This lesson focuses on a key event in the labor renewal of the 1930s. The workers’ victory in the longshore strike gave a powerful impetus toward the revitalization of an existing union and toward organizing new ones. The union that eventually resulted, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), is still one of the more democratic in the United States.
In the activity, students role-play an industry-wide strike that took place up and down the entire West Coast. This story has most often been told from the standpoint of San Francisco, which was the hub of the strike. This lesson is set in Portland instead. In Portland, the importance of the ties built with other groups in the region, including farmers, is particularly clear.
The Power In Our Hands—Available for Download
This is one of the 16 lessons available from The Power In Our Hands. Other lessons available for individual download are:
Unit I: Basic Understandings
Unit II: Changes in the Workplace/”Scientific Management”
- Paper Airplane Simulation
- Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing
- Modern Times
- “Taylorizing” Burgers: A Fantasy
Unit III: Defeats, Victories, Challenges
Unit IV: Our Own Recent Past
- It’s a Mystery—White Workers Against Black Workers
- Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union: Black and White Unite?
- 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike
- Union Maids
Unit V: Continuing Struggle
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