[Klotts Throwing Mill, Carbondale PA, where children as young as 12 worked six-day, fifty-seven hour weeks.]
In 1905, the state factory inspector found that 41,140 factory workers in Pennsylvania were minors age thirteen to sixteen.
and 1907, thousands of boys and girls working in the silk mills
throughout the Wyoming Valley in northeast Pennsylvania, empowered by
IWW co-founder Mary "Mother" Jones' organizing here, led strikes for
better pay and conditions.
The Scranton Republican reported on
July 25, 1907: "The main question in the trouble is the time. Ten and a
half hours in a hot mill on a sultry day is more than any child of
tender years can endure, the strikers claim."
the 1910 census listed 3,721 boys under sixteen working in the
anthracite mines, 3,247 boys under sixteen working in the coal breakers,
and more than five thousand children under sixteen working in the silk
mills. In Scranton, federal investigators found that more than 30
percent of girls between thirteen and sixteen were working for a living.
Inspired by the successful Lawrence Strike and the ongoing
Paterson Silk Strike, in February 1913, 1,200 silk workers in Hazleton,
mostly young women, went on strike and voted to join the IWW. Organizers
were arrested, including nine young striking women who were accused of
attacking older men with clubs and stones who were going to work as
scabs. The young women shouted as they were dragged away, "Iron bars
cannot stifle our freedom!"
Police repression and their
conservative parents, clergy, newspapers, politicians, and the
pro-management United Mine Workers' leader John Mitchell dissuaded the
children from opposing the bosses during the strike, allowing the
pro-management United Textile Workers union to take root and negotiate
"the worst contract" IWW leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn had ever seen.
Here is an excerpt from Their Fathers' Daughters: Silk Mill Workers in Notheastern Pennsylvania 1880-1960: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8C7l9u-tCRLbTFoTkxRaTlhT00/edit?usp=sharing