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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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- April 01, 1908
    The Labor World the Manner of Organizing the Cloak Makers Formerly and Now

    It is a well known fact that Jewish workers can be organized much easier than workers of other nationalities. Take, for instance, German workers. In order to organize them, it would take months and even years of talking and enlightenment, until we can succeed in organizing them. But if they are once organized, they would not leave the organization even though they may suffer the greatest defeat in their strikes, yet they would still remain in the union to which they belong.

    But that is not so with Jewish workers. You can easily organize them, but the question is whether you can hold them in the organization. Whether they win or lose, they soon get tired of it. They fall out of the organization, and as a result, the union soon collapses. In general, you find Jewish workers organizing themselves, at least, once a year.

    2

    In business on a small scale, where the bosses are not big capitalists, new unions are born almost every few months, and it happens in the following manner: One fine morning the boss is having an argument with a worker; the boss being nervous and grouchy, slaps the worker. Or, it may happen that the boss deducts five cents from a dozen pieces of work. Soon there develops a feeling of solidarity amongst the workers, and every worker thinks of taking revenge on the exploiters. In the evening, after they get through with their work, they get together and hold a meeting on a corner near the shop, and they decide, right then and there, to organize a union, and if necessary to strike. They make a collection, they have handbills printed. They invite other workers of the trade to join them not to let those exploiters oppress them. In the evening, when the meeting is about to take place, a fiery crater appears and holds an inflammatory speech, waking up the sleeping giant, the Samson of labor, to fight, and urging them on to join the union, at once. They pay twenty-five cents, in dues, and decide to go on strike, immediately.

    3

    However, not having the necessary experience how to conduct strikes, and also not having financial support, they appeal to Jewish workers working at different trades, and belonging to different unions, to aid them. But the workers of the different unions, adopt resolutions of sympathy and give them their moral support, but when it comes to financial support, there is very little or none at all. And naturally, when they are on strike, and get no financial aid, they are not able to pay the grocery-man and the butcher, and you certainly cannot pay with sympathy resolutions. Soon the enthusiasm and ardor of the striking workers cools down. The fiery oratory of the agitators loses its effect. They are forced to give up the strike. The workers go back to work as a dejected and defeated lot. Thus their condition, instead of improving, becomes worse than previously, and in a few months the story repeats itself, and with the same results.

    The Chicago Cloak Makers were not exception in that direction. Since the last five years, the once strong union of the cloak makers has almost entirely disappeared. Since its collapse they tried to reorganize the 4same union five or six times, and although they didn't go out on strike each time they reorganized, yet, they organized with the intention of building up a strong and powerful union which would be able to withstand the terrific pressure, and to transform hell into heaven. Finding out a week later that hell was still in their midst, and that it would take a long time yet until their condition would improve, the organizers sneaked away from the union, and along with them the union died a natural death. If a union cannot conduct strikes, what is the union good for, anyway. So the same story repeated itself several times in Chicago and with the same results.

    But the Chicago Cloak Makers learned something out of all their failures, and they learned a valuable lesson. They learned that in order to have a union which can do any good in the future, the following is necessary:

    First, to have patience, and not try to get everybody into the union overnight. Secondly, the newly acquired members must understand that if they could exist five years without a union, they can have patience enough to wait another half year or even a year until the union would be able to do something for them.

    5

    Thirdly, in order to conduct a successful struggle it is necessary to have adequate financial means.

    And that purpose the present Cloak Makers' Union is aiming to accomplish, and the way they are going now, it seems that they will be successful in all directions.

    The Union has already the greatest majority of cloak makers as its members, and new workers are joining the union at every meeting. As for its financial status, it is improving right along, and when the time will come to conduct a strike, it will be ready for it even financially.

    It is remarkable that even the cloak manufacturers are beginning to feel that a strong union is already in existence, and are beginning to treat it with respect. They realize that in order to avoid trouble, they must raise the wages of their workers, and accord them better working conditions, in order to avoid trouble with the union.

