The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-????, November 13, 1905, Image 1

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A Newspaper with a Mission and without a Muzzle that l published in the Interest of Wageworkers Every where.
On Monday, November 2, 1905, the new fac
tory building of the Lincoln Overall and Shirt
Co. was formally opened with prayer by Rev.
D. L. Thomas, pastor of Grace M. E. church.
Mayor Brown, President John E. Miller of
the Commercial club, Governor John II. Mick
ey. President Sneli of the company and others
made short addresses. Then Governor Mick
ey threw the electric switch, the sewing ma
chines began humming, and work in the new
factory, building began. The occasion was
made iuite a gala affair.
On January 25, 1905, the old factory of the
Lincoln Overall and Shirt Co., then located
in the Halter block, was destroyed by fire.
In the papers next day appeared an article in
spired by Manager L. (). Jones, of the com
pany, telling what a vast benefit the factory
was to Lincoln, and conveying the notice that
unless the citizens of Lincoln came to the.'ront
and furnished the company with a new build
ing the factory would be located elsewhere.
As an inducement for subscriptions it was
stated that the factory employed an average
of seventy-five 'people; and that the average
tpay Toll amounted .to $500 a week. A little
sum .in long division will reveal the fact that
the average wage is a fraction over $(i.(0 a
week. Tfie rule is piece work and the hours
are from 7 a. m. until ( p. m. or ten hours a
day. J The factory turns out overalls and work
, Tlje Wagcworkcr has, on several occasions,
referred to this factory and passed criticisms
upon it. It desires now to make a few more,
and to form a basis for its criticisms will quote
liberally from the addresses made by Mayor
Brown. President Miller of the Commercial
club and Governor John II. Mickey. Mayor
Brown said :
"It is the presence of such houses as this
one that distinguish the city from the coun
try town.'',
There can be no dispute upon that point.
There are other things, however, that dis-
Overall and Shirt Co. is contingent upon the
net earnings of the company. The Wagework
er asks its readers to ponder on that statement
for a few moments, and realize if possible what
it means. When he was endeavoring to raise
stock subscriptions to start the factory one
of his arguments was that he would act as
manager, and unless the ' company paid cer
tain dividends over and above the operating
expenses he would receive no salary. If ex
penses are so high that his own salary is in
'danger, where, we ask, would he naturally
make the first cut in operating expenses? Only
a fool would guess wrongj He would reduce
expenses by reducing wages without reducing
In all good faith we would ask Mayor Brown
if in his judgment it will benefit Lincoln to
fill it up with sweat shop workers whose wage
keeps them continually hovering on the ragged
edge of hunger. We would ask him in all
fairness if he thinks a factory which asks wom
en and girls to work 59 hours a week for an
average wage of $( a week, will do much to
wards keeping Lincoln up to the high standard
it now occupies as a city of homes, of culture
and of high morals.
Governor Mickey spoke at some length.- We
quote from the report made by the Morn
ing Journal:
Governor Mickey made the closing' ad
dress of .the exercises. "Some people think
that labor is dishonorable," declared the
governor. "I believe that labor is just the '
contrary of dishonorable. I think that
these ladies who are operating these ma
chines are more estimable than anyone
else in this room. But the man or the
men who are responsible for furnishing
the opportunity for conducting this enter
prise should also be considered. Labor
cannot exist without capital ; neither can
capital exist without labor. But it is the
solid reliable concerns ,which should be
supported. The disposition of some men
Lincoln Overall . Shift Co.
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! , , ', " .'!() rtfiST Nationai Bank,
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tinguish the city from the country town.
Among them we might mention fed light dis
tricts, .open gambling halls, bucket shops, pol
icy shops, pool rooms, beer gardens, Sunday
theatres, sweat shops, grafting political rings,
and general misery and despair. All these'
things mark the modern metropolis, but they
are ajjsjenj . from $e, typical American village
or country town. Mayor Brown also said:.
"I don't care how small the wages of a la
borer may be, you may rest assured that they
will be spent in the city. But a retired farmer
sends out to the farm for his butter and eggs;
he has no use for the butcher, because he has
his meat growing on the farm. What makes a
town is not the farmers who come to it to make
their homes, but the people whose livelihood
lies .in the city.. .'That: is why I believe that
such a factory can be. made to pay well, and
become an important factor in the industrial
life of Lincoln. You have the market for the
goods that arc manufactured in this house im
mediately at hand ; in this line I do not see
why Lincoln should not become as important
a point as Chicago, or St. Louis, or Kansas
Mayor Brown did not mean the opening
sentence of the quotation just as it sounds.
