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The day book. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 24, 1916, NOON EDITION, Image 30

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-01-24/ed-1/seq-30/

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EVEN AT A BANQUET FIGHTING SPIRIT OF
WOMEN WORKERS IS CONTAGIOUS
BY JANE WHITAKER
What the bugle call..is to the sol
dier, the smell of powder to the war
horse even the red rag to the bull
a meeting of working women is to
me. I never attend such a meeting
and listen to the unqualified chal
lenge of working women to the pow
erful forces of big business that I do
not want to fight, however peaceful
I may have felt when I started to the
meeting.
Therefore my feeling after I had
attended the dinner given in honor
of Mrs. -Raymond Robins, national
president of the Women's Trade
Union league, and other national
representatives Saturday night was
no exception to the rule. But I did
have to smile as I found myself look
ing speculatively at my typewriter
when I reached my home at 11:30 at
night with the idea of writing a call
to working women to awaken to the
necessity of unionism that they
might take advantage of the sublime
courage, the marvelous strategic ma
nipulation and the admirable con
tempt for the forces that oppose
them of the women who are leaders
in the Women's Trade Union league.
What I would have accomplished had
I started writing a story at that hour
of the night would have been a pro
test from indignant mortals disturbed
in their slumber.
A woman so small she could be
tucked under one's arm, yet so big
in courage and mentality that she is
feared by big interests the moment
she champions a cause, states in a
very matter of fact way that it is
necessary to add at least a thousand
new members to the league in the
next year, so that when the league
sends its delegates to the legislature
or the city council those bodies may
realize the power behind the dele
gates. She very simply outlines how
such a campaign may be conducted
.successfully. The league has decided i
to do it, therefore it will be done.
And Agnes Nestor, president of the
Chicago Women's Trade Union
league, never speaks thoughtlessly,
which was probably one of the rea
sons she was put on a national com
mission by the president of the Unit- )
ed States.
With a laugh and a jest, a woman
even smaller than Agnes Nestor rises
to speak. She is so small that wo
men in the rear of the room ask her
to stand on a table. Melinda Scott,
however, is one of the best known
women labor leaders in the country.
She is a hat trimmer by trade and
president of the New York league,
as well as vice president of the na
tional organization.
She excoriates welfare work given
the workers to blind them to the need
of organization. She tells of girls
who work 12 hours on the night shift
at Perth Amboy, New Jersey, for less
than $8 a week. She mentions the
lost struggle for women's votes in
the east as she says, with a smile,
that women are not considered fit to
make their own laws, but still with a
smile she adds that they will again
have an opportunity of talking suf
frage and trades unionism on the
street corners of New York city and'
New Jersey, where for two months
last autumn 100 meetings a night
were held.
Recently Gov. Whitman of New
York appointed Miss Scott a member
of the state industrial council the
only woman serving in this capacity.
Miss Mabel Gillespie, secretary of
the Boston league and a member of 0
the Massachusetts minimum wage
commission, speaks drolly, but with
telling effect.
Massachusetts has the minimum
wage commission. It is a good thing,
says Miss.Gillespie. Then, in a few
terse sentences, she tells why.
It is good because the findings of
the commission have been spread-

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