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". . . I was told that a union exists among the employers so that they may the more readily dictate wages . . . I suggested that the girls organize themselves for protection . . ."
St. Paul Globe 1888-04-22
". . . last week I visited one of the largest branches of industry in the city -- the laundries. Their number is legion, grading up from the shanty owned and run by a single 'heathen Chinee' to the large brick blocks equipped with improved machinery and employing many operatives."During my travels, I have explored nearly every establishment in the city, and find a certain class of evils exist even among the best . . . "
St. Paul Globe 1888-04-15
". . .I was walking the same floors that three other guards had walked before they were stabbed and beaten to death less than three months earlier.This was the Pontiac prison's North Cell House, and all around were eerie reminders of the July 22nd riot. Only recently had plastic been put up to cover the broken windows. The four-tier cell house was lit by only a handful of bulbs; there should have been 10 times as many, but no one had replaced the smashed lights or repaired the wiring. . ."
The Evening IndependentThe Chicago Tribune 1978-11-15
". . .Food was piled everywhere. That made life easy for the mice and roaches I'd seen around. The odor of rotted food filled the air. Dirty utensils were scattered about. The floor look and felt as though it had been waxed with slime.In my week as a guard at the Pontiac prison, I had become used to scenes like this one on the cellhouse tiers. The inmates had been looked in their 9-foot by 5-foot cells for almost three months, ever since the July 22 riot in which three guards were killed. Frustrated by the "deadlock," the inmates had retaliated by hurling food and excrement from their cells, fouling their own environment. . ."
The Evening IndependentThe Chicago Tribune 1978-11-16
". . .The cellblock was filled with trash, excrement and spoiled food, all of it soaked with water that collected in puddles. The air reeked of tear gas. Mace and smoke. A pile of bedding was on fire, and all the windows were closed. Men in the cells began screaming and clanging on the bars.This may sound like a description of the Pontiac state prison at the height of the riot there last July, when three guards were killed and three others seriously injured. And so it might have been in July. But this was Pontiac on October 11, almost three months after the riot; it was the scene as I entered the segregation cellblock to begin my first day as a prison guard. . ."
The Evening IndependentThe Chicago Tribune 1978-11-14
"A month after I left the fields of North Carolina, I returned to tie up loose ends. I wanted to find Billy Bongo and ask him why he failed to provide the work he promised me and eight other D.C. men, and why he sold us to a crew leader for $150 before disappearing without a trace."I wanted to ask migrant crew leader Elijah Hudson why he paid Billy Bongo to drive us all the way from Washington and why, after allowing us to sleep in a bunkhouse teeming with worms and insects, he refused to give us food or jobs. I wanted to ask crew leader Clarence Dozier Jr. why he sold his men wine and cigarettes at exorbitant prices and why, with few exceptions, he paid me and others far less than the federally mandated minimum wage . . ."
The Washington Post 1983-10-14
"Five days after Billy Bongo drove us to North Carolina to work as migrants, seven out of an original gang of nine from Washington, myself included, remained."The other six were divided evenly into two camps of opinion: Those who hated the mosquito-infested living quarters and the $1-an-hour work, but felt minimum-wage jobs might come their way if they stayed, and those who believed they had been conned and that their best bet was to head home to the city where they once again could hustle for better work and money . . . "
The Washington Post 1983-10-13
"Three days away from Washington, my values changed. The most important items I owned were now a red plastic bucket to collect tomatoes, a Syrofoam cup to drink camp wter that tasted of rust and a plastic fork to consume an evening allotment of okra, grits, pig ears, tails or knuckles."My skin was raw from sunburn and I began to reek of sweat. I had no change of clothes and the only shirt I owned had been stolen, leaving me with one pair of tennis shoes, a pair of socks, blue jeans and a V-neck T-shirt, all of which were turning the reddish-brown color of North Carolina soil . . ."
The Washington Post 1983-10-12
"Clarence Dozier Jr.'s migrant labor camp was equipped with five ramshackle outhouses, four wooden bungalows, three moldy shower stalls, two large outdoor sinks, a soda machine and a jukebox. It was littered with cigarette butts, catfish skeletons, chicken bones, pig knuckles, dead cockroaches and waterbugs, and empty 'Three Peaches' wine bottles . . . "
The Washington Post 1983-10-11
"Snug behind the steering wheel, a toothpick sticking out of the corner of his mouth, Billy Bongo was in a great mood. He had done very well for himself in the streets of Washington, picking up nine men willing to work as migrants in the fields of North Carolina."I and the eight others were perched on rusty metal benches anchored to the walls of Billy Bongo's van and, as it belched and rattled its way out of the city on I-95 heading south, an almost palpable feeling of tension and mystery filled the bus . . ."
The Washington Post 1983-10-10
"For five hot and dusty weeks this summer I'd waited at SOME House to hear those words."I arrived there at dawn each morning, eager to explore a mysterious phenomenon known in the slums of Washington as 'the Bus,' a motley assortment of vans that show up at public parks, unemployment offices, sherlters and soup kitchens a dozen times or more from July to November to load up with men desperate for work. "Some have given the Bus a more ominous name -- the Black Dispatch . . ."
The Washington Post 1983-10-09
"The Atlanta-based conglomerate, whose holdings lie throughout the Southeast and beyond, changed both its primary business and its corporate name over these decades. It first grew into one of the nation's largest manufacturers of ice; then, when that market soured, it innovatively entered the emerging field of convenience stores and became a national leader in that endeavor."
Atlanta Constitution 1979-12-05
IIA-"The Underpaid and Under-Protected" - Chester Goolrick and Paul Lieberman - Atlanta Constitution
"The uses of the gum have changed. But to a remarkable degree, the naval stores or turpenting industry has not changed. Centuries after its founding in the colonies, the industry still is virtually without mechanization and almost totally dependent on hand labor. The laborers, almost all of them still black, work for pay often below current standards."
Atlanta Constitution 1979-12-02
"The money paid in turpentining is not much when matched against contemporary pay standards, even the minimum wage. Turpentining is one of America's oldest industries—started soon after colonization, then flourishing in the woods of the Southeast under slavery—and, to a remarkable degree, the industry has resisted both mechanization and social change. . . . "
Atlanta Constitution 1979-12-02
"The bosses treated you mean back then. If you didn't do it, you wouldn't get nothin', and if you did do it, you'd only get half of what you did. They used to beat 'em, used to kill 'em, they used to do everything to colored. I was on a job once in Blue Creek, Florida. Ain't no timber there now. Well, the 'skeeters was so bad, people jus' wouldn't work, and 'cause the people wouldn't take the 'skeeters, the man would go to the house and beat 'em up, jump on their wives, wouldn't allow them to come back."
Atlanta Constitution 1979-12-01
Atlanta Constitution 1979-12-01
"Brackish swamp water rises above Clifford Giles' ankles, and thorny brush pulls at his broad shoulders and back as he makes his way from one towering pine to another, bucket in hand. It is midsummer in the south Georgia woods, hot — very hot — and steamy. Giles, with an irritated grunt, slaps at his face to chase away the swarming mosquitos and horseflies. Sweat pours from his body."
Atlanta Constitution 1979-12-01
Intro: "The Underpaid and Under-Protected" - Chester Goolrick and Paul Lieberman - Atlanta Constitution
"This six-part report on 'The Underpaid and Under-Protected' was researched by Paul Lieberman, Chester Goolrick, Lee May, Charlene Smith-Williams and Steve Johnson. The articles were written by Lieberman and Goolrick. All of the pictures for the first two day's reports were photographed by Calvin Cruce."The series won the 1980 Grand Prize in the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards."
