Browse Site Content

Descriptions and listings of the site content and research reports featured on the Waterfront Workers History Project and related Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects websites, organized by theme.

INTERACTIVE MEDIA


Maps

View interactive maps depicting public works projects, Hoovervilles, Civilian Conservation Corps camps, and murals produced in the state during the New Deal.


Films and slideshows

Here you will find an important collection of videos, including a 20 minute film about the 1934 Longshore Strike with rare original footage of events in Seattle and Tacoma. Also watch several videos of Harry Bridges's newsreels and speeches.


Oral Histories and Video Memories

Watch brief videos of Nikki Bridges, Martin Jugum, Judge Jack Tanner, Jean Gundlach, and others.

 


Timeline: Puget Sound Waterfront History 1894-2002
by Blaine Holien

This timeline offers an overview of significant events in the history of longshore and warehouse workers in Puget Sound, primarily Tacoma and Seattle..


Photographs

Explore a day-by-day database of more than 600 strikes, protests, campaigns, and labor political initiatives occurring in the state of Washington from 1930 through 1938, culled from state labor newspapers.


Documents and historical publications

Here are short biographical sketches of two dozen political leaders, editors, artists, and activists who were influential in Washington State in the 1930s:

 

 

LONGSHORE WORKERS


Longshore Workers and Their Unions
by Michael Reagan

At the intersection of land and sea is the hard and critical work of longshoring. In this section you will find historic photos and video of longshore work and workers, a timeline and interactive map, special sections on ILWU president Harry Bridges and the 1934 Strike, and links to related organizations and institutions.

War on the Docks: Puget Sound's Longshoremen in the 1934 Strike (slideshow)
bySteve Beda

The slideshow tells the story of the 1934 in the Puget Sound ports using rare photographs and original newsreel footage. It was created by Steve Beda.


The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike (video)
by Ronald Magden

In 1934, Pacific Coast longshoremen went on strike to win better working conditions, control over the hiring process, and coast-wide union recognition. This movie commemorates their struggle and remembers the longshoremen killed in the course of the strike. Highlights include archival footage from 1934. This video was funded by ILWU Local 23, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, and was written and narrated by Ronald Magden.

1934: The Great Strike

Introduces the strike and historical articles and materials(Introduction)


"Labor's Great War on the Seattle Waterfront: A History of the 1934 Longshore Strike," by Rod Palmquist

cThis four-part essay details the dramatic history of the 1934 waterfront strike in the Pacific Northwest, concentrating on events in Seattle.

The Seattle Press and the 1934 Waterfront Strike,
by Rachelle Byarlay

The 1934 longshore strike up and down the West Coast was one of the most explosive and successful strikes during the Depression. An analysis of three Seattle newspapers here shows the shifts in news coverage for and against the strike.

News Coverage of the 1934 Strike

Here are more than 600 fully readable newspaper articles about the strike that appeared in Seattle newspapers between May and August 1934

The 1948 Waterfront Strike : Solidifying the ILWU
By Ashley Lindsay

The 1948 strike was a surprising victory for the ILWU. Defying the Taft-Harley Act and the red-baiting strategy of employers, the union sectured its future. This award winning essay is the most complete account of the strike.

The 1971 ILWU Strike : 130 Days to Victory
By Ashley Lindsay

The story of the longest strike ever conducted by the ILWU

News Coverage of the 1 971 Longshore Strike
Here are more than 160 fully readable newspaper articles about the strike the longest strike ever conducted by the ILWU.

The Waterfront Worker 1932-1936

Read the issues of the strike newspaper published by rank and file longshoremen. This rare newspaper has been fully digitized with the cooperation of the ILWU Archive which owns most of the issues.

The Pacific Coast Longshoremen,
by Kristen Ebeling

The Longshoremen began one year after the 1934 longshore strike, as the official newspaper of the International Longshoremen's Association.

Ronald E. Magden Archive and books

Here are digitized copies of two of Magden's books on Seattle and Tacoma longshore history along with an oral history and dozens of rare photographs

 

HARRY BRIDGES


Harry Bridges: Life and Legacy by Michael Reagan

This special section hosts links and resources about rank and file leader and ILWU president Harry Bridges. Here you will find historic footage of Bridges as well as later interviews with him and lifelong colleagues, a collection of photographs, and a brief biography of one of the most important labor leaders in US history.

Videos of Harry Bridges

Here are two historic videos: a 1950 newsreel about his arrest and threatened deportation and his memorable 1986 speech at Local 23’s 100th anniversary celebration.

Nikki Bridges video

Writer, activist, wife of Harry Bridges, Noriko Sawada Bridges (Nikki) grew up in California, spent three years in a concentration camp during World War II, and was active in labor and civil rights before meeting Bridges in 1958. Here she remembers her experiences in the labor, civil rights, and economic justice movements.

Harry Bridges and the Tradition of Dissent Among Waterfront Workers

On January 29, 1994 the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies brought together ILWU veterans, Pacific Northwestern activists, and academics to honor and remember the legacy of Harry Bridges and the tradition of dissent he inspired on the waterfront.

