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About The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-???? | View Entire Issue (Feb. 9, 1906)
BOOSTING THE UNION LABEL
Public Spirited Women of Omaha Seeking to
. Aid in Abolishing Child Labor and Protect
ing Women Forced Into the Industrial
Field An Encouraging Sign to Unionists
Who Have Worked Along That Line for
The Social Science Department of the Oma
ha Woman's Club has taken held of child labor
and kindred industrial problems, and as a re
sult there is an awakening to the enormity of
the offenses against Cod and man that have
become prevalent in the industrial .life of
America. The National Consumers' League
is working along label lines, having designed a
white label which guarantees against child la
bor and unsanitary surroundings. The Oniaah
women have been studying the conditions
sought to be combatted by '.lie "white label,"
and to that end invited the editor of The Wage
worker to address them from the trades union
standpoint. The invitation was gladly accept
ed and the editor appeared before the club last
Monday afternoon. .Aside from the pleasure of
discussing this question before such an intelli
gent and energetic body, the meeting was a
source of great pleasure because it showed an
awakening all along the line, and was a great
encouragement to the earnest union men and
women who have long sought the assistance
of women in other walks of life. Mrs. Burbank,
of the Omaha Club, read a paper on. child la
bor and the labor of women in tenements, and
the dozen trades unionists present were as
much surprised, as they were delighted with
the advanced stand Mrs. Burbank took on the
question. They had heard many strong argu
ments in defense of the labels, but her paper
was what every trades unionist would call
"square man talk,", and made her at once the
, friend of all of them. She has studied the
questipn, and is now seeking to abolish the
Mr. Lovely of St. Louis and Mrs. Robinson
of Hrockton, Mass.. both national organizers
of the Hoot and Shoe Workers' Union, Mr.
I'ratt of Cleveland, organizer of the Street
Railway Employes, F. A. Kennedy, editor of
flip UVsfprn Laborer, and. George Sanchez,
president of the Omaha Union Label League,
Avere also present and were invited to address
the meeting; Elsewhere in this issue appears
the reports of the meeting apparing in the Bee'
and World-Herald of Omaha. Mr. Maupin's
" address .was as follows, and he illustrated by
showing fac similes of all the union labels and
contrasting union made overalls with non
union made overalls :
The question of the employment of women
and children in the trades and undustries is
one of most vital importance, relating as it
does to the very life of the nation. Permit me
to say in starting that I am not one of those
who believe in the "equality of the sexes." I
am just old-fashioned enough to believe that
womankind must lower itself if it becomes
equal to mankind, and while I do not deny that
women have a right to engage in the trades
and industries if they so desire, I venture to
make the positive claim that any system which
makes it necessary for them to do so in order
to make an honest livelihood is wrong and vi
cious. But our present industrial system has
brought us face to face with a" condition, and'
it is of the condition that we would speak, not
' of the theory.
I claim that the trend of modern industrial
ism threatens the home life of the nation, and
whatever threatens the home life of this repub
lic threatens the very foundation of the repub
lic itself. The home is the unit of society, and
our country is made up of :i combination of
these home units. The destruction of the
units, therefore, means the destruction of the
republic. In our mad race for wealth, in our
frenzied chase after the almighty dollar, we
have all but lost sight of the American home,
and it is today threatened with extinction. ,
My time is limited, and being a comparative
stranger I will seize the occasion to speak
plainly. This is not a time for false modesty
or for the mincing of words. I want right here
to pay a moment's attention to a recent propa
ganda the '"race suicide" theory of 'resident
Roosevelt. This so-called race suicide is mere
- ly a nwthcrs- strike against existing conditions.