Atlanta Constitution 1979-12-01
"A strange holiday, this!" some may be ready to exclaim. And in truth, such it seemed to me after the idea of offering myself had suggested itself. But the locality was attractive, and the novelty of the work had a sort of fascination. So Iwent; and being much interested in what I saw and heard, I have thought others might be interested too in my experience.
The Quiver (Britain) 1878-01-01
"It's hard to imagine a parent who wants the cute outfits she buys for her child to be made by exhausted women with children of their own whom they rarely see because they're putting in 16-hour days."
Ms. Magazine 1996-01-01
"The steel doors opened into a dim, dusty warehouse. Red and blue rags covered the four windows, shutting out all natural light. Bundles of cut cloth sat piled in haphazard mounds, some stacked taller than a worker. Under fluorescent lights swinging from chains, rows of middle-aged Chinese women hunched over sewing machines, squinting and silent. . . . "
The New York Times 1995-03-12
ABC News 1992-11-05
"At the beginning of June 1998 I leave behind everything that normally soothes the ego and sustains the body -- home, career, compansion, reputation, ATM card -- for a plunge into the low-wage workforce. There, I become another, occupationally much diminished 'Barbara Ehrenreich' -- depicted on job-application forms as a divorced homemaker whose sole work experience consists of housekeeping in a few private homes. I am terrified at the beginning, of being unmasked for what I am: a middle-class journalist setting out to explore the world that welfare mothers are entering, at the rate of approximately 50,000 a month, as welfare reform kicks in. . . . "
"We do abortions here; that is all we do. There are weary, grim moments when I think I cannot bear another basin of bloody remains, utter another kind phrase of reassurance. So, I leave the procedure room in the back and reach for a new chart . . . "
"The cellblock is locked down and we are looking for knife cuts. The Latin Kings have been attacking the Bloods, and vice-versa. Not en masse - just stealth encounters, stabbings without warning. One incident provokes the next. The lockdowns are in their third day, but each time we let the inmates out, another one of them gets attacked. . . . "
The New Yorker 2000-04-03
"Morgan City, La. - In the early 1800s, when labor shortages threatened to stop the expansion of sugar-cane cultivation in this swampy part of southern Louisiana, some European settlers seized the opportunity to strike it rich by selling slaves to the landowners. Soon the slave trade flourished throughout St. Mary's Parish. Traders became wealthy plantation owners, and their descendants are still among the socially prominent here. . . . "
Wall Street Journal 1983-06-23
"On arriving in Chicago I addressed myself to the ladies of Hull House, asking for a tenement family who would take a factory girl to board. ... Before the hour was up, I had found a clean room in one street, and board in another. This was inconvenient, but safe, and comparatively healthy ..."
Everybody's Magazine 1903-01-01
IV-"Toilers of the Home: A College Woman's Experience as a Domestic Servant" - Lillian Pettengill - Everybody's Magazine
Everybody's Magazine 1903-06-01
III-"Toilers of the Home: A College Woman's Experience as a Domestic Servant" - Lillian Pettengill - Everybody's Magazine
Everybody's Magazine 1903-05-01
II-"Toilers of the Home: A College Woman's Experience as a Domestic Servant" - Lillian Pettengill - Everybody's Magazine
Everybody's Magazine 1903-04-01
I- "Toilers of the Home: A College Woman's Experience as a Domestic Servant" -Lillian Pettengill -Everybody's Magazine
Everybody's Magazine 1903-03-01
Everybody's Magazine 1903-03-01
"Editor's Note: As you will remember from last month, our intrepid reporter had adopted a false name (Marie Ochs), answered a classified ad ("Yes, it's true! Attractive young girls can now earn $200-$300 a week at the fabulous New York Playboy Club...") and survived two interviews and a tryout in costume to be hired as a Playboy Club Bunny. After a fitting for false eyelashes, a physical examination, a Bunny Mother Lecture, a Bunny Father Lecture, two indoctrination sessions in Bunny School to learn drink-serving rituals, a study of the Bunny Bible and the revelation that nearly all Bunnies are required to stuff their bosoms, Marie had been called into emergency service at the hat-check stand. "As the story reopens, our undercover Bunny is preparing for her very first night's exposure 'on the floor.'"
Show Magazine 1963-06-01
"9 to Nowhere -- These Six Growth Jobs Are Dull, Dead-End, Sometimes Dangerous" - Tony Horwitz - Wall Street Journal
Morton, MIss. -- They call it "the chain," a swift steel shackle that shuttles dead chickens down a disassembly line of hangers, skinners, gut-pullers and gizzard cutters. The chain has been rattling at 90 birds a minute for nine hours when the woman working feverishly beside me crumples onto a pile of drumsticks. "No more," she whimpers. A foreman with a stopwatch around his neck rushes up. "Come on now," he bellows. "Pump it up.!" Down the chain, a worker named Jose yells and waves wildly, like a drowning man. Bathroom trips are discouraged and require approval. But the foreman can't hear because of the din, and Jose is left grimacing and crossing his legs. Finally, half an hour later, a weary cheer ripples along the line. "The last bird's coming!" someone shouts. Jose sprints toward the bathroom -- and right into the path of a cleanup crew hosing offal into floor drains. Jose slips and then flops onto a sodden bank of fat and skin. "Gotta go," he says, struggling up from the mire. "Gotta go."
Wall Street Journal 1994-12-01
"So the Slave Market is back. "And it is back to stay unless something is done to kill it off quickly. "A lot of people, aroused by its rebirth in The Bronx, Brighton Beach, Brownsville and elsewhere, are already fighting to beat back its advance. They want no return of conditions that existed during hte last depression when wages were driven down to 25 cents an hour."
New York Compass 1950-01-12
"As I stood there waiting to be bought, I lived through a century of indignity. . . ." " 'I've always picked nice girls,' she said. 'I knew you were nice the minute I laid eyes on you.' " "That pat on the back was worse in a way than a kick in the teeth."
New York Compass 1950-01-11
Get a pencil and write it down: Without national legislations, there is little hope of cleaning up the California garment industry. Remember it and repeat it often. Few will argue with this conclusion. Not Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. - "it can't go on, this exploitation of the working poor. These people are working and contributing to the wealth of California, and their voice is not being heard. And since we can't seem to get at the heart of the problem in California's garment industry, a more comprehensive national approach must be taken." Not state Labor Commissioner James QUillin - "What we need is recognition at the federal level that the (U.S.) garment industry is a special case. We must develop federal legislation that would require close regulation and hold manufacturers accountable." Not state Sen. Joseph Montoya, D-San Gabriel Valley, the lawmaker who has sponsored the two most successful pieces of legislation affecting the industry since he took office in 1972 - "I would be willing to pursue the idea of federal legislation - it will serve everyone."
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-02-01
As far as Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley is concerned, the violations in the city's garment industry are nothing to get excited about - a belief his critics charge is part of the problem. "The mayor's office does virtually nothing to enforce the laws 0that apply to the garment industry)," said state Sen Joseph B Montoya, D-San Gabriel Valley, the legislator best known in Sacra-mento for his efforts to legally protect the garment worker. "He showed interest only where there was a media event. Why? There's a lot of money involved, a lot of contributions. You don't want to hamper your political campaign fund, That's what it boils down to." "It's kind of lonely out here," said state Labor Commissioner James Quillin who, as head of California's Concentrated Enforcement Program, tries to curb abuses in the garment industry. "The (city) Fire Department and the (city) Building and Safety Department ought to be out here... but Bradley will talk about his reluctance to take any steps that might be construed as punitive agaist the industry. He'll say it is such an economic factor in the city." Surprisingly, even manufactur-ers complain about the mayor, citing his reluctance to impose requirements on contractors beyond a $21 business tax and registration permit. "I asked Mayor Bradley if there would be something these people (garment contractors) could read in five languages that would explain what their obligations are as employers," said Bernie Brown, the spokesman for California's Coalition of Apparel Industries, the most powerful manufacturers' lobby in the state. "I never heard from him. No one has the answer yet."
