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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Mon., Aug. 13, 2012

From our archives, 75 years ago

A laundry workers’ strike had Spokane agitated in 1937.

Hundreds of workers formed picket lines around 12 Spokane laundry plants, demanding that the operators sign agreements to employ only union members.

Yet laundry managers reported that “Spokane housewives had literally besieged them with telephone calls, urging them to stand firm for the principle of the open shop.”

“So aroused are the women of Spokane,” reported a laundry management spokesman, “that it is quite possible that they may take a hand in the solution of this controversy. They insist that they will gladly do the family wash in the basement indefinitely, if it will prevent Spokane from falling into the hands of racketeers.”

Laundry racketeers?

Management was spreading rumors that a “goon squad,” under the control of Seattle Teamster leader Dave Beck, was on the way to Spokane. The Teamsters denied it.

The laundry workers said they wanted higher pay and a 40-hour workweek.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1792: French revolutionaries imprisoned the royal family.

1942: Walt Disney’s animated feature “Bambi” had its U.S. premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York, five days after its world premiere in London.

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