International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union

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In the years following World War II, rank-and-file members of the International Longshoremen's Association became increasingly restive as a result of dissatisfaction with union contracts. Finally, in the fall of 1951, a series of unauthorized strikes was climaxed by a twenty-one day wildcat strike in the Port of New York. The strikers included several high-ranking ILA officials and a future president, Thomas Gleason. The strike ended when a board of inquiry to investigate the strikers' grievances was appointed by Edward Corsi, the New York State Industrial Commissioner. The so-called Corsi board uncovered several irregularities, including numerous fraudulent votes in the contract referendum. Shortly after this incident, the New York State Crime Commission hearings on the New York waterfront produced many sensational charges of corruption and racketeering against ILA officials, many of which were unproven. Nevertheless, embarassed by the charges and assuming the accuracy of the Crime Commission's findings, the AFL demanded a variety of reforms from ILA officials. When lengthy negotiations failed to produce a satisfactory agreement, the AFL suspended the ILA on September 22, 1953. Three days later the AFL issued a charter covering the old ILA jurisdiction to the International Brotherhood of Longshoremen (IBL).

In an NLRB representational election in December 1953, the ILA won by a comfortable majority. Thereafter, the IBL remained a factor on the waterfront but did not seriously challenge the ILA's hegemony. On November 17, 1959, the IBL merged with the ILA, which in turn reaffiliated with the AFL-CIO.

From the description of International Longshoremen's Association : reference files of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, 1921-1984. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 477249349

In 1986, the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union de-accessioned reference files from its Anne Rand Research Library pertaining to its rival, the New York-based International Longshoremen's Association, and donated them to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University. The ILWU and its reference librarian, Carol Schwartz believed an East Coast location would better serve the research needs of scholars studying Atlantic and Gulf Coast maritime history.

As historian Gary Fink has written, "Longshoremen’s unions on the West Coast had traditionally carried on a volatile relationship with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)." (Fink, Labor Unions, Greenwood Press, 1977, p.196) Despite fluctuating fortunes of West Coast locals, and a powerful employers association that dominated the industry until the mid-1930s, western longshoremen maintained an uneasy affiliation with the ILA until its conservative president, Joseph Ryan clashed openly with West Coast militants over issues that culminated in the historic San Francisco general Strike of 1934. When militant leader Harry Bridges was elected president of the San Francisco ILA local in 1934 (and later West Coast District president) a split became inevitable. In 1937 the Bridges group obtained a charter from the CIO for the International longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, representing Pacific Coast longshoremen. In the 1940s the two unions added to their ranks while keeping a wary eye on each other, until the ILWU fell afoul of Taft-Hartley Act anti-Communist provisions. Bridges became entangled in legal battles to avoid deportation to his native Australia, and the union found itself vulnerable to raids by the Teamsters and other rivals. At the same time, in the post-World war II period ILA members became increasingly dissatisfied with their leadership, and widespread charges of corruption brought an investigation of the union by the New York State Crime Commission. The result was inconclusive, but the American Federation of Labor demanded extensive reforms; when talks with the ILA broke down the AFL suspended the union and soon chartered a rival, the International Brotherhood of Longshoremen. The fledgling IBL failed make serious inroads in ILA membership, and the ILA reaffiliated to the AFL-CIO in 1959.

This contentious history forms the backdrop to the ILWU’s amassing of extensive reference files on the ILA and its travails. This collection represents an unusual glimpse of a union’s serious effort to monitor the fortunes of a rival labor organization -- in this case, a rival with which it had once been affiliated.