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-29
In the mass of letters recently received by The TIMES was the following: Chicago, Aug. 21 - To The Editor: A poor white slave wishes to thank you for your efforts in behalf of her poor sisters, the shop-girls of Chicago. I have worked with them for four years and love them dearly. your reporter was brave indeed when she battled with those terrible bosses. I fled from them and left my week's work with them unpaid for. I was a sad coward. I , the pet sister of two brave solders who gave their lives to free the slaves of the south. They told me to "take care of another and be good and brave" and I never saw them more. I took care of mother till she went to her boys, and I have tried to be good, but I can not fight for my rights, and this is the case with many of us. We will not stand up for ourselves. Oh, you have not told half: you do know know have we have to bear. We are indeed slaves, worse slaves than those my brothers died to free. I wish you could see my book for the last month; you would wonder how I have lived. You have my best wishes for your goodness. May God bless you is the prayer of the white slaves. Mary McGray -- State street. P.S. - My hand is cramped with twenty-five years sewing. I can not write very well. Curious to know something about the home life of the author the undersigned undertook to answer the letter in person.
Chicago Times 1888-08-27
Nothing short of a Philadelphia lawyer, a Chicago health officer, a proprietor, or a "devil chaser" that hits the spot once in a thousand times could without a guide explore the labyrinth that as known as II. Schultz & Co's paper-box manufactory, 31 to 38 East Randolph street. It occupies only the three upper floors of a four story building, but the stairways are so dark and narrow that one must grope his way from somewhere to a supposititious somewhere else, which resembles nowhere when he gets there because the rooms are so overcrowded with material that one employe cannot in many instances see her nearest neighbor two yards away.
Chicago Times 1888-08-19
Princess Knitting company: pretty name, isn't it? Done in gens d'arm blue letters on a navy-blue ground it makes an exceedingly effective sign. The very colors suggest the claims of long descent and blue blood. But the Princess company of West Washington street has nothing to do with the blue blood or gentle women, and there is nothing pretty about it but the sweet young girls of 15 and 16 and the frail children of 5 and 10 whose lives are being wound about the great wooden bobbins and from whose cheeks the roses of health and beauty are slowly absorbed by the flying threads in shuttle, needle, and spindle. Princess Knitting company is only another name for the women's shirt factory at 155 West Washington street. Up one flight of stairs I pass into a tidy little office where a fine looking gentleman gives me greeting and calls the forewoman, Mrs.McWilliams. She is young and pretty. Her voice is sweet and she has a good face. "Yes, I have work but it won't pay you. You can't live on the salary. I wouldn't advise you to take it. The table girls only get $3 a week. Their work consists in sewing on buttons and finishing the arm-holes of the shirts. We have generally employed little girls of 12 and 13 to do it. Better work pays by the piece, 5 cents and 10 cents a dozen for knitting a finish about the neck and arm-holes and bottom of the shirts. But you would have to be experienced; we couldn't tae the time to teach you."
Chicago Times 1888-08-18
On the southwest corner of Washington boulevard and Union street towers a spacious brick building, onthe third floor of which Henry W. King & Co manufacture much ofthe clothing that supplies the country trade. The place is far from uninviting. Clean halls and well-swept stairs croclaim the faithful service of a janitor, and the girl who has worked in "other shops" blesses the man at the rope every time she rides in the neat, mirror-lined elevator.
Chicago Times 1888-08-17
If you want to see a snowstorm in summer, or its counterpart in appearence, go to the "separating room" of the mattress and pillow manufactory of Perren & Menzie, 353 to 261 Twentieth street. If you have any curiosity to know how it feels to be featherlined on the inside go to the same room. One minute will do the work satisfactorily. The above suggestions are for people of poetic temperment or who think they are. But the practical masses msut enter the "picking" and "dusting" rooms to get an intelligent idea of what a factory of that kind is. We will go through the matterss department first. The materials for filling are hair, fine and coarse shavings knows as "exelsior," palm-leave, corn husks, woolen and cotton rags, and grass.
Chicago Times 1888-08-16
In all this wide, weary, work-a-day world there is not a better, brighter, nobler girl than the one who stitches, lines, binds, and vamps your slippers and shoes. She is a heroine if there ever was one outside of a civil or religious war. She knows nothing of self-love, nothing of fear, and nothing of her own just rights. Her life is made up of years of toil, months of privation, and weeks of struggling and striving to keep up with the rushing throng ravenous for her bread and envious of her miserable position. She works from dawn almost to dusk, carrying every dollar of her earnings to some wretched home in which abide parents, brothers, and sisters often, too, relatives having absolutely no claim on her, none of whom lover her and none of whom show by word, ast, or deed that her generosity, goodness, and real nobility of soul is appreciated.
Chicago Times 1888-08-15
One of the white slaves of Chicago stood in the prisoner's dock at the armory police court yesterday moaning piteously. She was young and her face was pretty. The big policeman who stood at her side said he had arristed her for soliciting men upon the street. She was booked as Kitty Kelly. The frail, unfortunate girl brushed away her tears and told a story that went straight to the heart of every man in the crowded court room. She was a white slave and might have worn away her frail life sewing that her character should remain pure and unsullied, but the grinning skeleton of starvation haunter her day and night, and in desperation she sold herself to the tempter. She was pale and thin and fierce hunger had left marks upon her young face. "Oh judge I never did such a thing before! I never did it before! For God's sake have pity on me." and she wrung her hands in agony and sobbed convulsively. "Nonsense," said the justice, trying to be stern. "You all say that." "My baby! my baby! Oh what will become of her? For mercy's sake don't fine me! I have no money, not a cent. Oh have mercy. I never was out before, surely I never was." The big justice looked inquiringly at the big officer and the big officer said with a touch of emotion in his voice, "I never saw her before, your honor." "Will you promise to keep off the street?" "I can't, no, I can't promise you that. God knows I would if I could. But when I see my baby starving and there is no other way to find food for her, what else can I do?" and the wretched woman sobbed as if her heart was breaking. The justice looked stern. Oh, sir," she sobbed, "If you only knew the misery and sorrow, the despair and degredation to which I have been humiliated, you might pity me. I was young when I was married. For awhile I was so happy. Then my husband sickened and died. That was but little more than a year ago. Soon after my baby was born. I had no friend and no money. I was alone in this great city and no one to help me or even to give me a bit of advice. Vainly I sought for work. I could not go into service and take my baby with me, and I could not bear the thought of parting from it. At last I found employment in a factory. There I made overalls and toled from morning until night, week in and week out. But work as hard as I could, I could only earn $4 a week. Baby took sick and I had to pay for a doctor and medicine, and it cost more than I could make."
Chicago Times 1888-08-14
Saturday the TIMES reporter and inspector Rodgers of the health department visited more than a score of "slop-shops." If "Little Hell" is on the North side, certianly "Little Warsaw" is on the West, and they must be labled to be readily distinguished. As a matter of fact the latter locality is practically labeled, as the largest building in the region is the Kosclusko school, named in honor of the patriot who made Freedom shriek. If Thaddeus' ghost were to be transported blindfolded from the heroes' hereafter back to earth and landed at the corner of Milwaukee avenue and West Division street it would feel perfectly at home. It would find the descendents of its fleshly prototype and his companions true knights as becomes their noble heritage - "knights of the goose."
