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The History of the Sweeping Industry

Citizens Demand Raise for Their Street Sweeper... in 1918

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Editor's Note: This information was taken from the July 29, 2018 edition of Troy, NY's newspaper, The Record. If you have any further information or would like to comment about what is written here, please let us know.

The Record reported from its archives that on July 29, 1918, the public works force of Troy, New York, was driven from the street. The following is how the paper reports that incident occurred:

The residents of Fourth Street between Tyler Street and Main Avenue are willing to see their streets grow filthy until the local street sweeper gets a pay raise from the city.

A work crew sent to the neighborhood this afternoon is shocked when a group of residents seize the workers' brooms and shovels, throw them across the roadway and threaten to attack anyone who tries to sweep the street.

The residents are protesting on the behalf of a street sweeper who is paid $30 a month for sweeping seven blocks in their neighborhood. Sweepers working an equivalent area in the center of town are paid $45 a month. The public works department recently rejected the South End sweeper's request for equal pay.

"The residents maintain that the streets at present are in an unsanitary condition and must be cleaned," The Record reports, "The rubbish is piled in the gutters and the odor arising from the same is a menace to health."

Despite the public health risk, "pickets have been stationed along the streets in question to watch and prevent any street cleaner from cleaning them." After hearing the residents' arguments, the work crew "refused to persist in the work."

We're always on the lookout for more sweeper-oriented information we can add to the website, so let us know if you find interesting information about the history of sweeping.

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