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FC: The Strike for Three Loaves | By: Adam Ashlee Cody

1: At the age of 14,Carmella Teoli worked at the Wood Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts with her father. Working daily as a doffer, one who changes the spools of thread, for exhausting hours, she regularly earned $6.55 a week. One day, Carmella's long hair became entangled in her machine. A six inch length of her scalp was torn from her head. Nearby co-workers rushed to her assistance, however, her employers made no effort in compensation. | She was just another face...

2: Children, as young as four years old, were sent to work to help support their families. | Before child labor laws, the age of employees were not considered. All children and adults were treated the same; working the same long and hard hours. Through this, children were exploited.

3: Carmella Teoli was not the first or only child to be injured during work, others lost fingers or now suffered through life with mangled arms and legs. Though, some incidences were fatal. Other hidden dangers congested the factories; the air was humid and choked with heavy lint, this issue resulted in workers contracting pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other respiratory difficulties.

4: Employment for millwork was greatly proceeded with a high death rate. Over a third of young millworkers did not make it to their 25th birthday. | The Hard Truths

5: The average worker earned roughly 16 cents an hour and about $8.75 a week. Though little was earned, this was expected to pay for rent and food. A $20 bill today was equivalent to $500 then.

6: To make up for lost time, owners created "speed-ups" and "stretch-outs" This meant employees had to work even harder and faster | One morning, millowrkers had caught wind of a tension causing rumor; the owners of the Woodmill were cutting wages. On January 1, a new state law was passed proclaiming that mill owners were to reduce the work week from 56 to 54 hours.

7: With this controversy and increase of tension among workers, mass strikes began to erupt in the cities against mills and factories. Over 11 million strikers had assembled.

8: With the advance in the numbers of people on strike, police brutality had increased. | The average deduction from the workers' week of pay was about 32 cents, which roughly amounted to three loaves of bread. Thus, "the struggle for three loaves" had begun. | Facing Reality

9: A fiery activist speaker, John Ettor helped organize strikes against shipyards shipyards, lumber mills, and coal mines throughout the country. With his help, Lawrence strikers forcefully reached their victory. | Carmella Teoli gave the most devastating testimony of the proceedings.Passionately, she described the horrific butchering of her scalp. When asked why she had joined her fellow strikers she gave a stark reply, "because I didn't get enough to eat at home."

10: The Strike for Three Loaves was a victorious fight given by fellow workers, friends, and family. It successfully led to the creation of child labor laws, safety regulations, and labor limitations. | IT WAS WORTH IT IN THE END.

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  • By: Ashlee V.
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