still more uncertain.
If she were an ordinary wage-worker, we should say of her that her
occupation was an unstandardized one, and that individually she was
too dependent upon the personal goodwill of another. Therefore,
like all other unstandardized callings, marriage, considered as an
occupation, tends to lower the general market value of woman's work.
Conversely, Cicely Hamilton in "Marriage as a Trade," points out that
the improvements in the economic position of the married woman, which
have come about in recent years, are partly at least due to the
successful efforts of single women to make themselves independent and

But during the process of transition, and while single women are
forging farther and farther ahead, many a married woman is finding
herself between the upper and the nether millstone. And unfortunately
precisely in the degree that the paid domestic worker is able to make
better arrangements in return for her services, whether as resident or
as visiting employe, many housemothers are likely for a time to find
conditions press yet more severely upon themselves. They will soon
have no one left upon whom they can shift their own burdens of
overwork, as they have so frequently done in the past. Sooner or later
they will be driven to take counsel with their fellows, and will then
assuredly plan some method of organizing housewives for mutual help
and cooeperation, and for securing from society some fairer recognition
of the true value of the contribution of the domestic woman to the
wealth of the community.

It is not strange that she with whom industry had its rise and upon
whom all society rests should be the last to benefit by the forces
of reorganization which are spiritually regenerating the race and
elevating it to a level never before reached. The very function of
sex, whose exercise enters into her relation with her husband, has
complicated what could otherwise have been a simple partnership. The
helplessness of her children and their utter dependence upon her,
which should have furnished her with an additional claim for
consideration, have only tied her more closely and have prevented her
from obtaining that meed of justice from society which a less valuable
servant had long ago won. But in the sistership of womanhood, now
for the first time admitted and hopefully accepted, fortunate and
unfortunate clasp hands, and go forward to aid in making that future
the whole world awaits today.



Olive Schreiner, in "Woman and Labor," lays it down as almost
axiomatic that "the women of no race or class will ever rise in revolt
or attempt to bring about a revolutionary readjustment of their
relation to society, however intense their suffering, and however
clear their perception of it, while the welfare and persistence of
society requires their submission; that whenever there is a general
attempt on the part of the women of any society to readjust their
position in it, a close analysis will always show that the changed
or changing conditions of society have made women's acquiescence no
longer necessary or desirable."

If this be so, it can only be accepted as the application to women of
a statement which could be made equally of all the down-trodden races
and classes of humanity. The one reason that makes me hesitate about
accepting it as a complete explanation of the age-long submission
of the oppressed is that we are all rather too ready to accept an
explanation that explains away (shall I say?) or at least justifies
the suffering of others. The explanation fits so well. Does it not
fit too well? Probably Olive Schreiner did not intend it to cover the
whole ground.

In one detail, in any case, I take exception to it. An oppressed class
or race or sex may often suffer intensely and go on suffering and
submitting, but not _after_ they have gained a clear perception of the
intensity of those sufferings, for then the first stage of rebellion
has already begun. Not one of us who has grown to middle age but can
remember, looking back to her own girlhood, how meekly and as a matter
of course women of all classes accepted every sort of suffering as
part of the lot of woman, especially of the married woman, whether it
was excessive child-bearing, pain in childbirth, physical overwork,
or the mental suffering arising out of a penniless and dependent
condition, with the consequent absolute right of the husband to the
custody and control of the children of the union. And in all nations
and classes where this state of affairs still continues, the women
have as yet no clear intellectual perception of the keenness and
unfairness of their suffering. They still try to console themselves
with believing and allowing others to suppose that after all, things
are not so bad; they might be worse. These poor women actually
hypnotize themselves into such a belief.

Have you not heard a mother urge a daughter or a friend to submit
uncomplainingly to the most outrageous domestic tyranny, for is not
hers after all the common fate of woman?

No clear perception there!

This argument in no way touches the exceptional woman or man,
belonging to an oppressed class. Such a woman, for instance, as the
Kaffir woman spoken of by Olive Schreiner in this passage, is the rare

But so far Olive Schreiner is undoubtedly right. When the revolt at
length takes place it is in answer to an immediate and pressing need
of the whole community. When the restrictions upon a class have become
hurtful to the whole, when their removal is called for because society
is in need of the energies thus set free, then takes place a more or
less general uprising of the oppressed and restricted ones, apparently
entirely spontaneous and voluntary, in reality having its origin
partly at least in the claim which society is making upon the hitherto
restricted class to take up fuller social responsibilities.

When observing then the modern change of attitude among women, towards
life, we can therefore only conclude that such an immediate and
pressing need is felt by society today, a claim neither to be ignored
nor denied.

On this reasoning, then, and observing the eager demand of women
everywhere for increased freedom and independence, we can only draw
the conclusion that the whole world is dimly recognizing an immediate
and pressing need for the higher services of women, services which
they cannot render unless freed legally, politically and sexually. It
is this immense and universal social claim which has been responded
to by the whole organized movement among women, industrial as well as
educational and political.

In order to understand the relation of the organized suffrage
movement to the question of improving women's industrial and economic
conditions and status, we have to consider the changed conditions of
society under which we live, and we will have to recognize that the
demand for the vote in different countries and at different times may
or may not coincide with the same social content. Psychologically,
indeed, as well as practically, the vote connotes all sorts of
different implications to the women of today, contemporaries though
they are.

It was with an appreciation of these complexities that Professor W.I.
Thomas has pointed out that in his opinion suffragists often place too
great stress upon primitive woman's political power, and ignore
the fact that women held an even more important relation to the
occupational than to the political life of those early days, and that
in her occupational value is to be traced the true source of her power
and therefore her real influence in any age.

While agreeing with Professor Thomas that some suffrage arguments do
on the surface appear inconsistent with historical facts, I believe
the inconsistency to be more formal than real.

As the centuries pass a larger and still larger proportion of human
affairs passes away from individual management and comes under social
and community control. As this process goes on, more and more does the
individual, whether man or woman, need the power to control socially
the conditions that affect his or her individual welfare. In our day
political power rightly used, gives a socialized control of social
conditions, and for the individual it is embodied in and is expressed
by the vote.

To go back only one hundred years. The great bulk of men and women
were industrially much more nearly on a level than they are today.
A poor level, I grant you, for with the exception of the privileged
classes, few and small were the political powers and therefore the
social control of even men. But every extension of political power
as granted to class after class of men has, as far as women are
concerned, had the fatal effect of increasing the political inequality
between men and women, thus placing women, though not apparently, yet
relatively and actually upon a lower level.

Again, the status of woman has been crushingly affected by the
contemporaneous and parallel change which has passed over her special
occupations; so that the conditions under which she works today are
decidedly less than ever before by purely personal relationships and
more by such impersonal factors as the trade supply of labor, and
interstate and international competition. This change has affected
woman in an immeasurably greater degree than man. The conditions
of industrial life are in our day in some degree controllable by
political power so that at this point woman again finds herself
civilly and industrially at greater disadvantage than when her status
in all these respects depended principally upon her individual
capacity to handle efficiently problems arising within an area limited
by purely personal relationships. To alter so radically the conditions
of daily life and industry, and not merely to leave its control in the
hands of the old body of voters, but to give over into the hands of an
enlarged and fresh body of voters, and these voters inevitably the men
of her own class who are her industrial competitors, that degree of
control represented by the vote and to refuse it to women is to place
women (though not apparently, yet actually and relatively) upon a
distinctly lowered level.

So that what suffragists are asking for is in reality not so much
a novel power, as it is liberty to possess and use the same new
instrument of social control as has been already accorded to men.
Without that instrument it is no mere case of her standing still. She
is in very truth retrogressing, as far as effective control over the
conditions under which she lives her life, whether inside the home or
outside of it. In this instinctive desire not to lose ground, to keep
up both with altered social claims of society upon women and with the
improved political equipment of their brothers, is to be found the
economic crux of women's demand for the vote in every country and in
every succeeding decade.

In the course of human development, the gradual process of the
readjustment of human beings to changed social and economic conditions
is marked at intervals by crises wherein the struggle always going on
beneath the surface between the new forces and existing conditions
wells up to the surface and takes on the nature of a duel between
contending champions. If this is true of one class or of one people,
how much more is it true when the change is one that affects an entire

There have been occasions in history and there occur still today
instances when economic conditions being such that their labor was
urgently needed and therefore desired, it was easy for newcomers to
enter a fresh field of industry, and give to a whole class or even
to a whole sex in one locality an additional occupation. Such very
evidently was the case with the first girls who went into the New
England cotton mills. Men's occupations at that time in America lay
for the most part out of doors, and there was therefore no sense of
rivalry experienced, when the girls who used to spin at home began to
spin on a large scale and in great numbers in a factory.

It is far different where women have been forced by the economic
forces driving them from behind to make their slow and painful way
into a trade already in the possession of men. Of course the wise
thing for the men to do in such a case is to bow to the logic of
events, and through their own advantageous position as first in the
field and through whatever organizations they may possess use all
their power to place their new women rivals on an equal footing
with themselves and so make it impossible for the women to become a
weakening and disintegrating force in the trade. The women being thus
more or less protected by the men from the exploitation of their own
weakness it is then for them to accept the position, as far as they
are able, stand loyally by the men, meet factory conditions as they
find them, being the latest comers, and proceed afterwards to bring
about such modifications and improvements as may seem to them

Unfortunately this in a general way may stand for a description
of everything that has not taken place. The bitter and often true
complaints made by workmen that women have stolen their trade, that
having learnt it, well or ill, they are scabs all the time in their
acceptance of lower wages and worse conditions, relatively much worse
conditions, and that they are often strike-breakers when difficulties
arise, form a sad commentary upon the men's own short-sighted conduct.
To women, driven by need to earn their living in unaccustomed ways,
men have all too often opened no front gate through which they could
make an honest daylight entrance into a trade, but have left only
side-alleys and back-doors through which the guiltless intruders could
slip in. Organized labor today, however, is on record as standing for
the broader policy, however apathetic the individual unions and the
individual trade unionists may often be.

A dramatic presentation of one of these very complicated situations
is found in the experience of Miss Susan B. Anthony in the printers'
strike in New York in 1869. By some this incident has been interpreted
to show a wide difference of outlook between those women who were
chiefly intent on opening up fresh occupational possibilities for
women, and those who, coming daily face to face with the general
industrial difficulties of women already in the trades, recognized the
urgent need of trade organization for women if the whole standard
of the trades wherein they were already employed was not to be
permanently lowered.

While there is no such general inference to be drawn, the occurrence
does place in a very strong light the extreme complexity of the
question and the need that then existed, the need that still exists
for closer cooeperation between workers approaching the problem of the
independence of the wage-earning woman from different sides.

The files of the _Revolution_, which Miss Anthony, in conjunction with
Mrs. Stanton and Mr. Parker Pillsbury, published from 1868 to 1870,
are full of the industrial question. Though primarily the paper stood
for the suffrage movement, the editors were on the best of terms with
labor organizations and they were constantly urging working-women to
organize and cooeperate with men trade unionists, and in especial to
maintain constantly their claim to equal pay for equal work.

But just about the time of our story, in the beginning of 1869, Miss
Anthony seems to have been especially impressed with the need of
trade-schools for girls, that they might indeed be qualified to
deserve equal pay, to earn it honestly if they were to ask for it; for
we find her saying:

"The one great need of the hour is to qualify women workers to _really
earn_ equal wages with men. We must have _training-schools for women_
in all the industrial avocations. Who will help the women will help
ways and means to establish them."

