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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane voters were bombarded with information from both sides on a ballot measure calling for the repeal of a city ordinance allowing for the “two-platoon system” for city firefighters.

The firemen themselves were certainly in favor of the two-platoon system. They were out in the neighborhoods distributing campaign literature in favor of retaining the two-platoon system. This was probably a violation of departmental rules, and the chief was investigating.

Meanwhile, The Spokesman-Review printed a box on the front page clearly expressing its own editorial sentiment. The headline read, “Aid the Sick and Helpless Rather Than Support Able-Bodied Men in Idleness.” The paper said the two-platoon system kept “half the able-bodied firemen in idleness.”

Under the two-platoon system, firemen employed on the night shift were furnished beds by the city and allowed to sleep on their shift, said the paper. At 8 a.m., they were allowed to return home and were free again until 6 p.m. The paper and other critics said they often worked during the day at other jobs, “in competition with” other skilled workingmen.

The vote was scheduled in three days.

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