Why raise up children to feed the greedy maw
of modern industrialism? Why bring children
into the world to toil and struggle at the mill
wheel and the machine to still further increase
the wealth of those who are already wealthy
beyond the dreams of avarice, (live us .back
again the conditions that once existed, when
every woman's child had an equal chance in
the world, and there will be no need of a polit
ical Jeremiah to sound the alarm about a dy
ing "race. The complaint about race suicide
. comes from two quartersthe great manufac
turing centers where child labor is in demand,
and from military boomers who want unlimited
food for the belching cannons in order that
military glory may be written in blood upon
' the pages of history. Race suicide is not
threatened by the women of the land, but by
the insatiate greed of those who would seize
upon your child, and' mine, to toil and' slave
at a pittance while the father walks the street
in vain search of the work which is his God
given right. ' y
Present day conditions leave hundreds of
thousands of women face to face with a great
question whether to enter the industrial field
and work for aStarvation wage, or to revel in a
brief luxurv at the-, .expense or. her immortal
' soul Rut the rrcse"f women in the in
dustrial field is not wholly due to greedy em
ployers. It was John J. Ingalls, who, smart
ing under his political defeat, retorted to a
taunt by Mary Ellen Lease that "There are
only two classes that mutilate the dead In
dians and women." J have in mind a young
woman of my home town. Her father is a pro
fessional man who draws a splendid saalry
from a great corporation. The family lives in
one of the very finest homes in Lincoln. And
yet this daughter is working as a stenographer
in a Lincoln office for a wage of $" a week, '
merely to get pin money and an occasional
ticket to the theatre. And while she is doing
that scores of girls are facing starvation be
cause they cannot find work at a living wage.
That young woman may not realize it, but she
is responsible in a measure for the downfall of
the unfortunate girl who, crazed by want and
seeing no hope for her, sells her soul for the
bread she could not honestly earn.
In another way, too, women are responsible
for much of the suffering endured by their sis
ters who have been forced by a vicious indus
trial system into the trades and industries. I
refer now to the so-called "bargain sales" so
often and so extensively advertised.
A few years ago I spent sevtral days in New
York City acquainting myself with sweat shop
conditions and tenement slavery. My good
friends, all of you women with tender hearts
and good impulses. I would not d.ire to tell
you face to face all that I saw and heard dur
ing that visit. The poverty, the degradation,
the filth, the immorality, the disease and the
death that reeks and riots in those squalid dis
tricts no pen can tell or artist depict,
in "the midst 'of all that a large share of the
"bargains" in dainty lingerie offered to ybii is
made made in filthy dens by consumptives,
scrofulitics and worse. I have seen twelve wo
men, three or four of them with nursing babies.
sewing on linen underwear for women in a
room l'i feet by 15, having no windows and
ventilated only by a door leading into a dark
hall and an opening into a shaft. All the light
came from three gas jets, and in, this room
where twelve women worked twelve and fif
teen hours a day, six people slept regularly.
And I was tol1 by one of the women that it
was an exceptionalh' good week when one
of them made $-tv and that only by working
from 85 to 90 hours. I have seen women's
cloaks made in a tenement by women hollow
eyed and half-starved, and who were in the last
' stages of diseases that we would isolate or'
quarantine in any city in Nebraska. I have
watched trembling women line up in front of
a "sweat shop" tyrant with their little bundles
of completed work that perhaps entitled them
to as much as $2 for 'a whole week's work, and
seen the tyrant dock them half their just due
Clod save the mark because of some fancied
defect, and from the tyrant's decision there was
no appeal. And these garments and goods
come west, are put on display and sold as "bar
gains" to thoughtless women who never give a
thought to their helpless and despairing sisters
whose very souls have been sown into the
seams and tucks and flounces. haven't the
least doubt in the world that there are some
within easy distance of this meeting place who
are sweetly conscious of dainty lingerie, little
thinking that into the ruffles and flounces
thereof have been sown the tears and blood and
sweat and souls of their despairing sisters. And
although for years earnest men and women
have been crying out against these conditions,
millions of thoughtless men and women have
continued to stop their ears and rush and crush
to secure these so-called bargains. Bargains,
when purchased at the price of human life.
' Bargains, when purchased at the price of a
sisters' immortal soul? Ckxl help America if
the cry of the oppressed is not soon heeded.
Six years ago I appeared before the Wo
man's Club of Omaha to read a feW-little
rhymes of my own composition. I was con--fronted
by an audience of about a thousand.
