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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Washington: Women in hospitality wanted at least $18 a week, and there was more jitney trouble in the city

 (S-R archives )
(S-R archives )

A vital labor issue was being debated in Olympia: the minimum wage for women working in hotels, lodging houses and restaurants.

The scale was tentatively set at $16, which sounds like a modern wage, but this wasn’t for an hour. This was $16 for a week.

The hotel managers advocated for $13 a week. The women were asking for $18, so $16 was a compromise.

Many of the housekeepers “appeared to be more concerned” about a guaranteed day off each week, instead of the highest possible wage.

The conference was continuing.

From the transit beat: Spokane’s streetcar companies, imperiled by the new jitneys (private bus lines), had to lay off 65 workers.

The city had claimed, when it approved the new jitney routes, that it would actually create jobs.

That was true, to an extent, but The Spokesman-Review estimated the jitneys were employing only 34 to 44 men, which meant there was a net loss of at least 20 jobs.

In a related issue, some jitney passengers had a scare when a loaded bus on the Lidgerwood line started to roll backward down Division Street hill.

The driver lost control of the jitney and didn’t know how to stop it.

Serious injuries might have resulted if it weren’t for the “timely appearance” of a gravel bank, which stopped the jitney before it could pick up much speed.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

2003: Massachusetts’ attorney general issued a report saying clergy members and others in the Boston Archdiocese probably had sexually abused more than 1,000 people over a period of six decades.

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