1904 Editorial in Greek Star Newspaper - "The Strike in Chicago Ended, the Greek Strike-Breakers Ousted. Union President Sympathetic"

Published in Greek Star - April 15, 1904 - "The Strike in Chicago Ended, the Greek Strike-Breakers Ousted.  Union President Sympathetic"


The two-month strike at the Diesel shops ended to-day, and the Greeks who took the jobs of the union men were ousted.  The president of the union paid us a visit at our offices and discussed the action of the Greek workers who created an unpleasant situation because of their ignorance, stupidity, and lack of organization.  His argument revealed the extent of his reasonableness, his knowledge, his lerance, and his sympathy for the ousted Greek strike-breakers.

The gentlemen recognized and admitted the fact that the newly-arrived Greek immigrants, who took the jobs of the strikers, did not know what it was all about.  Jobs, a chance to make a living, were offered to them by their exploiting leaders, who were the tools of the factory-owners, and the ignorant immigrants accepted.  Very naturally the poor Greeks were misled and took the bread and butter away from the families of the union people who were striking for higher wages.

This serves to show that the Greeks in this country ought to be organized and educated in American methods of making a living in order that they may avoid causing harm to their fellow-workers.  The factory-owners, through their agents gave jobs to the inexperienced Greeks, who because of their ignorance of conditions were handled like sheep being herded to pasture.

As the president of the union admitted, the higher-ups are to blame, and not the newly-arrived Greek immigrants who had come to the land of plenty to make a living; nevertheless Greeks in general were stigmatized.  The Greek community in Chicago, the various societies and organizations, and the Church must take steps to guide properly such new arrivals and protect the Greek name from further attack.  Our unskilled laborers ought to be educated by lectures and by other appropriate means.

What a hue and cry we should raise if our families were starved by others!  Let us educate ourselves recognize the fact that the prosperity and welfare of our family depend upon the prosperity and well-being of our neighbors.  Our neighbors, who are workingmen as we are, belong to unions, and they are fighting for higher wages to improve the standard of living of the working class.  By taking their jobs when they strike, we commit an offense against them and against ourselves.

Let us not in the future repeat this blunder and create so unpleasant a situation for all concerned.  Americanization is the star that will guide us to prosperity, success, and progress.  Let us all adopt this great country as our own.  Let us be part of this land of plenty and not remain predatory aliens.  America opens her arms to us.  Let us embrace her with love and desire to understand her and her laws, political and social alike.

Source:  The Newberry - http://flps.newberry.org/article/5422062_1_1436/