The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

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  • L'italia -- September 30, 1894
    "Political Workers' Society"

    Vittorio E. Maggi and Vincenzo Lamantia, after a long struggle, have finally organized a "Political Workers' Society" (Societa Political Operaia.

    Members of this Club, generally known as "Sons of Labor", come from the Provinces of Aquila and Di Campobasso.

    This Society is organized for the moral and material welfare of Workers.

    It has been incorporated through the State Laws of Illinois, in order to assure the members of the rights given them.

    The purpose of this Club is:

    1. To organize the Italian Workers into a Fraternal Union.

    2. To obtain work for the unemployed.

    3. To assure a standardized wage.

    2

    4. To inform members, during the election of candidates, which will benefit them most.

    5. To have interpreters for the benefit of those who cannot read or write.

    6. To assure adequate compensation in the event of an accident while on the job.

    7. To help its members acquire their citizenship-papers.

    We urge every Italian Laborer to join this Union.

    Where there is union, there is Strength.

    Vittorio E. Maggi and Vincenzo Lamantia, after a long struggle, have finally organized a "Political Workers' Society" (Societa Political Operaia. Members of this Club, generally known as "Sons of Labor", ...

    Italian
    III B 2, II D 8, III A, I H, I J
  • La Parola dei Socialisti -- March 20, 1908
    Employment Agencies

    In some stylish restaurant in Chicago, New York, or elsewhere, with large diamonds on his fingers and in his cravat, a self-satisfied Italian may often be seen. He is the same Italian whom you saw a year ago shining shoes for passers-by or washing signs or selling trinkets on crowded street-corners. "Well! Where has"X"made his money? He looked like a beggar a year ago!" "Don't you know? He has sent some thousands of men into the country!" Briefly, "to send men into the country" means in America to make money, -- to make money with little risk and less labor.

    It is an easy business. One opens a small office like a shop in some part of the city frequented by Italians; the windows are trimmed with dignified legends in Italian and English, preferably crowned by flags or coats-of-arms; posters are stuck up requesting 1000 shovelers, 300 carpenters, 200 hod-carriers, etc. Then, at the counter, one awaits the prey at leisure. He has previously corresponded with some company that is building a railroad line, a bridge, a tunnel, or an aqueduct and wants laborers shipped to some distant solitary place, to be supervised by slave-driving bosses, far from the surveillance of the law.

    2

    There is no dearth of victims to exploit. Italians want to work, want to save, want to send money to Italy so that their dear ones may join them in America. The agencies promise steady work in the country, where it costs little to live, and where there is less of opportunity to spend money. Our poor countrymen usually congregate at the agencies in groups of five, six, ten, twenty, or fifty, forming the so-called "ghenga". They feel the need of mutual advice, assistance, and protection. The owner of the agency and his clerk welcome them in the friendliest, most fatherly manner, He makes them believe that he has rejected two or three, hundred Slavs or Greeks in order to reserve the good jobs for Italians. And what fine jobs! Two dollars a day, nine hours of light, easy work, the purest air, distilled water, free board, Italian boss, low cost of living, - an Eldorado! They must decide quickly, for few vacancies are left, and they must be filled by this evening or to-morrow morning.

    The cost will be small, $8 to $12 for the trip plus the customary fee of $5, known as "bossatura". The applicants confer in a corner of the agency. The have been unemployed for so long a time, it seems such an opportunity!

    3

    To raise the money, some suggest selling watches or overcoats or taking a collection. Their spokesman announces to the agent that all are ready to leave. From now on the agent becomes the gang's most humble servant. For their convenience he has the baggage of the newly-enrolled laborers brought to the agency. He explains to them the route of the journey; he buys their railroad tickets, accompanies them personally to the station and to their cars, and sometimes even goes with them or sends some one else, to the location. His earnings have not been meager. A gang of 12 men, who pay as "bossatura" $5 each, yields $60; $2 discount on each railroad ticket makes $24 more; $2 paid for each worker by the hiring company makes another $24; -- a total of $108!

    The "Via Crucis"begins on the location. This is a swamp many miles away from any habitation. The "free" board is prepared and served in a wooden shed or in an old railroad car owned by the boss or by the company. If they want the job, the men must eat and sleep there, paying what is demanded. The meals are prepared of stuff which hogs would scorn to eat. The beds consist of a handful of damp and stinking straw. The "purest air" usually means the deadly miasma of swamp-land, where 4mosquitoes absorb what little blood has been left by the bosses and the employment agents. The "light, easy work" consists of ten or eleven hours of shoveling under a broiling sun or tunneling the bowels of a mountain. The "Italian boss" turns out to be a Turkish, Russian, or Irish slave-driver who does not understand the men and is not understood by them, who begrudges them even the time that it takes to blow a nose, and who easily reaches the point of kicking and sometimes even of shooting.

