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Newspaper Page Text
cupied the stand for the greater
part of the session, one entire
hour being given to revelations of
filth and disease in different can
neries. Twenty-eight out of forty
young children working in a fac
tory at Fairport, N. Y., were suf
fering from a virulent skin dis
ease, according to the charges of
Miss O'Reilly. The camp where
the workers lived was on a
swamp, with no provision for
bathing or drinking.
In a Marion, N. Y., plant, the
witness asserted, she found six
women at work packing tomatoes
with hands so infected from skin
diseases that they were obliged to
"But they sterilized the cans,"
added the witness sarcastically.
"So I suppose they sterilized the
"Everything that can walk or
crawl can be found in these
places," said Miss O'Reilly, re
ferring to canneries between Al
bany and Rochester.
"Rats are so plentiful that
women workers fear they will be
attacked. The employers boast
they never go near the camps
where their 'herds' of employes
"I have seen girls working in
pen sheds where the filth on the
floor, ceilings and walls gave rise
to a stench that was almost un
bearable. I have seen old men,
women and little children from 5
to 10 years of age, nearly all af
flicted with scalp and skin dis
eases, working 10 to 15 hours a
day for mfre pittances.
''In the living shack of one can-(
nery I saw a woman feed a sick
baby with a spoonful of con
densed milk that had dead flies
" 'We feed this to the baby all
the time,' the woman told me.
"One little boy who had been
working in the canneries returned
to his home. His mother insisted
he go to church.
" 'Oh, cut it out there ain't no
God,' replied the child.
The canneries are generally on
the outskirts of villages, Miss
O'Reilly said, where no attention
was paid to sanitary conditions.
In most places village officials
were employes of the cannery.
In one cannery the girls work
ed ten to twelve hours o day, and
were paid six to ten cents an
"One of the women," said the
witness, "told me she had worked
sixteen hours a day for over a
month, and that lately she 'had
been seeing specks.' All of the
girls were afflicted with a skin
Frank F. Garrett, secretary of
the National Canners' associa
tion, followed Miss O'Reilly.
Garrett bitterly denounced "sen
sational newspapers" for. the pub
licity given Miss O'Reilly's orig
inal work, and insisted the can
ners of the country would wel
come the federal probe proposed
in the Allen resolution.
But the committee was im
impressed with the statements
and photographs of Miss O'Reil
ly. This was plainly indicated
when they ordered that further-