Labor Day Throwback: A Working Girl

Clara_Lemlich_1910“I am a working girl. One of those who are on strike against intolerable conditions. I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in general terms. I move that we go on a general strike. Now.” — Clara Lemlich (Cooper Union rally, 11/22/1909)

The next morning 20,000 garment workers joined the picket lines, the largest strike of women in the history of the United States. It was one of the early great strikes of the modern labor movement, and the resulting settlement with factory owners marked a step forward in labor power.


Author: craigcrawford

Trail Mix Host

69 thoughts on “Labor Day Throwback: A Working Girl”

  1. afl-cio:

    On Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the top floors of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. Firefighters arrived at the scene, but their ladders weren’t tall enough to reach the upper floors of the 10-story building. Trapped inside because the owners had locked the fire escape exit doors, workers jumped to their deaths. In a half an hour, the fire was over, and 146 of the 500 workers—mostly young women—were dead.

    …In fact, workplace deaths weren’t uncommon then. It is estimated that more than 100 workers died every day on the job around 1911.


    Years before the Triangle fire, garment workers actively sought to improve their working conditions—including locked exits in high-rise buildings—that led to the deaths at Triangle. In fall 1909, as factory owners pressed shirtwaist makers to work longer hours for less money, several hundred workers went on strike. On Nov. 22, Local 25 of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) convened a meeting to discuss a general strike. Thousands of workers packed the hall.

    Nineteen-year-old Clara Lemlich was sitting in the crowd listening to the speakers—mostly men—caution against striking. Clara was one of the founders of Local 25, whose membership numbered only a few hundred, mostly female, shirtwaist and dressmakers. A few months earlier, hired thugs had beaten her savagely for her union involvement, breaking ribs.

    When the meeting’s star attraction, the American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers, spoke, the crowd went wild. After he finished, Clara expected a strike vote. Instead, yet another speaker went to the podium. Tired of hearing speakers for more than two hours, Clara made her way to the stage, shouting, “I want to say a few words!” in Yiddish. Once she got to the podium, she continued, “I have no further patience for talk as I am one of those who feels and suffers from the things pictured. I move that we go on a general strike…now!” The audience rose to their feet and cheered, then voted for a strike.

  2. KGC, Pogo

    Agreed, Joy Reid is amazing and like no other!

    Even when she fills in on XM radio Progress 127 she’s equally as good.

  3. Leaked Script Shows What Advisers Want Donald Trump to Say at Black Church


    DETROIT — Donald J. Trump’s visit to a black church here on Saturday will be a major moment for a candidate with a history of offending the sensibilities of black Americans.
    His team was leaving nothing to chance.
    Instead of speaking to the congregation at Great Faith Ministries International, Mr. Trump had planned to be interviewed by its pastor in a session that would be closed to the public and the news media, with questions submitted in advance. And instead of letting Mr. Trump be his freewheeling self, his campaign prepared lengthy answers for the submitted questions, consulting black Republicans to make sure he says the right things.

  4. Remember the jingle “Look for the Union label”? Thought of this yesterday when Mr. Crawford mentioned he had bought an item Made in the USA. I actually do look at the labels on my clothing. Those made outside our country make me wonder about the person who sewed it: does she/he work in a sweatshop? Does my purchase benefit this person?

  5. tony,

    What do I fear about the Clinton campaign? Over confidence. Yep, forecasts tilt lopsidedly towards a blow out but …. polls don’t vote, people do. Work like they’re 10 points behind & act accordingly. In the spirit of Labor Day, sweat equity pays off. Get Out The Vote 🙂

  6. SJ, check out the new trend in labeling for some products, “Assembled in the USA” — nice try, folks

  7. “…. polls don’t vote, people do. Work like they’re 10 points behind & act accordingly”
    sjwny, amen to that.  and remember there is precedence of getting the popular vote but not getting the presidency.

    from quora

    There have been three times that a candidate has won a majority of the electoral vote without a plurality of the popular vote:
    In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the election (by a margin of one electoral vote), but he lost the popular vote by more than 250,000 ballots to Samuel J. Tilden.
    In 1888, Benjamin Harrison received 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland’s 168, winning the presidency. But Harrison lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes.
    In 2000, George W. Bush was declared the winner of the general election and became the 43rd president, but he didn’t win the popular vote either. Al Gore holds that distinction, garnering about 540,000 more votes than Bush. However, Bush won the electoral vote, 271 to 266.
    There was exactly one time, in the election of 1824, that a President was elected with neither a majority of the electoral vote nor a win in the popular vote. Though Andrew Jackson got more of the popular vote and the electoral vote, no candidate got the needed majority of the electoral vote to actually win. Instead, the House of Representatives cast a kind of tie-breaker vote (as required by the 12th Amendment of the Constitution) on February 9th, 1825, to make John Q. Adams the President.