Just then a printers' strike occurred and Miss Anthony thought she saw
in the need of labor on the part of the employers an opportunity to
get the employers to start training-schools to teach the printing
trade to girls, in her enthusiasm for this end entirely oblivious of
the fact that it was an unfortunate time to choose for making such a
beginning. She attended an employers' meeting held at the Astor House
and laid her proposal before them.

The printers felt that they were being betrayed, and by one, too, whom
they had always considered their friend. On behalf of organized labor
Mr. John J. Vincent, secretary of the National Labor Union, made
public protest.

Miss Anthony's reply to Mr. Vincent, under date February 3, 1869,
published in the New York _Sun_, and reprinted in the _Revolution_, is
very touching, showing clearly enough that in her eagerness to supply
the needed thorough trade-training for young girls, she had for the
moment forgotten what was likely to be the outcome for the girls
themselves of training, however good, obtained in such a fashion.
She had also forgotten how essential it was that she should work in
harmony with the men's organizations as long as they were willing to
work with her. Though not saying so in so many words, the letter is a
shocked avowal that, acting impulsively, she had not comprehended the
drift of her action, and it amounts to a withdrawal from her first
position. She writes:

    Sir: You fail to see my motive in appealing to the Astor House
    meeting of employers, for aid to establish a training school for
    girls. It was to open the way for a thorough drill to the hundreds
    of poor girls, to fit them to earn equal wages with men everywhere
    and not to undermine "Typographical No. 6." I did not mean to
    convey the impression that "women, already good compositors should
    work for a cent less per thousand ems than men," and I rejoice
    most heartily that Typographical Union No. 6 stands so nobly by
    the Women's Typographical Union No. 1 and demands the admission of
    women to all offices under its control, and I rejoice also
    that the Women's Union No. 1 stands so nobly and generously by
    Typographical Union No. 6 in refusing most advantageous offers to
    defeat its demands.

    My advice to all the women compositors of the city, is now, as it
    has ever been since last autumn, to join the women's union, for in
    union alone there is strength, in union alone there is protection.

    Every one should scorn to allow herself to be made a tool to
    undermine the just prices of men workers; and to avoid this union
    is necessary. Hence I say, girls, stand by each other, and by the
    men, when they stand by you.

With this the incident seems to have closed, for nothing more is heard
of the employers' training-school.[A]

[Footnote A: This illustrates well the cruel alternative perpetually
placed before the working-woman and the working-woman's friends. She
is afforded little opportunity to learn a trade thoroughly, and yet,
if she does not stand by her fellow men workers, she is false to
working class loyalty.

That the women printers of New York were between the devil and the
deep sea is evidenced by the whole story told in Chapter XXI of "New
York Typographical Union No. 6," by George Stevens. In that is related
how about this time was formed a women printers' union, styled
"Women's Typographical No. 1," through the exertions of a number of
women compositors with Augusta Lewis at their head. Miss Lewis voiced
the enthusiastic thanks of the women when, a few months later, the
union received its charter from the International Typographical Union
at its next convention in June, 1869. A different, and a sadder note
runs through Miss Lewis's report to the convention in Baltimore in
1871, in describing the difficulties the women labored under.

"A year ago last January, Typographical Union No. 6 passed a
resolution admitting union girls in offices under the control of No.
6. Since that time we have never obtained a situation that we could
not have obtained if we had never heard of a union. We refuse to take
the men's situations when they are on strike, and when there is no
strike, if we ask for work in union offices we are told by union
foremen 'that there are no conveniences for us.' We are ostracized
in many offices because we are members of the union; and though the
principle is right, the disadvantages are so many that we cannot
much longer hold together.... No. 1 is indebted to No. 6 for great
assistance, but as long as we are refused work because of sex we
are at the mercy of our employers, and I can see no way out of our

In 1878 the International enacted a law that no further charter be
granted to women's unions, although it was not supposed to take effect
against any already in existence. Women's Typographical No. 1, already
on the downward grade, on this dissolved. But not till 1883 did the
women printers in New York begin to join the men's union, and there
have been a few women members in it ever since. But how few in
proportion may be judged from the figures on September 30, 1911. Total
membership 6,969, of whom 192 were women. I believe this to be typical
of the position of the woman compositor in other cities.]

I have given large space to this incident, because it is the only one
of the kind I have come across in Miss Anthony's long career. Page
after page of the _Revolution_ is full of long reports of workingmen's
conventions which she or Mrs. Stanton attended.[A] At these they were
either received as delegates or heard as speakers, advocating the
cause of labor and showing how closely the success of that cause was
bound up with juster treatment towards the working-woman. Many indeed
must have been the labor men, who gained a broader outlook upon their
own problems and difficulties through listening to such unwearied
champions of their all but voiceless sex.

[Footnote A: Mrs. Stanton's first speech before the New York
legislature, made in 1854, was a demand that married working-women
should have the right to collect their own wages. She and the workers
with her succeeded in having the law amended. Up till then a married
woman might wash all day at the washtub, and at night the law required
that her employer should, upon demand, hand over her hard-earned money
to her husband, however dissolute he might be.]

To the more conservative among the workingmen the uncompromising views
of these women's advocates must have been very upsetting sometimes,
and always very unconventional. We find that in a workingmen's
assembly in Albany, New York, when one radical delegate moved to
insert the words "and working-women" into the first article of the
Constitution, he felt bound to explain to his fellow-delegates that it
was not his intention to offer anything that would reflect discredit
upon the body. He simply wanted the females to have the benefit
of their trades and he thought by denying them this right a great
injustice was done to them. The speaker who followed opposed the
discussion of the question. "Let the women organize for themselves."
The radicals, however, rose to the occasion.

Mr. Graham in a long speech said it was a shame and a disgrace for
this body, pretending to ask the elevation of labor to neglect or
refuse to help this large, deserving, but down-trodden class.

Mr. Topp said he would be ashamed to go home and say he had attended
this assembly if it overlooked the claims of the female organizations.

The resolution to include the women was carried with applause.

At the National Labor Congress held in Germania Hall, New York, the
_Revolution_ of October 1, 1868, had noted the admission of four women
delegates as marking a new era in workingmen's conventions. These
were: Katherine Mullaney, president of the Collar Laundry Union of
Troy, N.Y.; Mrs. Mary Kellogg Putnam, representing Working Women's
Association No. 2 of New York City; Miss Anthony herself, delegate
from Working Women's Association No. 1, New York City; and Mary A.
Macdonald, from the Working Women's Protective Labor Union, Mount
Vernon, New York.

Mrs. Stanton, after a long and exciting debate, was declared a
delegate, but the next day, to please the malcontents, the National
Labor Congress made clear by resolution that it did not regard itself
as endorsing her peculiar ideas or committing itself to the question
of female suffrage, but simply regarded her as a representative
from an organization having for its object "the amelioration of the
condition of those who labor for a living." "Worthy of Talleyrand" is
Miss Anthony's sole comment.

The connection between the woman movement and the labor movement is
indeed close and fundamental, but that must not be taken to imply that
the workingman and the woman of whatever class have not their own
separate problems to handle and to solve as each sees best. The
marriage relation between two individuals has often been wrecked by
assuming as the basis of their common life that man and wife are one
and that the husband is that one. And so the parallel assumption that
all the working-woman's wrongs will naturally be righted by redress if
their righting is left in the hands of her working brother for many
years led to a very curious and unfortunate neglect of suffrage
propaganda among working-women, and on the part of working-women and
to a no less unfortunate ignorance of industrial problems, also, on
the part of many suffragists, whether those affecting workingmen and
women alike or the women only.

It was not so in the early days. The instances given above show how
close and friendly were the relations between labor leaders and
suffrage pioneers. What has been said of Miss Anthony applied equally
to the other great women who carried the suffrage banner amid
opprobrium and difficulty.

The change came that comes so often in the development of a great
movement. One of the main objects which the pioneers had had in view
somehow slipped out of the sight of their successors. The earliest
move of the advanced women of America had been for equal rights of
education, and there success has been greatest and most complete and
thorough. But it was almost exclusively the women who were able to
enter the professions who gained the benefits of this campaign for
equal educational and consequently equal professional opportunities.

The next aim of the leaders in the woman movement of the last century
had been to accord to woman equality before the law. This affecting
primarily and chiefly woman in her sex relations, had its permanent
results in reference to the legal status of the married woman and
the mother, bearing at the same time secondarily upon the safety and
welfare of the child; hence in the different states a long series of
married women's property acts, equal guardianship acts, modifications
of the gross inequalities of the divorce law, and the steady raising
of the age of protection for girls.

At least that was the position ten years ago. But today the tide has
turned. Partly is this due to the growth of industrial organization
among women, a development that has followed the ever-increasing
need of mutual protection. Trade unionism has helped to train the
working-woman to listen to the suffrage gospel, though therein she has
often been slower than the workingman, her better educated brother. On
the other hand a great many influences have combined to wake up the
suffragist of our day to the true meaning and value of what she was
asking. Especially has the work of the National Women's Trade Union
League and the campaign of publicity it has conducted on behalf of
the working-woman, both within and without its membership, focused
attention upon the woman in industry as a national responsibility.
Then again the tremendous strikes in which such large numbers of women
and girls have been involved were an education to others than the
strikers--to none more than to the suffrage workers who cooeperated
with the ill-used girl strikers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and

An influence of even more universal appeal, if of less personal
intensity, has been the suffrage movement in Great Britain. That
movement has educated the public of this country, as they never would
have been educated by any movement confined to this country alone.
Inside the ranks of enrolled suffragists it has been an inspiration,
showering upon their cause a new baptism of mingled tears and
rejoicing. In calmer mood we have learned from our British sisters
much regarding policies adapted to modern situations, and they
have assuredly shown us all sorts of new and original methods of
organization and education. The immense and nation-wide publicity
given by the press of the United States to the more striking and
sensational aspects of the British movement and all the subsequent
talk and writing in other quarters has roused to sex-consciousness
thousands of American women of all classes who had not been previously
interested in the movement for obtaining full citizenship for
themselves and their daughters. These women also aroused, and men,
too, have furnished the huge audiences which have everywhere greeted
such speakers as Mrs. Pankhurst and Mrs. Philip Snowden, when in
person they have presented the mighty story of the transatlantic
struggle. There is no difficulty nowadays in gathering suffrage
audiences anywhere, for the man and the woman walking along the street
supply them to the open-air speaker in the large city and the little
country town as one by one city and town take up the new methods.

Even more close to lasting work for all the issues that affect the
community through placing upon women an ordered civic responsibility
are the plans for the organizing under different names of woman
suffrage parties and civic leagues which blend the handling of local
activities everywhere with a demand for the ballot in keeping with the
needs of the modern community. No clear-eyed woman can work long in
this sort of atmosphere without realizing how unequally social burdens
press, how unequally social advantages are allotted, whether the
burdens come through hours of work, inadequate remuneration, sanitary
conditions, whether in home or in factory, and whether the advantages
are obtainable through public education, vocational training, medical
care, or in the large field of recreation.

So important does work through organization, appear to me that,
remembering always that tendencies are more important than conditions,
it would seem in some respects a more wholesome and hopeful situation
for women to be organized and working for one of their common aims,
even though that aim be for the time being merely winning of the vote,
rather than to have the vote, and with it working merely as isolated
individuals, and with neither the power that organization insures nor
the training that it affords.

