100 years ago in Spokane: Teamster and chauffeurs strike and bakers strike continues

May 5, 2019

The teamsters and chauffeurs’ union voted to go on strike after demanding that members of the Spokane and Transfer association agree to wage increases from 50 cents to $1 a day and that all shops be “closed” with jobs open only to union workers.

Union officials said that more than half of their 700-800 members in Spokane would walk off the job at employers who refused the union’s terms. Some 20 local firms in the fields of furniture, ice delivery, grocery stores and fuel supply had signed the agreement.

“The men will return tools and other property of the employers this morning, get their wages and leave the stables and other premises in first-class shape before walking out,” the union said in a statement.

J.R. Babcock Jr. of the Spokane Warehouse and Transfer Association said, “We are perfectly willing to consider the union’s contentions regarding the wages and working conditions. We are glad to hire union men whenever they are available and capable, but we are not going operate a shop where we can hire only such men as they allow us to.”

From the bakery beat: The Spokane Bakery, the city’s largest, and the Jessmer Bakery, the second largest, made only white bread yesterday (Sunday), eliminating “fancy” varieties, like pastries, rye, French and graham bread. The two bakeries have been using non-union labor and struggling to supply Spokane consumers while they resist the ongoing strike by the bakers’ union.

Jim Kershner is on sabbatical