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History of Lowell: The Voice of Industry

The Voice of Industry, May 15, 1846

You Cannot Unite

"We are met with this argument at almost every step.  But we say to you we can, we have made an experiment and it has been successful.  Some two months since, a plan was proposed by the Massachusetts Corporation, to have the weavers tend four looms and reduce the wages one cent on a piece.  Some of their number thought that as a protection had been given to industry, that their employers had not applied, they would take the liberty to see to the matter themselves.

A meeting was called and a President and Secretary appointed to carry out the proposed measure of "protective industry."  Next in order, a Committee of three was appointed to draw up a pledge -- it was presented and unanimously adopted.  It reads as follows:

"In view of the rapid increase of labor without a corresponding remuneration, therefore, we the weavers of No.2, Massachusetts Corporation, resolve, that we will not allow ourselves to be physically taxed again, to add to the already overflowing coffers of our employers -- that we will not work under the proposed red reduction, embracing a fourth loom and receive a cent less per piece.

Resolved, That we will not tend a fourth loom (except to oblige each other) unless we receive the same pay per piece as on three, and that we will use our influence to prevent others from pursuing a course which has always had a tendency to reduce our wages.

This we most solemnly pledge ourselves to observe, in evidence of which, we hereunto affix our names.

Resolved, That any one giving her name, and violating this pledge, shall publish in the Voice of Industry, as a traitor, and receive the scorn and reproach of her associates."

It has the signature of every or nearly every job weaver on the corporation, and has been kept inviolate.

The operatives can unite, and they will yet give evidence to their employers, that 'Union is strength.'"