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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Wobblies arrests uncover plans for general strike

Wobblies’ arrests in Spokane were having repercussions in other cities. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Wobblies’ arrests in Spokane were having repercussions in other cities. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Spokane police said they found a general strike order in the shoe of E. Hofstede, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies), when they arrested him.

He and several other Wobblies were being held in Spokane on conspiracy charges. The others also had copies of the strike order in their possession. This came on the heels of the arrest of a Wobbly leader, W.E. Hall, who admitted that he was attempting to stir up a general strike among loggers, miners and laborers in order.

The Spokane arrests had repercussions in other cities. In Butte, 34 Wobblies were arrested and authorities believed they could connect them with general strike conspiracy uncovered in Spokane.

From the labor beat: The state minimum wage commission was considering a huge increase in the minimum wage for women, to $14 per week.

The current weekly minimum wage was $8.90 in factories, $9 in laundries, telegraph and telephone offices, and $10 in mercantile houses, hotels and restaurants.

The wartime shortage of manpower had created a high demand for women workers. Also, the cost of living had been skyrocketing recently.

In fact, many Spokane businesses were already paying women far above the minimum. The Western Pine Manufacturing Co. said it was paying women $14.40 per week.

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