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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 30, 1913, Image 2

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

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-04-30/ed-1/seq-2/

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Fit2gcrald and C: Fred Mortimer, the
two attorneys who were" leading the
claque, pux-out of the room.
The most pitiful story of all per
haps was that tokTby.Mrs. Ella Mor
ris, 35 years old, a widow, .and the
sole support of a little babyf
'Mrs. "Morris went to work for the
shoe trust seveif months ago, after
her husband had died and left her
alone in the world.
She was a strong healthy woman
then. She was haggard and wan of
face, thin of body and half-starved
looking when she took the stand last
Mrs. Morris' work was to label fac
tory products. She was given no
sponge. She had to use her tongue.
And the gum of the labels poisoned
Simply she told her story, and the
effect of it on the commission "was
only the greater. But the hirelings
of Big Business who -crowded the
room only sneered at her. And once
Bill Alexander, the shoe trust's brutal
foreman, laughed aloud.
"I was given $5 a week when I
- first went to work for the Interna
tional Shoe Company," she said.
"Now, at. the end of seven months,
I am getting $8.
"I camfolive on that and support
my'baby properly.
"And the work there is so hard,
and: the foremen so brutal. Foreman
Hollis always has been unjust and
cruel to toe.
"I had to" dampen labels with my
tongue because no sponge was given
'-'The gum of the labels poisoned
me. Large, running sores formed in
my mouth.
"I became sick. I had to go to a
"The doctor there told me the gum
on. the. labels caused my sickness.
"My foreman at the factory knew
what had made me sick."
"Did the factory pay your hospital
bill?" asked Senator Juul.
r The -idea seemed amusing to the
tired-faced;little woman." Sh& smiled.
. Not a cent," shV said, "tf "still am
paying the doctor $1 a week. It "was
in January I.had,to ,go. to the hos
pital,, but I still need treatment."
"tt has been charged by certain
interested parties that- the commis
sion is dolngyou ari injustice by call
ing you before it,"-sald Senator Juul.
"Do you think so?"
"Certainly not," said the little
Voman. "You are doing all .working
girls and women a great service."
Twelve girls, all young, followed
Mrs. Morris in rapid succession.
The testimony of almost every one
was the same miserably small wages,
hard work, long hours, and brutal
"I am fifteen years old," said Hadie
Prom. "Iet $3.60 a'week. Bill Alex
ander always is swearing at us girls."
"I am seventeen years old," said
Ella Ehlert. "I started in at $3.5Q.' a
week. Last week I worked 59 hours.
I got $6.82."
"Iam sixteen years old," said Marc
garet Blotter. "Bill Alexander has
cursed me and shaken me and
thrown' cases at me. He cursed me
and told me not to tell anything he
said tos us to this commission."
"I get $4 a week," said Margaret
.Brennan. "Bill Alexander always is
swearing at the girls."
"I am sixteen years old," said Mary
Casper. "I worked ten hours a day
for five and a half days last week and
got $3'.67 for it."
Margaret Lee gave testimony that
waB even more extraordinary, and
showed up one of the shoe trust's
methods of swindling its own em
ployes. .
"I am sixteen," she said. "I start
ed in at $3 a week. I make from $5
to $7 a week on piecework now. I
work fifty-nine hours a week.
"I get from two and one-half cents
to six cents on every seyenty-two
shoes., it i spoil three.in a case I am
fined five cents.
"I have heard Foreman Hollis
swearing at girls." ' '

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