But with what we know nowadays there should be no need for any such
unsatisfactory alternative. It would be much more in keeping with the
modern situation if the object of suffrage organizations were to read,
not "to obtain the vote" but "to obtain political, legal and social
equality for women."

Then as each state, or as the whole country (we hope by and by)
obtains the ballot, so might the organizations go on in a sense as if
nothing had happened. And nothing would have happened, save that a
great body of organized women would be more effective than ever. The
members would individually be equipped with the most modern instrument
of economic and social expression. The organizations themselves would
have risen in public importance and esteem and therefore in influence.
Moreover, and this is the most important point of all, they would be
enrolled among those bodies, whose declared policy would naturally
help in guiding the great bulk of new and untrained feminine voters.

In the early days of the woman movement, the leaders, I believe,
desired as earnestly and as keenly saw the need for legal and social
or economic equality as we today with all these years of experience
behind us. But the unconscious assumption was all the time that given
political equality every other sort of equality would readily and
logically follow. Even John Stuart Mill seems to have taken this
much for granted. Not indeed that he thought that with universal
enfranchisement the millennium would arrive for either men or women.
But even to his clear brain and in his loyal and chivalrous heart,
political freedom for women did appear as one completed stage in
development, an all-inclusive boon, as it were, in due time bringing
along by irrefragable inference equality on every other plane,
equality before the law and equality in all social and sexual

Looking back now, we can see that whatever thinkers and statesmen
fifty years ago may have argued for as best meeting the immediate
needs of the hour, the organized suffrage movement in all the most
advanced countries should long ago have broadened their platform,
and explicitly set before their own members and the public as their
objective not merely "the vote," but "the political, legal and social
equality of women."

We are not abler, not any broader-minded nor more intellectually
daring than those pioneers, but we have what they had not, the test of
results. Let us briefly glance at what has been the course of events
in those states and countries which were the earliest to obtain
political freedom for their women.

In none of the four suffrage states first enfranchised in this
country, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Colorado, in Australia or in New
Zealand, did any large proportion of women ask for or desire their
political freedom. In that there is nothing strange or exceptional.
Those who see the need of any reform so clearly that they will work
for it make up comparatively a small proportion of any nation or of
any class. Women are no exception. Note Australia. As the suffrage
societies there, as elsewhere, had been organized for this one
purpose, "to obtain the vote," with the obtaining of the vote all
reason for their continued existence ceased. The organizations at once
and inevitably went to pieces. The vote, gained by the efforts of the
few, was now in the hands of great masses of women, who had given
little thought to the matter previously, who were absolutely unaware
of the tremendous power of the new instrument placed in their hands. A
whole sex burst into citizenship, leaderless and with no common policy
upon the essential needs of their sex.

Except in Victoria, where the state franchise lagged behind till 1909,
the women of Australia have been enfranchised for over twelve years,
and yet it is only recently that they are beginning to get together as
sister women. Those leaders who all along believed in continuous and
organized work by women for the complete freeing of the sex from all
artificial shackles and unequal burdens are now justified of their
belief. New young leaders are beginning to arise, and there are signs
that the rank and file are beginning to march under these leaders
towards far-off ends that are gradually being defined more clearly
from the mists of these years. But they have much ground to make up.
Only so lately as 1910 there were leading women in one of the
large labor conferences who protested against women entering the
legislature, using against that very simple and normal step in advance
the very same moss-grown arguments as we hear used in this country
against the conferring of the franchise itself.

Nowadays, it is true, no quite similar result is likely to happen in
any state or country which from now on receives enfranchisement, for
the reason that there are now other organizations, such as the General
Federation of Women's Clubs here, and the active women's trade unions,
and suffrage societies on a broad basis and these are every day coming
in closer touch with one another and with the organized suffrage
movement. But neither women's trade unions nor women's clubs can
afford to neglect any means of strengthening their forces, and a sort
of universal association having some simple broad aim such as I
have tried to outline would be an ally which would bring them into
communication with women outside the ranks of any of the great
organizations, for it alone would be elastic enough to include all
women, as its appeal would necessarily be made to all women.

The universal reasons for equipping women with the vote as with a tool
adapted to her present day needs, and the claims made upon her by the
modern community, the reasons, in short why women want and are asking
for the vote, the universal reasons why men, even good men, cannot be
trusted to take care of women's interests, were never better or more
tersely summed up than in a story told by Philip Snowden in the debate
in the British House of Commons on the Woman Suffrage Bill of 1910,
known as the Conciliation Bill. He said that after listening to the
objections urged by the opponents of the measure, he was reminded of a
man who, traveling with his wife in very rough country, came late at
night to a very poor house of accommodation. When the meal was served
there was nothing on the table but one small mutton chop. "What," said
the man in a shocked tone, "have you nothing at all for my wife?"



Trade unionism does not embrace the whole of industrial democracy,
even for organized labor and even were the whole of labor organized,
as we hope one of these days it will be, but it does form one of the
elements in any form of industrial democracy as well as affording one
of the pathways thither.

The most advanced trade unionists are those men and women who
recognize the limitations of industrial organization, but who value
it for its flexibility, for the ease with which it can be transformed
into a training-school, a workers' university, while all the while
it is providing a fortified stronghold from behind whose shelter
the industrial struggle can be successfully carried on, and carried
forward into other fields.

If we believe, as all, even non-socialists, must to some extent admit,
that economic environment is one of the elemental forces moulding
character and deciding conduct, then surely the coming together of
those who earn their bread in the same occupation is one of the most
natural methods of grouping that human beings can adopt.

There are still in the movement in all countries those of such a
conservative type that they look to trade organization as we know
it today as practically the sole factor in solving the industrial

In order to fulfill its important functions of protecting the workers,
giving to them adequate control over their working conditions, and
the power of bargaining for the disposal of their labor power
through recognized representatives, trade-union organization must be
world-wide. Organizations of capital are so, or are becoming so, and
in order that the workers may bargain upon an equal footing, they must
be in an equally strong position. Now is the first time in the history
of the world that such a plan could be even dreamt of. Rapid means of
communication and easy methods of transport have made it possible for
machine-controlled industry to attract workers from all over the world
to particular centers, and in especial to the United States, and this
has taken place without any regard as to where there was the best
opening for workers of different occupations or as to what might
be the effects upon the standards of living of the workers of
artificially fostered migrations, and haphazard distribution of the

It is sadly true of the labor movement, as of all other movements
for social advance, that it lags behind the movements organized for
material success and private profit. It lags behind because it lacks
money, money which would keep more trained workers in the field, which
would procure needed information, which would prevent that bitterest
of defeats, losing a strike because the strikers could no longer hold
out against starvation. The labor movement lacks money, partly because
money is so scarce among the workers; they have no surplus from which
to build up the treasury as capital does so readily, and partly
because so many of them do not as yet understand that alone they are
lost, in organization they have strength. While they need the labor
movement, just as much does the labor movement need them.

More and more, however, are the workers acknowledging their own
weakness, at the same time that they remember their own strength. As
they do so, more and more will they adopt capital's own magnificent
methods of organization to overcome capital's despotism, and be able
to stand out on a footing of equality, as man before man.

One tendency, long too much in evidence in the labor movement
generally, and one which has still to be guarded against, is to take
overmuch satisfaction in the unionizing of certain skilled trades or
sections of trades, and to neglect the vast bulk of those already
handicapped by want of special skill or training, by sex or by race.
I have heard discussions among labor men which illustrate this. The
platform of the Federation of Labor is explicit, speaking out on this
point in no doubtful tone, but there are plenty of labor men, and
labor women who make their own particular exceptions to a rule that
should know of none.

I have heard men in the well-paid, highly skilled, splendidly
organized trades speak even contemptuously of the prospect of
organizing the nomad laborers of the land, recognizing no moral claim
laid upon themselves by the very advantages enjoyed by themselves in
their own trade, advantages in which they took so much pride. That is
discouraging enough, but more discouraging still was it to gather one
day from the speech of one who urged convincingly that while both
for self-defense and for righteousness' sake, the skilled organized
workers must take up and make their own the cause of the unskilled and
exploited wanderers, that he too drew his line, and that he drew it at
the organization of the Chinese.[A]

[Footnote A: I am not here discussing the unrestricted admission
of Orientals under present economic conditions. I merely use the
illustration to press the point, that organized labor should include
in its ranks all workers already in the United States. A number of the
miners in British Columbia are advocates of the organization of the
Chinese miners in that province.]

Others again, while they do not openly assert that they disapprove of
the bringing of women into the trade unions, not only give no active
assistance towards that end, but in their blindness even advocate the
exclusion of women from the trades, and especially from their own
particular trade. The arguments which they put forward are mostly of
these types: "Girls oughtn't to be in our trade, it isn't fit for
girls"; or, "Married women oughtn't to work"; or, "Women folks should
stay at home," and if the speaker is a humane and kindly disposed man,
he will add, "and that's where they'll all be one of these days,
when we've got things straightened out again." As instances of this
attitude on the part of trade-union men who ought to know better, and
its results, the pressmen in the printing shops of our great cities
are well organized, and the girls who feed the presses, and stand
beside the men and work with them, are mostly outside the protection
of the union. Some of the glass-blowers are seriously arguing against
the suggestion of organizing the girls who are coming into the trade
in numbers. "Organization won't settle it. That's no sort of a
solution," say the men; "they're nice girls and would be much better
off in some other trade." Just as if girls went into hard and trying
occupations from mere contrariness! It is too late in the day, again,
to shut the door on the women who are going in as core-makers in the
iron industry, but the men in the foundries think they can do it. Men
who act and talk like this have yet much to learn of the true meaning
and purposes of labor organization.

Wherever, then, we find this spirit of exclusion manifested, whether
actively as in some of the instances I have cited, or passively in
apathetic indifference to the welfare of the down-trodden worker, man
or woman, American or foreign, white or colored, there is no true
spirit of working-class solidarity, only a self-seeking acceptance
of a limited and antiquated form of labor organization, quite out of
keeping with twentieth-century conditions and needs. This does not
make for advance ultimately in any branch of labor, but is one of the
worst retarding influences to the whole movement. In former ages the
principles of democracy could only extend within one class after
another. The democracy of our day is feeling after a larger solution;
the democracy of the future cannot know limits or it will be no
democracy at all.

It has been pointed out many times that the rich are rich, not so much
in virtue of what they possess, but in virtue of what others do not
possess. The ratio of the difference between the full pocket and many
empty pockets represents the degree in which the one rich man or woman
is able to command the services of many poor men and women. We all
recognize these crude differences and regret the results to society.
But after all is the case so very much bettered when for rich and
poor, we read skilled and unskilled, when we have on the one hand a
trade whose members have attained their high standing through the
benefits of years of training, a strong union, high initiation
fees, perhaps limitation of apprentices? I am neither praising nor
criticizing any methods of trade protection. All of them are probably
highly beneficial to those within the charmed circle of the highly
organized trades. But if, in the very midst of the general state of
industrial anarchy and oppression which the unskilled workers have to
accept, it is possible to find trades in which organization has been
so successful in maintaining good conditions, this is partly because
the number of such artisans, so skilled and so protected, has always
been limited. And let us ask ourselves what are the effects of these
limitations upon those outside the circle, whether those excluded from
the trade or from the organization because of the demands exacted, or
those debarred by poverty or other circumstances from learning any
skilled trade at all. Unquestionably the advantages of the highly
protected ones are not won solely from the employers. Some part of
their industrial wealth is contributed by the despised and ignored
outsiders. Some proportion of their high wages is snatched from
the poor recompense of the unskilled. Women are doubly sufferers,
underpaid both as women and as unskilled workers. It is not necessary
to subscribe to the old discredited wage-fund theory, in order to
agree with this.