From the guide to the International Longshoremen's Association: Reference Files Compiled by the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Bulk, 1950-1979, 1921-1984, (Bulk 1950s-1970s), (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union collection of clippings, pamphlets, press-releases, etc., re civil rights, aliens and California legislation. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Meyer, Arthur S. (Arthur Simon), 1880-1955. United States. National War Labor Board. Records, 1945. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Jenkins, David, 1914-1993. The union movement, the California Labor School, and San Francisco politics, 1926-1988 : oral history transcript / David Jenkins ; with introductions by Robert Schrank and Joseph L. Alioto ; interviews conducted by Lisa Rubens in 1987 and 1988. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1993. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Barney Mayes Manuscript: Untitled Maritime Labor Novel, undated Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Speech to the Pacific Northwest History Conference, 1974 May 3 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Elaine Black Yoneda oral history, 1976-1977 California Historical Society
referencedIn Postek, Stanley, 1912-1991. Papers, 1933-1986. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. International Longshoremen's Association : reference files of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, 1921-1984. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Riehle, David. Research papers. 1910-1999. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union records, 1899-1957 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America. Research Dept. Records of research of United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America on other unions, 1930s-1970s. University of Pittsburgh
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union records [manuscript], 1899-1957. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn National Maritime Union of America. Minutes of the special meeting National Maritime Union : typescript, 1944 July 21. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Selected union contracts, 1891-1942. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Jenkins, Frank, d. 1973. Oral history interview with Frank Jenkins, 1972 [sound recording]. University of Washington Libraries
referencedIn Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-1985. Papers, 1929-1991. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Peter Patrick Mendelsohn papers, 1937-1959 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union Local 7 records, 1915-1985 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Keeney, Elinor Randall, 1932-. Materials relating to I.L.W.U. case, Longshoremen - B List, 1963-1984. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Congress of Industrial Organizations. Maritime Committee. Conference Proceedings, May 1947. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
referencedIn Al Lannon FBI Files, 1930s-1960s Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Stanley Postek Papers, 1933-1986 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Yoneda, Elaine Black, 1906-1988. Elaine Black Yoneda oral history, 1976-1977. California Historical Society
referencedIn Corridan, John Michael, 1911-1984. Waterfront papers, [ca. 1945-1984], [ca. 1945-1955] (bulk). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union papers, [ca. 1936-1976]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Raymond L. McAndrew papers, 1934-1972 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Juneau Spruce Corporation. Juneau Spruce Corporation records, 1947-1956 (bulk 1947-1955). Alaska State Library
referencedIn Osborne, Selden. Selden Osborne papers, [ca.1930-1980]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Carlson, James V., 1916-. Reminiscences of James V. Carlson : oral history, 1974. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Maloney, Shaun, 1911-1999. Shaun Maloney papers, 1932-2000 (bulk 1946-1998). University of Washington Libraries
referencedIn McElrath, Ah Quon, 1915-. Oral history interview with Ah Quon McElrath, 1976. Wayne State University. Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
referencedIn Fox, C. Lyn. C. Lyn Fox papers pertaining to the Longshoremen's strike and the Pacific Coast maritime strike, 1934-1937. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Jake Arnautoff papers, 1935-1991 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Julia Ruuttila Papers, 1878-2004, 1935-1970 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Benson, Herman W., ca. 1910-. Herman W. Benson papers, 1944-1974, (bulk 1950-1968). Wayne State University. Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
referencedIn Left Labor Caucuses Collection, 1966-1995 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.) Maritime Committee. Congress of Industrial Organizations. Maritime Committee. Conference Proceedings, 1947. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Pacific Coast Maritime Industry Board. Decisions of the Chairman of the Pacific Coast Maritime Industry Board : typescript (carbon), 1944 January 26-February 19. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Powell, Helene,. Helene Powell oral history, 1976-1977. California Historical Society
referencedIn Marine Workers Historical Collection, 1930-1996 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (Calif.). Historic Documents Dept. John Melder papers 1919-1963. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Maritime Research Center, Maritime Library, Maritime Archives
referencedIn Weinstock, Louis, 1903-. Papers, 1930-1994. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf International Longshoremen's Association: Reference Files Compiled by the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Bulk, 1950-1979, 1921-1984, (Bulk 1950s-1970s) Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Clyde W. Deal papers, 1934-1978 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Jacques, Elizabeth. Elizabeth Jacques papers, ca. 1882-1965. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Ruuttila, Julia, 1907-1991. Julia Ruuttila Papers, 1878-2004 (bulk 1935-1970). Oregon Historical Society Research Library
