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Monday, July 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Central Washington: Railroad workers strike over lack of bathtubs, decent meals

About 300 men working on a project to electrify the Milwaukee Railroad’s line through Washington were on strike at their job site west of the Columbia River.

The problem wasn’t wages. The problem was “unsatisfactory” food and unsanitary conditions.

“There are no bathtubs and the bunk cars have become dirty. I understand that the company having the feeding and housing concession is rushing a lot of bathtubs to the job and is cleaning out the cars,” said D.P. Reid, secretary of the electrical workers’ union.

From the tourism beat: Businesses across Spokane, especially restaurants and hotels, were reporting record business. Tourists who came to the city on Friday for the “flying circus” (air show) stuck around through the weekend, The Spokesman-Review reported in the Sunday edition.

From the tax beat: A federal soda tax approved by Congress was to be implemented in the coming days. The 10 percent tax, which was on soda and ice cream drinks at soda fountains and similar businesses, was considered a luxury tax and was created to help pay for the country’s involvement in World War I.

Jim Kershner is on sabbatical.

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