  8. give ’em hell, joe!


    “This is a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth that now he’s choking on because his foot is in his mouth along with the spoon,” Mr. Biden said.

    Mr. Biden’s aimed seemed to be Mr. Trump’s hold on working-class white voters – the most loyal piece of the Trump voting coalition. He described himself and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as more in tune with the anxieties of working class voters.

    Looking out at his audience he said Mr. Trump doesn’t understand their lives “any more than you understand what it’s like to live in a 30,000 square foot penthouse 80 floors up in New York.”

  9. more joe from above link:

    He invoked his own hardscrabble upbringing in Scranton, Pa., when family financial struggles forced him to live for a time with grandparents.

    Mr. Trump, he said, “doesn’t have any idea what it’s like to sit at my dad’s kitchen table and hear my mom say, ‘Honey, we need new tires on the car,’ “ only to hear her husband reply, “ ‘Honey, you’ve got to get 10,000 more miles. We just don’t have it [the money] right now.’ “

    Mr. Biden will be making more campaign stops on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf, acting as a bridge to working-class male voters who’ve been cool to Mrs. Clinton.

    He seemed to acknowledge those tensions in his speech, saying at one point, “By the way, I know some of you are mad at Hillary. I know some of you look at her and say …” his voice trailed off.

    He added: “Let me tell you something, man. She gets it. And she never yields. She does not break. She stands up.”



  10. PatD, I caught the Joe show live yesterday, was ready for a dose of him, do think he should have talked more about Hillary, less about Trump

  11. must have been some hellacious cabinet meetings if you read between the lines of biden’s comment: “Let me tell you something, man. She gets it. And she never yields. She does not break. She stands up.”

  12. The instant I read Craig’s Lede this morning, I thought of Triangle.  As usual our very sharp Patd beat me to it.  Since that date it has been a long hard fight for women to get equal pay for equal work as well as health and safety considerations that allow them to balance home and work responsibilities.

    On the “No Press Conferences” front, Clinton will start using larger plane and traveling with the Press Corps.  

    On the disgusting Mr. Trump, Liz Clark got her hands on the proposed Trump speech (picture) to Veterans today to which she had the appropriate “we’ve seen & heard this before from the man with the mustache”.  My response was simple agreement:  “Let us hope these veterans remember why their father’s fought so their sons and grandsons don’t have to do it again.”


  13. Back in the middle 80s in Florida, the male manager of our local Publix in-store bakery retired. There was a very well qualified woman who quite logically believed that she was up for the position. Wrong. Publix brought in some young punk from a different store declaring him manager.

    The message was clear. Publix doesn’t need nor want front-line women managers. Our fine female workers did the right thing. They went on strike. And our small city’s residents, many of them from the industrial mid-west, boycotted the store. Within days Publix corporate policy changed and women assumed their rightful place not just in our store, but company-wide. Our local newspapers covered the story quite well, much to our community’s and societies benefit.

  14. Back in the mid seventies, the business advisors were telling corporations that if they wanted to reduce the size of the bottom line, simply replace all their middle managers with women for an instant reduction in salary costs.

  15. Although I grew up in a union family, my mother was a Teamster, I was never in a position to join a union. When I ran for office I made sure I had my literature printed at union printers, my signs printed at union printers and my business cards always displayed the union “bug”.  Unions were good for this country.  The Republicans learned their modern vilification techniques on the unions before moving to the Clintons.

    The buffoon did a job with his speech.  I can hardly wait until he is near the Detroit church.  That Q&A should be a blast.

  16. wapo: John McCain wins his primary, promptly gives up on Donald Trump

    Literally one day after winning his primary, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave up on Donald Trump. In fact, McCain now sounds a bit like he’s betting on Trump losing — or, at least, looking like a loser for the rest of the campaign season — to help him win a sixth term in the Senate.

    In a gauzy, five-minute YouTube video released Wednesday, McCain looks directly at the camera and says: “My opponent, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, is a good person. But if Hillary Clinton is elected president, Arizona will need a senator who will act as a check — not a rubber stamp — for the White House.”


