Document 9: "A Letter to the Public Regarding the Strike," handwritten Chinese flyer, translated by Ellen Yeung and reprinted in Judy Yung, Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), p. 400.


   As they went out, striking garment workers from the National Dollar Stores factory drafted the following Chinese-language flyer making the case for their action. Notice the way that the flyer drew upon traditional Chinese rhetoric to support a very American action of going out on strike. The strikers justified their action by arguing that the employer's "goal is to break our ricebowl. Therefore, we have no choice but set up a picket line to fight for fair treatment." They framed their flyer in terms their Chinatown neighbors would understand.

Dear Fellow Countrymen:

   Why are we striking and picketing? We are striking for better wages from the factory owner so that we can support our livelihood. This is not something that we want. However, since last October, because of inflation, we have had difficulty making ends meet. That is why we mobilized our fellow workers to fight for equality and decent wages. It has been three months since we formed our union. During these three months, we have tried repeatedly through peaceful methods to negotiate with the owner, but he has consistently used the oppressive tactics of the capitalist to stall for time. He forced us to have an election in the presence of his representatives to rectify the formation of the union. Supervised by the National Labor Relations Board and with a full quorum of workers, the election was carried out and our union received due recognition. Subsequently, his legal representatives signed an agreement with our union lawyer, but he continued to use all kinds of stalling tactics to defuse our unity. Then on top of that, he tried to turn the situation around by changing the name of the factory. His goal is to break our ricebowl. Therefore, we have no choice but to set up a picket line to fight for fair treatment.

February 26, 1938
All the workers of the National Dollar Stores factory


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