The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-????, May 30, 1908, Image 1
TPIU1 o VOIt. 3 L.IXCOL.X, NEBRASKA, MAX liOS NO. 9 WHAT TWO BRAVE WOMEN ACCOMPLISHED A Tg5 1 SP""?"- r "Our liest capital in our crusade was our ertat stock of iguor ance," said Margaret A. Haley at the First Christian church last week, wheu she told of the crusade made in behalf of the Chicago teachers. faHad we known what we were going to meet it is doubtful if we would have mustered up courage enough even to begin." Then Miss Haley proceeded to tell a story of injustice to a brave army of women, of political knavery, of official neglect of duty, of judicial corruption, of self-sacrifice, of long suffering and of final triumph over every conceivable obstacle. It was a story as fascinating as a novel, and as instructive as a course in civil government. Indeed, neither the public sclmols nor the universities dare tell the true in wardness of our modern municipal and state governments as it was exposed by this courageous woman who had met and vanquished poli ticians, corporations, ward heelers, subsidized newspapers and dis honest citizens. Ye have school houses in Chicago that are as unsanitary as the foulest sweat shops, said Miss Haley. "In more than one the water seeps up through the floor in damp weather, and shoeless children are coiiioelhd to tread nion these floors dav after day. In many rooms the teacher has from sixtv to seventv-five little ones in her care, and to them she must be at once instructor, mother, physician, seamstress and nurse. For doing all this work she received a smaller wage than the employe of the board of education who drives the school supply wagon, a smaller wage than the janitor. Her wages were pitifully small and had not been increased a oennv in twentv years. On the coutrary her annual pay had been reduced by a reduction of the length f the school rear. This was the situation in when the teachers of Chicago in heer desperation met in mass meeting and petitioned the board of education for relief. Then it was that Ih-. Harper of Chicago Univer- itv said that recognition of the petition would be a mistake, as it would be a recognition of organization; that if the faculty of Chicago University dared to submit such a petition it would mean instant dis missal. The board of education refused to grant the petition, claim- iuff that it had no monev to par out in increased salaries, Aot a. daily newspaper in Chicago even mentioned the facts as they existed, for reasons that will afterwards appear. The teachers wondered why a county so rich as Cook, and a city of such immense and growing wealth as Chicago could not pay decent wages to the educators who were molf ing the citizenship of "the future. One day a relative of Elizabeth (nWins hinted to her that perhaps a lot of the big taxpayers were dodging their taxes. "Just look up the law relating to the taxation of corporations and see if the law is being enforced, he whispered- Miss Goggin and Miss Haley were intimate friends, so the two of them put their heads together. They discovered that the law set forth that twporatious should be taxed on their capital stock and franchises. It took them a vear to discover all the facts a year in which they wpn snubbed, is-uored. insulted and denounced. But they persevered. They finally secured a certified copy of the state auditors report of the Cook eountv corporations listed for this tax. It showed just 12S cor porations listed, not a one of them a "going concern. They were all "dead ones. And at the same time six thousand live corporations were utterly ignored. They wondered how this occurred. Why were these corporations allowed to escape taxation, thus starving the schools Then they investigated, and this is what tney iouna: The Pullman company represented on. the school board by a gen 'ral attornev. The Stock Yards company represented on the school board by a . . . 5 general attorney. The Street Railway company represented on the school board by a general attorney. " The Gas company represented on the school board by a general attorney. Other corporations represented on the board by attorneys or con fidential agents and handy men. - Further investigation revealed. that the state board of equaliza tion, whose dnty it was to fix and levy the taxes was made up in a similar manner. Then they sought legal advice, and went to ex-Governor John P. " "I bad read about the mandamus, said Miss Haley, "and of how it was always effective when used against workingmen. 1 won lered if it could" be used against rich corporations. Governor Altgeld i.J.I IH we were on the right track, but said we would not succeed. The mandamus is the proper recourse,' he said, but no judge will dare issue it to compel the board of equalization to act. "But we were so ignorant that we determined to try it. anyhow. Miss Haley ami Miss Goggin marshalled all their facts and went Wfore Judge Thompson and asked for a writ of mandamus compelling the state board of equalization to act. Right here these two brave women saw their first ray of sunshine. Judge Thompson was an honest man, an upright judge, and he issued the mandamus, demand- ing that the board .of equalization act under a rule adopted twenty vears before and ever afterwards ignored. ; The members of the board of equalization, politicians all, laughed at Judge Thompson and re fused to act. Judge Thompson set the powerful machinery of his court in motion and the board of equalization was cited to appear arul show cause why its members should not be jailed for contempt. This was something new jailing men who were not mere greasy mechanics because they ignored a court's order. The board hastily met and ad journed sine die. Then the members went before Judge Thompson and said their hands were tied ; that they bad adjourned and couldn t obey the court's order. Judge Thompson, however, knew the law, and decide! that the board was a continuous body and always in a position to transact