    Campaigning as a bulwark to a President Clinton might be Republicans’ life raft in the event of a Democratic wave, just as many Republicans saved themselves 20 years ago — by spending the race’s final weeks campaigning as a bulwark against (another) President Clinton. It worked; Clinton won the White House, but Republicans kept their majorities in Congress.

  17. he slipped his leash again.  handlers must have been asleep.


    Donald Trump launched a new round of aggressive personal attacks against MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski Friday morning, airing an unsubstantiated claim before his more than 11 million Twitter followers.

    “Just heard that crazy and very dumb @morningmika had a mental breakdown while talking about me on the low ratings @Morning_Joe. Joe a mess!” Trump tweeted.

  18. PatD, from what I’ve gleaned through the years Biden and Hillary tangled quite a bit but not much detail leaked out

  19. Flatus, interesting history on Publix. Last time I was down there I noticed our local store has a woman manager and one of the assistant managers. My dad long ago played golf occasionally with the founder George Jenkins, didn’t much care for him, let’s just say he was no Progressive on race or women. But he built my favorite grocery chain.

  20. Craig, the boss back in the 80s was a guy named Floto. I never met him. If I had, I would have thanked him for doing the right thing. I’m sure his response gained the chain customers. Oh, Floto was no relation to me.

  21. I just flipped this morning’s Journal over and right their in big type just below the fold is “DONALD TRUMP AND THE MOB’. It is sub-titled “In business, GOP nominee dealt with Mafia-linked figures; he says he’s ‘the cleanest guy there is'”

    It’s useless for me to try to link the article because I’m a regular subscriber and my links are generated specific to my account.

    Besides four columns-wide on page one it takes-up the entirety of page 8.

  22. I haven’t Mrs. Greenspan talk about the Trump Foundation being fined for bribing Pam Bondi to keep her from investiging Trump U

    but  she is happy to repeat the health care story…. Got a big giant L on your forehead  Mrs. G.

  23. “President of Uzbekistan has died”


    Despot opening for Trump!  It’s not the U.S., and it’s not Kazahkstan, but beggars can’t be choosers.

  24. Still no reporting on the Trump Foundation on MSNBC their only question is why won’t Hillary come out and play on our field by our rules

    since you practice  gotcha questioning — why would she do that?  one of your reporters who apparently is invisible because she is brown asked her more about the emails … it wasn’t that she didn’t answer it’s that long after the fact the advocacy journalists (that title is a gift) decided they didn’t like the answer so they accused her of not answering.   It’s no wonder she is reluctant.  you print or spew every rumor and innuendo about Clinton and repeat and repeat and repeat and adopted the meme of the Trump campaign – your job is to report and verify and you do neither so if she wants to say FU you deserve it. And no coverage of the questions about the use of Trump Foundation money to bribe the attorney general of Fla.

  25. If the Clinton Foundation got caught bribing a public official what would the reporting be?  It would be 24/7 until Nov 8th

    but no such thing for the Trump Foundation

    And why not compare the Clinton Foundation to the Trump Foundation and who has done what to whom

  26. Jamie & flatus, couldn’t get the wsj full story.  but this article might give us a hint of some of what was in it

    raw story: EXPOSED: A scary list of Donald Trump’s mob ties in Atlantic City and New York

  27. more about sater last week from


    A Russian-born, mafia-linked businessman whose ties to both Donald Trump and loyalists of Russian President Vladimir Putin have sparked scrutiny, visited Trump Tower last month for undisclosed business, he told POLITICO.

    The businessman, Felix Sater, also donated the maximum allowable contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign, according to the campaign’s most recent FEC filing.

    Sater, whose firm co-developed a major Trump project in New York and who was later hired by Trump to drum up business in the former USSR, has said that he closely associated with Trump and his family, while Trump has suggested he wouldn’t even recognize Sater.

    Sater told POLITICO that he has not seen the candidate recently and that the purpose of his visit to Trump Tower last month is “confidential.” Sater declined to say whether he’s had recent contact with the Trump Organization or Trump’s children. “I don’t see the relevance of that,” he said.

    Sater gave the campaign $5,520 in three donations in July, according to the campaign’s August FEC filing. Because the maximum allowed individual contribution is $5400, the campaign refunded the $120 difference.