Of course he does care whether a laborer's
wage is small. He pays fair wages himself,
and he would like to see all wage earners
well paid. His intent was to' say that the
city needed wage earners. And that is true
but the kind of wage earners Lincoln needs
are not those who are paid starvation wages,
who work long hours and who have nothing to
look forward to but long lives of illy requited
toil. The Wageworker charges that the Lin
coln Overall and Shirt Co. pays ridiculously
low wages, that it is a detriment instead of a
blessing to the city, and that factories of its
class instead of benefiting the city will in
the long run be a detriment. A city filled
with poorly paid working men and women
can not, in the nature of tilings, progress mor
ally, socially or financially. We need but to
call attention to the mining towns of Penn
sylvania and the Virginias and to the mill town
of Massachusetts and Connecticut, to empha
size this fact. 'Mayor Brown further said:
"I believe that such a factory can be made
to pay well, and become an important factor
in the industrial life bf Lincoln."
The Wageworker unhesitatingly admits that
such a factory can be made to pay well. There
are already two or three of them in Lincoln
that are' paying well paying the stockhold
ers well. But what al';nit the pay of the
women ami girls who run the machines? The
remuneration of Manage. Jones of the Lincoln
to make something out of nothing, I con
sider one ' of the dangers of our present
commercial life.' I believe with Mr. Mil
ler that what Lincoln most needs is com
panies like this one, and factories like the
one we are in now. Lincoln can not 'de
pend on the farmers who come here to ;
M,send their Children to school. We wouldn't , -.
care to do without them., it is true, but .
there are other things needed as well."
Governor Mickey means well, and it" is his
earnest intention to do and say the right thing.
But. he makes a mistake that is altogether too
common when he says that "labor can not exist
without capital, and capital can not exist with
out labor." .Labor can exist without .capital,
and did so exist for hundreds of years. Give
the people access to the soil and they can snap
their fingers in the face of capital. And the
coal barons who control the output of coal can
close down their .mines indefinitely and while
jeering at labor can live in luxury and idleness.
The man who endeavors to make something
out of nothing is, of course to be reprobated.
But what about the sniveling hypocrits, the
canting pharisees, who seek to make great
gain oiit of the blood and tears and sweat of
illy-requited toil? What shall it avail a man
to stand before great assemblies and life his
prayerful voice in sonorous tones to Him v.ho
heedeth the sparrow's fall, and t'.en turns
around and preys upon the necessities of the
poor by forcing them to work at starvation
wage in order to make sure his own fat sal
ary? -
President John E. Miller of the Commercial
club, who is deeply interested in Lincoln's fu
ture prosperity, and who has built up a splen
did business on fair principles, said in sub
stance :
"I believe that if the campaign just started
by the Commercial club is supprted as it
should be, Lincoln will see a period o" such im
provement and prosperity as has never been er
perienced here before. It is of great impor
tance to the city that such enterprises as ibis
one should be pushed and given the support
of the people of Lincoln. If we are to hold
our relative position among the cities of thz
west, we must rouse ourselves immediately.
Now is the crucial time."
Mr. Miller's employes do not average as
many hours work a day as the employes of
Lincoln Overall and Shirt Co. The work of
his employes is not nearly so hard. And The
Wrageworker ventures to say that the average
wage. of the employes in the big store of Mil
ler & Paine is more than double the avenec
claimed by M inager Jones of the Lincoln
Overall ind Shirt Co. The Wageworker fur
ther ventures to assert that Mr. Miller would'
not, under any circumstances, asq anybody to
work fifty-nine hours a week in Miller &
Paine's store for even twice $2.42 a week.
