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Who’s Who » Biographical Sketches (1939) »

Mae Yost

“My one ambition is to write a book entitled, ‘Trials and Tribulations of a Hasher’,” asserts amply proportioned Mae Yost, business agent for the Waitress’ Union (AFL). A voluble and descriptive speaker, a lover of action, she dominates any audience and is right at home in the midst of an argument.

Born in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and educated in Penn Yan, N.Y., at the St. Michael’s parochial school, Miss Yost, as a girl, was a regular tomboy. She was, and still is, a lover of sports and speed; horseracing, basketball, tennis and baseball being her favorites.

Her first job was as a waitress in the Benham Hotel in Penn Yan, N.Y. Working in a hotel came naturally to Miss Yost as some of the members of her family were hotel and restaurant employees for many years.

With the exception of a sojourn in a shoe factory during the war, Miss Yost always has worked as a waitress.

First coming to Rochester in 1919, she acquired a waitress job at the Manhattan Restaurant. After transferring to the Seneca Hotel, she joined the now obsolete Waitresses’ Local 357, headed by Theresa Staggenburg.

Possessing a roving instinct, Miss Yost “slung hash” in New York City, Atlantic City, Newark, N.J. and Chicago, returning to Rochester in 1924 to work at the Coffee Shop.

Because of hard times in Rochester during the depression, she left this city for Chicago which she considers the “city of opportunity.”

“If I had stayed in Chicago, I’d have more money than I have today,” Miss Yost declared. “I like Chicago above all other cities.”

After one and one-half years in Chicago, she returned to Rochester.

Because the waitresses of Rochester wanted nothing to do with the old union, Robert Haffey, Loretta Dakin and Mae Yost, on February 26, 1934, organized a new local and began negotiations for a new charter. Obtaining the necessary forty members, the charter was granted on April 14 of the same year.

Fond of animals to whom she is very kind, she possesses two prize Boston Bulls, Mitzi and Blackie, who constitute her “family.”

“I’ve always wanted to acquaint the public with the difference between the working conditions before and after we organized the waitresses,” Miss Yost said.