Editor, JUSTICE, publication of lntefnational Ladies' Garment Workers Union
For thousands of years workers were called "hands." Men were named for what they did with their hands. Masters addressed their serving men as baker or tailor, smith, fisher, or shoemaker. Only after those who worked with their hands began to gain political influence was "Mr." added. But even then, men of wealth continued to speak of the "hands" they hired, of how many "hands" they would need to run a farm or to lay a mile of railroad track or to dig a tunnel. There are hands that write, that mix, that mold, that shape, that grip, that tear, that build houses, that bake bread. Here are the hands that make the nation's dresses. Hands ....
The women's garment industry is a last major refuge of the handicraft worker. At no point can the work get away from the hands. Fabric itself has "life." At every stage, it must be controlled and directed. The sense of "feel," of control, is in the hands.