    After a few days of torture the men begin to consider means of escape, or sometimes they agree upon some form of mutiny. But since the agent has prepaid the transportation charges, and the company must withhold that money from their wages, the men are in debt; they must pay, and therefore they must continue to work, willy-nilly. Besides, all habitations are far away, and the police will always stand by the bosses, without admitting any protest or defense on the part of the men, who run the risk of being jailed if they stop working.

    Here are some real and hypothetical cases. A laborer is hired to leave New York or Chicago for a job location in the North; instead, he is shipped south. Last year eight Italians hired in Chicago, 5ostensibly for a job in the State of Washington, were sent on a sail-boat, under pretext of haste, to fish off the banks of Newfoundland, in polar temperature, with roasted fish as their only food. Exhausted with labor and privations, they were unable for a month and a half to regain their liberty.

    Last summer a gang of twenty-four men was shipped by a well-known New York agency, ostensibly to work on a new railroad project in Texas. The agent who accompanied them set them to work at hoeing on a desolate plain where there were no roads or habitations and disappeared in the following night. Theses unfortunates wandered for weeks and finally, nearly dead of hunger and privations, were transported to New Orleans through the agency of the Italian consul. The railroad project was a false invention of the agent's devised for the sake of his commission and the discount on the railroad fare!

    Four months ago six Italians were shipped to Oregon by a Chicago agency for a job which, according to the contract, should have earned $1.75 for a nine-hour day. Instead, these men received $7 a week for working ten hours a day. After vainly 6protesting they quit the job but were arrested on the charge of threatening violence, and $500 bail was set for each.

    You will always find an employment agent waiting for the arrival of a steamer or a train which carries immigrants. These newcomers are his favorite dish, for they are so naively amenable to deceit and exploitation!

    In some stylish restaurant in Chicago, New York, or elsewhere, with large diamonds on his fingers and in his cravat, a self-satisfied Italian may often be seen. He is the ...

    Italian
    II D 8, I D 2 c, II A 2, III A, III G, III H, I H, I C
  • La Parola dei Socialisti -- April 04, 1908
    [Exploitation of Italian Immigrant Labor]

    Mr. Pasquale Bloise, who lived on Taylor street, recently enrolled a thousand men (Italians) for shipment into the country, exacted a fee of $8 from each of them, and then went into hiding.

    One of these hapless men who had been unemployed for five months, even sold his hat in order to pay Bloise his $8 fee.

    Is so gross a fraud possible?

    Cannot mankind rid itself of these vampires,-employment agents, bankers, and priests?

    Mr. Pasquale Bloise, who lived on Taylor street, recently enrolled a thousand men (Italians) for shipment into the country, exacted a fee of $8 from each of them, and then ...

    Italian
    II D 8, I D 2 c, I D 1 a, III C, II E 2
  • L'italia -- January 02, 1909
    Employment Office

    At the Masonic Temple, on Dec. 21, there will be a meeting of the Agricultural section of the Italian Chamber of Commerce, under the presidency of G. Garibaldi and the Italian Consul, Mr. Sabetta.

    Plans for setting up a centralized employment office for the Italian immigrants will be discussed.

    An institution of this sort will be of great help to our countrymen.

    It is planned to make it self-supporting.

    At the Masonic Temple, on Dec. 21, there will be a meeting of the Agricultural section of the Italian Chamber of Commerce, under the presidency of G. Garibaldi and the ...

    Italian
    II D 8, II A 2, III G, III H, I L, IV
  • La Parola dei Socialisti -- January 04, 1913
    Seventeenth Ward Chronicle

    A number of workers from this ward recently applied to James Acques & Company for employment.

    Hired at a salary of seventeen cents an hour, each paid the agency a two dollar fee.

    When the men reported for work the foreman chased them away calling them dagoes and other names.

    They returned to the employment agency, which refused to refund the two dollar fee. They were threatened with a revolver.

    Workers, be on your guard! Do not allow yourselves to be robbed by unscrupulous agents of that which you have earned by the sweat of your brow.

    A number of workers from this ward recently applied to James Acques & Company for employment. Hired at a salary of seventeen cents an hour, each paid the agency a ...

    Italian
    II E 2, II D 8, II A 2
  • La Parola dei Socialisti -- June 05, 1915
    A Bad Man Imprisoned

    A certain Stoian Lachisso, living at 811 West Adams street, swindled some Italian laborers a few weeks ago by pretending to be an employment agent and promising them a good job at Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

    These unfortunate men succeeded by sacrifices in scraping together the money for the trip.

    However, having reached their destination, they discovered the swindle, for no such jobs existed.

    Last week Lachisso was tried and sentenced by Judge Hill to six months' imprisonment and a fine of $200.

    A certain Stoian Lachisso, living at 811 West Adams street, swindled some Italian laborers a few weeks ago by pretending to be an employment agent and promising them a good ...

    Italian
    II E 2, II D 8