Lowell Girls Declare "Union is Power"
The first Lowell “turn-out”, or strike, took place in 1834, when owners announced a 15% wage cut. Lowell women were angered not only by the loss of income, but also by the threat to their vision of increased independence. Eight hundred women walked out in protest and held a march through the center of Lowell. When Lowell women "turned out" in 1834, they issued this resolution to justify their action.
UNION IS POWER. Our present object is to have union and exertion, and we remain in possession of our own unquestionable rights. We circulate this paper, wishing to obtain the names of all those who imbibe the spirit of our patriotic ancestors, who preferred privation to bondage and parted with all that renders life desirable--and even life itself--to produce independence for their children. The oppressing hand of avarice would enslave us, and to gain their object they very gravely tell us of the pressure of the times; this we are already sensible of and deplore it...
All who patronize this effort we wish to have discontinue their labor until terms of reconciliation are made.
Resolved, That we will not go back into the mills to work unless our wages are continued as they have been.
Resolved, That none of us will go back unless what they receive is all as one.
Resolved, That if any have not money enough to carry them home that they shall be supplied.Let oppression shrug her shoulders
And a haughty tyrant frown,
And little upstart ignorance,
In mockery look down.
Yet I value not the feeble threats
of Tories in disguise
While the flag of independence
O'er our noble nation flies.