    6

    Now let that be an example to other Jewish workers who work at different trades to organize themselves in order to improve their lot. They must remember to have patience, and to follow the example of the Cloak Makers' Union. They must remember that in union there is strength.

    A New York Cloak Maker.

    It is a well known fact that Jewish workers can be organized much easier than workers of other nationalities. Take, for instance, German workers. In order to organize them, it ...

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  • Jewish Labor World -- July 17, 1908
    [Jewish Bakers Strike]

    Last Saturday the bakery employer at 517 S. Halsted locked out his Jewish bakers because they demanded a ten-hour day. The workers, indeed, would have won the strike, had not the industrialists stepped in and helped the boss against the strikers. Without a union label, the boss knows very well bread will not be sold, but the industrialists gave him their label. The Jewish bakers in that shop are on strike, and Poles are scabbing there, taking the places of the Jewish union workers.

    We are positive that the boss fooled himself. The public will soon notice that the labels on his bread are of an organization seeking to destroy old unions and its workers when on strike. This will soon force the boss to call back his workers and grant their just demands.

    Last Saturday the bakery employer at 517 S. Halsted locked out his Jewish bakers because they demanded a ten-hour day. The workers, indeed, would have won the strike, had not ...

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  • Jewish Labor World -- November 20, 1908
    The Bakers Union Is Successful

    The Jewish baker employers have decided not to get into a squabble with the bakers. Last Saturday after a long meeting, twenty-two owners determined to sign the union agreement and take the union labels. The bakers will work ten hours a day. It is now our duty to buy bread from places where the union label is used, and the union is recognized.

    The Bakers Union arranged a mass meeting for Sunday 15. Over 300 people were present. Mazor, Lifkind, and Ziskind spoke. Lifkind talked on the conditions of the bakers. He is one by trade and feels the sufferings and slavery of the bakery workers. Mazor told the workers to organize against every form of oppression. Ziskind, in his short talk, spoke on what the public can do when they feel that they are being over-charged. He touched on the cooperative movement throughout the world and proved that it is possible to have cooperative stores here in Chicago, if only the workers desire them.

    2

    Everyone knows that the radical workers went from restaurant to restaurant, house to house, and grocery to grocery and agitated for the bakers and their label. The Jewish Labor World was the first and last to assist the bakers, yet the Courier issued a statement that we are misleading the workers. Where was the Courier before? Why was there not a word mentioned in the news editorial page about the poor bakers? Why hide in the ghetto? Only a few people read it anyhow. Why did not Mr. Ziskind mention the bakers in the Courier when he was asked? Why did he say he cannot do anything for the bakers? Of course he cannot be blamed. He cannot write such stuff, but what was the matter with Mr. Zolotkoff? His attention was called to the fact. He is an assistant states attorney, and can take complaints when he is positive that the citizens are not abiding by the law.

    The bakery employers organized against the laws of the country to raise the price of bread, and other bakery goods, through uniting into a trust. This is a crime against the constitution of the United States. Why did Mr. Zolotkoff remain silent? The least he could have done was to write a few editorials in the Courier. We believe that it was very important, but he 3feared that the owners of the Courier would lose the matzoh advertisements of the connivers, the Wittemberg family, or the other matzoh companies. That was the main reason why Zolotkoff mentioned nothing in the Courier.

    The Jewish baker employers have decided not to get into a squabble with the bakers. Last Saturday after a long meeting, twenty-two owners determined to sign the union agreement and ...

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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- April 25, 1909
    Here and There in the Labor World

    When life answers perplexing questions. - The injunction against the parquet workers. - How they reacted to it.

    It happens very often when an important communal problem arises and calls forth differentiations and debates regarding that problem, something else happens, in a different place, although on a smaller scale, and clearly answers or solves the first problem and proves at the same time how necessity answers, sometimes, puzzling problems of great importance, without plunging into difficult theories of one sort or another. The problem is thus crystalized and is immediately solved in such manner that anybody can then point his finger at it and recognize it.

