Augusta Lewis, organizer of working women, read by Kathleen Turner
The suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton had her fired when Lewis tried to organize a union in the printing shop of Stanton’s newspaper. In response, Lewis organized the first and only chapter of the Women’s Typographical Union and, at the 1870 convention of the National Typographical Union, read this petition:
We beg to call your attention to the large number of women working at the trade, whose neglected interests, uncared-for welfare, and disorganized labor are obstacles to your perfect organization, a detriment to the trade, and disastrous to the best interests of printers. Heretofore women compositors have been used to defeat the object for which you have organized—have been the prey of those philanthropic persons who employ women because they are cheap—their labor has been used during strikes to defeat you. When that object has been accomplished they are set adrift, disorganized and unprotected, their necessity compelling them to work for a price at which they cannot earn a living, and which tends to undermine your wages. In view of these facts, and the injustice we have done you, as well as ourselves, and believing the interests of Labor—whether that labor be done by male or female—are identical, and should receive the same protection and the same pay, we, the women compositors of New York, have taken the initiative in this, and formed the Women’s Typographical Union No. 1, of New York.