Chicago Times 1888-08-13
The birthright of an American girl may be a glorious attribute on the deck of a trans-atlantic steamship or the floor of a London ball-room, but it is not worth the flop of a brass farthing in the cloak factories of Chicago. It was high noon by the Jesuite college clock when I got to the rear of 230 West Twelfth street, where David Kafasick has his shop. Nobody in but an old man. His face is seamed with wrinkles: he has a big nose the color and texture of a mushroom: his head and half his face is covered with hair of chinchilla shades: his back is humped at the shoulders and his clothes are fithy and worn. I ask for work and am told that no hands are needed. He has a pocket that hangs across his waist and into which he puts rags, pieces of thread, hooks and eyes, pins, buttons, and the empty spools that he on the floor about the vacant machine-chairs. I watch the silent old man as he drags his loos slippers across the floor, and behold I have the key to wealth! But it doesn't profit me worth a copper. So I survey the premises.
Chicago Times 1888-08-12
"I can show you some clothing factories by the side of which those heretofore described by THE TIMES will appear as places. If you will accompany me along South Canal, Clinton, and Jefferson streets, around Twelfth Street, you will see things that will give you an insight into the way our clothing dealers get rich and the shop-hands are compelled to be satisfied with wages that constitute less than 10 per cent of what the purchaser pays for the article." The man who spoke these words had come to the TIMES office and offered his service in the disclosures of slave-driving in this city. This voluntary guide was a Jew named Schlesinger. Having worked in tailor-shops for a few years he was in a position to point out not only the causes of the prevailling misery in this branch of industry but by personal acquaintance could locate the shops in the vicinity which he considered the worst. He confined himself to the cloak factories, and took a reporter through a dozen shops, introducing him as an operator from New York who was looking for work. He said this ruse was necessary as otherwise the factory lords would not allow his companians inside their shops.
Chicago Times 1888-08-11
"Do you want 'to visit a manufacturing establishment, generally held in high repute, where a girl's tenure of place depends upon the degrading concessions she may be induced to make to her employer?'" The question was put to a reporter for The TIMES by Inspector George Bodgers of the health department. They had just formed a temporary copartnership under the name and style of "we" to make a thorough examination of the hells and holes where human beings hive, delve, and thrive or die under the guise of 'employes'. [sic] "Well, I'll tell you the story and I know it to be true and so does my wife. A girl of good development and modest demeanor had for some time been employed in a book bindery and had become fairly well-skilled. One afternoon she turned in, as the result of her day's work, four books. The foreman complained that the work was imperfect - in fact, that the books were spoiled, and told the girl she must pay for them. She asked for particulars but could get little satisfaction. She became indignant and was thrust aside. Remembering that other mouths than hers were awaiting the food her scanty earnings must purchase she pleaded first for justice and then for mercy. "You quit work with the rest at 6 o'clock," said the foreman. "Come back fifeteen minutes later and perhaps I may straighten out your account so that you will owe nothing." The girl, hesitating between hope and fear, crossed the bridge as if to go homeward and then returned to the office. The foreman was at the door, welcomed her within, and turned the key. he assured her that he had helped many of the girls in the employ of the firm to balance their accounts after business hours. Be that as it may, he had made a grave miscalculation in this case, and in less seconds than it takes to tell it he was glad he hadn't lost the key to the door. The girl came directly to my house, told her story, and never returned to the tiger's lair. Her case is but one of many, and if she adheres to her present decision it will be the particular one of many before the firm and the foreman hear the last of it. Now come with me and we'll take a trip through the binderies and printing establishments, and before we get through I'll show you the fiend who endeavored to ruin this young girl.
Chicago Times Friday, August 10, 1888
It was 7 a.m. by all the whistles in "Little Hell" when I reached that section of the city in search of an opening in a slop-shop. The streets were crowded with shop hands hurrying to their day's work - men and boys with pipes in their mouths carrying dinner pails or lunch baskets; little girls in groups of two and three in beggarly rags; young women and old women, some of them white-haired and stooped with age, wearing shawls about their heads and shoulders and the meanest apologies for shoes. Many girls were bare-headed and some went through the streets in old skirts and dilapidated waists that had neither collar nor sleeves. At the corner of Elm and Wesson streets is an immense tailor shop into which the girls fairly swarmed, some going into the main and some into the rear building. Both buildings have three stories, each containing a shop under a different "boss." I followed the crowd through both buildings beginning in the basement and going up and up and up the narrow, dirty covered stairs, stopping on each floor to see the "boss" and apply for work. No success. The vest shops were full and so were the trousers shops. In the jacket shop there was room for experienced hands only at the munificent salary of $3 a week. The garments were cut and the sewer had the entire making.
Chicago Times 1888-08-09
For dismal surroundings, economy of comforts, and heartless treatment, to the Boston store belongs the palm. I did not work in that establishment although I tried very hard to do so. I was in the store at 8 o'clock on Friday morning as arranged with Mr. Hillman, who had partially promised to hire me. "One of the girls in the hoisery department," he had said "is sick, and if she doesn't come back Friday morning I will try you." I could not find the gentleman, although I hunted the main floor and the floors above and below. My plan of fluctuation was to take the elevator up one story and walk down, and then ride up two and walk down the third flight, in that way I took in the entire store and a great part of the employees. I began at the bottom and spent a full hour in the basement, where I saw so much and suffered so much that the upper floors had no surprised for me. In the first place the atmosphere was almost unendurable. Hot! It must have been 100 degrees above! Out in the open air not a breeze was stirring and the heat was sizzling. Down where I was I could not see a single opening to admit the air, firey as it was, excepting the open door at the extreme south-east corner of the floor, leading up a short flight of steps to the sidewalk.
Chicago Times 1888-08-08
"When we're late and get locked out we go to the dago shop. Were you ever in a dago's." "No." "Well, you can always tell them by the 'Ladies Entrance.' Some of them are real nice, with beautiful carpets and lace curtains and mirrors on the wall. There's a place over on Madisan street where you can get crackers and pop for a nickle. Some of the girls go down-town and shop, but when it rains the police lets us wait in the tunnel." "How long," I asked."Till 9 o'clock. You have to be here at 7:30 o'clock, and if you're late the door is locked and you can't get in till 9." The above conversation took place in the Dearborn Feather Duster company's place at 50 Canal street, where I applied for work Saturday morning. The building is in a substantial brick and extends back to the river. The factory is on the third floor and reached by two long flights of stairs that needed sweeping and repairing. I suppose the surroundings were suitable for the business carried on, but they were far from comfortable and wholly uncharming.
Chicago Times 1888-08-07
Nothing ever heretofore printed in The TIMES has provoked more comment or attracted more widespread attention than the exposures made during the last six days of the condition of the girls who work in some of the sewing shops of the city. The entire public seems to be watching the progress of the revelations made by Miss Nelson not only with interest but the constantly increasing indignation at the slave-drivers who are responsible for the state of affairs. Hundreds of letters are recieved at this office daily commending the work and urging that it be prosecuted until the public is so thoroughly aroused that the evil shall be specially and permanently corrected. Several of the writers have spent sums of money varying from $1 to $25 requesting that Miss Nelson distribute it among the poor girls who are so bitterly and shamefully oppressed, or make such use of it as her good judgement and experience may suggest.
