Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Pete Grassi remembers Harry Bridges and the ILWU

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.

Pete Grassi was the secretary-treasurer of the ILWU’s Southern California Pensioner’s Club. Grassi was born in 1910 in Chicago and moved to California in 1919. He started working on the waterfront in 1928 and was active in the ILA’s efforts to win coast-wide union recognition in the 1930s and the coast-wide longshoremen’s strike in 1934. In this talk, Grassi talks about life on the waterfront in the 1930s and the influence Harry Bridges had on longshoremen throughout the twentieth century.