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Archives Find of the Month: Wage Increase Petition, 1907

Workers paving the Fremont Avenue Bridge

Fremont Avenue Bridge [workers paving], Seattle Municial Archives Item No. 1335

The following petition, signed by close to 200 city employees, was submitted in August 1907:

TO THE MAYOR AND THE MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE.

Gentlemen:

A little less than one year ago, we the undersigned laborers in the employ of the various departments of the City of Seattle, made request to you that our wages be increased from $2.25 to $2.50 per day. This request was made necessary by the increased cost of living. It must now be evident to you that this increase, which you kindly granted to us about the first of the year, is not sufficient to enable us, and especially those of us who have families to support and educate, to adequately care for ourselves and them.

We do not wish to be unreasonable. As society is now organized we do not expect to receive more than enough to furnish us with the means of subsistence and a few of the ordinary comforts of life; but believing that your own experience will convince you that our present wage of $2.50 per day is inadequate even to furnish the necessaries of life for ourselves and for our children; and believing that it is your wish that the standard of living amongst the laboring class shall be as high as possible in this country, we the undersigned laborers, representing the laborers in the employ of the City, do now request that our daily wage be increased from $2.50 to $2.75 per day.

The petition was put on file, but it does appear that wages were adjusted the following year.

 

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