    Such an answer was given, the other day, on the question of injunctions against workers in Chicago. The injunction was given at the same time when Messrs. Gompers, Mitchel, Morrison, and other leaders held a conference with President Taft about the same question on injunctions. They presented their grievances before the President, and when they got through, the President replied that he can only do as much as it would not interfere with the general interests of the 2country, or antagonize one group against the other. But life answers all problems, no matter how difficult they should be, very easily and effectively.

    Our readers know perhaps by now that a strike among the parquet workers has been going on for almost two months. The strike has been bitterly waged and met with stiff resistance. The bosses hired enough scabs to seriously threaten the strikers. Some scabs were slugged and beaten up, but these tactics were not taken seriously, and were ascribed to the strike situation. Finally the bosses became annoyed and decided to use the greatest weapon at their command, - the injunction. They got such an injunction from Judge Mack, not only against the striking workers themselves, but it was also against the entire building trade union, friends and sympathizers.

    According to the injunction, no strikers and their sympathizers were to be permitted to come near to buildings where scabs were working. They were also not allowed to see or enter the homes where scabs lived, or to influence them in any way, outside the home, through peaceful methods or intimidation, to quit work, or detain anyone of becoming a scab. The injunction contained everything against 3the striking workers. It was designed to break the backbone of the strike, and thus frighten the union leaders to such an extent as to whip them into line for a favorable argument. But what was the result of this maneuver?

    Quietly the bosses called the leaders of the strikers to their office for a conference, and waving the injunction before the eyes of the strike leaders, they demanded an immediate end to the strike, and to sign an agreement on their terms. But the strike leaders were unperturbed. They laughed at the scrap of paper, and again presented their terms. Well, when the conference was over, an agreement between the bosses and the union leaders was quietly signed for three years. In it was stipulated that only union men are to be employed; scabs to betaken off the jobs immediately; that the newly obtained injunction to be withdrawn; and above all, granting the union demands regarding hours and wages.

    Such was the reply of the parquet workers to the question of injunctions. They did not even bother to come to court when the judge listened to the demands of the bosses to grant them an injunction against the strikers. They didn't have to go to court to fight against the demands of the bosses, and as the union expressed it: "They knew it in advance that the bosses wouldn't go far with their injunction. They didn't care to appeal to the higher courts, and to the 4President against it. They knew that it would take too long to accomplish anything, through legal proceedings. But they knew that they were well organized, and unanimous in their demands. And thus, in spite of the strong injunction, the bosses were forced to capitulate, and complied to the demands of the union.

    It seems to us now that life has given the best answer to the serious question of injunctions. Now it simmers down to the following: In order to accomplish anything, workers must be experienced in their trade, just like the parquet workers are, for half-baked tradesmen, like most of our Jewish workers are, would never get anywhere. Workers must be well organized. They must not weaken or waver in their demands. They must not listen to outsiders, or expect aid from them. They must not seek the help of politicians who are only out for their own interests.

    No matter how great Mr. Gomper's knowledge and practical experience in labor problems may be, he ought to learn something from the parquet workers of Chicago.

    When life answers perplexing questions. - The injunction against the parquet workers. - How they reacted to it. It happens very often when an important communal problem arises and calls ...

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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- December 29, 1909
    The Workers Ghetto

    Never before in the history of the Jewish workers has there been endured such sacrifices, and have such hardships been suffered, as at present, by most of the five-hundred Ladies' Custom Tailors in their present strike. These Jewish workers' activities in their present plight will, no doubt, go down into history.