    Sater’s business relationship with Trump has been the subject of sworn testimony by both men and has come under scrutiny because of Sater’s past associations and the Trump campaign’s unusual stances on Russia. Sater was convicted for stabbing a man in a bar fight in the early ’90s, and pleaded guilty to racketeering in 1998 for his role in a mob-orchestrated stock fraud, according to The Washington Post. His racketeering sentence was reduced for cooperating with American intelligence officials on undisclosed matters related to national security.


    maybe sater is still “cooperating with American intelligence officials”  on a sting project 🙂

  28. more sater from politico story:

    Around 2010, Sater went to work for Trump directly, carrying a Trump Organization business card that described him as a “senior advisor to Donald Trump.”

    The revelation of Sater’s contribution and recent Trump Tower visit come at a time when Trump’s pro-Russian stances, his relationship with former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and his campaign’s role in softening the Republican Party’s support for Ukrainian resistance to Russian incursions in its territory have all brought the New York billionaire’s ties to Russia under intense scrutiny. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Sater’s generosity was news to the campaign.

    “We are not aware of a contribution or visit to Trump Tower,” she said.

    Alan Garten, the general counsel of the Trump Organization, said he had no knowledge of Sater’s visit to Trump Tower, that Sater was not advising the Trump Organization and that the Trump Organization was not seeking business in Russia. Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. did not respond to questions about Sater.

  29. trump’s okay with the mob. Since the ’60s mobsters have been considered white. Mostly. trump’s thesis is that ‘Mexican’ crime is much worse, because, well, it’s brown crime. It’s not assimilated, and doesn’t have American values. It’s just not the good white crime of Sicily and Calabria, capiche ?r

    russian mobsters are also assimilated. They’re Whites. Not at all like Muslims.

  30. and more:

    The purchase of campaign merchandise and two contributions for $2,700 each are all dated July 21 in the FEC filing.

    Under oath, Trump has described his ties to Sater as distant, saying during testimony for a case related to a Trump development in Fort Lauderdale that he would not recognize Sater if the two were sitting in the same room.

    In testimony related to a libel suit brought by Trump against a book author and first revealed by the Post, Sater said under oath that he met frequently with Trump in the billionaire’s office over a period of several years, flew with him to Colorado, and entertained a request from Trump to show Ivanka and Donald Jr. around Moscow in 2006.

    Trump and Bayrock partnered with the Sapir Organization, led by the now-deceased Tamir Sapir and his son Alex, in the development of the Trump SoHo high-rise in Manhattan a decade ago. During the Cold War, Tamir Sapir, an émigré from the Soviet Union, sold electronics to KGB agents from a storefront in Manhattan. Alex Sapir’s business partner Rotem Rosen is a former lieutenant of the Soviet-born Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, an oligarch with longstanding ties to Vladimir Putin who counts the Russian president as a “true friend.”

    In making the campaign contributions last month, Sater listed his occupation as “advisor” but failed to report the name of his employer. He told POLITICO he is self-employed.

    “I think he’ll make the greatest president of this century,” Sater said of Trump. “Because he’s not an indebted politician.”

  31. Pat 

    That article has many phrases relating to specific charges, amounts, etc., that aren’t in the more circumspect WSJ article although they would happily cohabit the same library newspaper rack.

  32. The failure to report on the Trump Foundation is unbelievable –msnbc is treating it like a story that only the Clinton campaign thinks is important

    it’s pretty clear what it is – but the media which needs Trump to stay alive…at least through the debates are pretending it’s nothing—just move along now nothing to see here –  this is something but more time is spent speculating that there might be something somewhere that Clinton has actually done wrong

    Just to be perfectly clear — Trump paid a bribe to the Florida attorney general to not investigate Trump U there is nothing else it could be or maybe Pam Bondi is a hooker


  33. Right, BIll takes contributions, some foundation employee asks for a meeting for a donor, Hillary’s staff sends the request through channels, and depending on how it filters through channels, a meeting with Hillary or an aide happens or not.  Big scandal.  Trump’s fake “foundation” gives a $25,000 contribution, solicited by the prosecutor who will or won’t pursue a case against his fake university, IRS cries foul and fines the “foundation” and trump reimburses it – making the donation a direct one.  No prosecution results against  the Univ. no problem.  Sounds like a quid pro quo bribe to me.  Apparently, because of the way the drumpf foundation is organized, it doesn’t get rated.  I read an article yesterday – it typically gives donations to his friends.  Doesn’t sound like it should qualify for tax exempt status, but what do I know?