Today I come to tell of conditions that threat
en Our home life and our republic, and I am
complimented complimented indeed by an
audience of perhaps a hundred. I say compli
mented, because five or six years ago I doubt
if a dozen women would have shown enough
interest in this great problem to leave their
homes and attend. That so many of you are
here is a good sign. When the people are
aroused thoroughly to the iniquities of our
present system, comething will happen.
The child labor problem is a companion
problem to the one just mentioned. It is even
a greater problem because it is a greater. crime
against humanity. To deprive a child of the
plaything of its youth, to dull its mentality and
dwarf its body, and send it to its grave without
ever having given it one ray of soul sunshine,
is worse than murder. And I have seen hun
dreds and hundreds of children less than 7
years of age tending machines in the cotton
mills of Georgia. All they knew was how to
tie a broken strand, and their lack lustre eyes
stared vacantly at me when I tried to talk to
them. They never smile, because they are
never happy. They never cry because they are
without mental feelings. Murdered, mind, soul
and body, for gold and Puritan Massachu
setts is to blame more than Cavalier Georgia.
African slavery at its worst was clean and
Godly compared to the child slavery that ex
ists in this country today, and God Almighty is
going to call this nation some day to a jnore
severe accounting than He did when he bal
anced the books of His wrath and demanded
, the best blood of the nation as expiation for the
wrongs inflicted for three centuries upon the
black man. Owen Lovejoy, Wendell Phillipps
and old John Brown were reviled and scorned
when they warned the people against the wrath
to come. Today men and women who stand
forth demanding justice for the women and
children the vhite slaves of a debased indus
trialismare denounced as agitators, socialists,
anarchists, crazy trades unionists and law
breaking conspirators against vested rights.
Xero fiddled while Rome burned, and Newport
gives monkey dinners and Fifth Avenue visits
the horse show, while women and children toil
through the weary hours only that starvation
may be warded off for a few days longer.
But it is encouraging to those who have been
grappling with this great problem for Weary
years to see an awakening of the American
conscience. Every day some man or woman
steps forward and takes Hold to help along the
needed industrial reformation for the social
reformation that we all know is so much need
ed can only come as a corrolary of an indus
trial reformation. Anson Phelps Stokes, Jane
Addams God bless her and others too num
erous to mention are helping along the pioneers
in this great work. And who are the pioneers?
You have heard a great deal about the law
breaking and law-defying trades unions in
Omaha during the last two or three years. You
have read multiplied columns of newspaper
stuff about riots and assaults by trades union
ists, and perhaps many of you have been led
to believe that trades unionism is a synonym
for murder and riot. But let me teil you, my
good friends, that the pioneers in the work of.
protecting women and children against the
evils of our modern industrial system have
been these same despised- trades unions. The
protest against child labor in mill, mine and
factory did not have its genesis in the heart of
any employer. It sprang from the heart of a
wage earning father who banded himself with
other wage earning fathers in an effort to bring
about conditions that would give their boys
a better chance in life-than the fathers ever
had, and to give their girls a chance to be
come happy wives and -' mothers ' instead of
slaves at the loom" or the sewing machine.
At the last state convention of -Woman's
Clubs an eastern woman appeared a:id made a
talk in favor of the National Consumers'
League's "white label." 'This label, she told
us, is a guarantee that the article to which it is
attached was made in a sanitary factory. All
well and good. Far be it from me to oppose
the aims of the National Consumers' League.
