Industrial Workers of the World - Northeast Pennsylvania

Northeast PA Workers Help Line (570) 478-3IWW

5:37 PM
From the Mother Jones autobiography: In 1899 in Arnot PA, a great coal strike of miners, their families, and northeast Pennsylvania farmers, fueled by the fiery speeches of IWW co-founder Mother Jones, won every demand from the defeated coal company, despite evictions from company houses and abuse by the Tioga County Sheriff.

"I selected as leader an Irish woman who had a most picturesque appearance. She had slept late and her husband had told her to hurry up and get into the army. She had grabbed a red petticoat and slipped it over a thick cotton night gown. She wore a black stocking and a white one. She had tied a little red fringed shawl over her wild red hair. Her face was red and her eyes were mad. I looked at her and felt that she could raise a rumpus. I said, “You lead the army up to the Drip Mouth. Take that tin dishpan you have with you and your hammer, and when the scabs and the mules come up, begin to hammer and howl. Then all of you hammer and howl and be ready to chase the scabs with your mops and brooms. Don’t be afraid of anyone.” Up the mountain side, yelling and hollering, she led the women, and when the mules came up with the scabs and the coal, she began beating on the dishpan and hollering and all the army joined in with her. The sheriff tapped her on the shoulder. “My dear lady,” said he, “remember the mules. Don’t frighten them.” She took the old tin pan and she hit him with it and she hollered, “To hell with you and the mules!” He fell over and dropped into the creek. Then the mules began to rebel against scabbing. They bucked and kicked the scab drivers and started off for the barn. The scabs started running down hill, followed by the army of women with their mops and pails and brooms."