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Just the facts.

What was it like to work in a sweatshop? Below is an excerpt from an article published in a New York newspaper in 1909. Read it, then answer the questions.

Life in the Shop

The regular work pays about $6 a week. [The] girls have to be at their [sewing] machines at 7 o'clock in the morning, and they stay at them until 8 o'clock at night, with just one-half hour for lunch....

There is just one row of machines that the daylight ever gets to--that is the front row, nearest the window. The girls at all the other rows of machines ... have to work by gaslight, by day as well as by night. Oh, yes, the shops keep the work going at night, too....

The shops are unsanitary--that's the word that is generally used, but there ought to be a worse one used. Whenever we tear or damage any of the goods we sew on, or whenever it is found damaged after we are through with it, whether we have done it or not, we are charged for the piece and sometimes for a whole yard of the material.

At the beginning of every slow season, $2 is deducted from our salaries. We have never been able to find out what this is for.

QUESTIONS

1. Who wrote the article?

2. Whom is the article about?

3. What is it describing?

4. Where did the events described take place?

5. When did they occur?

6. How many hours a day did the women work?

7. How much were they paid?

8. How did the author feel about the article's subject?

9. Why was the article written?

10. Did you find the author's work effective? Explain.

ANSWERS

1. Clara Lemlich

2. women and girls working in a sweatshop

3. how the workers are treated and what the conditions are like

4. a sweatshop

5. during an average workday (also acceptable: 1909)

6. 12-and-a-half hours (7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a half-hour break)

7. about $6 a week

8. disliked it; opposed it

9. to let people know how difficult sweatshop workers' lives were

10. Answers will vary, but should mention which of the points made were the most and/or least effective in conveying the main idea.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:SKILLS MASTER 2; sweatshops
Author:Lemlich, Clara
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Article Type:Excerpt
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Feb 6, 2006
Words:380
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