Thursday, February 07, 2019

Today -100: February 7, 1919: Of general strikes


Federal troops are sent into Seattle to “stand ready,” but not (yet) to suppress the city’s just-begun general strike. The strike was called in sympathy with shipyard workers who are on strike for higher wages and who were enraged to find (through a mis-sent telegram) that the federal government threatened owners with the loss of their contracts if they gave in to union demands. Mayor Ole Hanson says “Any man who attempts to take over control of municipal government functions here will be shot on sight.” That’s his response to strikers’ plans to keep the city’s essential services – light, garbage, telephones and coffee shops probably because Seattle – functioning during the strike. The cops have a machine gun, so that’s good.


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