There is one thing that needs rectifying in Massachusetts, and that is the blacklisting system – the system of blacklisting men who have the courage to speak their opinions. In Lowell [Massachusetts] some two years ago I went to start the men to ask for more wages, because we in Fall River could not do anything until Lowell made some advance. I went down there and we had the petition drawn up. No name was signed to it, because all the men were afraid, but the petition was sent in asking for an advance in wages. In about two weeks after that petition was presented to the Lowell manufactuers the three men that had had the drawing up of the petition were discharged from the mills. That is a fact. I made this same statement before the legislature of Massachusetts . . .. and the representatives of the . . . corporations could not deny it. . . . The same practice exists in Lawrence. I know a man who left the Arlington Mills. They had an imported superintendent from England and he wanted to show our Americans that he could make people do anything he pleased, and he sent down to one of our mills to have the man blacklisted, and that man is now working in the city under an assumed name. I may say also in the same connection, that in my own city we had thirty-three men discharged about two years ago for asking for an advance in wages, and they are working now under assumed names. The bosses hired a detective in our city . . . and I am told that he goes around with his list to see if he an find those men.
Question: What do you say those men were blacklisted for – Ans. Merely for having courage enough to ask for an advance of wages when the state of the trade warranted it.
Robert S. Howard's Testimony before the Education and Labor Committee of the U. S. Senate, 1883