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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, May 12, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 5

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-05-12/ed-1/seq-5/

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LEADERS OF THE WAITRESSES' UNION ARE
GIRLS WHO NEVER ADMIT DEFEAT
BY JANE WHITAKER
Just as we are forced to admire heroes by a very knowledge that they
are more brave than the rank and file, so we are forced to admire leaders,
whether leaders of men or of women, because they possess some1 controlling
force, -some dominant characteristic that the rest of us lack."
Sometimes, in a mean spirit of envy, we say that it is only opportunity
that has made them leaders and that we would have occupied the position,
as well had the opportunity come to us.
But I do not think that is true, and the more one studies the character
of these people who lead, the more one is compelled to admit that had op
portunity not knocked at their doors they would have gone out and found
v opportunity and throttled it to do their bidding. '
Two of the leaders who have won my great admiration are Carrie
. Alexander; president of the Waitresses' Union, and Elizabeth Maloneyr sec
retary, business agent and international organizer of the same unibn. -
Carrie Alexander is a very young woman, but she will tell you with a
smile that she has been a waitress since she was twelve, when she started
by washing silver and glassware because she was the oldest of ten father
less children.
She is the type of girl you would plck'out of any assemblage as an un
usual woman; she has an expression' about her- mouth and her eyes that
somehow tells you she is not one of
those who follow where others lead.
And yet if you should listen to her
dealing with the girl strikers who are
doing picket duty you would be
amazed at her 'softness, at her solici
tude, until you heard her laugh in
that "understanding" way that lets
you know that beneath her desire for
the success, of this battle for organ
ization and a decent living wage lies
sympathy with the girls who must
go out on the street,' endure the gaze
of the curious, listen silently to the
taunts of strikebreakers and some
times the obscene remarks of cow
ardly men.
Before I knew Elizabeth Maloney
personally I had listened to her ad
dress several meetings of the State
street and the Milwaukee avenue
store girls wjien they were attempt
tfgn to organize. ,
I had admired fhen her clear, keen
' out advice to them, her scorn of any
'compromise, her call to their courage
that always won applause and renew
ed effort.
But only after -I knew her person
ally did I discovcR-thate-works
harder than any woman' I have ever
known.
She seems to be tireless. Whether
she is fighting down at Springfield for
legislation to help working girls, or
whether she is meeting employers
and endeavoring to persuade them to
grant a living wage without the ne
cessity of a battle, or whether she is
denying that the blackest defeat" is
defeat at all, she is always indomit
able, always alert, always courage
ous, and always gentle.
Elizabeth Maloney first came into
the union through' the strike of the
waitresses and cooks at the Fair in
1907. That strike was lost and. she
became 'secretary of the Waitresses'
Union. She has held that position
ever since with the exception of six
months, when she went out of the
work, only to find the call too strong
for her, and she returned. -
Of the strikes she has been
through, one, like the Henrici and
the Knab strikes, seemed almost lost '
because of the action of judges in
deciding' against labor and for the
employers.
fa vr irM liiiliilitfiiiiaMirili

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