Chicago Times 1888-08-06
Wednesday morning I began my career as a dry-goods clerk. It took all my wits to get an opening. At Field's Mandel's, Walker's, and Schlesinger's no help was needed and none would be taken without experience. By all the managers I was treated politely. Lloyd didn't want any more help and told me so with vehemence. The big blonde who manages the Bee Hive was "very sorry he could not offer anything before the fall trade opened." I told him I was quick at figures and knew I could sell goods if only I had a chance. No, it was too late in the season and I had better come in again. I asked how much he thought I would be worth. "Oh, $3.50 or $4 till you are experienced." "Couldn't you give me $5?" "Hardly." "Not if I prove to you that I can make and keep custom?" "You can't expect $5 any place in town. You see, you are green: you don't know anything about the business." "The goods are all marked, aren't they? Well I know enough about mathematics to master the intracacies of your check and order stub in ten minutes, and I must have work right off with salary enough to live on." He put his foot up on a chair and with a show of genuine interest wanted to know what it cost me to live. As I gave him the figures borrowed from a single girl in Julius Stein's employ, he took them down on a stub: Lodgings: -------------------------------$1.70 Car fare:--------------------------------- 60 Lunches:---------------------------------- 30 That makes $2.40, and if you pay me $4 I will have $1.60 a week to live on. Perhaps you can tell me where a girl can get food and clothes for that amount? "No I can't. But why don't you go to the factory and sew?" "Make shirts for 80 cents a dozen and cloth jackets at 25 cents each? One trial is enough. Now I am going to see what I can make clerking" and thanking him for his attention I withdrew. In the City of Paris the manager told me I would have to begin on a small pay, $3 or so, till the season opened, and that I might come in the next morning and he would try me.
Chicago Times 1888-08-05
Never so long as reason reigns shall I forget the day I worked in II Goldsmith's tailor-shop, and never when I pray shall I forget to add, "God help the shop girls." Thursday morning I stepped from an Ogden avenue car and walked down Market street in search of work. It was boiling hot and I carried my brown veil on the breeze, and a small pasteboard box containing a cracker and a lemon, a paper of needles, a thimble, and a pair of scissors. On the way I met two unhappy looking girls of whom I made labor inquiry. One had sewed carpet at $5 a week for the Chicago Carpet company but was out of employment. The other said she earned $6 a week in WB Brothers' caravat department. Her [unreadable] was sick and the forewoman had "let her off for the day." The first clew I got to a place was a wooden sign with "Sewing GIrls Wanted" that hung below the north window of 153 Market street, where Messrs. Hart, Abt, & Marx manufacture clothing. I read the sign and entered the main store - a nice, big, clean cool place. A little girl sat at the big typewriter making such a clatter with her letters that it was useless to try to call her. In the office were two gentlemen. One was the very prototype of Munkaesy's Jesus Christ, and he I addressed for work.
Chicago Times 1888-08-04
Two Weeks ago, Ref. Mr. Goss Preached a sermon relative to the morals and progress of the working woman. Among other things he referred to a "good Jew" who having the comfort of the hundred odd girls in his cloak factory at heart, "provided every day for 1 cent a substantial lunch." I sent the reverend gnetlemen a note, inclosing a stamp for the address of the "Good Jew" and in reply came the name of H. Zimmerman, 255 Monroe street. On went poverty's respectable rags, and off I posted for shop-work and a penny spread. The elevator carried me to the top of the building, where every week thousands of jackets, sacques, circulars, dolmans, and cloaks are turned out to supply the country trade of the northwest. Here in a crowded room, with low ceiling and dingy walls, poorly ventilated and insufficiently lighted, sit between eighty and 150 young girls surrounded from Monday morning until Saturday noon by the ceaseless clatter of the sewing machines in an atmosphere so thick that it can be cut with a knife.
Chicago Times 1888-08-03
On Thursday morning when I started to renew my factory life I discovered after getting on a South-side car that I did not have a cent in my pocket. In putting on my shop-girl disguise I had left my purse at home. When the conductor asked for the fare I had none to give him. It was very hot, the clouds threatened rain, and the shop was at so greata distance that I did not feel as if I could walk. I concluded to throw myself on the generosity of the conductor and told him I had forgotten my purse. He looked ugly and told me to get off. Just as he placed his whistle to his lips to signal the gripman to stop a distinguished, well-dressed man paid my fare. I thanked him for his courtesy and told him if he would give me his card I would send him the money he had so kindly paid. He smiled and said: "A mere bagatelle, miss, and not worth mentioning." At Eighteenth street I left the car to go to a vestmaker's place at 2153 Archer avenue. I was crossing the three points where State and Nineteenth streets intersect when who should come abreast but my benefactor. Instead of raising his hat he jauntily cocked his left eye and came so close to me that the sleeve of my "never-rip" jersey was pressed against the waist-line of his light grey suit." "Aha, here we are again!" Although I distinctly heard every word of his remark, I said, "I beg your pardon" with as much of the Newport chill as I could affect. "Come, come now," he said, with increased gayety, moving his waistband still closer to my jersey. "Oh, you are the gentleman to whom I am indebted for car-fare. You want your money, I suppose; if you will give me your card I will write you an order." "Do you work in this neighborhood?" "No sir" "Where then?" "No place" "Where are you going?" "For work." "What kind?" "Any kind. May I have your card? I am in something of a hurry." "Mayant I have yours?" He asked "Certainly, I haven't my case, but if you will lend me a pencil I will write you one." "With pleasure, my dear." "You are mistaken, sir, that is not my name." "Ha ha ha! I see you are a little mischevous, but for all that you are my dear," producing three inches of Faber. "A card, please" "Bless me, I had forgotten," and the natty sack-coat was ransacked for a suitable card. Ah, here, this will do, I hope, in lieu of something more conventional," carefully placing on my sewing-box a small card with the address down. I reversed the pasteboard and read on the back: Dr. Charles Gilman Smith Office Hours ----------- Residence ------------ "Dr. Smith! I know him quite well." "Oh you do, eh?" In a tone that left no doubt that his stock in me had dropped. I wrote: Reporter. The Times. And handed it to my companion, who read it with eyes that seemed to have been wired open.
Chicago Times 1888-08-02
I did not realize the ignominious position of respectable poverty till I went to Ellinger's cloak factory, 262 Madison street, where labor is bondage, the laborer a slave, and flesh and blood cheaper than needles and thread. Corporations are said to be without heart, but this concern is a commercial inquisition. it puts its help on the plane of slavery and nothing but civil law prevents the use of the lash. The factory is on the third floor of the large brick building at the east end of Madison street bridge on the south side of the street. Elevator? Not much. An elevator is a luxury and luxuries have no place at Ellinger's You will be short of breath when you reach the top of the fourth flight, but in recovering, you have time to take in the surroundings - a great barn of a place with the single charm of good light. There is plenty of vacant room but the women are huddled together, elbows touching along the line of the machines. Beneath the west windows flows the river; at the south end of the room, not ten feet from the crowded table, is a tier of closets, and on hot days the combined odor of the two is shocking. Nobody in his employ dare complain about smells, cold, head, work, wages, or rules. But whoever heard of martyrs complaining?
