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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Migrant labor – from China – proposed as stop-gap to labor shortage

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

A prominent Yakima apple grower made a bold and controversial proposal. He suggested that the state import 50,000 Chinese laborers.

Dr. G. Lowther was attempting to address the serious labor shortages faced by orchardists in wartime. During the previous harvest, local school children had been used in bringing in the crop. Yet Lowther believed that Asian labor would soon be necessary.

He said that the wages “should nearly conform to the present scale for white men, in order to prevent any reduction of the present wage scale.” He said his plan was not a money-saving plan. It was simply an attempt to “meet the crying need of the hour.”

He was speaking to a group of apple growers, in connection with the National Apple Show in Spokane.

From the accident beat: Two children were killed and 12 others badly injured when a train smashed into a school bus at a crossing in College Place, Wash., near Walla Walla.

The bus driver failed to see or hear the train, and the train crew did not see the approach of the bus. The train was backing over a crossing when it struck the bus squarely.

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