Air. Miller was ;tiite correct in saying that
"If we are to hold our relative position among
the cities of the west, we must rotts-e ourselves
immediately." The Wageworker reiterates
and emphasizes that declaration. It is read
to do its best as little as that "best" may be
to help the Commercial club in its campaign
for a greater Lincoln. But it will not lend its
aid to a campaign that has for . its object the
securing of factories that employ women and
girls at an "average wage" of $(5.G0 a week
for fifty-nine hours' work, and which draw
checks for $2.42 to pay for one woman's work
for an entire week. Such factories may make
a city in point of -population, but it will alsc
make a city in point of misery, squalor, desti
tution, woe, want and misery. Better remain
a city of universities and churches for a thou
sand years to come, than to become a city of
sweat shops. ;
The Wageworker calls attention to the fac
simile of a wage check issued last week by
the Lincoln Overall and Shirt Co. The orig
inal of this fac-simile is in the possession of
The Wageworker's editor. That check represents-
a week's work of this new industrial
institution that means so much for the. indus
trial future of Lincoln. Think of it, O, ye fa
thers and mothers whose children may sooner
or later be forced into one of the "beneficent in
dustrial institutions" to work a whole week
for the munificent wage of $2.42!
"O, she was a slow worker," you say. "Some
of the employes make as high as $10 or $11 a
Granted. But if the swift operators can
make $10 a week, and the average is $G.G0 a
week, in God's name how can the average
worker exist on the wage they must receive?
"O," but she was a young and inexperienced
girl." you say. . ...
That's where you guess wrong. The one to
whom this check was issued is a woman. She
is a married woman, too, and sought employ
ment because she needed it. -
President Snell of the company says some
of the emplores make as high as $11 a week.
Manager Jones says the average is $(!.C0. Fig
ure it out for yourself. Add $11 and $2.42 and
the average" is $0.71.
President Paul .Morton of the Equitable gets
$80,000 a year, and a clerk in the same office
gets $720 a year. The average salary is there
fore $45,8(!0 but the. clerk doesn't gain any
thing by it.
A professor in a law school once told his
class a story about a squirrel. It was a good
story. He told how the squirrel came out to
hunt up its winter supply of food. He described
the woods, the harvest of nuts, the apparel of
the hunter who was scouring the woods, and
threw in a lot of flowers of speech and then
wound up the. story. Immediately members of
the class began plying him with questions.
"How old was the hunter?" "What kind of a
gun did he have?" "Wrhat kind of nuts grew in
the woods ?", What time of yeanwas it ?" And
thus the questions came. Finally one student
asked: "What-became of the squirrel?"
The Wageworker wants you to keep your
eye on the squirrel, and not be misled by talk
of "average wages" and "fast workmanship."
.. Here is a factory that is dedicated by prayer
to the Heavenly Father who marks the spar
row's fall and one working woman employed
therein receives a check for $2.42 for a . week's
("Keep your eye on the squirrel!"
.Here is a business institution managed by a
man who is foremost in. promoting great re
ligious works and his business institution re
munerates a woman for a week's work by giv
ing her a check for $2.42.
"Keep your eye on the squirrel!"
Here is a business institution that asked
the citizens of. Lincoln to come to its rescue
when it had a fire because it was such" a big
thing for Lincoln, and it draws a check for
$2.42 to pay for a week's work over its madly
rushing machines.
"Keep your eye on the squirrel !"
Here is a manufacturing concern which is
pointed to as a sample of what Lincoln needs
to make it a great city and a check for $2.42
is handed out as pay for a week's work in that
"Keep your eye on the squirrel!"
"It is the presence of such houses as this one
that distinguish the city from the country
town," said Mayor Brown, who probably knew
absolutely nothing about the wage scale in
the factory. And a factory that gives a check
for $2.42 is pointed out as a blessing to the city.
"Keep your eye on the squirrel !"
' It is all right to talk about Lincoln's need
of factories. It is all right to tell about the
necessity of providing employment for people
before we can hope to make Lincoln a large
and prosperous city.
"But keep your eye on the squirrel !"
The "squirrel" in Lincoln's case is the wage
question. Do we want here in Lincoln the
sweat shop system? Do we want factories
that pay starvation wages?. Do we want fac
tories that prey upon the necessities of those
who are forced to toil ? Do we want fac
tories that not only crush down wages here in
Lincoln but force competition to do. the same
in other cities in this manner throwing the
whole burden upon the shoulders of women
and girls who are compelled to toil ten hours a
day over sewing machines ?
;."Keep, your eye on the squirrel!"
'The" Wageworker is as much interested in
making Lincoln a manufacturing center as
any other newspaper or business institution can
be. It strives to represent in the best manner
possible the interests of those who work for .
wages. Its prosperity depends wh6lly upon
the prosperity of the laboring classes. But
sweat shops never have and never will make
any city prosperous. Illy paid workingmen
and women can never make a city a good place
in which to live. If Lincoln's future rests upon
filling the city with factories that pay women
$2.4.2 for a week's work,' then would it be bet
ter to turn the streets into cow pastures and
leave our public institutions to the bats and
rats. ' -. . '
: "Keep your eye on the squirrel !"