Just here lies the chief danger of the craft form of organization as
a final objective. If the trade-union movement is ever to be wholly
effective and adequate to fulfill its lofty aims, it must cease to
look upon craft organization as a final aim. The present forms of
craft organization are useful, only so long as they are thought of as
a step to something higher, only in so far as the craft is regarded as
a part of the whole. Were this end ever borne in mind, we should hear
less of jurisdictional fights, and there would be more of sincere
endeavor and more of active effort among the better organized workers
to share the benefits of organization with all of the laboring world.
The more helpless and exploited the group, the keener would be the
campaign, the more unsparing the effort on the part of the more
fortunate sons of toil.

Against such a narrow conservatism, however, there are other forces at
work, both within and without the regularly organized labor movement,
one of them aiming at such reorganization of the present unions as
shall gradually merge the many craft unions into fewer and larger
bodies.[A] This process is evolutionary, and constructive, but slow,
and meanwhile the exploited workers cry in their many tongues, "O
Lord, how long!" or else submit in voiceless despair.

[Footnote A: The United Mine Workers are essentially on an industrial
basis; they take in all men and boys working in and about the mine.]

Is it any wonder that under these conditions of industrial anarchy
and imperfect organization of labor power a new voice is heard in the
land, a voice which will not be stilled, revolutionary, imperious,
aiming frankly at the speedy abolition of organized governments, and
of the present industrial system? This is the movement known in Europe
as syndicalism, and on this continent represented by the Industrial
Workers of the World, usually termed the I.W.W.

Their program stands for the one big union of all the workers, the
general strike and the gaining possession and the conducting of the
industries by the workers engaged in them. They deprecate the making
of agreements with employers, and acknowledge no duty in the keeping
of agreements.

The year 1911 will be remembered among word-historians as the year
when the word "syndicalism" became an everyday English word. It had
its origin in the French word "syndicalisme," which is French
for trade unionism, just as French and Belgian trade unions are
"syndicats." But because for reasons that cannot be gone into here
so many of the French trade unionists profess this peculiarly
revolutionary philosophy, there has grown up out of and around the
word "syndicalisme" a whole literature with writers like George Sorel
and Gustave Herve as the prophets and exponents of the new movement.
So the word "syndicalism," thus anglicized, has come to signify this
latest form of trade-union organization and action.

Although sabotage, interfering with output, clogging machinery,
blocking transportation and so forth have been advocated and practiced
by extreme syndicalists, such do not seem to me to form an essential
and lasting element in syndicalist activity, any more than we find the
wholesale destruction of machinery as carried on by displaced workmen
a hundred years ago, has remained an accepted method of trade-union
action, although such acts may easily form incidents in the progress
of the industrial warfare to which syndicalists are pledged. Neither
at Lawrence, Massachusetts, nor later at Paterson, New Jersey, did the
Industrial Workers of the World, or the large bodies of strikers whom
they led set any of these destructive practices in operation.

Syndicalism is the latest despairing cry of the industrially
vanquished and down-trodden, and is not to be suppressed by force of
argument, whether the argument comes from the side of the employer or
the fellow-workman. Only with the removal of the causes can we expect
this philosophy of despair to vanish, for it is the courage of despair
that we witness in its converts. The spirit they display lies outside
the field of blame from those who have never known what it means to
lose wife and children in the slow starvation of the strike or husband
and sons in the death-pit of a mine, and themselves to be cheated
life-long of the joys that ought to fall to the lot of the normal,
happiness-seeking human being, from birth to death.

The syndicalists will have done their work if they rouse the rest of
us to a keener sense of our responsibilities. When the day comes that
every worker receives the full product of his toil, the reasons for
existence of this form of revolutionary activity will have passed

Of one thing the present writer is convinced. That this newest form of
the industrial struggle, however crude it may appear, however blind
and futile in some of its manifestations, is destined to affect
profoundly the course of the more orthodox trade-union movement. The
daring assumptions that labor is the supreme force, that loyalty to
the working world is the supreme virtue, and failure in that loyalty
the one unpardonable sin, has stirred to the very depths organized
labor of the conservative type, has roused to self-questioning many
and many a self-satisfied orthodox trade unionist, inspiring him with
loftier and more exacting ideals. He has been thrilled, as he had
never been thrilled before with a realization of the dire need of the
submerged and unorganized millions, and of the claims that they have
upon him. Verily, in the face of such revelations, satisfaction in the
fine organization of his own particular trade receives a check. The
good of his own union as his highest aim sinks into insignificance,
though regarding it as a means to an end, he may well go back to his
workshop and his union card, intending to do for his fellow-craftsmen
in his shop and in his trade more than ever before.

The very activities of the I.W.W. during the last two or three years,
side by side with the representatives of the American Federation of
Labor on the same strike fields, and often carrying out opposition
tactics, have for the first time in their lives given many furiously
to think out policies and plans of campaign. From such shocks and
stimuli are born thinkers and original tacticians, especially among
the younger men and women.

Wherever syndicalists have actively taken part in labor struggles,
there has been the bitterest antagonism between them and the regular
labor bodies. The latter ever bear in mind the risks of a divided
front, and they have just reason to dread the "dual" organization
as the most completely disruptive influence that can weaken labor's
forces, and play into the employers' hands. Of this experience there
have been too many instances in the United States.

Syndicalists condemn agreements as a device of the enemy. It is true
that agreements may be so managed as to prove a very weak reed for the
workers to depend on in time of trouble. We have had many instances
within the last few years of the disintegrating effect on the labor
movement of agreements made between the employers and sections of
their employes, which while protecting these particular sections leave
other employes of the same firms out in the cold, either because the
latter have no agreement at all, or because it is worded differently,
or, most common defect of all, because it terminates upon a different
date, three months, say, or a year later. It was on this rock that the
printing pressmen struck during the huge newspaper fight in Chicago
which lasted the whole summer of 1912, ending in a defeat costly to
the conqueror, as well as to the conquered and whose echoes are
still to be heard in discussions between representatives of the
organizations and the sub-organizations involved. Though the fight was
lost by the pressmen, the dispute between the unions involved is not
settled yet, and the two principles at stake, loyalty to the interest
of their fellow-workers and the duty of keeping a pledge made to
employers, are as far as ever from being reconciled. The solution
ahead is surely the strengthening of organizations so that failing
a common agreement one branch or one craft will be in a position to
refuse to sign one of these non-concurrent agreements, or any sort of
agreement, which will leave other workers at a palpable disadvantage.

The demand for the speedy taking over of the direct control of
industries by the workers appears to me to ignore alike human
limitations and what we know of the evolution of society. But great
hope is to be placed in the cooeperative movement, with the gradual
establishment of factories and stores by organizations of the workers

The condemnation of political activity, too, is, as I see it, out
of line with the tendencies of social evolution, which demands
organization and specialized skill in managing the affairs of the
largest community as of the smallest factory.

The strength and value of syndicalism is rather in criticism than in
constructive results. In almost every paragraph in the platform we
can detect a criticism of some weak point in the labor movement,
in political socialism, or in the existing social framework we are
consenting to accept and live under.

So far in every country where it has risen into notice syndicalism has
been more of a free-lance body than a regular army, and it may be that
that is what syndicalists will remain. Up to the present they have
shown no particular constructive ability. But they may develop great
leaders, and with development work out plans to meet the new problems
that will crowd upon them. Even if they should not, and should pass
away as similar revolutionary groups have passed before, they will
have hastened tremendously the closer knitting together of all groups
of trade unionists. On the one hand they have already stirred up
socialists to a better understanding and more candid admission of
their own shortcomings in the political field, and on the other, they
have already made labor more fearless and aggressive, and therefore
more venturesome in the claims it makes, and more ready and
resourceful in its adaptation of new methods to solve modern

Before leaving the syndicalists, I would call attention to a change
that is coming over the spirit of some of their leaders, as regards
immediate plans of action. From a recent number of _La Guerre
Sociale_, edited by Gustave Herve, the _Labour Leader_ (England),
quotes an article attributed to Herve himself, in which the writer

"Because it would be a mistake to expect to achieve everything by
means of the ballot-box, it does not follow that we can achieve
nothing thereby."

Another syndicalist of influence has been advocating the establishment
of training-schools for the workers, in preparation for the day when
they are to take over the industries. Vocational instruction this upon
the great scale!

Ramsay McDonald, by no means an indulgent critic of syndicalism, does
not believe that Sorel really anticipates the general strike as the
inauguration of the new order, but as a myth, which will lead the
people on to the fulfillment of the ideal that lies beyond and on the
other side of all anticipated revolutionary action.

It is time now to consider the tendencies towards growth and
adaptation to modern needs that have been, and are at work, within
the American Federation of Labor, and among those large outside
organizations on the outer edge of the Federation, as it were, such as
the brotherhoods of railroad trainmen. These tendencies, are, speaking
generally, towards such reorganization as will convert many small
unions into fewer, larger, and therefore stronger bodies, and towards
the long-delayed but inevitable organization of the workers on the
political field. Such reorganization is not always smooth sailing, but
the process is an education in itself.

The combination or the federation of existing organizations is but
the natural response of the workers to the ever-growing complexity of
modern industrial life. Ever closer organization on the part of
the employers, the welding together of twenty businesses into one
corporation, of five corporations into one trust, of all the trusts in
the country into one combine, have to be balanced by correspondingly
complete organization on the part of the workers. There is this
difference of structure, however, between the organization of
employers and that of the employed. The first is comparatively simple,
and is ever making for greater simplicity. Without going into the
disputed question of how far the concentration of business can be
carried, and of whether or not the small business man is to be finally
pushed out of existence, it is beyond question that every huge
business, for example, each one of our gigantic department stores,
includes and represents an army of small concerns, which it has
replaced, which have either been bought up or driven to the wall. In
either case the same amount of trade, which it once took hundreds of
separate small shopkeepers to handle, is now handled by the one firm,
under the one management. Such welding together makes for the economy
in running expenses which is its first aim. But it also makes for
simplicity in organization. It is evidently far easier for the heads
of a few immense businesses to come together than it was for the
proprietors of the vast agglomeration of tiny factories, stores
and offices which once covered the same trade area, or to be quite
accurate, a much smaller trade area, to do so.

But if, at the one end of the modern process of production and
distribution, we find this tendency towards a magnificent simplicity,
at the other, the workers' end, we have the very same aim of economy
of effort and the cheapening of production resulting in an enormously
increased complexity. The actual work performed by each worker is
simplified. But the variety of processes and the consequent allotting
of the workers into unrelated groups make for social complexity;
render it not easier, but much harder for the workers to come together
and to see and make others see through and in spite of all this
apparent unlikeness of occupation, common interests and a common need
for cooeperative action.

Again, take a factory, such as a cotton mill. The one firm, before
marketing its product, will have employed in its preparation and
final disposal till it reaches the consumer, groups engaged in very
different occupations, spinners, weavers, porters, stenographers,
salesmen, and so on. The industry which furnished employment to
one, or at most, to two groups, has been cut up into a hundred
subdivisions, but the workers have still many interests in common, and
they need to cling together or suffer from all the disadvantages of
unorganized or semi-organized occupations.

