Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Labor Events Yearbook: 1918

This is a database of campaigns, strikes, and labor related events as recorded in the Seattle Union Record during 1918. It was researched by Tanner Dietz. Start by reading his labor highlights report. Below that is the database. Click the links to read the articles.

Highlights 1918 by Tanner Dietz

In 1918, workers from an array of professions utilized strikes to fight for increased wages, lower hours and fair working conditions. The largest of these strikes were the butchers’ strike––carrying over from 1917–– and the telegraphers’ strike and lockout. For these workers, it was their drive to organize that was challenged most by employers. The threat of strikes also loomed constantly as a form of protest to the trial and conviction of Tom Mooney, a San Francisco labor activist. Unions and labor groups around the nation believed that Mooney was unjustly convicted of a bombing that he did not commit, and it was perceived by them as an attack on organized labor as a whole.[[1]]

Beginning in 1917, the butchers of Seattle struggled to gain strength as an organized labor force due to the resistance from the large packing houses and master butchers. Only a small number of packing plants and meat markets were friendly to union labor. As a result, the butchers established a plan to start their own co-operative packing house and market. Support for this was received from other unions who bought shares in the co-operative. Among these unions were the Boilermakers and Shipbuilders locals, Bridge and Ornamental Iron Workers, Laundry and Dye Works Drivers, Steam and Operating Engineers, Street Car Employees and Teamsters, among others. [[2]]

[read full report/close report]