The way to make Lincoln a big and pros
perous city is to keep in mind the great fact
that men and women must be paid a fair wage'
for their labor; must be paid a wage that will
enable, them to live properly, educate their
children and build happy homes. Factories
that are filled with women who receive an
"average wage" of $G.ti0 a week, and issue
checks for $2.42 to pay a woman, for a week's
work, will be fatal to Lincoln and undo in a
short time what" it has taken thirty-five years
to build up.' '"..-'
The Wrageworker invites the attention of
though ful men and' women to the fac simile
check which appears herewith. . That check is
the "squirrel'.' in the present controversy.
"Keep your eye on the .squirrel !"
The printers are winning in their fight 'for
the eight-hour clay. The Typotheta in order
to win its ends has resorted to the injunction,
and in order to secure injunctions has resorted
to what ought to be called perjury. The infa--mous
injunction issued by Judge Holdam of
Chicago was issued on the sworn statement of.
employing printers that the strikers had re
sorted to violence. They knew this to be a lie,
and in their correspondence with "rat'-' print
ers admitted that there was no violence., . The ,
daily newspapers of Chicago are almost a unit
in denouncing Judge Holdam's injunction, and
a mass meeting to protest was held last Sun
day. It was attended by ministers, business
men, mechanics, lawyers, doctors and educa
tors. " v
The National Association of Manufacturers
is now trying to coerce the daily newspapers
into helping in the fight against, the printers.
The covert threat is made that unless the news
papers proceed to give the printers the worst
of it the big advertisers will resort to the boy
cot. This precious outfit of "free and indepen
dent" citizens are loud in their denunciations
of the boycot when applied by workingmen,
but they do not fail to resort to it when their
own business is threatened. ,
The Woman's Home Companion is pub
lished by the Crowell Co., Springfield, O. The
Crowell Co. secured an injunction against its
printers who were trying to secure the eight
hour day. The boycot is illegal, but -we men
tion, the Crowell Co," in this connection lest
it be -overlooked. ' . V
The Typotheta, while Still claiming that it
has all the non-union men it needs, is still ad
vertising for more. Consistency and truth do
not seem to be on the Typotheta visiting list.
Of course the eight-hour assessment car-ried--by
an overwhelming majority. Did any
body believe that it would not?
The Typotheta scheme to import a lot of ma
chine operators from England was suddenly
nipped in the bud. As soon as the British union
men discovered the strike situation they, gave,
the Typotheta agents the merry laugh.
"The "linotype schools" in Chicago evidently
did not pan out as well as the union busters ex
pected. At an- rate, the schools have been dis continued.
Three men "ratted" in Omaha. One of them
has received more in benefits from the union
than he had ever paid in the shape of dues.
Only the most cheering news comes from the
firing line. The unions are standing fast, and .
up to date not one has proved recreant. But
Typotheta firms are constantly renigging on
their pledge to the Typotheta's national body.
It is only a question of weeks and victory will
come to stav.
The prominent business man who takes an
active part in the deliberations of the Lincoln
Commercial club had just finished an eloquent
oration before the club on the subject of "The
Greater Lincoln, or Patronize Home Indus
tries." .
Wiping the perspiration from his heated
brow, and bowing to the enthusiastic applause .
of his fellow men, he stepped over to. the cigar
care and said : '
"Gimme one of those 'Robert Burns' cigars."
The chances are that this enthusiastic pro
ponent of home industries never smoked a Lin
coln made cigar in his life. The chances are
that every sack of flour that has gone into his
kitchen bore a Minneapolis label. And the
chances are that he patronizes the Chicago
mail order houses whenever he wants any-,
thing in the line of furniture or carpets.
The rageworker . believes in patronizing
home industry. It not only believes it, but
practices it. An 1 -it, desires at this time to
call the attention of the ''h'ome industry" boom
ers, of the Commercial club to just one home in
dustry cigars. .