  34. three presidential debates will be moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.  Cooper and Raddatz have to work together because they are a gay person and a woman and can’t do it by themselves

  35. In line with the Maddow remarks on a dying party, I sometimes entertain the conspiracy theory that the GOP power brokers are using Donald Trump as a way to clean out as many of the crazies as possible so they can build a bench for 2020.  It’s either that or they are planning a takeover of the Libertarians as the next half of the two party system.


  36. To hell with phony debates with phony journalists. I’m even against a debate with NPR & PBS, and they have actual journalists.

  37. lester holt, chris wallace, and anderson cooper put together aren’t as good as Martha Raddatz. I can’t understand why disney cartoon news keeps Raddatz; she is way to ‘real world’ for the disney brand.

  38. abcnews:

    Newly released government documents show just how far FBI agents went to determine whether Hillary Clinton broke the law with her use of a private email server as secretary of state, even playing a trick on the Democratic nominee during their three-hour interview with her in July.

    At the core of the FBI’s criminal investigation were two questions: Was classified information sent through the server? And — if so — did Clinton know that was happening or intentionally send classified information?

    FBI Director James Comey recently said his agency could prove the presence of classified information, but they found no evidence to indicate that Clinton knew she was sending or receiving classified information — a conclusion reflected in the FBI documents released today.

    “Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not have been on an unclassified system,” reads a summary of the FBI’s findings from July. “She relied on State officials to use their judgment when emailing her and could not recall anyone raising concerns with her regarding the sensitivity of the information she received at her email address.”

  39. wapo’s the fix: Weeks after campaign pledged answers, big questions about Melania Trump’s immigration status linger

    Here’s how she explained getting her citizenship, to Harper’s Bazaar:

    I came here for my career, and I did so well, I moved here. It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are. You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa. After a few visas, I applied for a green card and got it in 2001. After the green card, I applied for citizenship. And it was a long process.

    According to Leopold, the need to have to travel back to her home country wouldn’t accompany a visa linked to employment, in his experience.

    “The only time I’ve seen that — and I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve compared notes with other immigration lawyers — that the coming in and going out, to anybody who’s been around this stuff, suggests that she was on a visitor visa, which doesn’t permit work,” he said. If Melania Trump came in on a visitor visa and began working over a short period of time, the government would assume that she entered the country fraudulently. If she told a customs official she was entering the United States as a visitor but was planning to work, that’s a material misrepresentation.

    To get a work-related immigrant visa, Leopold added, Trump’s prospective employer would have had to prove that Trump filled a job duty that no American could fill — to show, in other words, that no other model in New York City would have done that shoot. Unless, of course, she had special skills — or a special degree.

    You may remember that shortly before questions about Trump’s status arose, she suddenly took down her personal website. That change followed revelations that Trump claimed to have a degree that biographers from Slovenia discovered she didn’t.

    “At the age of eighteen, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan. After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan, finally settling in New York in 1996,” the site read. The part about the degrees, it seems, was not true, as our fact checkers noted.


  40. Well the weather here in Columbia has been quite breezy and rainy today. Almost five inches of rain since I got up this morning, but nowhere near so bad as last October. It was undoubtedly much more trying in north Florida. I remember back in 85 or 86 we had one small hurricane go up the Gulf coast right by where we lived all the way up to the panhandle then do a 180 and come back down again. Rather than lose our choice spots in the shelter, we just stayed until if finally departed.

  41. When I moved to Nashville late 79 one of the first things I did was join the Moo-jicians Union……it was great….I was in the same book as Chet Atkins.  But it also lead me to be able to audition as piano player for Oliver. I met him around 10 AM at the Union Hall and I attempted to impersonate someone who could play piano in Oliver’s stage show……Vegas, Frisco, LA, New Yawk City…… was big time…….but I was not at the time (80) proficient in reading charts……music charts……we farted around on the piano for an hour or so and Oliver left me with that his piano player must be fluent in music reading but he would let me know……I knew instinctively that I didn’t get the gig but ya never know and all that……

    well, about two weeks later I got a hand written letter from William Oliver Swofford to the effect of how much he enjoyed our “session” and a gentle let down due to the fact that his pianist must be fluent in music reading…….

    God bless America’s unions.

  42. just been musing over watching some incensed citizens irating about some jock not respecting the flag while they stand there clad in same flag (maybe even down to their skivvies and beer cozies) in violation of the United States Flag Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq)…specifically s. 176 (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery

    and (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

    and (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

    ‘course such disrespectfulness is no longer punishable due to scotus whining about freedom of speech or some such silly thing…  🙂

Comments are closed.