The first unions were naturally craft unions. The men working in the
same shop, and at the same processes got together, and said: "We who
do this work must get to know the fellows in the other shops; we must
just stick together, make common demands and support one another."

As industry became more highly specialized, there slipped in,
especially during the last fifty years or so, a disintegrating
tendency. The workers in what had been one occupation, found
themselves now practicing but a small fraction of what had been their
trade. They were performing new processes, handling novel tools and
machinery unheard of before. The organizations became divided up into
what were nominally craft unions, in reality only process unions. Or
if a new organization was formed, it was but a mere clipping off the
whole body of operatives. And these unions, too, would probably have
their international organization, to which they could turn to come in
touch with brother workers, similarly qualified and employed. There
is necessarily involved an element of weakness in any organization,
however extensive, built up upon so limited a foundation, unless the
membership has other local and occupational affiliations as well.
So, to meet this defect, there have been formed all sorts of loose
aggregations of unions, and almost every day sees fresh combinations
formed to meet new needs as these arise. Within the wide bounds of
the American Federation itself exist the state federations, also city
federations, which may include the unions in adjoining cities, even
though these are in different states, such as the Tri-City Federation,
covering Davenport, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois. The
district councils, again, are formed from representatives of allied
trades or from widely different branches of the same trade, such as
the councils of the building trades, and the allied printing trades.
There are the international unions (more properly styled continental)
covering the United States and the Dominion of Canada. With these
are affiliated the local unions of a trade or of a whole industry,
sometimes, from all over the continent of North America. Among these
the most catholic in membership are such broadly organized occupations
as the united mine-workers, the garment-workers, the ladies'
garment-workers, the iron, steel and tin-plate workers. An
international union composed of separate unions of the one trade, or a
state or a city federation of local unions of many trades, bears the
same relation to the component single unions as does the union itself
to the individual workers; so we find that all these various and often
changing expressions of the trade-union principle are accepted and
approved of today.

Even more significant are other groupings which may be observed
forming among the rank and file of the union men and women themselves.

Sometimes these groups combine with the full approval of the union
leaders, local and international. Sometimes they are more in the
nature of an insurgent body, either desiring greater liberty of
self-government for themselves, or questioning the methods of the
organization's leaders, and desiring to introduce freer, more
democratic and more modern methods into the management of the parent
organization. This may take the form of a district council, and in at
least one noteworthy instance, the employes of one large corporation
send their representatives to a joint board, for purposes of
collective bargaining.

The railway unions within the American Federation of Labor, one of the
largest and most powerful bodies of union men in the United States
feel the need of some method of grouping which shall link together
the men's locals and the internationals into which the locals
are combined. This is seen in the demand made by the men for the
acknowledgment by the railways of the "system federation." The reason
some of the more radical men were not found supporting the proposal
was not that they objected to a broader form of organization,
but because they considered the particular plan outlined as too
complicated to be effective.

There is one problem pressing for decisive solution before very long,
and it concerns equally organized labor, governments and public bodies
and the community as a whole. That is, the relations that are to
exist between governing bodies in their function as employer, and the
workers employed by them. So far all parties to this momentous bargain
are content to drift, instead of thinking out the principles upon
which a peaceful and permanent solution can be found for a condition
of affairs, new with this generation, and planning in concert such
arrangements as shall insure even-handed justice to all three parties.

It is true that governments have always been employers of servants,
ever since the days when they ceased to be masters of slaves, but
till now only on a limited scale. But even on this limited scale no
entirely satisfactory scheme of civil-service administration has
anywhere been worked out. Of late years more and more have the
autocratic powers of public bodies as employers been considerably
clipped, but on the other hand, the ironclad rules which make
change of occupation, whether for promotion or otherwise, necessary
discipline and even deserved dismissal, so difficult to bring about,
have prejudiced the outside community whom they serve against the just
claims of an industrious and faithful body of men and women. And the
very last of these just claims, which either governing bodies or
communities are willing to grant, is liberty to give collective
expression to their common desires.

The question cannot be burked much longer. Every year sees public
bodies, in the United States as everywhere else, entering upon
new fields of activity. In this country, municipal bodies, state
governments, and even the Federal Government, are in this way
perpetually increasing the number of those directly in their
employ. The establishment of the parcel post alone must have added
considerably to the total of the employes in the Postal Department. It
cannot be very many years before some of the leading monopolies,
such as the telegraph and the telephone, will pass over to national
management, with again an enormous increase in the number of employes.
Schools are already under public control, and one city after another
is taking up, if not manufacture or production, at least distribution
as in the case of water, lighting, ice, milk or coal.

This is no theoretical question as to whether governmental bodies,
large and small, local and national, should or should not take over
these additional functions of supplying community demands. The fact
is before us now. They are doing it, and in the main, doing it
successfully. But what they are not doing, what these very employes
are not doing, what organized labor is not doing, what the community
is not doing, is to plan intelligently some proper method of
representation, by which the claims, the wishes and the suggestions of
employes may receive consideration, and through which, on the other
hand, the governing body as board of management, and the public, as
in the long last the real employer, shall also have their respective
fights defined and upheld.

The present position is exactly as if a sovereign power had conquered
a territory, and proposed to govern it, not temporarily, but
permanently, as a subject province. We know that this is not the
modern ideal in politics, and it ought not to be assumed as the right
ideal when the territory acquired is not a geographical district, but
a new function. In this connection, moreover, the criticisms of our
candid friends the syndicalists are not to be slighted. Their solution
of the problem, that the workers should come into actual, literal
possession and management of the industries, whether publicly or
privately owned, may appear to us hopelessly foolish and impractical,
but their misgivings regarding an ever-increasing bureaucratic control
over a large proportion of the workers, who are thus made economically
dependent upon an employer, because that employer chances also to hold
the reins of government, have already ample justification. The people
have the vote, you will say? At least the men have. Proposals to
deprive public employes of the vote have been innumerable, and in not
a few instances have been enacted into law. There are whole bodies of
public employes in many countries today who have no vote.

The late Colonel Waring was far-sighted beyond his day and generation.
When he took over the Street Cleaning Department of New York, which
was in an utterly demoralized condition, he saw that reasonable
self-government among his army of employes was going to help and not
to hinder his great plans, and it was not only with his full consent,
but at his suggestion and under his direction, that an organization
was formed among them, which gave to the dissatisfied a channel of
expression, and to the constructive minds opportunity to improve the
work of the department, as well as continually to raise the status of
the employe.

All such organizations to be successful permanently and to be placed
on a solid basis must join their fortunes with the labor movement, and
this is the last pill that either a conservative governing body or the
public themselves are willing to swallow. They use exactly the same
argument that private employers used universally at one time, but
which we hear less of today--the right of the employer to run his own
business in his own way.

Very many people, who see nothing wicked in a strike against a private
employer, consider that no despotic conduct on the part of superiors,
no unfairness, no possible combination of circumstances, can ever
justify a strike of workers who are paid out of the public purse. Much
also is made of the fact that most of such functions which governments
have hitherto undertaken are directly associated with pressing needs,
such as street-car and railroad service, water and lighting supplies,
and the same line of reasoning will apply, perhaps in even a higher
degree, to future publicly owned and controlled enterprises. This
helps yet further to strengthen the idea that rebellion, however
sorely provoked, is on the part of public employes a sort of
high treason, the reasons for which neither deserve nor admit of
discussion. The greatest confusion of thought prevails, and no
distinction is drawn between the government as the expression and
embodiment of the forces of law, order and protection to all, as truly
the voice of the people, and the government, through its departments,
whether legislative, judicial or administrative, as just a plain
common employer, needing checks and control like all other employers.

The problem of the public ownership of industries in relation to
employes might well be regarded in a far different light. It holds
indeed a proud and honorable position in social evolution. It is the
latest and most complex development of industry, and as such the heads
of such enterprises should be eager to study the development of
the earlier and simpler forms of industry in relation to the labor
problem, and to study them just as conscientiously and gladly as
they study and adopt scientific and mechanical improvements in their
various departments.

But no. We are all of us just drifting. Every now and then the
question comes before us, unfortunately rarely as a matter for cool
and sane discussion, but usually arising out of some dispute. Both
sides are then in an embittered mood. There may be a strike on. The
employes may be in the wrong, but any points on which they may yield
are merely concessions wrung from them by force of superior strength,
for the employing body unfailingly assumes rights and privileges
beyond those of the ordinary employer. In particular, discontented
employes are invariably charged with disloyalty, and lectured upon
their duty to the public. As if the public owed nothing to them!

More democratic methods of expressing the popular will, giving us
legislation, and in consequence administration more in harmony with
the interests of the workers as a whole, and therefore in the end
reacting for the advantage of the community at large, will assuredly
do much to remove some of these difficulties. This is one reason
why direct legislation and such "effective voting" as proportional
representation should be earnestly advocated and supported by
organized labor on all possible occasions. But that we may make full
and wise use of such additional powers of democratic expression in
placing public employment upon a sounder footing, it is necessary that
we should give the subject the closest attention and consideration
both in its general principles, and in details as they present
themselves. If not, satisfaction in the growth of publicly controlled
industry may be marred through the sense that the public are being
served at an unfair cost to an important section of the workers.

All of these problems touch women as well as men; and if they are to
be solved on a just as well as a broad basis women must do their share
towards the solving. Needless to say, women in industry suffer as much
or more than their brothers from whatever makes for reaction in the
labor movement. It is therefore fortunate for the increasing numbers
of wage-earning women that progressive forces are at work, too. From
one angle, the very activity of Women's Trade Union Leagues in the
cities where they are established is to be regarded as one expression
of the widespread and growing tendency towards such complete
organization of the workers as shall correspond to modern industrial

Mrs. Gilman is never tired of reiterating that we live in a man-made
world, and that the feminine side in either man or woman will never
have a chance for development until this is a human-made world. And
before this can come about woman must be free from the economic
handicap that shackles her today.

The organization of labor is one of the most important means to
achieve this result. It is not only in facing the world outside, and
in relation to the employer and the consumer that woman organized is
stronger and in every way more effective than woman unorganized. The
relation in which she stands to her brother worker is very different,
when she has behind her the protection and with her the united
strength of her union, and the better a union man he is himself the
more readily and cheerfully will he appreciate this, even if he has
occasionally to make sacrifices to maintain unbroken a bargain in
which both are gainers.

But at first, in the same way as the average workingman is apt to have
an uncomfortable feeling about the woman entering his trade, even
apart from the most important reason of all, that she is wont to be
a wage-cutter, the average trade-union man retains a somewhat uneasy
apprehension when he finds women entering the union. As they become
active, women introduce a new element. They may not say very much,
but it is gradually discovered that they do not enjoy meeting over
saloons, at the head of two or three flights of grimy backstairs, or
where the street has earned a bad name.

Woman makes demands. Leaders that even the decenter sort of men would
passively accept, because they are put forward, since they are such
smart fellows, or have pull in trade-union politics, she will have
none of, and will quietly work against them. The women leaders have an
uncomfortable knack of reminding the union that women are on the map,
as it were.

It is at a psychological moment that she is making herself felt in
the councils of organized labor. Just as the labor movement is itself
being reorganized, with the modern development of the union and of
union activity; just as woman herself is coming into her own; just as
we are passing through the transition period from one form of society
to another; and just as we catch a glimpse of a distant future in
which the world will become, for the first time, one.

From the very fact that they are women, women trade unionists have
their own distinct contribution to make to the movement. The feminine,
and especially the maternal qualities that man appreciates so in the
home, he is learning (some men have learnt already) to appreciate in
the larger home of the union.

