Thursday, November 29, 2007

Striking Italians

It's just the way of the world; immigrants do the dirty work, and they frequently get abused while doing it.

Boston Daily Globe July 15, 1903

300 Quit Work.

Italians Employed by Elevated Road.

Engaged in Relaying Tracks in Jamaica Plain.

Claim They Didn't Get the Money Due Them.

Four who Refused to Join Strikers Attacked With Stones.

Streets and Sidewalks Now in Dangerous condition.

A small-sized riot was started last evening on Washington st, Jamaica Plain, that for a few minutes caused lots of excitement. The trouble started about 7:15, when the night gang of laborers employed by the Boston elevated railway company, who are at present engaged in relaying the tracks on Washington st, between Green and Forest Hills sq, decided that they had not been paid enough by the company and went on a strike.

The night gang is made up of about 300 Italians and other foreigners, who work from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Pay night coming on Tuesday evening, the men say that the sum of money they expected to receive was not what they had contracted for, and as a result they refused to go to work. Four Italians did not hold the same views as their companions, and when the others threw down their picks and shovels these men would not come out of the ditch.

Their continued refusal incensed the strikers, and the gang hurled bricks and cobble stones at the men in the ditch. After a few moments of this fusilade the men decided that they would strike also in a hurry.

The work was then at a standstill, with the rubbish and dirt piled hight in the streets. The men made no more trouble, however, and most of them quietly dispersed to their homes.

The company officials refused to talk about the affair, but it was said that other men will be engaged as soon as possible to take the strikers' place.

The work of relaying the tracks has been going of for about two weeks, and since the start much trouble has been encountered. Two cars have been thrown from the rails at this point, and six people have been injured in the accidents.

Up to a late hour last night no new men were put to work on the job, and the street was quiet. The police of division 13 took no hand in the affair last evening, but a squad of officers will probably be on hand tomorrow morning when the day men go to work.

As a result of the sudden terminating of the night work, the streets and sidewalks in the vicintity of Keyes st and other side streets are in a dangerous condition. Piles of dirt, old railroad ties and rails are thrown all over the streets off Washington st is entirely cut off for vehicles, and in case of a fire during the night the engines would have to go around by Forest Hills av, before they could get to the houses on the side streets.

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