Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1922 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
IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHETHER YOU HEAR
BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY! QUEER ISN'T IT?
Queer, isn't it?
A sub-committee of the house in
dustrial relations committee came up
from Springfield to investigate con
ditions under which women workers
of Chicago are employed.
The object was to find out wheth
er or not an eight-hour day law
would be beneficial to the health and
home life of women workers.
The committee, of which Rep. Jas.
M. Pace, said to run a hotel at Ma
comb, McDonough county, is chair
man, held its sessions in the East
Room of the LaSalle hotel.
Most of thev witnesses examined
were hotel employes and this is the
strange part nearly all of the wit
nesses, supposed working women,
said they would rather work longer
than eight hours a day. They so
love to peel potatoes in the hotel
basement kitchen or watch spindles
in a factory that they are sorry when
the evening whistle blows to tell
them they can go home.
Perhaps they're right about not
being eager to get "home." Home, or
the hall bedroom, must not be a
cheery place for women whose cir
cumstances are such that they must
do the work that some do tor the
pitiful wages they get
There was quite a line-up of wit
nesses at that legislative committee
hearing of women wEtTwork for the
LaSalle hotel. And they told of
splendid working conditions in the
big hostlery. Miss McKay, house
keeper, told hdw the girls had their
own quarters, their own diningroom
and chef, how that when they were
ill they were given free medical at
tention and leave of absence with
pay and how they were then per
mitted to order their meals from the
A Day Book reporter heard Miss
McKay and the other LaSalle hotel
witnesses tell their story to the com
mittee, "I'll have to look into this'
he said to the city editor. "If the
LaSalle is doing for its girls half
what some of its employes told the
committee, then we ought to give it
a story on the first page to let the
public know of the -fine way one
hotel treats its workers."
So The Day Book man went to
the LaSalle hotel. He did not inter
view Manager Stevens. He did not'
talk to Housekeeper Miss McKay, to
any of the floor managers, foreladies,
chefs, or superintendents. He talk
ed to chambermaids and scrubwom
en. He heard some things that made
him wonder why some of these
things were not' told to the legis
lative committee which sat in the
That chambermaids receive $22.50
a month, a room and alleged board.
The rooms are under the laundry,
where the mangles and heavy ma
chinery often raises such racket that
sleep is next to impossible.
The food, according to nearly a
dozen girls to whom the reporter
talked, is, as one girl put it, "abom
inable." "The bread is mostly dried out, the
meat tough, the boiled potatoes black
and soggy, the cooking wretched,"
they said. "The desert is generally
rice pudding or bread pudding. The
rice pudding is not bad, but often the
bread pudding is just a gewwy,
sticky, undercooked mass of bread
and something that mostly goes un
eaten." None of those to whom the report
er talked had ever heard of a sick
woman worker getting orders from
the guests' menu. They told of an
instance where a girl was told she
must go back to work or get out and
she dragged herself to a sister's
house, scarcely able to walk.
Most of the LaSalle girl workers
live four in a room. There is no par
lor, rest room or reading room foe