The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-????, May 30, 1908, Image 1

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VOIt. 3
NO. 9
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
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
Iid the board of education do it I
Xo! It proceeded to spend the money otherwise, increasing the
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.
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
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
Following is the program of ; the morning and
afternoon services of the day:
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.
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
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
"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
"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.
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.
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
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.