Paper Mill Strike Makes Trouble

by Laurel | February 15th, 2012

15 February 1912

Girls Pull Each Others Hair

Strike Sympathizers Interfere With Girls Coming From Mill

The plater girls out on strike have many loyal supporters in the city, and in fact some of the supporters are a little too loyal and this loyalty was manifested at the close of work yesterday afternoon by acts not entirely conducive to the peace of the community. At the close of work last evening the girls in the Holyoke division of the American Writing paper Company were met by a delegation of the strikers in the interest of the strike and the workers from other mills who got out earlier were on hand to lend moral suasion and other things to the efforts of the strikers. The police department had been expecting that something might happen and inspectors Cullen, O’Connor and Metcalf were sent down to be on hand when the mill let out. The employees who came out of the front door of the mill escaped notice, but those leaving by the back ran into a crowd and there were numerous caustic remarks made to the mill employees, not by the striking girls but by a large crowd from the other mills who had assembled. In some cases there was a tendency to bother the help, and the officers had a busy five minutes in straightening matters out.

One of the girls employed in the mills was pursued for a short distance by a strike sympathizer and took refuge in a Main Street store, where the two girls had a hair-pulling match and one girl lost her hat. The girls were separated by the officers and the hats restored. A boy named Garland of Bowers street, running along and helping trouble to appear, slipped on the ice when near Inspector Metcalf and caromed into the officer, knocking his legs out from under him, and this gave rise to stores that the officers were using force. The weeping of the two girls who were actively differing with each other in the store also gave rise to stories last evening that they had been hit by the officers, but this was not true, one of the witnesses being seen last evening regarding it states that the officers used no more force than was necessary in separating the girls and only held them down long enough for them to cool down a little, so that when released the trouble would not be resumed.

The police department will be on hand to see that there is no violence used between the mill employee and the strikers when the mills open and close, and no serious trouble is expected to develop, although it is possible that before the strike is settled, the two sides in the dispute will have a pretty clear idea of the estimation in which they are held by the other.

Bernard F. Supple of Boston, secretary of the State Board of Arbitration, has visited the city and will try and learn both sides of the controversy and will report back his findings to the state board. An effort will also be made for a conference between the two sides. Mr. Supple is stopping at the Massasoit House in Springfield.

From The Springfield Republican.

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