Harry Bridges Photo Archive

A collection of 46 photographs, articles, and documents featuring Harry Bridges

Black Longshoreman: The Frank Jenkins Story,
by Megan Elston

Frank Jenkins was one of the first non-white members of the ILWU, and advocated for increased civil rights within the labor movement.

 

CANNERY WORKERS


Cannery Workers and Their Unions

Introducing this section

Video Oral Histories:

short biographies and streaming video excerpts of interviews with David Della, Cindy Domingo, Lynn Domingo, Michael Woo, Frank Irigon, and Velma Veloria.


Photos, Documents, and Newspapers:

Here are collections of photographs, documents, and newspapers that show the history of cannery workers and their unions.

The Murders of Virgil Duyungan and Aurelio Simon and the Filipino Cannery Workers' Union, by Nicole Dade

In 1936, two leaders of the Filipino Cannery Workers' and Farm Labor Union were shot to death, weakening the union but also providing the fragmented Filipino community with a cause to unite behind.

Cannery Worker's and Farm Laborer's Union 1933-1939: Their Strength in Unity,
by Crystal Fresco

Organized in 1933, the union represented "Alaskeros," the men who shipped out each spring to work in the Salmon canneries of Alaska. This essay narrates the dramatic early years of CWFLU which much later became Local 37 of the ILWU.


"The Local 7/Local 37 Story: Filipino-American Cannery Unionism in Seattle 1940-1959"
by Micah Ellison

This essay explores the critical middle period as the union negotiated the 1940s and 1950s, dealing with deportation threats, internal turmoil, but also consolidating and becoming a critical resource for Filipino-American communities on the West Coast.


Victorio Velasco, Pioneer Filipino American Journalist,
by Erik Luthy

Velasco was the central figure in Filipino American journalism in the Northwest. This paper traces his political evolution toward progressive politics.


Philippine-American Chronicle,
by Rache Stotts-Johnson

The Chronicle was the paper of the Filipino-led cannery workers' union, as well as a source of progressive news for the Filipino and labor communities in Seattle.

 

MARITIME WORKERS


Maritime Workers and Their Unions
By Michael Reagan

Sailors and other seafaring workers built some of the earlier and most unions on the West Coast. Here are historic photos and short articles about the Sailors Union of the Pacific, Marine Cooks and Stewards, and Marine Engineers Benevolent Association.

Photo collections Maritime workers

Here are photos of saliors and mates, marine engineers, marine cooks and stewards, and fishing boat crews.

Marine Cooks and Stewards
by Michael Reagan

An introduction to this important union that pioneered interacial unionsim

Desegregating a Maritime Union: the Marine Cooks and Stewards.
by George Robertson'

Details the struggle to desegregate a union that by the late 1940s promoted gay rights as well as civil rights.

Jerry Tyler and Labor Radio: An Activist Life
by Leo Baunach

Maritime worker, labor activist, and radio personality, Jerry Tyler was the radio voice of organized labor in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. He is most remembered as the host of Reports from Labor, a popular radio show in the Seattle area which ran from 1948 to 1950.

Seattle's CIO Radio: Reports from Labor
by Leo Baunach

Reports from Labor was a fifteen-minute, biweekly labor radio show that aired in Seattle between July 1948 and October 1950, making it a rare pro-labor voice during difficult times for working people and progressive politics. This essay details the history of the program and includes complete audio recordings of key shows.

Sailor's Union of the Pacific
by Michael Reagan

Introduction to the history of this important union.

Marine Engineers

Introduction to the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA)

Revels Cayton: African American Communist and Labor Activist, by Sarah Falconer

A leader of the Marine Cooks and Stewards union, Revels Cayton was the most prominent African American communist, labor leader, and activist in the Northwest during the 1930s and 1940s.


 

FISHING WORKERS


Fishing Workers and their Unions

Section introduction

Photos and documents

A selection of images and documents and links to the UW Digital collections

The International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America: Organizing Precarious Workers in the CIO Era
by Leo Bauncah

This award winning five-part essay details the history of the CIO union that organized fishermen and cannery workers from Alaska to San Diego. By the late 1940s IFAWA represented over a third of the West Coast workforce. It was the largest and most successful fisherman’s union in American history.

 

SHIPYARD WORKERS


Shipyard Workers and their Unions

Section introduction

The Ship Scalers Union and Seattle’s Racial Progressivism in the 20th Century
by Adam Farley

The Ship Scalers Union helped pioneer civil rights unionism in the Northwest. By the end of World War II half the members were African Americans and the union had become a force for progressive racial politicals and leftwing activism.

Seattle's Shipyards on the Eve of the 1919 General Strike
by Patterson Webb

A strike by 30,000 shipyard workers set up the General Strike of 1919. This essay examines labor issues in the shipyards in the year before the strike. It includes a database of 142 digitized newspaper articles about shipyard workers from Seattle newspapers in 1918.