The strike at the Lawrence textile which occurred in 1912 involved immigrant employees in Lawrence. The strike occurred after the mill owners threatened to cut wages of its workers after a reduction of working hours which shortened the work. Therefore, I think Volse is the account of the1912 Lawrence Strike that I find most credible and compelling. This is so because account gives detailed information on the 1912 Lawrence strike by explaining all the participants of the strike, including the owner of the mill. This account gives full information about the cause of the strike, what happened during and after the strike. It indicates that the Lawrence Textile strike was a public protest of immigrant workers from several countries such as Cuba, Canada and Germany among others. The strike was a result of wage cut and poor working environment of workers. The strike was referred as Bread and Rose because it was attributed to socialist Union leader Rose Schneiderman.
Vorse argues that it was on a cold afternoon when she went to meet the children of the Lawrence at the grand central station. In that afternoon, workers started milling around and everybody was grumbling. The response of the Lawrence was by ringing the bell, which was the first thing to be experienced in history. She argues that women stopped working and walked out of the mill shouting about the cut pay when they realized their employers had cut their wages by 32 cents. This brought a mix of gaiety and excitement which confused police who starting to look doubtfully into the crowd of workers who seemed restless and with red banners. She argues that the workers from other mills participated in a strike the following day.
Vorse argues that one could tell a reasonable deal about the state of the labor movement in 1912 by just looking over the waiting people (Vorse, 1980). This is so because they represented dozens of scores and locals of trades. It seems that most of the people who come were concerned about the strikers' children and the entire situation. She argues that a company of local police was ordered by the major to guard the streets, but they seemed confused. Since the strikers responded by picketing, the mill owner turned fire horses toward them and strikers started throwing ice toward the mill which caused destruction. This incident resulted in many workers being jailed.
Her attitude towards the strikers was positive because was extremely sympathetic to the Lawrence strikers and felt that the United Textile workers under Goldern treated the workers badly. This indicates that Vorse felt the workers had right to strike because the mill owners did not treat them properly. She also allowed her friend to assist children. Similarly, her attitude toward the mill owner and police was negative because they mistreated workers who were fighting for their rights. I think Vorse’s account is very credible and compelling because the account is explained using first person which indicate she explained events that she experienced. It also indicates that she was involved in the strike to give such credible information. However, her account has received great criticism on the ground that she might have biased in her narration given the fact that her attitude towards strikers was positive.
Meanwhile, the testimony of Camella Teoli does not attest Vorse analysis because Camella argue that 30,000 immigrant workers are the ones who walked out of the Lawrence textile mill to launch one of the epic confrontation between labor and capital. This does not confirm the Vorse claim that twenty thousand textile workers in Lawrence walked out against a wage cut. Camella argues that the strike started in part because of the unsafe working environment in the mills while Vorse accounts indicate that the strike started spontaneous due to poor labor conditions (Center for History and New Media/American, 1912). However, there some similarities in these accounts in that the two accounts indicate those who were involved in the strike were immigrant workers. They also argue that the strike started due to poor pay and women and children were paid less. Similarly, the working condition of workers was extremely bad and explains how children were saved.
The O’Sullivan account indicates that men and women protested in Lawrence in order to attain a better living standard. They stood in solidarity during the strike just like several diverse immigrant groups. Her view is about labor conditions that oppressed the Lawrence workers and are still experienced by several industrial workers at the moment. She argues that the Lawrence strike was not caused by the industrial workers of the world or decrease of the working hours which reduced their pay. The reduction of working hours from fifty six to fifty four was the last factor that workers could not tolerate any longer. This is so because there were many injustices of the part of boss with personal discrimination against men and women who could not comply with his standards (O'Sullivan, 1912). Another factor that caused strike was the rise in cost of living in the last two years which comprised of increased rents. This made living condition extremely worse and loss of few cents weekly in their wages became a disaster in the most families. Therefore, this caused a spontaneous strike without any recognized leadership. Her attitude towards strikers was positive while that of police and mill owner was negative. The Cammella testimony affirms her argument because these two accounts indicate those who were involved in the strike were immigrant workers. They also argue that the cause of strike was due to poor pay and working environment.
Vorse's account and the New York Times on the children's exodus during the strike have a similar explanation. Meanwhile, the workers were crowded in the area and stood in solidarity to support each other because of the flame of sympathy. Workers in New York surrounded the Lawrence strikers with the notion that they were the only who could offer assistance to their children. The exodus during the strike was a significant adventure according to these two accounts (NYT,1912). This is so because they both explain how power is demonstrated during difficulties when people come out to help in times of problem. They explained similar conditions that children encountered during the strike and how how the transfer of children to various home was taken care by the supporters of the strike.
The accounts are trustworthy because they were written in the first person which indicate the writers experienced the events. They also participated and organized the children transfer to supporters' homes, especially in the New York. The political stance is portrayed in the author’s of New York, which called for the militia to remove the strikers from the entrances of the mill. Their purpose was to search for the mill owner and implement new ideas of good policy. The policy was to form the trade union movement to fight for the right of workers.
The removal of children from Lawrence after the strike become a political issue because Father Reilly opposed the idea of the strikers' children taken into socialist homes. Therefore, he ordered colonel Sweetser, the militia officer to stop the entire process. This act became political because it attracted attention of both media and employees. This issue was attributed to the hatred between the capitalist and socialists, therefore becoming a political issue. For instance, the children themselves were demonstrated as palletized because they were paraded with banners prior taken to supporters' homes (NYT,1912). The issue of the children’s removal attracted public opinion for the gain of striking employees from Lawrence. Meanwhile, the removal process was gendered as feminism because the conditions in the mill violated the rights of children and women. Meanwhile, women started the strike, according to many accounts and most who felt their right were being violated participated in the strike.
Elizabeth Gurley argues that the IWW was involved in the Bread and Rose strike by setting out for another England textile city to increase funds for those who participated in the strike (Digital Public Library, 1912). The union offered fundamental facilities like medical care to strikers and organized, how to transfer children to home supporters during the strike (Flynn, 1912). This account is similar to a Vorse’s account which explain the issue of power in helping people during hard times. However, they differ with other resources, including the issue of feminism as the main cause of the strike. This account not only focuses on the issue of good working conditions, it also advocates for women empowerment for them to fight for their rights. This account not only fight for better pay for women as presented in the mainstream NYT newspaper, it also fights for men’s pay (NYT, 1912). Just like Volse’s account she was involved in the Lawrence strike by helping strikers' children to be transferred to supportive cities like New York. She also positive attitude toward the strikers and negative attitude toward police. This is so because she argued that the strike was due to poor pay and working conditions that mill owners subjected its workers.
Center for History and New Media/American (1912). Camella Teoli Testifies about the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/61/
Digital Public Library (1912). Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History · DPLA Omeka. Retrieved from http://dp.la/exhibitions/exhibits/show/breadandroses
Flynn, E. (1912). Memories of the Rebel Girl. New York: Masses & Mainstream, Inc.
NYT, (1912). 150 Waifs Find Homes Here.NYT., (1912). Lawrence Strikers Defiant. NYT (1912). Striker's Children Parade.NYT (1912). The Lawrence Strikers Children.
O'Sullivan, M. (1912). "The Labor War at Lawrence," Survey, 72-74.
Vorse, M. M. H. (1980). A footnote to folly. Reminiscences of Mary Marvin Heaton Vorse. Repr. of the 1935 ed. New York. New York: Arno Pr.