Address to Hull-House Woman's Club, October 9, 1901 (excerpts)



Miss Jane Addams Appeals to Women to Insist on Union Made Goods in Trading.

Miss Jane Addams addressed the Hull House Woman's Club yesterday afternoon on the evils of the sweatshop system. Her talk was chiefly devoted to suggestions about shopping and how women may help to do away with sweatshop conditions. She told of instances in which sweatshop goods had been turned back from the market because people demanded the union label.

"Responsibility for sweatshop miseries rests with us," said Miss Addams. "Dealers will not offer us that class of goods if we refuse to take them. If a large number of women visited a down-town store and asked for red feathers a yard long there would be a hurried movement on the part of the dealers to get them.

"If women asked for goods marked with union labels they would get them, whether they are made now or not. That is the only way in which we can be assured that they are made under fair conditions. The label promises at least that the conditions are much above those of the sweatshop.

"One of the classes of labor which suffers most is the many people who are working on winter underwear. The cheap grade of underwear is made by persons working below living wages. The wages are forced below the living point because the work is done by women and other members of the family at home to add a little means to the family income. The work can be done by machines in factories, and some of it is done that way at present, competing in the New York market with sweatshop goods. There is some hope in machinery, but immediate relief would come earlier if consumers saw to it that the goods they buy are made under fair conditions to the laborer."

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