Alice Lord sparks Seattle waitresses to organize on March 23, 1900.

  • By Mildred Andrews
  • Posted 3/13/2000
  • Essay 3725
See Additional Media

On March 23, 1900, Alice Lord (1877-1940), a 23-year-old waitress, sparks the organization of Seattle Waitresses Union, Local 240 (now Dining Employees Local No. 2). They have 65 founding members and become one of the first women's unions to be chartered by the American Federation of Labor.

On February 16, 1901, the Seattle Union Record reminded readers that “When the Waitresses’ Union was organized in this city, there were small-minded people who looked upon it as something of a joke. …[The waitresses] have shown that women can maintain a union as successfully as men” (Union Record).

Perhaps more successfully. The union doubled its membership in a year, and in the same year the members tripled their wages.

Sources: Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Lord, Alice (1877-1940)," (by Mildred Andrews), (accessed November 3, 2002). Seattle Union Record February 16, 1901, p. 4.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You