NEW WORLD LESSONS FOR OLD WORLD PEOPLES.
Lessons in English for Foreign Girls.
Thousands of immigrants come to America every year. Some of them have belonged to labor organizations in the old country, many of them have not.
Most of the girl and women workers do not know much about factory life. They do not understand the high cost of living in America. They have never heard of labor unions. And because they do not speak English, a wall separates them from their fellow workers who might explain things to them.
There are now many private agencies for teaching foreigners English. The funds for these schools come largely from the pockets of manufacturers. The text-books used do not tell the girl worker the things she really wants to know. They do not suggest that $5.00 a week is not a living wage. They tell her to be respectful and obedient to her employer. They never mention labor unions.
The labor movement will suffer if these girls are taught by the capitalists to become scabs and strike-breakers. But if we teach them, they will fight on our side. They will become the staunchest supporters of the labor movement.
The Women’s Trade Union League, 43 East Twenty-second street, New York City, has published the right kind of English lessons for foreign girls. They are called “New World Lessons.” They teach the simplest principles of trade unionism. They tell what the factory laws are, and how the workers, through organization, can enforce them. The titles of the lessons are:
LOOKING FOR WORK.
LEARNING A TRADE.
A TRADE WITHOUT A UNION.
A TRADE WITH A UNION.
JOINING THE UNION.
The following is a sample of the lessons:
Lesson V. A Trade With a Union.
I met a friend yesterday.
She works at a good trade.
She goes home at five o’clock.
She goes home at twelve o’clock on Saturday.
She has one hour for lunch every day.
She earns twelve dollars a week.
Sometimes she works overtime in the busy season.
She gets extra pay for overtime.
She belongs to the Union in her trade.
She says: Our trade was once a bad trade. Then we girls formed a Union.
We wanted to make our trade a good trade for the workers.
It took a long time.
It took a great deal of hard work.
But now our Union is strong.
We girls are proud of it because we made it.
It was worth the hard work.
No union or labor organization in a trade where there are foreign girl workers can carry on better propaganda than to teach the workers English by means of these lessons. They were written by a trade union member who has taught in a night school for two years. They are good both as lessons and as propaganda.
Four stories in simple English go with the lessons. The lessons and stories are printed on separate sheets and come in an attractive blue folder. They cost ten cents for a set of eight lessons and four stories.
They are worth seeing. Send ten cents for a copy to the Woman’s Trade Union League, 43 East Twenty-second street, New York.
—The Commercial Telegraphers Union Journal, Vol. X, No. 11 (November, 1912)