“It is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too. ” This quote, originally in a poem written by a man named James Oppenheim, embraced a fierce social movement created by large number distraught textile workers who eventually created what we now know as the “Bread & Roses Strike”. Bread and Roses Essays: Over , Bread and Roses Essays, Bread and Roses Term Papers, Bread and Roses Research Paper, Book Reports. ESSAYS, term and research papers available for UNLIMITED access. Unlike most other websites we deliver what we promise; Our Support Staff are online 24/7 ; Our Writers are available 24/7 ; Most Urgent order is delivered with 6 Hrs. Bread and Roses: Introductory Essay. Lori Shaller and Judith Rosenbaum. Introductory Essay for Living the Legacy, and dignity—a concept captured in the phrase “bread and roses.” Though the origin of the slogan is unclear, it was expressed in a poem by James Oppenheim, popularized by Jewish labor activist Rose Schneiderman in the. “Bread and Roses” tells us a captivating story not about glamorous individuals who seem right at home lighting up a movie screen, but rather about the kinds of people that come in and out of our lives often without us noticing it. It is screened with real people, with real hopes and real concerns.
Introductory Essay Bread and Roses: While some immigrated with their families, many young men and women came to America on their own. They frequently sent money home to help support their families and to bring relatives over from Europe. Though Jewish immigrants in this period faced difficult conditions in housing and work, their experiences in America were still an improvement from their lives in Eastern Europe.
Bread and Roses: Introductory Essay
In America, they were able to find jobs, even if they were harsh and low-paying, and they could move freely across the country and practice Judaism openly. In Russia, the May laws of restricted where Jews could live and their right to practice their religion.
Political activity and union organizing were legal in the US, and while immigrants could get in some trouble for their activism, they would not be executed or sent to labor camps. The tenements Jewish immigrants lived in when they arrived in U. They were characterized by lack of light, air, and sanitation. Families often could not afford an entire apartment to themselves, and would take in boarders to help pay the rent.
Even with this additional income, in many families, every member had to work, even the littlest children.
Bread & Roses Essay
Sweatshops were often the first workplaces for new immigrants. For example, one worker might be responsible for sewing collars onto shirts, another for sleeves, and yet another for finishing a garment by sewing hems or snipping loose threads. In other sweatshops, unrelated workers were hired by a boss, usually from the same ethnic group as the workers. Sweatshop work was tedious and was done under difficult working conditions—poor lighting, uncomfortable chairs, stifling heat in the summer, and frigid cold in the winter.
Workers were fined for such infractions as arriving late to work and for damage to their machines.
In order to increase their profits, sweatshop bosses, would reduce the pay per completed piece of work, so that workers either had to work faster—and risk injury to themselves for which they would lose pay—to complete more pieces or lose part of their weekly earnings. These tactics were used in the larger factories, as well. Some garments were produced in larger factories rather than in sweatshops. These factories might employ hundreds of workers, and the working conditions could be just as bad or worse than in the sweatshops.
Workers were not to talk to one another as they worked; they could not go to the bathroom unless they were on a formal break; the noise of hundreds of sewing machines was deafening; doors and windows were locked until the bosses opened them. In both the sweatshops and the factories, workers often worked fourteen hours or more a day, six or seven days a week.
There was no minimum wage, and children and women were paid less than men. The unions negotiated pay rates, working hours, and safety conditions for all members with the managers of the companies for which the laborers worked. Women were generally not included in the union and so did not benefit from the collective bargaining between unions and managers on behalf of the male workers.
Bread and Roses
Despite the lack of support from male union leaders, women—led by Jewish immigrant workers such as Rose Schneiderman , and Clara Lemlich —were aware of the benefits and protection that unions offered and began to organize themselves. With parts of the garment industry dominated by women laborers, their entry into the unions as members and organizers was crucial for the growth and success of the unions.
The unions not only addressed worker grievances; they tried to support workers in every aspect of their lives, offering educational programs in subjects such as English language, literature and politics; social and cultural programs such as dances, shows and concerts; and even opportunities to get out of the city and enjoy vacations in the country at union-run camps. The University of North Carolina Press, How to cite this page Jewish Women's Archive.