Very arresting is the fact that, year after year, the Union women go to Albany to struggle for better chances in life for the shop-women who cannot at present wisely make this struggle for themselves. The fact that the Union women fail is of less moment than that they continue to go.
But what have the organized women workers, the factory girls who so steadfastly make this stand for justice for the shop-girls, attained for themselves in their fortunes by their Union? It was for an answer to this question that we turned to the New York shirt-waist makers, whose income and outlay will be next considered in this little chronicle of women’s wages.
[Footnote 1: In the last six months further accounts from working women in the trades mentioned in New York have been received by Miss Edith Wyatt, Vice-President of the Consumers’ League of Illinois. Aside from the facts ascertained through the schedules filled by the workers, and through Mrs. Clark’s and Miss Wyatt’s visits to them, information has been obtained through Miss Helen Marot, Secretary of the New York Woman’s Trade-Union League, Miss Marion MacLean, Director of the Sociological Investigation Committee of the Young Women’s Christian Association of the United States, Miss May Matthews, Head Worker of Hartley House, Miss Hall, Head Worker of the Riverside Association, Miss Rosenfeld, Head Worker of the Clara de Hirsch Home, the Clinton Street Headquarters of the Union, the St. George Working Girls’ Clubs, the Consumers’ League of the City of New York, and the offices or files of the Survey, the Independent, the Call, and the International Socialist Review.]
[Footnote 2: It remains to be said that there are both among saleswomen and among women in business for the department stores, buyers, assistant buyers, receivers of special orders, advertisers, and heads of departments, earning salaries of from twenty dollars to two hundred dollars a week. But this experience does not represent the average fortune the League was interested in learning.]
[Footnote 3: Here are the estimates made by the St. George’s Working Girls’ Club of the smallest practicable expenditure for self-supporting girls in New York: General expense per week: room, $2; meals, $3; clothes, $1.25; washing, 75 cents; carfare, 60 cents; pleasures, 25 cents; church, 10 cents; club, 5 cents: total $8. Itemized account of clothing for the year at $1.25 a week, or $65 a year: 2 pair of shoes at $2, and mending at $1.50, $5.50; 2 hats at $2.50, $5; 8 pair of stockings at 12-1/2 cents, $1; 2 combination suits at 50 cents, $1; 4 shirts at 12-1/2 cents, 50 cents; 4 pairs of drawers at 25 cents, $1; 4 corset covers at 25 cents, $1; 1 flannel petticoat, 25 cents; 2 white petticoats at 75 cents, $1.50; 5 shirt-waists at $1.20, $6; 1 net waist, $2.50; 2 corsets at $1, $2; gloves, $2; 2 pairs rubbers at 65 cents, $1.30; 1 dozen handkerchiefs at 5 cents, 60 cents; 3 nightgowns at 50 cents, $1.50; 1 sweater, $2; 2 suits at $15, $30: total, $65.65.]