business. "Make this levy under your own rule or go to jail, said the judge. The board met, but m the meantime its bosses had secured an in junction from a federal judge restraining them from obeving the man damus issued by Judge Thompson. "All right, said Judge Thomp son, "obedience to the federal judge means jail for contempt of my order. "Obedience to Judge Thompson's mandamus means jail for ignoring my injunction, said the federal judge. And the Illinois state board of education for the first time in ihirtv -vears was moving around fast enough to get up perspiration. When the federal judge discovered that Judge Thompson meant business he crawfished, knowing fidl well that he could only -delay action, not prevent it. So the federal courts injunction was with drawn and the board of equalization met,' driven by the lash wielded by two determined little women, and obeyed the law. But they "edged away from it as far as they dared. They added $162,000,000 to the assessed valuation 1 inicago corporate propertv. xnen the sno- servient federal court got in its work and reduced this to $55,000,000. The "fixers who worked for the corporate taxdodgers could "fix ihe federal judge, but they couldn't "-fix Judge Thompson, although they tried it hard enough. But after four years of struggle Miss Haley and Miss Goggin went before the Chicago board of education and said : "Here is the sum of $250,000, the board of education's share of the taxes we have collected from the big tax dodgers. Xow you give the teachers the long promised increase, and pav them the back salaries due. Iid the board of education do it I Xo! It proceeded to spend the money otherwise, increasing the THE TEMPLE DIRECTORS. A Short Session That Frames Up a Big Publicity Scheme. The board ot directors of the Lin cola Labor Temple Building Associa tion: held m short but eventful session Monday evening. Arrangements were n;ad for a "publicity campaign' that will be Inaugurated next week, bat just what it is can not be weil men tioned at this time. Bat great re rulu are anticipated, and when the facta become known there will be something doing in the way ot get tUkg a Labor Temple started. This is a matter that baa been nnder con sideration tor some time, and it has been wonderfully helped along by n gentleman whose friendship tor anion labor nn been evidenced on more titan one occasion. - The entire time ot the meeting iu taken up In completing the plans for the forthcoming pubUtcity meeting. President Dickson was absent on ac count of illness, and Vice-President Chaplin occupied the chair. THE BARBERS. Just an Item or Two About Knights of Razor and Shears. The Detroit barbers who want a closed shop on Sunday told the coun cil committee on ordinances that As sistant Corporation Counsel Hally i gave them an opinion that sach an ordinance would be valid as tar as it concerned the public shops, but not those located in club houses or office buildings. The committee wiQ ask for an opinion in writing. There are 133381 barbers and hair dressers in the Vailed States. The anion barbers claim to hare a ma jority ot their trade in the anion. "Look for the shop card!' The best barber shops in Lincoln, dis play it The Lincoln local has made an other payment on Its Labor Temple stock. The "barber boys' are al ways on deck. prams' rxoniflL DAY, LTAV 31 Sunday, May 31. will be observed by Lincoln Typographical Union Xo. 209, and Capital Aux iliary Xo. 11, as "Printers Memorial day.' It was Lincoln Typographical Union that in augurated the movement which resulted in recogni tion of this annual observance by the International, and it is now a part of the general laws of the " organization. On the last Sunday in May of every year, printers all over the United States and Canada, meet to pay a tribute of respect and love tc the departed comrades of the craft. Lincoln printers, assisted by their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters will on that day lay the most fra grant blossoms upon the graves of those who have taken "30" from life's hook, and cashed their final "strings." Following is the program of ; the morning and afternoon services of the day: SUNDAY MORNING The Union and Auxiliary will meet at the north entrance of the State House, promptly at 10:15, and at 10:30 will proceed in a body to the First Baptist church. Rev. Samuel Zane Batten, pastor, will deliver the memorial sermon. Special music will be prepared for this occasion. SUNDAY AFTERNOON At 3:15 the Union and Auxiliary will meet at Fraternity hall, X street entrance, and at 3:30 take special cars to Wyuka cemetery. At the Typographical Union's burial lot special memorial exercises will be held. Song ''Nearer. My God, to Thee". .Assembly Prayer Rev. J. Miekel Kong 'Abide With Me-. auiu-a) Address L D. Woodruff Honorary Member Xo. Address J. R. Bain President Xo. 209 Decoration of Burial Lot Union and Auxiliary Doxology Assembly " Members of the Union and Auxiliary, and friends of the two organizations, are requested to bring flowers to the cemetery. But two of the twelve deceased members buried in Wynka are buried in the union's lot, and owing to the distances apart the entire decoration service will be held at the lot. The roll of the dead will be called, and as the name is called flowers will be spread upon the sod. Every member of the Union and Auxiliary is urged to attend both the morning and afternoon memorial services. pay of supply wagon drivers, janitors, coal heavers and clerks in the board's headquarters. The women who had forced the payment of the tax were not even given a "thank you." " During all this time Miss Halev and Miss Goggin had been worfc- ing at regular wages, not from the school board, but from the 5,(JO teachers of Chieago who had organized a society of their own. We 11 have to have some help," said Miss Halev. TVhere will we turn ?" "To your natural allies, said Miss Jane Addams of IIull hone fame. "And who are they ?' queried Miss Goggin. "Who but the fathers