Rut it is not a pioneer in the label movement,
and it does not guarantee enough. It may
guarantee sanitary surroundings for the work
ers while at . work. bu,does . it . .guarantee,
enough wage to enable the worker to live in
sanitary surroundings, have enough to eat and
a little left for the indulgence of the worker in
some of the pleasant things of life? It does
not. But there is a label that does guarantee
all these things, and more. It guarantees san
itary conditions in the factor-. It guarantees
that the article was not made by child labor, it
guarantees the safe guarding of life and limb,
it guarantees a living wage, and better yet it
guarantees to you women that if the article
to which it is attached was made by a wo
man she made as much wages as the man en
gaged in making a similar article. "Equal pay
for equal work" is a cardinal principle with all
trades unions, and if your cloak or your dress
skirt bears the label of the United Garment
Workers of American you can rest assured that
the woman who made it received a wage equal
to that received by her brother in the same
shop. The woman who operates a typesetting
machine in a union printing office receives the
same scale as her union brother. 'J
at the cigarmaker's bench receives dollar for
dollar as much as her brother for an equal
amount of work. The cloth hat and capmakers
of America demand that .women shall receive
equal wage with the men. In fact, all unions
practically enforce this demand, and this may
explain in part the suddenly developed opposi
tion to the "closed shop" on the part of a lot of
manufacturers. The trades union movement is
safeguard acainst industrial slaverv. and the
uniSn-libel is a guarantee of a decent wage,
decent siffveiindings, adult labor, and happy
homes anything that guarantees happy homes
for American workinmen should appeal to
every man and woman in w?;ose heart there ex
ists the smallest spark of patriotism. '
Push the white label of the National Con
sumers' League all. you will, but I insist .that
to do so will merely divide our forces and telu?,
to nullify our efforts at industrial reform. Our
label was in the field. a quarter of a century
before the National Consumers" League was
organized, and it guarantees so much more
without any extra effort on your part.
Now for a few brief words about the trades
unions. They need no defense, but perhaps
they need a little explaining. A trades union
is merely a banding together of men engaged in
the same occupation for mutual protection and
betterment. A "closed shop" is one employing
only union men, and is open to any man who
will join the union of his trade and pay his
share of the expense of securing and maintain
ing better conditions, hours and wages. The
"open shop" is one in which men work with
out having any voice in the disposition of their
labor, being dependent wholly on the generos
ity of the employer, and is closed to every
craftsman who has any self-respect. It is
claimed by the opponents of trades unions'that
the union men deny the non-union man has a
right to work. That is absolutely and unquali
fiedly false. I am a trades unionist and I free
ly concede to my non-union brother the right
to work for whom he pleases, for what wages
he pleases and as many hours as he pleases.
But pause a moment while I explain further.
History will prove that every move for a short
er workday had its inception in labor organiza
tion. Every increase in average wage came'
boiit as the direct result of labor organization,
FjVery' law-ever-enacted for the safeguarding
of life and limb iivany of the trades and itidus-
tries was secured by the efforts of organized
labor and against the active opposition of the
employing classes. Every child labor law on
the statute books of our states was placed there
by the- activity and energy of organized labor
and against the active opposition of selfish
men who sought child labor because it meant
greater profits. It has taken time and money
to secure all of these bettered condtiions, and
I have borne my humble part therein, giving
of my time when called upon, and giving of my
money in the shape of union dues and assess
ments to pay the financial expense. Now; my
non-union brother reaps just as much benefit
from all these laws as I do, and he hasn't paid
a cent towards the, expenses. He can work
where he will, but as a union man I absolutely
refuse to work beside a man who is so infer
nally mean and selfish that. he will not help me
bear the burden of expense' of securing and
maintaining the bettered conditions which he
enjoys. What woman in my audience would
sacrifice her time and deny herself many little
pleasures in order to secure a neat and clean
little home, and then throw it open for some
dissipated and degenerate tramp to enjoy
equally with her?
j How can you women help in this great in-
dustrial reform? The answer is easy. Look
; for the union label. Cloaks, gloves and shoes
are the principle article bearing the union label
! that are made for women. The Western La
'. borer of this city each week carries a list ,of
t union made shoes, garments and gloves and
tells what stores handle them. You can' buy
! union made soap, union made cereals, union
I made brooms, union made flour, union made
wooden and tinware and union packed fruits.
: And every "time you buy an article with the
i union label on it you are making a breach in
the walls of intrenched greed and hastening the
i day when your children and my children will
s be guaranteed a better opportunity than .we
'. have had.