In speaking thus, I freely, if regretfully, admit that the rartk and
file of both sexes are far indeed from playing their full part. We
have still to depend more largely than is quite fitting or democratic
upon the leaders as standard-bearers. It is also true that there
are women who are willing to accept low ideals in unionism as in
everything else. Their influence is bound to pass. If women are to
make their own peculiar contribution to the labor movement, it will
be by working in glad cooeperation with the higher idealism of the men

And when the day comes (may its coming be hastened!) that women are
even only as extensively organized as men are today, the organization
of men will indeed proceed by leaps and bounds. It will not be by
arithmetical, but by geometrical progression, that the union will
count their increases, for it is the masses of unskilled, unorganized,
ill-paid women and girl workers today, who in so many trades today
increase the difficulties of the men tenfold. That dead weight
removed, they could make better terms for themselves and enroll far
more men into their ranks. What increase of power, what new and
untried forces women may bring with them into the common store, just
what these may be, and the manner of their working out, it is too
early to say.

But the future was never so full of hope as today, not because
conditions are not cruelly hard, and problems not baffling, but,
because, over against these conditions, and helping-to solve these
problems, are ranged the great forces of evolution, ever on the side
of the workers, slowly building up the democracy of the future.


This document, which is the contract under which a union waitress
works, is typical.


Between the Hotel and Restaurant Employes' International Alliance
Affiliated with the American and the Chicago Federation of Labor.

This contract made and entered into this 10th day of April, 1914, by
and between the H.R.E.I.A. affiliated with the American and Chicago
Federation of Labor of the City of Chicago, County of Cook and State
of Illinois, party of the first part, and:


Illinois, party of the second part.

Party of the first part agrees to furnish good, competent and honest
craftsmen, and does hereby agree to stand responsible for all loss
incurred by any act of their respective members in good standing while
in line of duty.

The Business Agents of the allied crafts shall have the privilege of
visiting and interviewing the employes while on duty, their visits to
be timed to such hours when employes are not overly busy.

The second party agrees to employ only members in good standing in
their respective unions, of cooks, and waitresses, except when the
unions are unable to furnish help to the satisfaction of the ... which
choice shall be at the discretion of the above company. Then the
employer may employ any one he desires, provided the employe makes
application to become a member of the union within three days after

Chefs, and Head Waitresses must be members of their respective craft



  Steady Waitresses, 6 days, 60 hours      $8.00 per week
  Lunch and Supper Waitresses, 7 days, 42
  hours or less                          6.50 per week
  Dinner Waitresses, 6 days, 3 hours        4.00 per week
  Extra Supper Waitresses, 6 days, 3 hours  4.00 per week
  Night Waitresses, 6 days, 60 hours        9.00 per week
  Extra Girls, 10 hours a day               1.50 per day
  Extra Girls, Sundays and Holidays         2.00 per day
  Head Waitresses, 6 days, 60 hours        10.00 per week
  Ushers, 6 days, 60 hours or less          9.00 per week
  Ushers, dinner, 6 days, 6 hours or less   5.00 per week
  Dog watch Waitresses, 6 days, 60 hours    9.00 per week


Three (3) hours or less, $1.50.

Any waitress working extra after midnight serving a banquet, dinner,
etc., shall receive 50 cents per hour or fraction of an hour, except
the steady night and dog watch waitresses.

Waitresses shall do no porter work.

Overtime shall be charged at the rate of 25 cents per hour or fraction
of an hour.

Waitresses shall not be reprimanded in the presence of guests.

Waitresses walking out during meals shall be fined $1.00.

Waitresses after being hired and failing to report for duty shall be
fined $1.00.

Employes shall be furnished with proper quarters to change their
clothing and there shall be no charge for same.

No profane language shall be used to employes.

There shall be only one split in a ten-hour watch in restaurants.

If employers desire special uniforms they must furnish same free of

Employer shall pay for the laundry of all working linen and furnish
same for waitresses.

No member shall be permitted to leave the place of employment during
working hours except in case of sickness when a substitute shall be
furnished at the earliest possible moment.

Employes shall report for duty at least 15 minutes before the hour
called for. They shall be furnished with good, wholesome food.

All hours shall be the maximum.

Head Waitresses and Head Waiters are required to give business agent a
list of employes the first week of each month.

Members must wear their working buttons. There shall be no charge for
breakage unless breaking is wilful or gross carelessness.

It is agreed that waitresses shall clean silverware once a day.

THIS CONTRACT shall remain in effect until May 1, 1916, unless there
is a violation of trade union principles.


During the term of this contract, should any differences arise between
parties of the first and second part of any causes which cannot
be adjusted between them, it shall be submitted to an Arbitration
Committee of five, two selected by the party of the first part and two
by the party of the second part, and the fifth by the four members of
said committee, and while this matter is pending before said committee
for adjustment, there shall be no lockout or strike, and the decision
of the committee on adjustment shall be final and shall supplement or
modify the agreement. This CONTRACT shall remain in effect until May
1, 1916.



[NOTE. The dog watch waitress has part day and part night work. She is
on duty usually from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m., and again from 5 p.m. till
midnight, in some non-union restaurants till one o'clock in the
morning. The above agreement calls for not more than one split in a
ten-hour watch, otherwise a waitress might be at call practically all
day long and yet be only ten hours at work. A.H.]



[The following brief abstract covers the essential points in the
successive agreements between Hart, Schaffner and Marx, clothing
manufacturers, of Chicago, and their employes, and is taken from the
pamphlet compiled by Earl Dean Howard, chief deputy for the firm, and
Sidney Hillman, chief deputy for the garment workers.]

The conditions upon which the strikers returned to work, as defined in
the agreement dated January 14, 1911, summed up, were:

1. All former employes to be taken back within ten days.

2. No discrimination of any kind because of being members, or not
being members, of the United Garment Workers of America.

3. An Arbitration Committee of three members to be appointed; one from
each side to be chosen within three days; these two then to select the

4. Subject to the provisions of this agreement, said Arbitration
Committee to take up, consider and adjust grievances, if any, and to
fix a method for settlement of grievances (if any) in the future. The
finding of the said Committee, or a majority thereof, to be binding
upon both parties.

The Arbitration Committee, or Board, consisted of Mr. Carl Meyer,
representing the firm, and Clarence Darrow, representing the employes.
The office of chairman was not filled until December, 1912, when Mr.
J.E. Williams was chosen. The Board settled the questions around which
the dispute had arisen, and an agreement for two years between the
firm and the workers was signed. For some time the Board continued to
handle fresh complaints, but it gradually became apparent that the
Board, composed of busy men, could not hear all the minor grievances.
The result of a conference was the organization of a permanent body,
the Trade Board, to deal with all such matters, as these arose, or
before they arose, reserving to both parties the right of appeal to
the Arbitration Board. The plan can be judged from the following
clauses in the constitution of the Trade Board:


The Trade Board shall consist of eleven members who shall, if
possible, be practical men in the trade; all of whom, excepting the
chairman, shall be employes of said corporation; five members thereof
shall be appointed by the corporation, and five members by the
employes. The members appointed by the corporation shall be certified
in writing by the corporation to the chairman of the board, and the
members appointed by the employes shall be likewise certified in
writing by the joint board of garment workers of Hart Schaffner &
Marx to said chairman. Any of said members of said board, except the
chairman, may be removed and replaced by the power appointing him,
such new appointee to be certified to the chairman in the same manner
as above provided for.


The representatives of each of the parties of the Trade Board shall
have the power to appoint deputies for each branch of the trade, that
is to say, for cutters, coat makers, trouser makers and vest makers.


In case either party should desire to appeal from any decision of the
Trade Board, or from any change of these rules by the Trade Board,
to the Board of Arbitration, they shall have the right to do so upon
filing a notice in writing with the Trade Board of such intention
within thirty days from the date of the decision, and the said Trade
Board shall then certify said matter to the Board of Arbitration,
where the same shall be given an early hearing by a full Board of
three members.

The Trade Board was accordingly organized, with Mr. James Mullenbach,
Acting Superintendent of the United Charities of Chicago, as chairman.

When the time approached for the renewal of the agreement, the closed
or open shop was the point around which all discussions turned.
Eventually, neither was established, but instead the system of
preference to unionists was adopted. It was thus expressed:

    1. That the firm agrees to this principle of preference, namely,
    that they will agree to prefer union men in the hiring of new
    employes, subject to reasonable restrictions, and also to prefer
    union men in dismissal on account of slack work, subject to a
    reasonable preference to older employes, to be arranged by the
    Board of Arbitration, it being understood that all who have worked
    for the firm six months shall be considered old employes.

    2. All other matters shall be deliberated on and discussed by the
    parties in interest, and if they are unable to reach an agreement,
    the matter in dispute shall be submitted to the Arbitration Board
    for its final decision.

    Until an agreement can be reached by negotiation by the parties in
    interest, or in case of their failure to agree, and a decision is
    announced by the Arbitration Board, the old agreement shall be
    considered as being in full force and effect.

This came in force May 1, 1913.

The chairman of the Arbitration Board, making a statement, three
months later, in August, 1913, after defining the principle to be
"such preference as will make an efficient organization for the
workers, also an efficient, productive administration for the
company," went on:

    In handing down the foregoing decisions relating to preference
    which grew out of a three months' consideration of the subject,
    and after hearing it discussed at great length and from every
    angle, the Board is acutely conscious that it is still largely
    an experiment, and that the test of actual practice may reveal
    imperfections, foreseen and unforeseen, which cannot be otherwise
    demonstrated than by test.

    It therefore regards them as tentative and subject to revision
    whenever the test of experiment shall make it seem advisable.

    The Board also feels that unless both parties cooeperate in good
    faith and in the right spirit to make the experiment a success,
    no mechanism of preferential organization, however cunningly
    contrived, will survive the jar and clash of hostile feeling or
    warring interests. It hands down and publishes these decisions
    therefore in the hope that with the needed cooeperation they
    may help to give the workers a strong, loyal, constructive
    organization, and the Company a period of peaceful, harmonious and
    efficient administration and production which will compensate for
    any disadvantage which the preferential experiment may impose.

The published pamphlet, under date January 28, 1914, concludes:

    There have been no cases appealed from the Trade Board to the
    Board of Arbitration since January, 1913. During the last six
    months of 1913 there were not more than a dozen Trade Board Cases.
    So many principles have been laid down, and precedents established
    by both of these bodies, that the chief deputies are in all cases
    able to reach an agreement without appeal to a higher authority.
    A gradual change has taken place in the method of dealing with
    questions which present new principles, or which represent
    questions never before decided. The Board of Arbitration has
    appointed Mr. Williams as a committee to investigate and report,
    with the understanding that if an agreement can be reached by both
    parties without arbitrators, or, if the parties are willing to
    accept the decision of the Chairman, then no further meeting of
    the Board of Arbitration will be required. This method has proved
    to be exceedingly satisfactory to both sides and has resulted in a
    form of government which has gradually taken the place of formal
    arbitration. In most cases, the Chairman is able by thorough
    sifting of the evidence on each side, to suggest a method of
    conciliation which is acceptable to both parties.

A further experience of the System up till July, 1915, only confirms
the above statement.



ABBOTT, EDITH. Women in Industry. New York, 1909.

ADAMS, T.H., and SUMNER, H.L. Labor Problems. New York, 1909.

ADDAMS, JANE. The Spirit of Youth in City Streets. New York, 1909.