    It is over six weeks since this strike was declared. However, despite all the hardships, you will not find a single one of the custom tailor workers who will not stand fast for the cause. They expect to maintain the strike to the very last and live up to their sworn obligation by sticking with their comrades in this fight. This strike will certainly be recorded in the labor history of the Jewish labor activities. We firmly believe that the strikers eventually will emerge victorious, but there is one thing upon which we must depend, that is the full cooperation and help of our sympathizers who realize the struggle that we are up against. We hope that our sympathizers will extend us a helping hand until the strike is ended in our favor. This is the only way we can ever hope to win this fight. This strike is a very important undertaking; it is not only for the betterment of the strikers' conditions alone, but is also 2for the good of all workers who are constantly fighting for higher wages, less working hours, and the recognition of unions.

    The Chicago Federation of Labor, until recently acted rather indifferently to this strike, for the simple reason that the strikers were not affiliated with any national union, but recently, it has decided to take a hand in this struggle. The Executive Committee of the Federation has decided to assist the strikers morally and financially. Proper credentials were furnished to the strikers to call on all unions for help.

    The Jewish workers must not rely nor depend too much upon the friendship of the Chicago Federation of Labor. They must, by all means, do all in their power to help themselves. We must not forget that the majority of the five-hundred strikers are in dire need and that they have been struggling for existence for the past six weeks.

    Never before in the history of the Jewish workers has there been endured such sacrifices, and have such hardships been suffered, as at present, by most of the five-hundred Ladies' ...

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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- April 05, 1910
    "The Worker's Ghetto." (A worker's column)

    Skirt makers call a mass meeting to organize their trade. - Cigar makers still out on strike. - Significance of their present strike to their trade. - Four thousand painters strike.

    The skirt and cloak makers union has made rapid stride in the organization of their trade. Various sub-locals have been organized and are functioning admirably. It is hoped that they shall be a separate local with their own charter.

    The cigar makers are now in their fourth week in their strike to gain their demands. In spite of the hardships inflicted upon the strikers by the bosses and by the police who stand by the bosses, and in spite of the fact that the union is a poor one with very little financial backing, the strikers have carried on nobly and bravely. With such spirit that they have displayed, they will surely win their strike. This strike is very significant to the whole cigar making industry 2in that it is the first strike of the Progressive Cigar Makers Union, carried on in such a large factory and in which so many workers are taking part.

    If the strike is won, it will no doubt have an influence upon the entire industry in both large and small shops. The demand now is for the recognition of the union, a very important step for the workers.

    4,000 painters and decorators declared a strike last Friday evening in Chicago. The reason for the strike is the expiration of the agreement on April 1st, between the workers and the bosses and contractors. The workers also demand a raise from 55 to 60 cents per hour. Many bosses have signed the new agreement for 60 cents an hour and it is expected that this demand will be universally met in a short time. Many bosses fear that if they do not consent to the new demands they will have trouble with the building trades workers who are prepared to go out on a sympathy strike. There is much work in the painters and 3decorators trade at this time, and since the workers are very strongly organized we see a speedy victory and settlement of the strike for the workers.

    Skirt makers call a mass meeting to organize their trade. - Cigar makers still out on strike. - Significance of their present strike to their trade. - Four thousand painters ...

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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- April 11, 1910
    [For the Painters Local Union No. 521]

    Notice: To all Jewish Painters of Chicago Local 521. No Jewish Painters should go to work for any boss who has not signed the new agreement with the conference committee.

    We also announce that all the locals in the brotherhood are united in striking for 60 cents an hour. Steer clear of all shops that are out on strike, and avoid paying the penalty. Local 521 has established head quarters at 732 Madison St. where all members of this local are asked to report. Those who are not working can get jobs by applying at our head quarters.

    Harry Gross, President.

    Notice: To all Jewish Painters of Chicago Local 521. No Jewish Painters should go to work for any boss who has not signed the new agreement with the conference committee. ...

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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- April 26, 1910
    (No headline)

    The Worker Ghetto.