O, wives and mothers of Omaha, I ' beg of
i you to study this industrial problem. No mat
ter if your husband be wealthy or not com
j pelled to labor with his hands, for the time
may come when your son'oryour daughter
will have to do so. You are the guardians of
the American home, and in your hands is the
I work of defending it against a foe more- dan
I gerous than the rifle and cannon of invading
i hosts.. Lay aside any prejudice you may have
' acquired against the. trades unions, and join
heart and hand with us in our work of defend-
ing the women and children against greed and
lust. We as trades unionists have made mis
l takes, but that is because we are members of
I the fallible human family. Out of our mis-'
j takes we .are ' groping to higher- and better
! things. Come and help us yet higher. From
your homes of plenty let your hearts go out to
the toiling and starving thousands of women
r and children, and let your hands and your
I pocketbooks follow your hearts. If we as
j trades unionists could secure the hearty co-op-
eration of the Woman's Clubs of America for
a single year, the country: would ring with the
I laughter of happy children freed from the mills,
the songs from the thankful lips of women
j given back once more to life and hope, and the
sturdy tread of millions of happy -fathers on'
their way rejoicing to well requited toil.'' In
conclusion let me assert my heartfelt belief in
! the claim that the union label is today the most
I promising weapon in the armory with which
I to fight against present vicious industrial con
1 ditions, the only weapon in sight that promises
i emancipation for the women and child slaves
in our sweat shops, tenements and mills,
t And now, in conclusion, if in my rambling
and weak remarks I have dropped one thought
that will make you think and act, then I am
more than repaid. I thank you. 1
Fragrant Organization Meets Again After Sev
eral Months of Missed "Setts."
The Onion Club of Lincoln is the parent on
ion of the Omaha and Kansas City Onion
Clubs. For several months it has not had any
"setts," but it is showing signs of activity, su
perinduced by the remarkably open winter.
Saturday evening of this week it will meet at
-the home of Mr. and Mrs. Erstine King, when
catcls will be indulged in and at a seasonable
hour "partake of refreshments. Pastries are
barred at aLmeetings of the club.
New "setts ',are being put out in other,cities
and when the Colorado Springs meeting of the
printers is pullecKpff the International Onion
Club will make ife presence known. The
Omaha club is particularly active these days.
The editor had theepleaWire of attending a spe
cial "setting" at the homef Mr. and Mrs. Bert
Cox last Monday evening. ' . ,
THE LABEL LEAGUE.
Union Men Criminally Careless
a Not Giv-.
ing It Their Undivided Sup
the union men of Lincoln are euiltvlfif crim
inal carelessness in not taking a more actrVe in
terest in the welfare of the Woman's UJ
Label League of this city. They are also-gui
of initistire to thfmsplv nnrl trw tl-iit- for
lies. By mistake The Wageworker said the
club would meet last Monday evening. It will
meet next Monday evening, and it should be
The Union Lab'el League could, if pJfljperly
supported, soon double the demand orjhion
made goods in Lincoln, That wou$f;nean
more union, -men in Lincoln, " better' vages,
shorter- hours" and-' more unionism. J'Wafce. up
and hejlp --ftakp the League a great power for
v''H ': , ' t, ' Uc , ;
Uv;.: - '
THE MINISTERS AS DELEGATES
There are several important reasons why
Central Labor bodies should encourage and ac- V
cept fraternal delegates from Ministers' Asso- t
ciations. ' ' ' ' V 'r .
P'irst, because one of the moA bitter and 1 " '
most conspicuous opponents of trades' union-.
ism in this country is opposing the plain If the ,
labor movement is going to suffer through its
introduction, the man in question would un- s- '
doubtedly endorse it. . When the matter was : '
under consideration in his city, he sent a cif- '
cular letter to every minister in town, urging '
them to vote it down. , -. 1 "
Second, because trades unionism, has nothing J - "
to lose, and everything to gain, in the educa- i. '( "
tion of the public in the matter of trades union .'
principles: There is no class of professional . f i a
men who are more influential in moulding the ..V 1
thought of "the public along moral and ethical '-'
.lines than the-preachers. '".''
