Labor Events Yearbook: 1938

This is a database of campaigns, strikes, and labor related events as recorded in the Sunday News published by the Washington Commonwealth Federation during 1938. It was researched by Nick Manos. Start by reading his labor highlights report. Below that is the database. Click the links to read the articles.

Highlights 1938 by Nick Manos

The principle fight for labor in Washington this year was electoral; State Initiative 130 threatened to restrict unions’ ability to strike, and in response AFL and CIO unions were able to temporarily overcome their differences and work together to defeat the measure.  Other electoral campaigns - for the Mayor’s office, and local, state and federal offices - also brought unions out to the polls.  With the untimely death of business-friendly Mayor John Dore, Seattle’s mayoral contest in ’38 pitted the well connected Arthur Langlie against labor’s favorite Victor Meyers.  Meanwhile, strikes and lockouts at the Port and the Seattle Star were settled through lawsuits and worker direct action.  While other strikes and direct actions gripped the Lumber, Auto, Cannery, Culinary, Marine, Metal, and Building industries.  At the University of Washington, working married women battled to keep their jobs after an art instructor was fired, ostensibly because she was married.  And finally, the state Teamsters and union leader David Beck struggled with a series of racketeering and similar criminal scandals. 

On the waterfront, a labor dispute between the Port of Seattle and the CIO’s International Longshoremen and Warehousemen's Union was ongoing. Workers were locked out by the Port which refused to meet union demands to restore the terms of the previous year’s labor agreement. After months of tensions, a brief sitdown strike at the port led to a victory for the union, and in January the Longshoremen and Warehousemen's Union went back to work.  Port authorities accepted the union’s terms over the disputed points of the 1937 waterfront agreement.[1]

[read full report/close report]