There are some ten or twelve cigar factories '
in Lincoln, employing about fifty men. These
men make about 12,000 cigars'a day. Not more
than one-third of them are smoked in Lincoln. "
It is safe to say that two-thirds of Lincoln's
male population who are above 20 years of age '
are smokers. , To be conservative let us esti- .
mate that there are 10,000 users of tobacco in
Lincoln, and that the average is three cigars
a" day. We will leave it to any smoker if the
average is too high. That would mean 30.000 -,
cigars a day for Lincoln, or an increase of at
least 25,000 cigars a day manufactured here
if every smoker called for Lincoln made cigars.
That would mean an addition of not less than
100 cigarmakers to the factories of the city
and cigarmakers average considerably more '
than $0.60 a week. . . It would mean an addition
al $1,400 or $1,500 a week to the city wage roll,
and just that much more to the volume of busi-'
ness in the city. ' -
Isn't this worth thinking about? Wc submit
the question to the members of the Commer
cial club. ; , ' -! '
While the Commercial club is prosecuting its ,
"home industry" campaign let it practice what '
it preaches. It keeps cigars on sale in lthe club
rooms. How many brands in that cigar case
are made in Lincoln. .What proportion of ci
gars consumed by the club's members are man
ufactured in Lincoln ? How many Commercial .
club members make it a point to call for Lin
coln made, cigars when they want to smoke?
The Commercial club would go a long ways -and
make great effort to secure a-factory that
would employ a hundred or a hundred and fifty
men with a pay roll averaging $1,400 or $1,500
a week. Why overlook factories that are al
ready here ? ;' Why not get behind them and '
push them along? Two dozen cigar factories
employing an average of ten men .each and
paying an average wage of $15 a week are of
vastly more benefit to the city "than a sweaty''
shop overall factory employing 200 .women and
girls and paying an average wage of $6.(K) a
week. ' : " ' '
Get right, gentlemen of the Commercial .Uib!
Practice what you preach. Don't approach the
workinginen of Lincoln and puff the-smofee oi .
foreign made "scab" cigars in their faces while "
preaching to them the doctrine
home industries.".
A "patronize
More Than Prayer Necessary to Make Such a -Factory
A year ago Miss Blank (The Wageworker
has the name and all, the facts) applied for .and
secured work at the Lincoln Overall and Shirt,"
factory. She is an expert needlewoman and also -an
expert with a sewing machine. Her skill as ;
a dressmaker is well known, and she has no
difficulty in securing work. But she wanted a
steady position where she would not have to .
visit from house to home. She imagined that .
she could make good wages at the factory.
Miss Blank worked diligently for twenty-six '
days, ten hours a day, and at the end of that
time found that she had made the magnificent
wage of $13.41.; ' ".-.,:
And then she quit. . r ' -
Do Net Lose Sight of the Main Point in the
Immigration Problem. .
Do not grow too excited over the threatened - V
invasion of the Chinese. That old anti-Chinese ,
cry has been worked as a scarcecrow about
long enough. While we have been,throwing fits
about the Chinese the great corporations have
seized the opportunity when we were looking it""-..!
towards the Pacific coast to sneak in a million.
or two of the most degraded workingmen pos- v. .- , . v
sible to find. We haven't been watching the
Atlantic coast quite sharply enough The great -. ; ,
(nrnnra tinn c -wronf- c-i-n mrrp TTtinc nnrl Finns .'- .. ' . . . j.
and Slavs and Lithuanians, but they are afraid, '".
we are watching them too closely. So they'1- '--V
have again raised the" Chinese scarecrow; -As -,pf
soon as we get hysterical enough they'll open - f-,
the gates of Castle Garden and bring 'em in.
Don't throw too many fits over the China- ; . . .
man. , ' . . .. ' ' .
Lincoln Unions Have No Use for an Ingrate
and Say So. -
The unions of Lincoln are taking up the,
grievance of the Carpenters and Joiners against
Engineer Crabtree, and are adopting resolu
tions denouncing him for his base ingratitude.
Crabtree is the man whe employed "scab" car
penters to build his house after union carpen
ters had come to his rescue and built a cot-,
tage for him while he was laid up with a broken
Jeg- ' '- ;V-.:y... .-" " ,
i The Wageworker has told the story in de
tail, and now the local unions are giving the
matter their attention. Last Sunday the Ty
pographical Union requested that Crabtree's
services to the city be dispensed with, asserting
that a man guilty of such base ingratitude was
unworthy of confidence. . The resolutions of the
different unions will be presented to the city
; .4