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Thursday, July 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Labor conventioneer questions city’s denial of picnic permit

A labor delegate questioned the mayor the city’s decision to arrest a labor leader, suspected of being a Wobbly, who had applied for a permit for a Worker’s Parade and Picnic. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
A labor delegate questioned the mayor the city’s decision to arrest a labor leader, suspected of being a Wobbly, who had applied for a permit for a Worker’s Parade and Picnic. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The Washington State Federation of Labor convention was being held in Spokane – and it began with an uncomfortable moment for Spokane Mayor Charles A. Fleming.

Fleming had just delivered a “speech of welcome” when a machinist delegate from Seattle stood up and cried, “If you are so happily in favor of labor, I want to know why you had a man arrested when he called for a permit for a workers’ picnic.”

He was referring to the city’s decision to arrest a labor leader, suspected of being a Wobbly, who had applied for a permit for a Worker’s Parade and Picnic at Audubon Park on July 4.

The man’s question was met with “hoots and cries” from the convention floor. Fleming departed from the stage without answering the question. The Spokane Daily Chronicle (hotly opposed to all things Wobbly) declared that the majority of the delegates were opposed to this “attack” on Fleming.

The head of Spokane’s labor council told the delegates that Fleming had “nothing to do with the refusal to grant the permit,” or the arrest. It was done on order of Spokane’s commissioner of public safety.

From the political beat: The Chronicle ran a photo of a group of women at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, with the headline, “How About a Woman For Vice President? They Ask.”

The women delegates said they thought it would be “a good plan for the Democrats to nominate a first-class, brainy woman for vice president.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1919: The Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, ending World War I.

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