The North and South Times

Sunday, January 5, 1845

Personal Interest Column

Sarah G. Bagley: A New Voice

Written by: Gene Lee

Today, from the many groups of trade unions, one unique group has developed - the first women's trade union. The creator of this unusual trade union is Sarah George Bagley. She was born in New Hampshire on April 19, 1806, and has two brothers and one sister. Miss Bagley first started working at mills in 1837, at the Hamilton Mills. When 70 workers walked off the job at the Middlesex Mills, she soon got a job there.

In 1842, due to an economic depression, wages were cut, and not raised until 1844. However, the Lowell textile corporations only raised the salary of the males. Later that year, in December, Miss Bagley met with five other women in the "Anti-Slavery Hall." They formed the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA), with Miss Bagley as the president.

The LFLRA was formed for two reasons - to improve the poor working conditions of the Lowell mills, and to obtain a 10 hour work day. As of now, most women are working about 11 - 13 hours a day, in rooms full of cotton dust. The LFLRA has high hopes to improve these conditions. As to how successful they will be, one cannot say at this time.

Currently, is a rumor floating around that Miss Bagley is going to petition the state government for a 10 hour work day, but this has not been confirmed yet. As for other measures this group is taking, all they have done so far is to publish a newspaper. It is called the Voice of Industry and showcases several articles by Miss Bagley herself.

There is no telling where this radical group will go - whether they will plunge up or plummet down. If in fact Miss Bagley does petition the Massachusetts government, what do you think will happen? Send in a letter to the editor, and you may be featured in the next issue of North and South Times!