Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
WHY ADJUST WAGES
By Jane Whitaker. "
"Work! work! work!
While the cock is crowjng aloof!
And work work work,
Till -the stars shine through the
. She was perhaps eighteen, aene
mic, with a face that was drained of
all color; eyes that were strained, and
oh, so weary; amouth set in a
straight, tense line, though It looked
as though it had heen wrinkled into
smiles in the long ago before its
owner faced life's grim realities.
She bent perplexedly over some
cheap navy blue .serge that looked
black under the electric light, and she
pushed the pattern this way and that,
picked up the scissors to cut, grew
afraid and laid them down.
Her teacher hastened to her as
sistance, and whea the necessary in
structions had been given, said to
"I try to help her a great deal be
cause the poor child needs a dress
"Does she work?" I asked, realiz
ing ,the folly of my question, since
only a girl who works by day will
learn to sew by night. ,
"Yes," the teacher repned, and
moved away, so I turned and studied
the other girls in the room.
They were all like the little eighteen-year-old;
only some of them
were many year's more" than eighteen
"and one or two were less. They were
all tired; some of them bit their lips
nervously; all of them were drawing
on a vitality almost exhausted, all of
them worked with stooped shoulders.
They wei'e being taught at night
in the p'riblic schools to sew in order
that they might be able to dress as
'well as live on he pittance they are
paid for their labor. "
What would you think of a1" man
whp got out and tried to push a car
along the track just because the con-
BY HARDER WORK?
ductor refused to put the pole back
on the wire?
Yet it is just as absurd to con
stantly invent ways by which work
ers may make the starvation wage
they receive cover life's necessities,
instead of forcing employers to pay
a higher wage. ' (
And it is more than absurd. In a
case where it necessitates laboring
into the night as well as through-the
day, t is criminal. Already, because
of the pressure of economic condi
tions, the cry has gone forth that but
a few of the present day girls are fit
to fulfill the mission for which they
were created motherhood.
A woman physician has declared
that the girls of today are nervous
wrecks. Well, Tvhat does the indus
trial world do to conserve girls'
nerves ? They stand all day in stores
and must, by the rules of their em
ployers, smile if their feet ache, smile
if their heads ache, smile if. their
backs 'ache, until every nerve is
racked to madness. -
Or they-work in offices where they
are permitted to sit down, but where
they are rushed from morning until
night, forced, to work at a speed that
keeps every nerve so highly tensioned
that I "have seen girls -cry when the
day was over and not know just why
they cried. .
And to this, we will add the labor
of sewing at night, of sitting hunched
up with the lungs unable to expand,
with the eyes strained, matching
dark colors and lightt not only "until
the, stars shine through the roof," but
often until the light of stars has gone
out of the"sky. v t,
To nie it seems inhuman. I am not
criticizing the Board of Education in
its work of conducting classes to
teach sewing or any other thing, so
long as these classes are: for those
who careto acquire this knowledge,
but when economic conditions make
it necessary that girls sh'all learn how
to sew iu order that they may spend