July 26, 1899: “Newsboys’ Strike Becomes General”

Newsboys’ Strike Becomes General

Dealers in Trenton, Yonkers, Troy, New Haven and Other Places Refuse Boycotted Papers.

Union and Mass Meeting.

Strikers Working Hard to Keep Publications Off City Stands and Meet With Success.

Policemen Lose in Chase.

While the newsboys of the greater city are more determined than ever in their strike against two evening newspapers, the boycott yesterday assumed proportions far greater than had even been dreamed of by its originators.

The strike against handling the publications was formally declared on in Trenton, Yonkers, New Haven, Conn.; Troy, Mount Vernon and other cities, from which the New York city newsboys did not expect such active aid. In Yonkers the strikers have formed a union, and are arranging for a public meeting, which will be held to-night in the Young Men’s Christian Association Hall. Several newsdealers in Yonkers who did now know that a formal strike was contemplated there promptly consented to join it when informed by the boys that they had refused to handle the boycotted papers.

In Trenton also the boys seemed to have the upper hand. They conducted themselves in a way that quickly won the co-operation of the public, and hurt the local market for the boycotted papers. Similar reports came from Plainfield, Paterson, Elizabeth and other places to which the strike against the Evening World and Evening Journal has extended.

Stands in this city where the boycotted papers could be bought, again decreased in number yesterday. The strikers neglected no opportunity to do missionary work among dealers who did not at first refuse to sell the offending papers. As a result of the recruits the boys gained at news stands there were many parts of the city yesterday where one could not buy either of the papers. The strike also became general on Staten Island.

The strikers continued to pay their respects to the men, who, working for $2 a day and standing close to policemen, offered the boycotted publications for sale. There were several scrimmages between the opposing forces at Third avenue and Fifty-ninth street.

What was probably the most laughable incident of the strike took place at that point yesterday afternoon. A man with a bundle of papers appeared there ad the newsboys promptly surrounded him. Before they could make a demonstration three policemen approached They started after one lad, who was making a noise, and he led them a lively race. Dodging in and out, he managed to keep out of the clutches of the first policeman for half a block. The sidewalks were slippery, and when the leading policeman attempted to follow the boy in a quick turn on the sidewalk he lost his footing and went down. The other two policemen, running close behind him, were unable to stop and all three bluecoats rolled over in a heap, while the boy they had pursued sought a safe haven and joined in the laugh.

No steps looking toward a settlement of the strike were taken yesterday. The boycotted newspapers still refuse to accede to the demands of the strikers, and both decline to arbitrate. The boys say they have nothing to lose, and intend to fight it out if it takes many months to win.

The newsboys continued yesterday to issue “extras,” using the sidewalks and white chalk for the purpose. They sent a lot of circulars to Forty-second street and Third avenue, and William Reese, who was distributing the circulars, was arrested on complaint of a man said to represent one of the papers at that point. The boy was discharged when arraigned in the Yorkville Police Court.

Source: “Newsboys’ Strike Becomes General.” New York Herald, 26 July 1899, p. 7.