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Newspaper Page Text
SATURDAY, DEC. 4, 1920.
Mexican Women Work U
"We work from 7 o'clock in the morning until
8 or 9 o'clock at night all of the time. We cannot
go out for dinner but have to take a little lunch
with us and eat it when the boss is not looking. We
hardly ever work less than 13 hours a day and
more often it is 14 hours or even more."
The speaker was a thin, poorly-clad woman of
about 30 years. Her wan, drawn face told her
story better than the words she uttered. She was
one of the secretaries of the "Union de Tostadores
tie Cafe del Molino de la Fortaleza", which in
English is "Union of Toasters of Coffee of the
Ea Fortaleza Factory."
On Tuesday afternoon November 16, about 50
of the wretched employes of this little industrial
hen, marched over to the L W. W. hall at Pla
euela del Salto del Agua No. 17, Mexico City, and
told Carmen and Catal. Frias, two L W. W. girls,
the sordid story of their miserable servitude. All but
7 or 8 of the 50 were girls and women. Some got
as low as 25 centavos (12 American cents) a day
tor the 13 or 14 hours of toil. The average was 50
centavos (25 cents) daily and a few received the
munificent salaries of a peso ($1.00) .
The coffee workers had been reading of the
strikes all over Mexico, of the rapid growth of
Bolshevist ideas and the formation of the One
Big Union in various mills and factories. They de
cided they would have a One Big Union, too. A
meeting was held and officers were elected and
it was voted to make an immediate demand on the
wealthy owners of the coffee factory for a raise
in wages. No sooner had a committee visited the
proprietors than the whole union, en masse, was
fired. Labor is till cheap in Mexico and there
is plenty of human raw material to convert into
profits. If some balk, there are always others to
take their places.
The discharged workers had heard about the
I. W. W. and knew where the hall was. Without
further ado they marched to Salto del Agua
where they learned that a meeting was scheduled
for that very evening. At night they returned,
participating in a meeting of the general recruit
ing local of Mexico City, voted unanimously to
join the Mexican Administration of the I. W. W.,
Hours For 12i Cents a Day
A. E. Gale.
and were promptly accepted by the General
Executive Board as a branch of the Department
It was voted that all discharged workers should
present themselves at the factory as usual the
next morning. If, as was expected, they were
promptly ordered out, and reminded that they had
been fired, they were to go to the I. W. W. Hall
where Secretary-Treasurer Ciro Ecquivel would
accompany them to the Board of Conciliation and
Arbitration office and they would all put in a
demand for 3-month s wages as indemnification
for being discharged without just cause, in con
formity with the famous labor article of the Mexi
can constitution. It was considered better to do
this than to declare a strike, for in a strike there
would be no legal claim to the 3-months wages.
Meanwhile, unelss the workers were taken back
and unless increases of 200 and 300 in pay
were granted at once, a boycott was to be declared
against the owners of the "La Fortaleza" factory
and their product, the factory was to be picketted
to keep new slaves from coming there to work,
and sabotage was to be used to reinforce the de
mands of the new I. W. W. union.
As with hundreds of other factories in Mexico,
this is the first time the "La Fortaleza" coffee
makers ever had a union. And this original union
of theirs is an industrial, not a craft union. It
is a little thing in the Mexican class struggle but
a straw that shows how the wind blows.
! COMMUNISM and CHRISTIANISM jj
i Analyzed and Contrasted from the Viewpoint of '!
By Bishop WilUam Montgomery Brown. D. D.
The author, an Episcopalian ecclesiastic, has suqare- !
i ly renounced all theology and unreservedly accepted !
the Marxian philosophy of economic determinism. In
this book, just out, he approaches the subject from a j
j new angle and has producod a propaganda work that i
i will be of intense interest to all students of social '
j! ism, especially to those who are still in close touch i
with church people. Paper, 184 pages, 25 cents, !
: postpaid. ;
; THE BRADFORD-BROWN EDUCATIONAL CO., INC.
BROWNELLA BOOK SHOP, QALION, OHIO.
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