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Newspaper Page Text
EVEN AT A BANQUET FIGHTING SPIRIT OF
WOMEN WORKERS IS CONTAGIOUS BY JANE WHITAKER What the bugle call is to the sol-J mer, tne smell of powder-to tne 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 to do it, therefore it will be done. And Agnes Nestor, president of the Chicago Women's Trade Union league, never speaks thoughtlessly, f ) 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 tley 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 0) only woman serving in this capacity. Miss Mabel Gillespie, secretary of the Boston league and a-member of 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 fells why. It is good because the findings of the commission have been spread ?irfW' s--r s . ,- ,.. -x ,.