July 31, 1899: “Newsboys’ Strike On Again”

Newsboys’ Strike On Again.

They Hold A Meeting and Prepare an Elaborate Plan of Organization.

About one hundred newsboys and a few proprietors of newsstands held a rousing meeting last night at Gardner’s Hall, no. 21 Suffolk-st., for the purpose of keeping up the boycott against two evening newspapers which has been on for ten days. It was resolved to continue the boycott. An organization known as the Newssellers’ Union was the result of the meeting. Abraham Lipman, who sells papers at Canal and Allen sts., called the meeting to order. He made a speech, in which he enjoined the boys to stand firm, to form a union and to select officers who would not be running the the newspaper officers every few minutes to find out how much they could get for selling out. Patrick Cadley, who represented the West Side News Dealers’ Association, was elected chairman.

James G. Neill, who sells newspapers at the Bridge, said that the price maintained by some of the evening papers virtually imposes a tax on newsboys and newsmen. If the price had been raised to two cents a paper he said that the tax could have been placed on the public, but under the circumstances it could not.

Mr. Neill had an elaborate idea for the organization of the boys. Every union boy, he said, should wear a badge to show his colors. He believed that the boys after organization should become affiliated with other labor organizations. He proposed to divide the city into districts, each to be governed by a captain and a committee of its own. The committee would appoint the captain and two others as delegates to a central body, which would be known as the Grand Union. Mr. Neill’s plan of organization was adopted. His speech was interrupted by the arrival of “Race Track” Higgins, of Brighton Beach, who was greeted with cheers and yells.

Hardly had the excitement over his arrival subsided when a messenger arrived with a large floral horseshoe bearing the inscription, “Wishing you success.” It came from William Reese, who sells lemonade to the boys in Newspaper Row, and they fairly went crazy over the tribute.

Officers of the new organization were then elected amid much fun and confusion: They were: President, James G. Neill; vice-president, “Racetrack” Higgins; recording secretary, “Abe” Cutler, of Fulton-st.; financial secretary, Solomon Levy; treasurer, David Ruben, of Bleecker-st. and the Bowery, and sergeant-at-arms, Simon Levy.

John Mason, of Brooklyn, was elected head captain, and he will select the district captains.

Numerous speeches were made and in the midst of them a delegation of four from Newark, headed by Charles Schrott, arrived. George J. Fabian, of Harlem was present with a delegation and received the floral horseshoe for making the best speech.

The Harlem boys distributed circulars at the meeting, calling upon the boys to boycott the morning editions of the newspapers as well.

The boys say they will try to get Cooper Union for a mass meeting on Wednesday evening.