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Newspaper Page Text
THE DETERMINATION BEHIND BIG WOMEN
LOOKS TOO STRONG FOR THEM TO QUIT
BY JANE WHITAKER
It was wittL.amusement that I heard of the meeting of Big Business to
coerce Hull House",through Miss Jane Addams and Miss Mien Gates Starr,
into withdrawing its support of the girl waitresses on strike at HenricL's
restaurant for an 8 wage and one day of rest in seven.
I felt amused for two reasons. In the first place, I had talked to Miss
Starr, the day she was arrested for protesting as a citizen against the arrest
of girl pickets who were not in any way breaking the law, and I knew then
that nothing would ever intimidate her and that deep in her heart was a
big determination to be loyal to the girls, even though it entailed the dis
agreeable experience of arrest by city policemen protecting the interests of
And my second reason for amusement was the fact that J. R. Thorne
of Montgomery Ward & Company presided at that meeting of Big Business.
This is real inconsistent of Thorne. Ha must have forgotten that he
submitted a list to the O'Hara Welfare Commission in which he showed
that the least a girl could live on was $8 a week and then only if she did not
have any laundry done.
Thorne claimed he obtained this list from one of his women employes
to whom he paid $8 a week. The list follows:
"Room, $3; breakfasts, 40 cents; lunches, 90 cents; dinners, $1.40; car
fare, 60 cents, and clothes 1.70."
Of course you will admit that 40
cents for breakfasts, which allows
a fraction over 5 cents a morning, is
the minimum amount a girl may
spend, as is every other item on the
carefully prepared list.
But though the girl who submitted
the list might have been permitted by
the generous Mr. Thorne to work
without having any laundry work
done, restaurant keepers will assure
you they insist that waitresses at
least wear clean aprons, and as this
is no inconsiderable item, even
Thome's carefully prepared, stingy
list of expenses included in an $8
wage would not cover the . expenses
of the waitresses.
Again, 60 cents for carfare only
covers six days of work a week and
these girls are. at present working
seven days, so they would be ten
cents carfare short on even an $8
Of course, since Montgomery Ward
& Company doe's not, so far as the
public knows, work girls on Sunday,
it could not be that Thorne was ob
jecting to the one' day of rest, though
the majority of employers in the Em
ployers' Association do work girl em
ployes on Sundays, and in some in
stances have the blinds drawn while
they do it.
And certainly, since by Thome's
own figures, a waitress could not get
along on even $8 a week, he could
not be protesting against an $8 wage.
Therefore, we must assume that.
Thome is just a figure-head incon
sistently .backing the employers
against any fight that girls may wage
for decent working conditions.
But he was rather foolish to pre
side at a meeting called to attempt to
coerce Jane Addams, for the name of
Jane Addams is, from coast to. coast,
synonymous with the struggle of wo
men to obtain better conditions, and
she is known throughout the wprld
as the friend of oppressed women.
I visited Miss Nestor, president of
the Women's Trade Union League,
and recently elected by President Wil
son as a member of the Industrial,
Commission, and. asked her what she
thought of this latest horse-play of