On This Date in History: When President Woodrow Wilson decided it was time that America get involved in the Great War, the military draft was brought back. Millions of men either volunteered or were drafted into the ranks, leaving a gap in many civilian services. In the early 20th Century, women who did work were usually employed as school teachers or seamstresses and perhaps in textile sweat shops. Men made up the vast majority of the labor force. So, that meant that public services such as mass transit were in jeopardy when all the men ran off to fight the Hun. In 1917, the New York and Queens Railroad began hiring women to run its trolley. By 1918, twenty-five “conductorettes” could be found on the lines in Queens. A newspaper said that the ladies were doing such a splendid job that a few had been appointed as inspectors. The railroad was so happy with their work that it supplied them with $17 winter overcoats and doubled their pay to $25 a week. They then made a commitment to keep them on the payroll after the war was over. Management said, “The women conductors have come to stay on our lines just as long as they want to continue in their present jobs. We now have about 50 and are taking more on as fast as they apply for positions.” It’s good to get promises in writing.
In May 1919, New York Governor Al Smith decided to be Mr. Helper and perhaps he was in cahoots with railroad management who wanted to back out of their commitment but needed some cover. So Big Al signed a bill to “better the conditions of women.” It was the kind of help the ladies could have done without. The bill mandated that women could only work 54 hours a week. Men of course, were able to work longer hours. So, on this date in 1919, management of the New York and Queens Railroad prepared the pink slips for all of their female employees who were to work their last day on September 20, 1919. But, they did get to keep the overcoats.
Weather Bottom Line: Just a little bit of a wrinkle in the forecast. We still have the low ejecting from the Southwest coming our way increasing rain chances on Saturday night and especially on Sunday. But, I had mentioned that next week there were indications of a big cool down. The consensus on all of the models is that the big trof that looked to come around here will be in the plains. There will be a big fat low that will get stuck and just spin around. The end result will be a constant inflow of moisture our way. For that reason, we will probably be held in the 70’s next week, maybe even low 70’s but it will be due to rain and clouds much of the week. I think maybe a 40-60 percent chance of rain for just about all of the first 4 days of the week can be expected. The actual cool air will be to our west.