Lowell Hosts- (PIP #17)
By Louise Peloquin
Lowell is known for its success in managing large crowds. To provide one example, the Lowell Folk Festival, started in 1990 after two years of hosting the National Folk Festival, is the longest-running free folk festival in the United States. Every July, thousands flock to the “spindle city.”
107-year-old excerpts from L’Etoile bear witness to the Lowellians’ reputation for extending warm welcomes.
L’Etoile October 29, 1917
TEXTILE INDUSTRY WORKER CONVENTION
Mr. John Golden pronounces the opening speech – Big workers’ parade tonight at 6:45, in our principal streets.
The big Convention of the Textile Industry Workers of America opened at 11 today in Lowell. Already, almost 150 delegates from the east, west, north and south, have begun to arrive at the American Hotel.
The convention takes place in the Elks room, Middle Street. The president of the local union, Mr. John Hanley, called the assembly to order and Mayor James E. O’Donnell extended a warm welcome to all. In response to the mayor’s cordial address, Mr. John Golden, president of the International Union, pronounced the opening speech.
L’Etoile October 30, 1917
TEXTILE INDUSTRY CONGRESS
Big workers’ parade last night. Establishing a uniform wage scale in textile mills will be on the agenda of an upcoming session.
The Convention of the United Textile Workers of America continues today in the Elks room on Middle Street with more than 150 delegates in attendance.
The parade, held last night, was a huge success. Approximately 1000 members of our textile unions were among the ranks. Departure was at 7 o’clock. The parade then followed an itinerary in city’s principal streets illuminated by Bengal light sparklers and flares.
At City Hall, the parade was ceremoniously inspected by the mayor and the aldermen, with the exception, naturally, of alderman Francis A. Warnock, honorary president of the local textile union at the head of the parade.
Woman delegates to the convention paraded in automobiles.
Most numerous in our ranks were the 600-odd loom repairers. In addition, about 100 dresser tenders and 150 wool spinners paraded.
Afterwards, refreshments were served at receptions in various worker union rooms. Numerous speeches were pronounced.
The convention opened again at 9 this morning and the president of the International Union, John Golden, read his annual report. It was quite encouraging and indicated that the union is rapidly growing in the whole country as well as in Canada.
The secretary-treasurer also presented a most satisfactory annual report.
These two reports and the few accompanying speeches filled the entire morning session.
Interviewed on wages, president Golden, one of the country’s most conservative worker leaders, declared that the wage question would be discussed in the coming days but that he could not say in advance what decisions would be taken. Different reports will be submitted on the situation of the different parties in the country. Since we do not yet know the nature of these reports, it is difficult to say what will be determined. However, Mr. Golden believes that an attempt at establishing a more uniform wage scale, based on the varied conditions in diverse locations, will materialize.
The various convention committees were named today and their reports have begun to be reviewed.
Tomorrow the election of the officers will take place and we believe that most will be reelected.
Among the delegates, we can note the following compatriots: Joseph E. Jeannery and Frank R. Leclair of Lowell; Henri Martin of Brunswick, Me.; Edouard Poulin of Waterville, Me.; Donat Arsenault of Madison, Me.; Joseph Moreau of Nashua, N.H.; Antoine Bonneau of Newmarket, N.H.; R.W. Benton and Jules Clément of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Théodore Jérôme of Cohoes, N.Y.; William Pepin of Philadelphia, Pa.; Emmanuel Marcotte and Joseph A. Lachance of Pawtucket, R.I.
The following cities are represented at the convention: Fall River, Holyoke, Taunton, Lowell, Maynard, and Roxbury in Massachusetts; Brunswick, Waterville and Madison in Maine; Peterboro and Toronto in Canada; Baltimore in Maryland; Somersworth, Newport, Nashua, Franklin and Newmarket in New Hampshire; Pompton Lakes, Jersey City, Trenton and Paterson in New Jersey; Willimantic in Connecticut; Wappingers Falls, Brooklyn and Cohoes in New York; Hamilton in Ohio; Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; White Rock, Pawtucket, and Central Falls in Rhode Island; Knoxville in Tennessee.
Last night an impressive ball was held with more than 2000 in attendance. More than 200 couples participated in the grand march.
L’Etoile November 5, 1917
TEXTILE CONVENTION CLOSING
Some measures were taken to prevent wage decreases after the present war. – The morality of the Lowell population is recognized.
The textile union convention closed on Saturday night.
Several important decisions were taken. The main one provides that the international officers send a delegate to each local union to facilitate the creation of a fund to prepare for a manufacturer-imposed wage decrease during and after the war.
A general strike in the Philadelphia textile mills was decided if an immediate revocation of a recently-posted notice did not occur. This notice states that an employee must give a 15-day notification before leaving his job if he does not want to have his name listed on a blackboard and be prevented from working in any other textile mill.
Mr. Stevenson of Toronto had a resolution adopted stating that each textile union in Canada join the Ottawa Trade and Labor Congress.
Before closing the convention, trophies, awards and other gifts were presented to aldermen Francis A. Warnuch, John Hanley and Frank T. Mullen of Lowell; to Louis Walker of Cohoes, N.Y. and to Madam Sara A. Convoy of Roxbury.
A vote of thanks was extended to the press and to the public of Lowell along with a declaration that the convention of Lowell was, up to the present time, the best that the delegates had ever had. They expressed the opinion that Lowell is a city among the most moral, if one takes into consideration its population.