The victory nearly two years ago of the Ladies' Waistmakers, Local 25, of New York, has, it appears, not been as complete a success as was generally believed at that time; at any rate not a lasting success. One of the main reasons for the disappointment is that the agreements originally signed with the union were of an individual rather than collective character.
It will be remembered that a large number of individual employers conceded the union demands and signed agreements for one year. Other waist manufacturers, of which the Triangle Waist Co. was one, refused to recognize the Union at the time the strike was officially declared off. At the end of the year the Union was not in position to compel the manufacturers to renew their agreements.
Naturally the employers have since taken advantage of these circumstances and have reverted to the oppressive conditions of former times. Matters have come to such a pass that employees avoid shop meetings for fear of being discharged.
The Triangle holocaust of March 25, in which 144 young lives were lost through criminally closed doors, revealed the horrible conditions under which the employees, mostly girls, produced riches for the manufacturers. It is to prevent the recurrence of similar burnt offerings and to secure better safeguards and more lasting union conditions in the future that the General Executive Board has given sanction to an agitation for a general strike.
The co-operation of the Ladies' Garment Cutters, Local No. 10, the moral support of a powerful International Union and the memory of the victims of the Triangle fire will impart to the union forces a strength which they did not possess years ago.