By Alice Henry
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They are trained, trained not in fancy debate, but in practical discussion. They have met with employers in trade conferences where an error in statement or a hasty word might mean a cut in wages or an increase in hours for two years to come. They have met with their fellow-workers in union meetings, where, if a girl aspires to lead her sisters or brothers, she has to show both readiness of wit and good-humored patience in differing from the others. These women are growing too, as all must grow who live on life's firing line, and shrink not from meeting the very hardest problems of today.
She was quite overcome when she found herself greeted with hearty applause. " a sensitive colored girl arose, and said a Polish girl had called her names. " The president summoned them both to the front. " The girls had good training in union principles from the first, so that if their phrases were sometimes a trifle crude, they were none the less the expression of genuine good sense. " Instead of the old hysterical getting mad, and laying down their tools and walking out, when things did not go right, grievances were now taken to the union, and discussed, and if supported by the body, taken to the foreman and managers by the business agent, Maud Sutter.
During all the earlier part of the year 1909 the Ladies' Waist Makers' Union No. 25 had been showing quite undue activity and unwelcome persistence in preaching unionism and its advantages among all and sundry of these foreign girls, and with quite unusual success. The managers of the Triangle Shirt Waist Company awoke one morning to a sense of what was happening. To quote from a writer in _The Outlook_: One of the firm appeared before the girls and told them in kind phrases that the company was friendly to the union, and that they desired to encourage it, and that they might better give assistance, they would like to know what girls belonged to it.