Chicago Times 1888-07-31
Tuesday, July 10, according to instructions from THE TIMES, I made up for the role of shop-girl and with a list of factories in one hand and gentle peace in the other sailed down State street under a brown braize veil as impenetrable as an iron mask, I applied at two feather factories and three corset shopws, but aside from the exercise up and down several flights of stairs got nothing. The feather people did not need any help and the corset folks had not yet started on the winter trade. I was treated with civility, however, and given permission to "drop in in a week or so." The fifth place on my list was the "Western Lace Manufacturing Co.," 218 State street. Ascending one flight of stairs I stopped to take off my veil and adjust my eyes to the low light. That done I looked about and finding a door marked "Office of the Western Lace Manufacturing Co." with "Come In" On the glass I complied. A young girl followed and leaving her to close the door, I fell into a chair, the only one about, and proceeded to perspire and scrutinize the place. The office was not uninviting. The floor had cheap carpet, the ceiling was high and the room well ventilated and admirably lighted. On a long table, that served as a sort of fortification for the private office of the company, were the samples - "antique crocheted goods" - as they are listed, in various shades of white. All were of different pattern and unvarying ugliness. There were round tidies and oblong tidies, square mats for a bureau and smaller ones of oval and circular design, intended for a lamp or cusion. Behind the table, secheting between a writing stand and a desk, was a young man of 30 or so, of the blonde type, with a stationary scowl between his eyebrows and an otherwise pleasing manner. That is, I thought the manner pleasing until I began to get acquainted with it and then my opinion changed. After a lapse of five minutes or so, the fair-haired gentleman turned to the young girl with a deeping of the scowl and a must unalluring "Well?"
Chicago Times 1888-07-30
". . .The story of the cruise of the “blackbird” steamer Montserrat was told in yesterday’s “Examiner” by the special correspondent, mr. W.H. Brommage, who had shipped as a sailor for the voyage. In obedience to the instructions under which he set out Mr. Brommage confined his narrative to a simple and accurate statement of the facts with no attempt of sensational effect. In fact, the story was modified by the suppression of some details which would have thrown the horrors of the traffic into stronger relief. To-day our correspondent makes some additions to his narrative which will be found exceedingly interesting. . ."
". . .On the 23rd of last April the tramp steamer Montserrat left San Francisco for the ostensible purpose of a trading voyage among the South Sea islands, but in reality, as was suspected at the time, to go on a slave-trading expedition. Her purpose was to make laboring contracts with the simple people of the islands to work on the plantations of the fever-stricken west coast of Guatemala for five years. On the face of it, the contract is legitimate, but when it is known that for little or not pay these people leave their beautiful island home, go into a strange country, among a people whose language they do not understand, live like dogs and die like sheep in the cane-covered marshes, and under the burning suns of tropical Guatemala, the cruelty of such deportation becomes apparent. Such traffic in the South Seas has gone on for years under the familiar name of “blackbirding,” but the ships that come out of the Western Pacific, packed with the half-garbed natives of the islands, are no less slavers than those swift barks that in other days sailed from the west coast of Africa to the southern shores of America. This enterprise was under the joint management of San Francisco and Central American capital. The manager-in-chief of the expedition was W.H. Ferguson, whose connection with a similar slave ship, the ill-fated Tahiti, in which 400 natives were drowned, will be remembered. In command of the Montserrat was Captain Blackburn. Dr. R.J. McGittigen of San Francisco, a graduate of the Cooper Medical College, accompanied the expedition as surgeon, and James S. Osborne, a young San Franciscan, went along as passenger. With a full crew, provisions and supplies to last four months the vessel sailed, and after visiting eleven islands of the Gilbert group carried 388 imprisoned laborers to San Jose de Guatemala, and there delivered them to the wealthy Spanish plantation owners, who lodged them upon their sugar plantations along the coast to labor out the five years of their contract or to die with the infectious diseases coming to that marsh district. On board the Montserrat was a reporter of the “Examiner” in the guise of and performing the functions of a sailor. His vivid story of the methods used to secure the laborers, their weary voyage of twenty-three days from their sea-girt (?) home to Guatemala’s coast, their painful journeys overland to the plantations in the interior is told below. . ."
XIII-"Who are the players? What are the problems?" - Merle Linda Wolin - Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
What stands in the way of cleaning up California's rapidly growing $3.5 billion garment industry, centered in Los Angeles and officially recognized as "the dirtiest in the state"? After an intensive eight-month investigation, which included a month's undercover work posing as an illegal garment worker, the Herald Examiner discovered that the garment industry's major problems revolve around the manufacturers, not the contractors. These people, the manufacturers, control the purse strings of the industry yet are not held legally accountable for the health and labor conditions under which their garments are made.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-28
Talk to major retailers in Los Angeles, the impeccably dressed corporate executives who reap grand profits from selling high fashion and style, and they will completely disavow the problems of the garment industry. But talk to labor commission officials or even spokesmen from various contractors' or manufacturers associations, and they will tell you that until big retailers agree to accept responsibility for their part in perpetuating flagrant labor and health code violations, the industry will continue to be "the dirtiest in the state."
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-27
If Linwood Melton was a good example of a manufacturer insinuated from the exploitation of the industry, Norman Blomberg, the president of Sauci Inc., an $8 million budget-blouse company, was someone who seemed to know the story. "So it's a horrifying business. What's new?" Blomberg said when I told him the conditions under which I worked on his rose-and-cream-colored short-sleeved blouse at Felix Mendoza's shop. He seemed sure of himself, a man with arough exterior.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-26
Felix Mendoza is the first to admit that he should go out of business. No excuses. No bitterness. He says there is hardly a chance to make a go of it as a garment contractor in Los Angeles. You remember Mendoza. He was the slightly built man who thought I was another poor illegal and gave me a job in his small and dank sewing factory near Central Los Angeles. His shop was filthy, nightmarish. And for a full week's work, I earned a pitiful $38.74
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-23
The manufacturers' response to knowing I worked on their garments seemed miled to the way Oscar and Martha Herrera greeted the news that I was a journalist, not a Brazillian garment worker. The first time I entered the shop as a newspaper reporter, one sunny Tuesday afternoon, the Herrera's responded to me cooly but politely. Oscar stood over the mangle, swiftly arranging the blue trousers on the roller before he lowered the steaming top. As I approached, he looked up with a puzzled expression on his face. Some of the other workers that had befriended me when I worked in the shop came forward, like Sergio from Guatemala. He recognized me immediately and smiled. He knew something was up.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-22
VII-"'I"m not Joan of Arc. I'm a garment manufacturer.'" - Merle Linda Wolin - Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
To hear wealthy dress manufacturers Richard Freedman and Lowell Meyer talk, you would think that single-handedly they overcame the recession and every other obstacle in a competitive business, to put their firm on top. Listening to smooth-talking women's sportswear manufacturer Warren Handler talk, you would think that all it took for him to succeed was good design and lots of hard work. And I might have believed them, all of them - had I not been demeaned and exploited as a worker in one of their contractor's unhealthful shops. Or had I not know about the manufacturers' sanctioned edge over everyone else in the Los Angeles germent industry.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-21
VI-"Merlina faces the labor commissioner - and wins" - Merle Linda Wolin - Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
The offices of the state labor commissioner, on the fifth floor at 107 S. Broadway, are painted hospital green and off white, a no-nonsense kind of place. In the large, rectangular shaped entry room, clerks stand behind an old, built-in wooden counter that divides the space into offices and a waiting room. That day, nearly everyone in the waiting room was either black or spoke Spanish. I never would have complained to the Labor Commission had I not know that what happened to me at Ernst Strauss Inc. happens to garment workers every day. Labor Department officials believe that many employers regularly refuse to pay but because the workers are largely undocumented - an estimated 90 percent of them in Los Angeles are here without papers- they get away with it.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-20