    What have the Ladies Custom Tailors gained in their last strike? - For the first time in the Jewish Workers movement. - Reasons and Differences. - The South Side Slaves. - The ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court on the women's 10 hour maximum working day law. - "The Ladies Garment Worker", a new journal.

    It took more than twelve weeks of hunger, starvation and trying times for the Ladies Tailors to win their strike. They were out once and for all to establish their trade on a normal basis. And, they were successful. They won. They now have an eight hour working day, and higher prices for their work, time and a half for overtime, and a closed shop. During slack seasons, all work will be divided equally among all the workers. No worker may be discharged unless the employer can show cause, and then only if the union accepts the employer's reason.

    This is the first time in the history of the Jewish Labor movement in Chicago, at least in the last six years, that Jewish workers have won such a successful strike and achieved such a victory.

    2

    What are the reasons? Why were the Ladies Customs Tailors able to win where other Jewish trades have failed. The explanation is simple. The Ladies Tailors were organized from the start for good and normal reasons. No one agitated for organization. No literature was sent out. No publications have appealed to them to combine with other workers forces to form a strong labor movement. The Ladies Tailors organization sprang from natural causes and therefore has a strong natural foundation.

    May it be said that the strike was carried on in a sensible, tactful, and a logical manner.

    We have always said that the lack of success of the Jewish labor movement in Chicago, as well as in other American cities, has been due to the lack of natural organization. Their activities were not directed to the strengthening of their trade. This fault was remedied in the Ladies Tailors strike. They have set a good example for future organizations of Jewish trade unions, and no doubt will have great influence upon their future activities.

    3

    And what is the matter with the South Side workers of this trade? Have they no understanding, do they not understand what union organization means, don't they want to better their economic conditions at all? One must be crazy not to want to take advantage of a victory achieved by others in their trade. We hope that these backward workers will wake up, and within the next few weeks, join the union and better their working conditions.

    It is indeed gratifying to know that the Illinois Supreme Court declared the women's 10 hour maximum working day law constitutional. The manufacturers have fought the law ever since its passage and even obtained an injunction against its passage. The Illinois Supreme Court set aside the injunction and declared the law constitutional.

    We hope that organized labor will now start agitating for an 8 hour maximum working day, not only for women, but for men also.

    4

    We have just received the first issue of the "Ladies Garment Worker" which is printed in three languages, Yiddish, Italian, and English. The publication is informative of the trade union movement through out the city.

    We welcome this publication and hope that it soon becomes a weekly. The Jewish worker is in need of such a publication just as he must breathe.

    (Signed) Shohet Ben Ha-Rav.

    The Worker Ghetto. What have the Ladies Custom Tailors gained in their last strike? - For the first time in the Jewish Workers movement. - Reasons and Differences. - The ...

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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- May 03, 1910
    (No headline)

    The Worker's Ghetto (A Labor News Column).

    New activity among Jewish Workers. - For the third time a United Jewish Gewerkschaften. - What the other two have failed to do and what this one must accomplish. - A certain success. - The Cigar-makers strike continues - The duty of the Jewish worker to the strikers. - The Ladies Tailor's Union are again on strike.

    A new storm of life and activity has penetrated the quiet of the Jewish workers ranks. For this new life and activity we owe thanks to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Local 71. True, they have achieved better pay and more favorable working conditions but that is not enough. They desire other Jewish workers to have working conditions as good as theirs. Thus the afore-mentioned, show that they are not working for themselves, but for the general strengthening of trade union movement. In short the Ladies Tailors Union want to organize a United Jewish Trade Union.

    Twice an attempt was made to unite Jewish Trade Unions but each time they were unsuccessful. Years of effort, work, and money fell by the wayside. However, 2let us not lose heart. Our previous failures should point the proper way to success.

    Many will make light of this new attempt, but we should pay no attention to them. They are short-sighted and insincere. They are not true to the ideals of the labor movement. The fact that they are not union members, do not purchase union made goods, and lift not a finger to achieve our goal, proves to us that we should ignore their smoke.

