The New Boardinghouse
You were right to change boardinghouses. Your mother is disappointed that you left Mrs. Pierce's, but you are much happier since you moved. You received a rather unpleasant lecture from the overseer, who warned you not to become "too independent minded." However, you are certain you made the right decision.
The new boardinghouse is clean, and the food is SO much better. You've already made several new friends, and you talk to them about all sorts of things.
One of your favorite topics is your work schedule. The workday starts at 6 AM. You rush to the mill to set up the looms and begin weaving. At 7:30 AM you return to the boardinghouse for breakfast, but you have to be back at the mill by 8 AM. The dinner bell rings at 12:30 PM; you eat a quick meal, and then go back to work until 7:30 PM. On Saturdays, you usually work only eight hours. On weekdays, you work almost 13 hours.
The owners have recently installed new looms that produce cloth more quickly. You get paid for each yard of good quality cloth you produce, so you should be able to make more money. The problem is that the amount you get paid per yard has been cut, so you have to work harder just to make the same money. Some of your co-workers have organized a Factory Girls Association to protest this change. They are holding a rally.
Your next choice is:
- Join the Factory Girls Association,
go to the rally, and persuade as many of your fellow workers to join you
as you can.
- You don't think it's fair, but you accept the lower wages, and try to work faster. You don't attend the rally or sign the petition. You don't believe it is a woman's proper role to take a public stand. And you can't see how a rally will help the situation.
Need some advice?
Copyright ©2003 Tsongas Industrial History Center, 400 Foot of John St., Lowell, MA 01852. E-Contact: Ellen_Anstey@uml.edu.