Third, because there is so much in common .a '
between the church and organized labor. No
one realizes this quite so well as the trades ; - V'
unionist. Let us give the minister a chance '
to learn it. He cannot get it in books. 'He
must get it in the human touch Of his brother ' :
in the, labor union. '. f '
Fourth, because the workingman should
learn that the church is not opposed to his in-- 4 v .
terests. That may have been so. in' the past, -and
it may still be true in isolated, cases. But , '
why throw into the face of the present-day v ' "- '
preacher who is earnestly seeking to know the fc v
truth, the charge that he is hypocritical and yV
unfair to labor, when he distinctly proves that .', "
this is not true in his case by hS -Willingness to '-t
know more about the conditons-, the aims and s.' i
the aspirations of the toilers j$TThat minister -'J I
and the organization which "sent, tiim- are indi-c ".. '"fr? .
eating by their official action that their feeling -toward
the toilers is not one of opposition, but J
one of real and hearty interest. At least, give if t
them a chance to prove their sincerity. If the
Central Labor, body fails, to do this, it canvj v.U
never again declare, with bitterness, that the" ''..j
churches and the ministers are not concerned" '
about their interests,. '. ' -. . .
Fifth, because the American Federation of "'V
Labor,, at its 'ast meeting., very heartily rec- ,
ompienderf "ttiat all affiliated state'and'een trail; .. -
bodies exchange fraternal delegates with the'-',
various state and -city Ministerial Associations,'" "
wherever practicable, -thus ; isuring a better,
understanding on the part of the church and
clergy of the aims and objects of the labor un-
ion movement of America." " .
PRINTERS' ANNUAL BALL.
Lincoln Typographical Nnion No. 209 will."-,
hold its twenty-fourth annual ball at Fraternity H
hall, Thursday evening, February 22. There ,
are especial reasons why the printers want this - '
ball to be the best they have ever given. 'In i
the first place, they are proud of these social
events and very proud of their history , as an
organization. In the second place, they are
anxious to clear a neat sum of money to help ' ,
them in doing their share towards financing "
the strike for the eight hour day. ' f
There are about 90 printers at work in Lin- ' .
coin, a majority of. whom are working regu- ' 1
larly. ' t)uring the month of , January these .....
printers paid over $900 into their local treas-.. .
ury, nearly $800 of which was forwarded to in
ternational headquarters to help defray the :"
expenses of their brother printers who are on
strike. The, union printers of Lincoln are pay- ; v
ing - about 11 1-2 per cent of their earnings.
weekly into their treasury. This means a
great sacrifice on the part of inost of them, but'
; they are doing it' cheerfully and wtth a good ,
! will. The burden is a heavy one and they are .
j , making no complaints, but they now ask their'
j friend.; and sympathizers to turn in and help "!
j them by making their annual ball a success so-' t
j ci.iliy and financially. When the printers ard
i thi.-'t wives start out to sell tickets they will
j Appreciate the patronage of the trades unon- ,
isvs ptid business men of the city. ? '
1 TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION NOMINATES A
. The Lincoln printers hold Injunction Judge
Holdom of Chicago in utter contempt. And
they rejoiced and were exceeding glad when
union "politics" enabled them to express their,
contempt. They have nominated for president ,
of the International Typographical Union Mr. .
Edwin R. Wright, president of Chicago Typor '.
graphical Union No. 16, and now nnder 'sen
tence to jail for contempt of one of Judge Hoi-,
dem's contemptible orders. They would have
nominated Wright anyhow, but the nomination
was made with unusual emphasis and amidst a
lot of enthusiasm just to show Judge Holdom '
aini his gang of selfish backers that he is held
in utter contempt. Under the laws of the
union the subordinate unions nominate their,
preferences for international, officers at the
February meetings. Last Sunday the . Lincoln
union made thfi following nominations '
For President, Edwin R. Wright of Chicago, t
For i Vice President, Albert G- Calvert of
Philadelphia, ! :- ' ' . -. v
tor Secretary-Treasurer, John VY. Brm- '
wood of Denver.
For Trustees of Union Printers' Ho jf ' '
Anna Wilson of Washington, John Armstrong
i ioronto, Herbert Cook of Boston. .;
Delegates to American Federation of 'Labor.'
Frank Morrison of Chicacro. Michael Colbert
of Chicago, Fauk Foster of Boston. . '
.,yvnen tnirfy suDoi;ainate ' uniotB nave norm-
nteu a .man, ne is entitled to have his name
1 " I
placed -on the ticket, v- - f
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