ANDREWS, JOHN B. A Practical Plan for the Prevention of Unemployment
in America. New York, 1914.

---- and BLISS, W.P.D. History of Women in Trade Unions in the United
States. Vol. X of the United States Report on the Condition of Women
and Child Wage Earners.

BEBEL, AUGUST. Woman in the Past, Present and Future (Trans.). New
York, 1885.

BOWEN, LOUISE DE KOVEN. Safeguards for City Youth at Work and at Play.
New York, 1915.

BRANDEIS, L.D. _Curt Miller_ v. _The State of Oregon_. Brief for
defendants. Supreme Court of the United States. New York, 1908.

---- _Frank C. Stettler and others_ v. _The Industrial Welfare
Commission of the State of Oregon_. Brief and arguments for the
defendants in the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon. Consumers'
League, New York, 1915.

---- and GOLDMARK, JOSEPHINE. Brief and Arguments for appellants
in the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. National Consumers'
League, New York, 1909.

BRECKINRIDGE, SOPHONISBA P. Legislative Control of Women's Work.
_Journal of Political Economy_. XIV. 107-109.

BROOKS, JOHN GRAHAM. The Social Unrest. New York, 1903.

BROWN, ROME G. The Minimum Wage. Minneapolis, 1914.

BUSBEY. Women's Trade Union Movement in Great Britain. U.S. Department
of Labor. Bul. No. 83.

BUTLER, ELIZABETH B. Saleswomen in Mercantile Stores. New York, 1913.

---- Women in the Trades. New York, 1909.

CANADA. Department of Labor. Report of Royal Commission on Strike of
Telephone Operators. Ottawa, 1907.

CLARK, SUE AINSLIE, and WYATT, EDITH. Making Both Ends Meet. New York,

CLARK, VICTOR S. The Labor Movement in Australia. New York, 1907.

COMMONS, JOHN R. Races and Immigrants in America. New York, 1907.

---- ANDREWS, JOHN B., SUMNER, HELEN L., and OTHERS. Documentary
History of American Industrial Society. Cleveland, 1910.

---- and OTHERS. Trade Unionism and Labor Problems. Boston, 1905.

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. Legislative Regulation of Wages. Year Book,
No. 5, 1901-1911. pp. 1065-1069.

COOLEY, E.G. See publications of Commercial Club of Chicago on
vocational education.

DEVINE, EDWARD T. Social Forces. New York.

DEWEY, JOHN. Schools of Tomorrow. New York, 1915.

---- The School and Society.

DORR, RHETA CHILDE. What Eight Million Women Want. Boston, 1910.

ELY, RICHARD T. The Labor Movement in America. New York, 1905.

GILMAN, CHARLOTTE P. Concerning Children. Boston, 1900.

---- Women and Economics. New York, 1905.

HAMILTON, CICELY. Marriage as a Trade.

HARD, WILLIAM. The Women of Tomorrow. New York, 1911.

HENDERSON, CHARLES RICHMOND. Citizens in Industry. New York, 1915.

HERRON, BELVA M. Progress of Labor Organization Among Women.
University of Illinois studies, Vol. 1, No. 10. Urbana, 1908.

HILLMAN, SIDNEY, and HOWARD, EARL DEAN. Hart, Schaffner and Marx Labor
Agreements. Chicago, 1914.

HOBSON, JOHN A. Evolution of Modern Capitalism. London, 1904.

---- Problems of Poverty, London, 1906.

HOURWICH, ISAAC A. Immigration and Labor. New York, 1912.

HUMPHREY, J.R. Proportional Representation. London, 1911.

ILLINOIS STATE FEDERATION OF LABOR. Report of Committee on Vocational
Education, 1914.

JACOBI, ABRAHAM. Physical Cost of Women's Work. New York, 1907.

KELLEY, FLORENCE. Modern Industry in Relation to the Family. New York,

---- Some Ethical Gains Through Legislation. New York, 1906.

KELLOR, FRANCES A. Out of Work. New York, 1915 ed.

KERCHENSTEINER, G.M.A. Idea of the Industrial School (Trans.). New
York, 1913.

---- Schools and the Nation (Trans.). London, 1914.

KEY, ELLEN. The Woman Movement (Trans.). New York, 1912.

KIRKUP, THOMAS. History of Socialism. London, 1906.

LAGERLOeF, SELMA. Home and the State (Trans.). New York, 1912.

LEAVITT, FRANK M. Examples of Industrial Education. Boston, 1912.

LEVINE, Louis. Syndicalism in France. New York, 1914.

MACLEAN, ANNIE MARION. Wage Earning Women. New York, 1910.

MAROT, HELEN. American Labor Unions. New York, 1914.

MASON, OTIS T. Woman's Share in Primitive Culture. 1894.


MATTHEWS, LILLIAN R. Women in Trade Unions in San Francisco.
University of California, 1913.

MITCHELL, JOHN. Organized Labor. Philadelphia, 1903.

Minimum Wage. New York.

NEARING, SCOTT. Wages in the United States, 1908 to 1910. New York,

OLIVER, THOMAS. Dangerous Trades. London, 1902.

PATTEN, SIMON N. The New Basis of Civilization. New York, 1907.

PEIXOTTO, JESSICA B. Women of California as Trade Unionists.
_Association of Collegiate Alumnae_, Dec., 1908.

PRESCOTT and HALL. Immigration and Its Effects. New York, 1900.

PUTNAM, EMILY JAMES. The Lady. New York, 1910.

RAUSCHENBUSCH, WALTER. Christianity and the Social Crisis. New York,

---- Christianizing the Social Order. New York, 1912.

RHINELANDER, W.S. Life and Letters of Josephine Shaw Lowell. New York,

RICHARDSON, DOROTHY. The Long Day. New York, 1905.

ROGERS, J.E. THOROLD. Six Centuries of Work and Wages.

ROMAN, F.W. Industrial and Commercial Schools of the United States and
Germany. New York, 1915.

ROSS, EDWARD ALSWORTH. Sin and Society. Boston, 1907.

RUSSELL, CHARLES EDWARD. Why I Am a Socialist. New York, 1910.

RYAN, JOHN A. A Living Wage in Its Ethical and Economic Aspects. New
York, 1906.

SALMON, LUCY M. Progress in the Household. Boston, 1906.

SCHREINER, OLIVE. Woman and Labour. London and New York, 1911.

SIMONS, A.M. Social Forces in American History.

SNEDDEN, DAVID M. Problems of Educational Readjustment. New York,

---- The Problem of Vocational Education. Boston, 1910.

SNOWDEN, PHILIP. The Living Wage. London and New York, 1912.

SOMBART, WERNER. Socialism and the Social Movement (Trans.). New York,

SPARGO, JOHN. Socialism. New York, 1909. Syndicalism, Industrial
Unionism and Socialism. New York, 1913.

---- and ARNER, G.B.L. Elements of Socialism. New York, 1912.

SPENCER, ANNA GARLIN. Woman and Social Culture. New York, 1913.

SUMNER, HELEN L. History of Women in Industry in the United States.
Vol. IX of the United States Report on the Condition of Women and
Child Wage Earners. 1910.

THOMAS, W.I. Sex and Society. University of Chicago Press, 1907.

VAN KLEECK, MARY. Artificial Flower Making. Women in the Bookbinding
Trade. Russell Sage Foundation publications, 1912.

VAN VORST, BESSIE and MARIE. The Woman Who Toils. New York, 1903.

WARD, LESTER F. Pure Sociology (especially Chapter XIV). New York.

WEBB, SIDNEY. Economic Theory of a Legal Minimum Wage. _Journal of
Political Economy_, Vol. 20, No. 12., Dec., 1912.

---- and BEATRICE. History of Trade Unionism. London, 1907.

WELLS, H.G. New Worlds for Old. New York, 1909.

WEYL, WALTER E. The New Democracy. New York, 1910.

WILLETT, M.H. Employment of Women in the Clothing Trades. Columbia
University. New York, 1902.

WILSON, JENNIE L. Legal and Political Status of Women in the United

WINSLOW, CHARLES H.; Editor. Twenty-fifth Annual Report of the United
States Bureau of Labor, Industrial Training.

WOLFE, F.E. Admission to Labor Unions. Johns Hopkins University Press.

MINIMUM WAGE, THE CASE FOR. By Louis D. Brandeis, M.B. Hammond, John
A. Hobson, Florence Kelley, Esther Packard, Elizabeth C. Watson,
Howard B. Woolston. _The Survey_, Feb. 6, 1915.

_Periodicals and Reports_

_American Federationist, A.F. of L. Newsletter_, and other
publications of the American Federation of Labor. Washington, D.C.

_American Legislation Review_ and other publications of the American
Association for Labor Legislation. New York.

_Annals of the American Academy of Political Science_. Philadelphia.

_Child Labor Bulletin, The_ (National), and other publications of the
National Child Labor Committee, New York.

Commercial Club of Chicago. Publications on Vocational Training.

_Crisis, The_. New York.

_Economic Review_.

_Forerunner, The_. New York.

_Immigrant in America Review, The_. New York.

_Journal of Political Economy, The_. University of Chicago Press.

_Journal of Sociology, The_. University of Chicago Press.

_Labour Leader, The_. Manchester, England.

_Labour Woman, The_, and other publications of the National Women's
Labour League. London.

_Life and Labor_, and other publications of the National Women's Trade
Union League of America. Chicago; and of the local leagues in Boston,
Chicago, New York and elsewhere.

_Masses, The_. New York.

National Consumers' League, Publications of. New York.

National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education,
Publications of. New York.

_New Republic, The_. New York.

New York State Factory Investigation Commission, Reports. New York.

_New York Sunday Call, The_. New York.

_Political Science Quarterly_. Columbia University.

_Public, The_. Chicago.

_Quarterly Journal of Economics_. Harvard University.

_Survey, The_. New York.

_Union Labor Advocate_. Woman's Department, up to Dec., 1910.

United States Bureau of Education. Bulletins on vocational education.

---- Census of 1910. Occupational statistics.

---- Children's Bureau. Bulletins.

---- Department of Agriculture. Bulletins for Women on the Farm.

---- Department of Labor, Bulletins.

---- Industrial Relations Commission Reports.

---- Women and Child Wage Earners, Report on Conditions of. 19

_Woman's Industrial News, The_. London.

_Woman's Journal, The_. Boston.


Abbe, Mrs. Robert
Abbott, Grace
Abolition movement
Addams, Jane
American Federation of Labor
Anderson, Mary
Andrews, John B.
Anthony, Susan B.
Ayres, Leonard P., quoted

Bagley, Sarah G.
Barry, Leonora
Bean, Alice
Bergson, Henri
Biddle, Mrs. George
Bliss, W.P.D., quoted
Bondfield, Margaret
Borden, Hannah
_Boston Courier_
Brandeis, Louis D.
Brown, Corinne
Burke, Mrs. Mary

Calhoun, William J.
Capital and labor organization compared
Carey, Matthew
Casey, Josephine
Cohn, Fannie
Collective bargaining
Collective grievances
Colored workers
Coman, Katharine
_Commercial Bulletin_
Condon, Maggie
Conservation movement
Consumers' League
Conventions, labor
Cooeperative efforts
Cost of living

Daley, Mollie
Dana, Charles A.
Davies, Anna
Democracy, and education
  and public ownership
  evolution of
Dewey, John, quoted
Dickenson, Fannie
Direct legislation
Domestic science profession
Donnelly, Michael
Donovan, Mary
Dorchester, Mass., early schools of
Dreier, Mary E.

