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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: The historic railroad strike finally appeared over, but uncertainty over a settlement remained

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

The railroad shopmen’s strike – one of the most disruptive in Spokane’s history – appeared to be over.

At least, that was the view of the Spokane officials in charge of the city’s railroad shops. The Great Northern shop superintendent at Hillyard said his work force now numbered 1,050 men – above the number employed during the prestrike days in early summer.

The men in charge of the two other Spokane shops reported that they were back at full strength as well.

Based on these reports, The Spokesman-Review concluded that the strike “appears to be a thing of the past.”

That did not mean the strikers had reached a settlement. No agreement had been signed with any of the three railroads with shops in Spokane. The chairman of the strike committee in Spokane said the men in his organization “are remaining firm to their strike policy.”

National union solidarity, however, had been broken by the fact that many railroads nationwide had negotiated “separate peace” agreements with their strikers. This weakened the resolve of many remaining strikers, who simply returned to work.

The Spokane strike committee said it remained hopeful of reaching an official agreement.

From the Prohibition beat: The federal court in Spokane was compiling a nearly perfect record in prosecuting liquor cases.

Out of seven booze cases in the past month, four resulted in guilty pleas, two resulted in convictions and one was slated for a new trial because of a hung jury.

One case involved a novel beverage – vanilla extract. A man was convicted of trying to sell the extract because of its alcohol content. The defendant claimed he had no idea it was illegal, but the jury didn’t buy that argument.

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