Vol. 4 Issue 3
Aug. 13, 1898
MAKING PAUPERS FAST
Oshkosh laborers, once happy, are on the decline
LOSING THEIR HOMES
Comparatively, the woodworkers of this
city are comfortable, and none of them are actually starving- but the dark
future makes them desperate.
The report has gone forth that the woodworkers of Oshkosh are very destitute and are in sore need of food as well as clothing. While it may be true to some extent, those who have had the opportunity of witnessing the terrible suffering and hopelessness of the strikers in other localities are free to say that Oshkosh strikers are comparatively well clothed and none of them are actually starving.
A gentleman who has had considerable experience in strikes among the coal miners of Indiana and the railroad strikes of Pullman, states the real want and destitution of Oshkosh is really unknown. Wan faces, ragged clothes and wretched hovels are few and far between in this city, while in the localities mentioned, the poor unfortunates are miserable in the extreme.
The gentleman conceded that the state of affairs was bad enough to say the least, but there are thousands of workingmen in Chicago who are in much harder straights than the laborers of this city. For instance, a man going along the street in “Garden” city need not feel surprised to find a hungry man or woman following him, picking up the core of an apple, perhaps, that he has thrown away, or pouncing eagerly upon the decayed portion of a piece of fruit that he has discarded.
Homes with little gardens in the rear, plenty of fresh air and hundreds of other blessings do the local woodworkers have that the workingman of Chicago are denied.
It is the frugality of the Oshkosh laborers that has provided these unpretentious homes and not high ages. The citizens of Oshkosh are known to be careful, thrifty and peaceable people, and while many cities of the same size have poverty and squalor within their boundaries that are almost beyond belief, Oshkosh, on the other hand, boasts of as good citizens as can be found anywhere in the world.
It is a fact that the wages once paid by the mills of this city are being decreased year after year and the homes that were once unencumbered are being loaded wit mortgages, which the poor householder is unable to pay, and it makes the laborers desperate. He sees the time coming when he must give up the little home simply because he is unable to pay the taxes and keep up the improvements.
He begins to find himself unable to clothe his family with the same degree of comfort that he once did, and he grows desperate. People are rich or poor relatively. Those who never owned homes and who never knew the comforts of life that could exist and be happy under conditions that would make an Oshkosh laborer miserable beyond description. If the millmen should, through the decree of fate, be made to live as in the way of an Oshkosh laborer is compelled to live he would be tempted to find relief in death. Oshkosh laborers are not paupers, but they are being made paupers as fast as the manufacturers can make them.
Aug 16, 1898
LEAVING THE CITY
Skilled workmen departing in squads
Between fifty and sixty woodworkers left the city last evening to work in the woods for the winter. The gentleman who secured the men states he will return for more in a few days. Five skilled bench men left the city this morning for Muscatine IA, to work in the mills there. They are all carpenters and are classed as the most skillful workmen in a sash, door, and blind concern. Three other bench hands left for New London this morning.
Morgan Company postcards
Monday August 22, 1898
DID NOT RETURN TO WORK
Match factory girls still holding out.
A summer vacation
Demand an advance of one half cent per
case for wrapping matches. Claimed strikers intimidated some girls.
The strikers in the packing department of the Diamond Match works did not return to work this morning and their places were filled as far as possible with applicants for work. The force is greatly reduced, however, and it is with considerable difficulty that the output of the works is handled.
It develops that the number of girls who went out was much greater than was first reported. The total number is eighty, all employed in the finishing room. One of the leaders of the movement states the strike was first suggested Friday night but was not carried into effect until Saturday afternoon. The demand made upon the management was one-half cent per case increase. The price paid for wrapping a case was 2½ cents per case.
The plant resumed operations this morning notwithstanding the strike. It is claimed by girls who went to work that they were intimidated by the strikers. It is not expected trouble will occur, although it has been demonstrated during the woodworkers strike that women are quite as determined in labor movements as the male portion of the community.
From the book Jizni Cechy, Josef a
Marie Erhartovi, Olympia, Prague, 1975
Contact: Peter Kinderman
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