Thirty-five thousand dressmakers will go on strike tomorrow in response to a walk-out call issued by Benjamin Schlesinger, president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. The strike is an attempt to eliminate the sweat shop and for better working conditions. After a conference with Police Commissioner Whalen it was announced that the police would remain neutral and that pickets will be protected in their civil rights.
According to Mr. Schlesinger there are 2,500 shops in the dress industry whose employes are about 60 per cent girls and women with an annual output of about $350,000,000. Despite their large production, he said, “the speeding up of the operatives has been accelerated from year to year until the pace is almost unendurable, and the wages pitifully low.”
“Seven or eight years ago there were about 1,500 shops and fewer employes,” continued Mr. Schlesinger. “As the number of shops has increased the number of employes in each shop has decreased. The smaller units, each struggling to exist, have furnished the industry a problem of first importance. Because of the intense competition, each unit has waged battles against the others to find some way to cut production costs, and the most obvious method has been to attack labor costs and undermine working conditions. The union is determined to put an end to these practices.”
Louis L. Schwartz, president of the Affiliated Dress Manufacturers’ Association, in a statement yesterday, said he expected the strike to be of short duration as far as his members were concerned, as the inside shop manufacturers were not involved in the dispute between the jobbers and the Union.