and mothers of the children who are being; robbed of their rightful educational advantages?" retorted Miss Ad dams. "The workinffmen and the workinsr women of Chieasr. The matter was submitted to a big meeting of teachers. "But that will put us in a class with the labor unions," cried ie horror-stricken teacher. "Yoivve been a labor union for four vears and didn't know it. retorted Miss Addams. "Xow plav the game out. Enlist the help of the men who are most interested in public education." " Then the teachers of Chicago organized the Chieago Teachers" Federation and asked for a charter from the American Federation of Labor. As soon as the charter was granted the Federation sent its delegations to the Chicago Trades and Labor CounciL There they told the story that the Chieago Tribune, the Chicago Xew3 and the Chicago Record-Herald had never dared to print. You bet we 11 help ! said the union men of Chicago. - - - And then the politicians, the tax shirkers, the "fixers" and all the corrupt elements in Chicago soeietv became panic stricken. "It's all off now; the teachers are going into politics." ' Thus, today the teachers of Chicago are enioving an increased wage and better consideration. The children of Chieago workingmen and women are getting better attention and training, and the unions of Chieago have received an inspiration from the work accomplished by a couple of women who are not snpposed to know anything about politics. "The moral is, said Miss Halev, "that von workingmen must give us women the ballot, and then well help to win a speedy victory. We may be ignorant of civic duty, but if we are any more ignorant cn that point than the average man, our situation is benighted indeed!." Xow why wouldn t the Tribune, the Xews and the Kecord-Herald help these women force the big corporations to contribute to the sup port of the public schools? It s a Ions storv if all the facts are told, but "corruption" lies at the bottom. The Tribune building is located on a site owned bv the board of education.. With it Hhter," a.- member, of the hoard and through his working hand in glove with the attorneys of the shirking; corporations, the Tribune got through a ninety-nine year lease at an annual rental of $47,000 and the site is worth $150,000 a year now and growing more valuable every year. See f And the Xews building is similarly situated. See ( And the man who owns the Chieagn Xews owns the Chicago Kecord-Herald. See? O, yes, the daily papers are all right. All this talk of their being subsidized or merely the mouthpieces of the corporations is all rot. And the labor paper that crys out against existing conditions is an "anarchist sheet," the editor is a "grafter" who is trying to blackmail successful men of affairs, and workingmen who claim to be genuine unionists let the poison of the dailies soak into their minds while they send back the labor paper marked "refused." -This is a bare skeleton of Miss IIaleyT3 address. In conclusion she pointed out that the only salvation for American wage earners was to resort to the ballot box. "You must do it for the sake f yourselves, vour wives and vour children. There is a concerted movement on the part of the American Manufacturers Association to make the public schools merely work shops in which your children may be trained to be the strikebreakers of tomorrow, the underpaid competitors of in sensate machines. Their talk of 'manual training is a farce and a fraud. They want to fit your children only for the hungry maws f the furnace, the mill, the mine and the factory. You must arouse, yourselves to political action and fight side by side. And who could help yon more in this coming political struggle than the brave wives who sacrifice with you every day!" Miss Haley closed with an exhortation to union men to never be come discouraged, never to "lay down," never to cry "quit," but to keep on fighting, no matter how gloomy, the prospect nor how bitter the opposition. The exhortation was an inspiration to the few union men present who had worked so hard and so earnestly to provide such a rare treat for two thousand men who failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Every man who heard Miss Haley last week would walk miles to hear her again. CENTRAL LABOR UNION. Brief Session on Account of Desire to Visit Carpenters. The Central Labor Tnion held a short session Tuesday evening; taking an early adjournment in order to al low the delegates to accept an invi tation to hear Mr. Williams' address before the Carpenters Union. The committee in charge of the label show and Miss Haley's meeting made a partial report. Not all of the anions have paid in their per capita share ot the expenses, but the committee is prepared to take care of all bilis. The label committee reported pro gress in its work of compiling a "la beled goods list, and was given far ther time. This is a work that win keep the comniitte busy at odd times for several months, bat the results -rill be worth while. The matter of securing an address by Raymond Robins was discussed, bat no definite action was taken. Mr. Robins can be secured for an address at a very small cost to the union men of the city, and they will be guilty of almost criminal neglect if they do mot take advantage of the oport salty. THE PLUMBERS, Picnic Fever is Becoming and Needs Attention. The union plumbers of Lincoln suc cumb to the picnic fever every spring, and just now the epidemic is beglsatng to make itself felt. A committee has -been appointed to provide the neces sary remedy, which is a picnic. The plumbers" picnics are always enjoy able. The one that will be held in the near future will be the "great-graadad-dy of all ptmnbers picnics, This is official. Two more plumbers are now prond possessors of nnion cards, having been obligated at the regular meeting of the Lincoln local last Monday night. Frank Best, who had a two months seige of typhoid fever, is now able to work, and the boys rejoice with hint in his recovery.