Tuesday, June 07, 2011

1934, the all the west coast longshoremen, teamsters, and seamen unions went on strike and the national guard was called in

The nationwide labor upsurge of 1934 reached its peak in San Francisco. On May 9, 1934, leaders of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) called a strike of all West Coast dockworkers, demanding a wage scale of the 6-day, 30-hour week at a minimum rate of $1 per hour, a “closed shop” (union membership as a requirement of employment), and union-administered hiring halls.

On May 15 teamsters, boilermakers and machinists voted a sympathy strike along with sailors and marine firemen’s union, involving 4,000 men, and 700 marine cooks and stewards took similar action the next day. Ferry boatmen, masters, mates and pilots, and marine engineers first struck against several companies for higher wages and a closed-shop contract, and subsequently the entire local was called out in a body. Not a single freighter left a Pacific coast port “for the first time in history.”

Enraged employers, backed by a sympathetic mayor and police chief, used every means available to open the waterfront and protect strikebreakers, whom they imported in large numbers. Working closely with local politicians and the press, the employers set out to convince the public that the strike was controlled by “Reds” intent on overthrowing the government.

These scare tactics led to an investigation of employer actions by a Senate subcommittee. The flagrant destruction of many of the records of the Industrial Association, described in this report, effectively prevented the Committee from obtaining full documentary evidence on the activities of the association. Violations of Free Speech and Rights of Labor, the subcommittee’s 1942 report, described the concerted efforts of the Industrial Association, the newspapers, and the San Francisco police to discredit the strike.

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5134/ for the entire report

Didn't see that in your American History book did you. Just one case in a long history of corporate greed versus workers and unions, and just one example of the people with the money fdoing anything at all to make more money and the people with power abusing it. Both the money and the power calling the shots and forcing the cops and national guard to shoot the strikers. No kidding.
Photos from http://www.johngutmann.org/

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