Make no mistake about the quality of the operation over at the union-organized Ernst Strauss Inc. The shop, maker of very expensive, fine-quality women's suits and coats, is considered the best in Los Angeles. Ask garment industry leaders, union officals, ask the owners themselves. "The pay is the highest in California - maybe the country," said one owner. "The workers are so loyal you couldn't beat them away. " said another. "It's a union shop," explained someone from the International Ladie's Garment Worker's Union. "A 30-year member. Everything is done right." But "right in the undisputed best shop in town is a relative term. On June 12, a Thursday, I went to work as a sewing machine operator in Ernst Strauss factory. As before, I posed as a poor, illegal brazillian germent worker. I no speak English. Espanol, por favor.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-19
No one seemed to know how much garment industry homework is done in Los Angeles. And I had no idea how work illegally filters down to homes from the contractors or manufacturers. So at the end of May, I decided to find out on the streets. I had a few preconcieved notions about homework. In the Mendoza shop where I worked in early May, I witnessed trusted sewing machine operators carry out unfinished blouses stuffed in large, green plastic garbage bags, presumably to be finished later at home. For nine days, from 8 AM to 5 PM, I walked the residential streets of the city, from Central Los Angeles to Sunland in the north, to Wilmington, the "Heart of the Harbor," to El Monte on the east. I chose streets where it seemed working-class and poor people lived; man neighborhoods were largely Spanish-speaking.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-18
The Los Angeles Country Health Department found Felix Mendoza's shop a full month before I knocked on the door looking for work there. Since October 1979, when a county ordinance mandated the Health Department to locate and license the estimated 3,000 sewing shops in Los Angeles County, health officials have been trying to clean up what Richard Dinnerline, L.A. county chief of occupational health, called "the filthiest of all industries." According the the Health Department's Dec. 30 1980 figures, 2,746 garment factories have been found and licenced in the past year. Health officials believe there are hundreds more, especially in outlying areas of the county where immigrant workers often live.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-16
I was beginning my second odyssey into the $35 billion California germent industry, another weekling, nine-hour-a-day journey into the underworld of fancy clothes and high style. I knocked on the wooden door behind the grate at 331 N. Mountain View in Los Angeles. Just when I thought no one would answer, a small, thin, dark-eyed man slowly opened the door. He was Felix Mendoza, a Mexican-born sewing contractor who had been in business for only six months. "I'm looking for work," I said in Spanish through the bars. "Can you sew?" he asked. It was his only question.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-15
It was almost 5 P.M. on a Tuesday when I stepped out of the elevator onto the factory room floor. I stood quietly, looking anxiously to both sides of the now empty sewing shop. Near the entrance, a dark-haired man in a white t-shirt stood working at a long, wooden table piled high with red cloth. His name: Oscar Herrera, owner of the shop. Late afternoon light filtered through the rows of sooty windows that formed one entire wall of the large production room. He motioned for me. "Venga venga! Come here!" he said in Spanish. "What are you looking for?" "Busco trabajo. I am looking for work," I said nervously. "Do you know how to sew?" he countered. I nodded yes, not wanting to lie outright. He told me they had work and that if I could make this jacket - he walked over to a rack of clothes and held up a white blazer - and this dress - he held up a short-sleeved red one - I could have a job.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-14
It must have been 1 o'clock. That's when the white man usually comes out of his glass office and stands on the scaffolding above the factory floor. He stood with his palms on the rails, his elbows out. He looked like a tower guard up there or a border patrol agent. He stood with his head cocked.One o'clock means it is getting near the end of the workday. Quota has to be met and the workload doubles. The conveyor belt always overflows with meat around 1 o'clock. So the workers double their pace, hacking pork from shoulder bones with a driven single-mindedness. They stare blankly, like mules in wooden blinders, as the butchered slabs pass by.It is called the picnic line: 18 workers lined up on both sides of a belt, carving meat from bone. Up to 16 million shoulders a year come down that line here at the Smithfield Packing Co., the largest pork production plant in the world. That works out to about 32,000 a shift, 63 a minute, one every 17 seconds for each worker for eight and a half hours a day. The first time you stare down at that belt you know your body is going to give in way before the machine ever will.
The New York Times 2000-06-18
"Foreign governments with poor records on human rights, democracy, and freedom of press still manage to find friends in high places in Washington. Ken Silverstein, Washington editor of Harper's Magazine, went undercover to find out just how far some lobbyists go to promote the interests of dictators."
Talk of the Nation 2007-06-19
“Newburgh, N. Y., June 26 — Right wing activists in this small upstate community moved one step closer to criminalizing the welfare system by passing a 13-point plan which would begin welfare reform by forcing new applicants to undergo a police interrogation complete with fingerprinting. Hence forward, new applicants to welfare in this community will be treated ‘like immigrants.’ ” Is this a news item from the future of the “tea party” movement? It might sound like it. But actually it is a brief synopsis of a story that appeared in 1961. The “relief revolt” helped bring attention to the work of one local reporter who gained national fame for his analysis of the welfare “dilemma.” Fifty years ago, The Buffalo Evening News published the results of a six-month investigation of welfare in Erie County conducted by News reporter Edgar May. May worked undercover as a caseworker for the Erie County Department of Social Welfare in order to gather research for the 14-part series entitled, ”Our Costly Dilemma.” Five decades have passed since the Pulitzer Prize-winning series was published, and yet our “welfare dilemma” appears to be as costly — and divisive — as ever. The year of publication, 1960, seems to have been a high water mark for American optimism, in retrospect. The problem of welfare dependency seemed one that could be contained, if not entirely solved.
Buffalo Evening News 2010-06-13
I drive up the winding lane past a long stone wall and beneath an archway of 60-feet maples. At one bend of the drive, a freshly clipped lawn and a trail of yellow daffodils slope gently up to the four-pillared portico of a white Georgian colonial. The building's six huge chimneys, the two wings with slate-gray shutters, and the white-brick façade loom over a luxuriant golf course. Before me stands the 100-year-old Greenwich Country Club—the country club—in the affluent, patrician, and very white town of Greenwich, Connecticut, where there are eight clubs for 59,000 people. I'm a 30-year-old corporate lawyer at a midtown Manhattan firm, and I make $105,000 a year. I'm a graduate of Princeton University (1983) and Harvard Law School (1988), and I've written eleven nonfiction books. Although these might seem like good credentials, they're not the ones that brought me here. Quite frankly, I got into this country club the only way that a black man like me could—as a $7-an-hour busboy.
New York Magazine 1992-08-17
"It was a job nobody wanted. It was a vacancy for a $20-a-day Republican clerk in the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners office in City Hall. The likelihood of a Republican ever rising above a clerk's job in an office so dominated by Democrats is very dim; so it was not a a job many would seek. . ."
The Chicago Tribune 1972-09-18
III-Task Force Vote Fraud Investigation: "Dem-Rule Polls Kill 2-Party System" - George Bill and William Mullen - Chicago Tribune
"Democratic Party bosses have seized control over the appointments of Republican election judges in hundreds of key precincts and have destroyed the bipartisan election system in the large areas of Chicago, a Tribune Task Force investigation has disclosed."
The Chicago Tribune 1972-09-11
II-Task Force Vote Fraud Investigation: "Election Board Infiltrated by Tribune's reporter" - William Mullen - Chicago Tribune
"Kusper does not want an outsider to see how his Democratic staff is handling this machinery. He doesn't want anybody to see how many thousands of nonexistent voters are registered in his files - nonexistent voters who comes from nowhere on election days to ring up Democratic votes and victories."
The Chicago Tribune 1972-09-10
". . .I was a Task Force reporter, hired as a janitor at the von Solbrig Memorial Hospital, 6500 S. Polaski Rd. I had been employed to scrub and mop and throw out garbage, not to assist nurses and doctors in the sterile surgical area. . ."
