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Today in Labour History

5 July 1934
Funeral March San Francisco, July 1934

West Coast Waterfront Strike

In May and June 1934, more than 10.000 longshoremen struck all the US Pacific Coast ports. Vowing to open the port of San Francisco, the Employers Association secured extensive police protection for trucks loaded by and driven by strike-breakers. Strikers and their supporters resisted in in all-day melee on 5 July that left two unionists dead and others severely injured. 6000 National Guardsmen, some armed with machine guns and tanks, were sent in. As strike-breakers protected by National Guardsmen began to open the port, the Teamsters joined the strike and a four-day general strike in San Francisco began. Unionists shut down the city except for milk and bread deliveries and gasoline for physicians.

Read more? Robert W. Cherny, 'Longshoremen of San Francisco Bay, 1849-1960' in: Dock Workers. International Explorations in Comparative Labour History Vol 1 (Aldershot 2000)

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