In conjunction with the preparation of a statement and balance-sheet - for presentation to those societies who during the Pyrmont Laundry strike and since have so nobly assisted their sisters in toil and revolt, I deem it my duty to return thanks also to many members of other trade unions, to the public, and to our sympathisers generally for the moral and pecuniary support tendered on behalf of the laundresses of this city.
I avail myself of the opportunity to say that the direct result of the Pyrmont strike has been the putting into practical example of the pure co-operative principle with unqualified success. The balance of the contributions received from the different labour bodies, who so materially assisted us in our struggle for justice, on the termination of the strike in October last, was devoted to the establishment of a co-operative laundry.
It will be remembered that although we were defeated at the time, our defeat was in no way due to lack of determination, perseverance, or solidarity on our part, for it must in justice be said that the women when on strike displayed all and each of these virtues to the fullest degree, although they were but neophytes in trade unionism. When the strike terminated, therefore, through the unjust and contemptible action of the employer, who refused to accept the awards of the board of arbitration given in our favour, I considered that the girls who had fought so bravely for their union principles would be fully capable of demonstrating to their late employer and to the workers of Australia that it is quite possible in wealth producing to do away with the employer and middlemen altogether. Subsequent events have justified my surmise, and despite all obstacles and all capitalistic and slanderous reports to the contrary notwithstanding, the Co-operative Laundry has proved itself a complete success.
Advanced unionists will be pleased to know that the principle on which the business is conducted is communistic: The girls working in the laundry providing their meals on the premises, living and labouring in harmony, without the intervention of unnecessary authority, and dividing equally among themselves weekly the net profits resulting from their labours. "Each for all and all for each" is our motto, and no one, not even the manageress, is entitled to receive one penny more than another from the profits which accrue.
In justice to myself and in order to contradict the slanders of traducers who have (as will generally be found in such cases) endeavoured to make out that the business is a source of profit only to a few interested persons, I may state that hitherto I have not received, nor wished to receive, one penny remuneration for my labours as manageress. I desired to encourage the women under my charge to persevere in their efforts and to allow them to draw the full fruits of their hard labour entirely for themselves, and have acted accordingly.
Although greatly handicapped by the absence of steam machinery, we have been enabled to compete with laundries conducted on the wage system, and I venture to say that our success should be a golden and fruitful example to the unions, and should encourage them to extend the sphere of co-operation to its ultimate basis - a national one.
I trust, moreover, in the near future that we will be enabled to devise some means whereby we may secure the necessary capital to purchase machinery and extend our business, so as to embrace not only the laundresses but the other women wage-earners, thus abolishing or minimising competition and all its attendant evils.
Recommending the adoption of the co-operative principle as a solution of economic problems, and an unfailing panacea for industrial disputes, I remain, yours fraternally,
Creo Stanley, manageress,
from (Brisbane) Worker, January, 1892.