The Chicago Tribune 1975-09-07
I saw it all - the misery and ugliness of the migrant's labor camp and the fields where he worked from Florida to Long Island. I labored in the same bean and tomato patches with these itinerant crop harvesters. I grubbed in the rich earth with them for potatoes and I chopped cabbage in the same fields. I shared wretched food with the "stoop" laborer and along with him I was cheated out of my meager wages for work honestly done. I found that despite legislative efforts and the work of social and religious agencies to improve the lot of the nomadic farm hand and his family, little has been done to better their way of life.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-10-23
A 30-page, slick paper booklet published earlier this year by the New York State Migrant Labor Committee boasts proudly that the state "marches forward" in long strides in its handling of itinerant farm workers. Photographs of smiling laborers and their children beam from its pages - at work, at play, in school and in church. The committee booklet spells out step-by-step the regulations under which more than 25,000 transient crop pickers who come into the state every year live and work.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-09-20
A migrant farm worker expects exploitation as one of the grim facts of his miserable life. He knows he'll be cheated and he learns to live with it. He knows he'll be underpaid for his labor and overcharged for many of the things he has to buy for himself and his family. Beause many migrants never get to school - or have to leave during the early elementary school years to work in the fields, they are uneducated and illiterate. For this reason they are easy marks for sharp operators.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-10-19
VII-"Farm Camp Slum, Exposed 8 Years Ago, Is Still Hell" - Dale Wright - New York World Telegram and Sun
The great dream of many migrant farm workers, born and reared in a shack in the South, is to go North to the land of plenty - to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. On his first trip "of the season," the migrant finds that dream quickly shattered. I, too, was a dreamer when I went into the fields in Delaware, New Jersey and eastern Long Island. I found that unlike that South, there were indeed a few laws aimed at protecting the rights of the itinerant harvester. But the truth is that these laws are so scant and so haphazardly enforced that they have little effect.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-10-18
The night I decided to leave Florida and move north with the migrant laborers for South Carolina was one of the worst nights in my life. I was asleep in a filthy room near Hastings when a baby's shriek pierced the night and woke me up. I pushed open the unlocked door of the room next to mine to investigate. There, lying on a burlap bag in an old packing case, was a baby, two or three months old, screaming in terror. A huge beetle had crawled into the baby's mouth. Its parents were not home. I picked up the baby, removed the beetle, and succeeded in quieting the frightened youngster. There was no more sleep for me that night so I stayed with the baby and waited for his folks to return. Beetles and roaches and cinches, they told me later, were the least of their problems. The Florida potato belt also breeds big rattlesnakes. They are likely to be found in or under any old building. Flies and mosquitoes were everywhere, buzzing around in the remnants of food and debris.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-10-17
V-"Speed-Up Forces Migrants to Quit Job Before Payday" - Dale Wright - New York World Telegram and Sun
What's it like working in a potato harvest? It's monotonous, brutal, strength-sapping labor. Toiling and sweating in the long potato rows, filling 100-pound sacks under the blazing sun, tries any man's endurance. But working in a potato grading shed was even worse. In my travels as a migrant laborer, I found myself in the Florida town of Hastings. With 20 other workers, I had arrived there one morning last April in a bus. By early afternoon I was pushing a hand truck for Florida Planters, Inc.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-10-16
The transportation of migrant workers within a state such as Florida is a horror story. I was in Florida last spring riding with and working with the thousands of migrant laborers who follow the harvest of crops for their miserable livelihood. Travel, for a migrant and his family, is a nightmare anywhere. In Florida, and other states which don't regulate migrant transportation, it's worse.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-10-12
Despite certain limited improvements -on paper - in the laws protecting the migrant farm worker, he continues to be America's forgotten man - forced to work long, tortured hours at every turn and compelled to live in filth and squalor and danger. I know this because for six months, on and off from April to October, I worked as a migrant laborer...
New York World-Telegram and Sun Tuesday, October 10, 1961
After a week of training lectures on the job of a caseworker, my supervisor offered me the first of several helpful hints: "The main thing is to get the aid out," he said. "You can always check things later if you have suspicions." But "later" - as it turned out - I had more and more cases and there was never any time. Within two months, in fact, I was the government assigned head of household for 160 families.
They marched around the clinic, swinging their rosaries, screeching Hail Marys and howling the Lord's Prayer. Among them was Sun-Times reporter Pamela Warrick - the only marcher without rosary beads. Armed with a pseudonym and a prayerbook, she joined Chicago's pro-life movement to get an inside look at the hardcore opposition to legalized abortion. After several weeks as a volunteer at the Illinois Right-To-Life headquarters and a weekend showing gory movies on the group's traveling Life-Mobile, Warrick was referred to the office of Joseph M. Scheidler - considered one of the most radical and powerful U.S. anti-abortion leaders.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-28
During a five-month investigation by the Sun-Times and Better Government Assn., reporters and researchers worked undercover in six of the city's 13 clinics. In four of those clinics - the Michigan Av. abortion mills - we have documented how women's lives are endangered by people who care more for profits than patients. But working undercover in two other clinics, and working in co-operation with a third, we found that abortion doesn't have to be an assembly-line operation. We found that in clinics like these, women may find safe and compassionate medical care.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-26
During a five-month investigation, the Sun-Times and Better Government Assn. found that some abortion profiteers advertise under a number of deceptive names to entice women into their Michigan Avenue clinics. In those clinics, telephone sales techniques are monitored more carefully than a doctor's operating techniques. New counselors or nursing assistants learn quickly that the telephone is the clinic's most important instrument.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-25
Nine out of 10 times, a simple urine test accurately diagnoses pregnancy. And, unless there is other proof of pregnancy, medical experts say, women with negative tests are not candidates for abortions. But working undercover at the Water Tower Reproductive Center, 840 N, Michigan, BGA investigator Mindy Trossman counted 81 abortion procedures performed on women with negative pregnancy tests. That was 12 per cent of all women who received abortions during the two months Trossman worked there.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-22
Chicago's abortion profiteers are padding their profits with Medicaid funds illegally obtained through kickbacks and fraudulent billing schemes. During a five-month investigation of some abortion clinics and referral agencies, the Sun-Times and Better Government Assn. have documented massive abuse of the Medicaid program and flagrant violations of federal law.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-20
They are identical twins with identical cons. They bill themselves as "counselors." But their business is sales, and they use every trick in the book to peddle abortions to confused and frightened women. Victoria Sanders and Valerie McCullough operate competing abortion referral services out of fancy suites and between them advertise half a dozen "abortion hot lines" in four states.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-17
We were hired off the street as aides, medical assistants and counselors. Without checking our references or credentials, four of Chicago's abortion clinics gave us jobs we were unqualified to hold and tasks we were untrained to perform. The clinics asked us to do everything but perform abortions. They wanted us to remove IVs, administer injections, give psychological counseling and assist in surgery.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-16
Dr. Ming Kow Hah, who has already lost his medical license in one state and faces revocation in Illinois, may give the fastest abortions in Chicago. According to a five-month investigation by the Sun-Times and the Better Government Assn., Hah may also give the most painful abortions in the city.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-15
Dr. John J. Theobald, superintendent of city schools, yesterday agreed with the bulk of the conclusions of reporter George N. Allen, who for two months served as a teacher in Brooklyn's John Marshall Junior High School.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1958-12-02
The objective of Mr. Allen's temporary role as a teacher, and of this newspaper's printing of his factual reports on classroom conditions as he found them, has been to perform a public service. Before reforms can be achieved, we believe it is essential that the public have the facts to guide it intelligently.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1958-12-01