July 20, 1899: “Newsboys ‘Go Out'”

Newsboys “Go Out”

Oppressed by the Prices Fixed by the Red-Headed Extra Trust.

The strike bacillus has reached Park row. The Newsboys’ Union has decided to tie up the World and the Journal. They have struck for better rates on the evening editions of these papers, and their demands have been refused. Therefore, beginning with the first appearance of the red-headed extras this noon, the boys are going to refuse to sell. Envoys have been going up and down the line passing the word.

“Ye don’t sell no more Woild ‘r Joinal, ‘r ye git yer face punched in—see?”

All the newsboys thus far approached have seen. It is said that even Annie, who is the most conservative of the newswomen, is seriously considering calling her sisterhood out to aid the boys in their fight. One of the leaders in the strike, Boots McAleenan, aged 11, gave the following account of their grievances:

“Dey pu up prices to six papes fer a dime w’en de war began. Den de war quit an’ dere wasn’t no such sale fer de papes, an’ we wanted to get ’em two fer a cent again, but dey wouldn’t. Dat’s what we’re goin’ on strike ‘er now. We’re doin’ it now because de cops is all busy, an’ we can do any scab newsboy dat shows his face widout police interference. We’re here fer our rights, an’ we will die defendin’ ’em. At de rates dey give us now we can’t make on’y four cents on ten papes, an’ dat ain’t enough to pay fer snipes.”

First blood in the strike goes to the newsboys. It was shed in Long Island City, where the boys at the Long Island Railroad station went out yesterday morning. James Heffernan, scout for the strikers, reported to the Supreme Council that Lawrence Weggenman, in the employ of the Long Island News Company, was selling the forbidden papers. The Supreme Council bade James go and show Lawrence the error of his ways. The chief error of Lawrence’s ways was to accept James’s invitation to come out and arbitrate, for James, though the smaller of the two, presented arguments, right and left, that made Lawrence’s nose bleed grieviously, whereupon James fled, rejoicing greatly until he ran into a policeman, who arrested him. But in the Long Island City Police Court he was discharged with a warning and is now the hero of the place. The Long Island City newsboys sent word to their brethren of New York last night that the two evening papers against whom they were making the fight had capitulated and agreed to the two-for-a-cent terms.

Source: “Newsboys ‘Go Out.'” The Sun [New York], 20 July 1899, p. 3.