Economic basis of trade union
Economic status of women
Education, according to grade percentage
  early, of girls
  Glynn, Frank L., on, quoted
  in labor questions
  of the immigrant
  poverty the chief check to
  _See also_ Vocational education
"Effective voting"
Efficiency and expectance
Elmira College
Employers' associations
Equal pay
Evans, Mrs. Glendower

Fitzgerald, Anna
Fitzpatrick, John
Flood, Emmet
Franklin, Stella

General Federation of Women's Clubs
Gillespie, Mabel
Goldmark, Josephine
Gompers, Samuel
Graham, Mr.
Grant, Annie
Greeley, Horace
Gutteridge, Helena

Hamilton, Cicely, quoted
Hannafin, Mary
Harriman, Mrs. J. Borden
Harvard University
Health and shorter hours
Henderson, Rose
Home industries, development of
Home-work, and child labor
  and Italians
  as social anachronism
  _See also_ Limitation of hours
Huge Strikes
  agreements in
  Citizens' Committee in
Huge Strikes, close of
  immigrants in
  Joint Strike Conference Board in
  picketing in
  results of
  Triangle Shirt Waist Co.
  United Garment Workers
  Women's Trade Union League in
Hull House
Huntingdon, Arria

Immigrants, Americanization of
  discrimination against
  domestic policy regarding
  education of
  employment of
  exploitation of
  federal and state care of
  handicaps of
  haphazard distribution of
  Juvenile Protective League, quoted, regarding
Immigrants, League for the
  Protection of Immigrants
  Polish girls as, peculiarly exploited
_Immigrants in America Review_
Immigration, probable causes of
Industrial Relations, Federal Commission on
Industrial rivalry between men and women
Industrial struggle, new forms of the
Industrial Workers of the World
Industry, children and
  public ownership the latest development of
  standards in
Investigations, by City Club, Chicago
  by Federal Commission on Industrial Relations
  by Knights of Labor
  by New York State Factory Investigating Commission
  Federal (Women and Child Wage Earners)
  first governmental

Japanese laundry workers

Kavanagh, Fannie
Kehew, Mary Morton
Kelley, Florence
Kellogg, Paul
Kellor, Frances A., quoted
Kenney, Mary E.
Kerchensteiner, Georg, quoted
Kingsley, Charles
Knefler, Mrs. D.W.
Knights of Labor

Labor legislation, administration of laws under
  needed for stores
  objections to
  providing for women factory inspectors
  women affected by
  _See also_ Limitation of hours; minimum wage
Labor movement, backwardness of
  development of
  Irish in
_Labour Leader_
Lemlich, Clara
Lewis, Augusta
_Life and Labor_
Limitation of hours, and department-store clerks
  and elevated railroad clerks
Limitation of hours, declared constitutional
  eight-hour law regarding, in California
  effects of, on health
  first law for, in Great Britain
  for public employes
  including men and boys
  organized women support
  relation of, to wages
  ten-hour law regarding, in Illinois
Lippard, George
"Living-in" system
Lowell, Josephine Shaw
Lowell, Mass.

Macarthur, Mary R.
Macdonald, Mary A.
McDonald, J. Ramsay, quoted
McDowell, Mary E.
McNamara, Maggie
Mahoney, Hannah (Mrs. Nolan)
Maloney, Elizabeth
Marot, Helen
Marriage, an unstandardized trade
  and factory life
  and organization
Marriage, and the working-woman
Married woman, as a half-time worker
  as a wage-earner
  economic status of
  incongruous position of
Married women and the labor movement
Matthews, Lillian, quoted
Maud Gonne Club
Maurice, F.D.
Mead, George H.
Merriam, Charles E.
Mill, John Stuart
Minimum wage, employers' objections to
  for the immigrant
  in Australia
Mitchell, Louisa
Mittelstadt, Louisa
Morgan, T.J.
Morgan, Mrs. T.J.
Mott, Lucretia
Mullaney, Kate
Murphy, John J.

National and other central labor bodies:
  Amalgamated Meat Cutters' and Butchers' Workmen of North America
  American Federation of Musicians
  Boot and Shoe Workers' Union
  British Women's Trade Union League
  Cigar Makers' International Union
  Daughters of St. Crispin
  International Brotherhood of Bookbinders
  International Glove Workers' Union
  International Ladies' Garment Workers
  International Typographical Union
  Massachusetts Working Women's League
  National Industrial Congress
  National Labor Congress
  National Labor Union
  national trade unions, more than thirty from 1863 to 1873
  National Trades Union
  New England Congress, policies of
  railroad brotherhoods
  railway unions
  Retail Clerks International Union
  Shirt, Waist and Laundry Workers' International Union
  Trades and Labor Congress of Canada
  United Felt, Panama and Straw Hat Trimmers
  United Garment Workers
  United Mine Workers
  United Textile Workers
  Women's Department, Knights of Labor
  Women's Labor Reform Associations
  Women's National Labor League
  Women's state labor unions
  Women's Trade Union League
  Women's Union Label League
  Working Women's Labor Union for the State of N.Y.
National Civic Federation
National Consumers' League
National Young Women's Christian Association
Neill, Charles P.
Nestor, Agnes
New York State Factory Investigating Committee
_New York Sun_
Northwestern University

Oberlin College
O'Brien, John
Occupations, and locality
  blind-alley trades
  boot and shoe workers
  button workers
  children's employments
  department-store clerks
  domestic work
  employes in state institutions
  garment-workers. _See_ sewing trades
  house-cleaning developments
  laundry workers and laundresses
  tobacco-and cigar-workers
O'Connor, Julia
O'Day, Hannah
O'Reilly, Leonora
O'Reilly, Mary
Organization, and minimum wage
  craft form of
  eventually international
  in unskilled trades
  industrial form of
  of colored races
  of department-store clerks
  of Italians
  of Orientals
  of Slavic Jewesses
  of women, by men
  of women backward
O'Sullivan, Mary E. _See_ Mary E. Kenney
_Outlook_, quoted
Overwork and fatigue

Pankhurst, Mrs.
Patterson, Mrs. Emma
Pearson, Mrs. Frank J.
Perkins, L.S.
_Philadelphia Ledger_
Phillips, Wendell
Pillsbury, Parker
Poe, Clarence
Polish National Alliance
Popular disapproval of women's trade unions
Potter, Frances Squire
Powderly, Mrs. Terence V.
Powderly, Terence V.
Power loom, first
Preferential shop
Proportional representation
Protection for young trade-union girls
Protocol of peace
Public employes
Public ownership, the latest development of industry
Putnam, Mrs. Mary Kellogg

Quick, Nelle
Quimby, Mrs. C.N.M.

_Revolution, The_
Rickert, T.A.
Robins, Mrs. Raymond quoted
Rodgers, Mrs. George
Roman, F.W., quoted
Roosevelt, Theodore
Rumsey, Thomas
Russell Sage Foundation

Samuels, Adelaide
San Francisco earthquake
_San Francisco Examiner_
Schneidermann, Rose
Schreiner, Olive
Scott, Melinda
Secretary for Labor
Sewing machine introduced
Sewing trades, early conditions in war orders for
  _See also_ Huge strikes
Shedden, John
Shute, Mrs. Lizzie H.
Simpson, James
Sinclair, Upton
Slavery, family and group
Smith, Mrs. Charlotte
Smith, Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes
Smith-Lever Act
Snowden, Mrs. Philip
Snowden, Philip
Social advance
Socialism, and economic independence and socialists
Sorel, George
Southern mountain women
Specialization and economy
  in home industries
  in house-cleaning
Specialization, trade and professional, compared
Speeding up
Spencer, Anna Garlin, quoted
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady
Steghagen, Emma
Stevens, Alzina P.
Stevens, George, quoted
Stewart, Mrs. Levi
Stirling, Mary
Stone, Huldah J.
Stone, Lucy
Strasser, President
Strike, American girl strikebreakers in general
  Marx & Haas
  of Danbury Hatters
  of Fall River weavers
  of laundry-workers, (S.F.) (Troy)
  of packing-plant employes
  of printers
  work, after
  _See also_ Huge strikes.
Sumner, Helen L.
_Survey, The_, quoted
Sutter, Maud
Symphony orchestras

Thomas, W. L, quoted
Topp, Mr.
Trade agreement
  a typical
  Hart, Schaffner and Marx
Trade unions, aims of, xx
  and factory inspection
  and standard of living
  and women members
  as training schools
  conservative and radical compared
  city federations of
  craft form of
  dues of
  exclusiveness of
  federation of
  in other fields
  industrial form of
  interstate cooeperation of women of
  juvenile union
  locals of women's, best training school
  one big union
  outside support for
  relations between labor bodies
  reorganization of
  women membership of
    supported by labor men

United States Agricultural Department
United States Agricultural Department, and immigration
  census of, occupations under
  industrial development of
  _See also_ Investigations
United Tailoresses' Society
University of Chicago

Valesh, Eva McDonald
Van Etten, Ida
Vassar College
Vincent, John J.
Vocational education, and the immigrant
  as part of public system
  A.F. of L. on
  co-education only solution of
  Commercial Club of Chicago, on
  domestic economy
  ideal plan for
  in Germany
  original form of
  tendencies of experts
  women's share in, inadequate
_Voice of Industry_
Vote, the

  N.Y. Commission evidence regarding
Waight, Lavinia
Wald, Lillian D.
Walling, William English
War orders
Ward, Lester F.
Watters, J.C.
Whitehead, Myrtle
Whitney, Edward B.
Wilkinson, J.W.
Wilson, J. Stitt, quoted
Winslow, Charles H.
Winters, Sallie
Woerishofer, Carola
Wolfe, F.E., quoted
Woman, as the organizer
  as the race
  double function of
Woman suffrage, and civic work, and education
Woman suffrage, and great strikes
  and industrial struggle
  and social control
  indorsed by, A.F. of L.
  labor conventions
  movement for, in Great Britain
  organization of women voters under
  organized women and
Women, and vocational training
  and vocations
  compulsory underbidders
  in meat-packing plants
Woolston, Howard B., quoted
Work, John M., quoted
Working Women's Society

Young, Anne

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Trade Union Woman, by Alice Henry


***** This file should be named 11424.txt or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Josephine Paolucci and the Online Distributed Proofreading

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including including checks, online payments and credit card
donations.  To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Each eBook is in a subdirectory of the same number as the eBook's
eBook number, often in several formats including plain vanilla ASCII,
compressed (zipped), HTML and others.

Corrected EDITIONS of our eBooks replace the old file and take over
the old filename and etext number.  The replaced older file is renamed.
VERSIONS based on separate sources are treated as new eBooks receiving
new filenames and etext numbers.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.

EBooks posted prior to November 2003, with eBook numbers BELOW #10000,
are filed in directories based on their release date.  If you want to
download any of these eBooks directly, rather than using the regular
search system you may utilize the following addresses and just
download by the etext year.

    (Or /etext 05, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 99,
     98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 92, 91 or 90)

EBooks posted since November 2003, with etext numbers OVER #10000, are
filed in a different way.  The year of a release date is no longer part
of the directory path.  The path is based on the etext number (which is
identical to the filename).  The path to the file is made up of single
digits corresponding to all but the last digit in the filename.  For
example an eBook of filename 10234 would be found at:

or filename 24689 would be found at:

An alternative method of locating eBooks:


This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts ( by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext11424, and it should be available from the following URL:

Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."