    The previous attempts at organizing a united trade union organization failed because; (1) the organizations backing the previous attempts were not directly connected with the trade union movement proper, (2) the previous attempt spread its work outside of trade union fields and failed to devote enough of its energies only to the trade union movement.

    Now when we are again attempting to organize the trade union movement, we should bear in mind the above causes for failure on the previous occassions. This Gerwerkschaft 3should be organized of trade unions only. If we bear these things in mind, we shall be certain of success.

    The cigar-makers under the leadership of the Progressive Cigar Makers Union are still striking at Soloras and Co. This makes it seven weeks, and the strikers have not lost heart.

    This once again shows us that the Jewish worker can achieve better working conditions and economic betterment if they apply themselves and use the proper tactics.

    The strike is a small one but a significant one, not only for the strikers but for the entire trade. That is why all eyes are strained to observe their accomplishments.

    The strikers have acted in a heroic manner. Their greatest problem at present is a financial one. The union is young and financially weak. It is the duty 4of all Jewish workers to help their fellow men achieve their goals.

    The Ladies Tailors Union has again called out a strike on Gray and Co. of the Stewart Building, State and Washington. The strike was called because the company broke the agreement which was made at the end of the last strike. The firm is dissatisfied with the 8 hour day. They would gladly pay time and a half for all over the 8 hour day, but workers must agree to work more than 8 hours per day.

    The union well realizes that bosses are dissatisfied with the existing agreement and that they seek an opportunity to change it. The union however will not tolerate it and have called the entire shop out on strike. The workers have already tasted victory and they will not give in. They will achieve their goal.

    (Signed) Shochet Ben HaRav.

    The Worker's Ghetto (A Labor News Column). New activity among Jewish Workers. - For the third time a United Jewish Gewerkschaften. - What the other two have failed to do ...

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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- May 31, 1910
    (No headline)

    The Worker's Ghetto. (Column of Local Labor News).

    Ten Unions have elected delegates to the Gewerkschaften (United Hebrew Trades). What delegates must remember. - Where workers are happy. - The Lamin brothers incident. - A hindrance. - The American Federation of Labor and the Industrial Workers of the World.

    A United Jewish Trade Union movement is a necessary organ in the life of the Jewish worker of today. That Trade Unions are realizing this can be seen by the response given this movement. Ten Unions have already elected delegates and many more have signified their intention to do so. Delegates whould remember that we are organizing an organization of organizations, and not of delegates. This Gewerkschaften shall help in solving the problems of its individual member organizations. Otherwise there is no point in its existence. Then to, the individual Unions with their rank and file should at all times be interested in the problems of the Gewerkschaften. Delegated to the Gewerkschaften should give their reports at every meeting of the Union.

    2

    We say this from experience. One of the reasons for the failure of the former Gewerkschaften was the fact that the rank and file lost contact with their delegates and consequently with the Gewerkschaften proper.

    The workers of the Lamin brothers shop have had some very interesting esperiences all of which have not taught them very much. Refusing to countenance the organization of a union in their very skilled trade, they organized a "Club" for apparently social purposes. The boss immediately fired the secretary of the Club. The rest of the shop went out on strike and the boss was compelled to take the discharged worker back and promise better treatment of the workers. Later the bosses reneged on their promises and the workers went ahead and formed a union, but instead of affiliating themselves with the United Garment Workers which is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, they affiliated themselves with the Industrial Workers of the World, thus creating rival unionism. Regardless of what the differences might be, they should have affiliated with an already strong union with a great deal of experience in the trade. It is not too late to change this affiliation.

    The Worker's Ghetto. (Column of Local Labor News). Ten Unions have elected delegates to the Gewerkschaften (United Hebrew Trades). What delegates must remember. - Where workers are happy. - The ...

    Jewish
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