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Thoughts on the Strike of 1909

Natalya Urosova:

I remember the day of November 23rd we all arrived to work as usual and at a designated time we were meant to leave. “Who will get up first? It would be better to be the last to get up; and then the company might remember it of you afterward, and do well for you…at the same minute all—we all got up together, in one second. No one after the other; no one before. And when I saw it –that time—oh it excites me so ye. I can hardly talk about it.”

Rose Perr:

I saw down in my row at the Bijou Waist Company, but I had no idea what would happen. I did not know how many workers in my shop had taken that oath at that meeting. We all sat at the machines with outs hats an cloaks beside us ready to leave…and there was whispering and talking softly aall around the room among the machines. We whispered like that for two more hours and then I finally stood—and just the same minute all—we all got up together, in one second…and walked out together. And already out on the sidewalk in front the policemen stood with clubs. One of them said, “of you don’t behave, you’ll get this on your head.” And shook his club at me.


I intended to ask the strike breakers why they were working there. But as I and my friend Annie Albert moved forward, a tall man escorting the strikebreakers punched Annie in the chest. She fell to the ground gasping for breath. I called for a policeman. When he finally came over we were escorted to the Jefferson Market Magistrate’s court and locked up.

Pauline Newman:

“We didn’t know what was in store for us, didn’t really think of the hunger, cold, loneliness, and what could happen to us. We just didn’t care on that particular day. That was our day.”

Theresa Malkiel:

“It really feels good to be somebody…it’s strange, when you come to think of all the noise us girls have made for the past four months. Why the Vanderbilts themselves ain’t in the newspapers any more—the people are too busy with us.