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. Letter, 1965, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Trinidad Rojo papers, 1923-1994 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Murnane, Francis J., 1914-1968. Francis J. Murnane papers [manuscript], 1923-1968. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Maritime Workers / National Maritime Union Research Files of Bruce Nelson, 1931-2011 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Stanton, John. John Stanton fonds. University of British Columbia Library
referencedIn Baker, Ernest E. Speech to the Pacific Northwest History Conference [manuscript], 1974 May 3. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. Local 13 (Wilmington, Los Angeles, Calif.). The International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 13 collection, 1933-1998. California State University, Northridge
referencedIn Helene Powell oral history, 1976-1977 California Historical Society
referencedIn Julius Margolin Papers, circa 1940-2004 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn David J. Riehle papers., 1910-1999. Minnesota Historical Society
referencedIn Meyers, Irving, 1907-2003. Irving Meyers papers, 1939-1992. Chicago History Museum
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. [Constitutions, agreements, etc.] Wisconsin Historical Society
referencedIn Summers, Clyde W. Summers, Clyde. Office files, 1940-2004. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Yoneda, Karl G., 1906-. Papers, 1928-1989. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Oral history interview with Frank Jenkins, 1972 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Guide to the Archie Brown Papers, 1935-2002 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Francis J. Murnane papers, 1923-1968 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Jack Price papers, 1935-1967 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn United States. National War Labor Board. Records, 1945. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
referencedIn Brown, Archie, 1911-1990. Papers, 1935-2002 (bulk 1936-1946, 1960-1997). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Marine Workers Historical Collection, 1930-1996 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Goldblatt, Louis, 1910-. Reminiscences of Louis Goldblatt : oral history, 1978. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Fujii, Takashi. Terminal Island Issei/Nisei. California State University, Long Beach
referencedIn Gorham, William H., 1861-1935. William H. Gorham scrapbook, 1907-1934 (bulk 1907-1913). University of Washington Libraries
referencedIn Shaun Maloney Papers, 1932-2000, 1946-1998 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Goldblatt, Louis. Building the ILWU in Hawaii : interviews with Louis Goldblatt, secretary treasurer, 1943-1977 : oral history transcripts / interviews by Edward Beechert, Pacific Regional Oral History Program, University of Hawaii, 1979. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Karl G. Yoneda Papers, 1928-1989 University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
referencedIn Schmidt, Henry, 1899-. Henry Schmidt papers, 1933-1966 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Philip M. Gayeski collection, circa 1936-1954 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
creatorOf International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union papers, [ca. 1936-1976] Bancroft Library
referencedIn Brown, Edmund G. (Edmund Gerald), 1905-1996. Edmund G. Brown papers, circa 1945-1989. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Eden, Philip. Philip Eden. Papers. Cornell University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Arnautoff, Jake person
associatedWith Baker, Ernest E. person
associatedWith Baker, Ernest E. person
associatedWith Benson, Herman W., ca. 1910- person
associatedWith Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-1985. person
associatedWith Brown, Archie, 1911-1990. person
associatedWith Brown, Edmund G. (Edmund Gerald), 1905-1996. person
associatedWith Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union. Local 7 (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Carlson, James V., 1916- person
associatedWith Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.) Maritime Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Corridan, John Michael, 1911-1984. person
associatedWith Corsi, Edward. person
associatedWith Deal, Clyde W. person
associatedWith Eden, Philip. person
associatedWith Fox, C. Lyn. person
associatedWith Gayeski, Philip M. person
associatedWith Gleason, Thomas. person
associatedWith Gleason, Thomas. person
associatedWith Goldblatt, Louis. person
associatedWith Gorham, William H., 1861-1935. person
associatedWith International Brotherhood of Longshoremen. corporateBody
associatedWith International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. Local 13 (Wilmington, Los Angeles, Calif.) corporateBody
correspondedWith International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. Local 68 (St. Helens, Or.) corporateBody
correspondedWith International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. Local 8 (Portland, Or.) corporateBody
associatedWith International Longshoremen's Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Jacques, Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Jenkins, David, 1914-1993. person
associatedWith Jenkins, Frank, d. 1973- person
associatedWith Jenkins, Frank, d. 1973. person
associatedWith Juneau Spruce Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Keeney, Elinor Randall, 1932- person
associatedWith Maloney, Shaun person
associatedWith Maloney, Shaun, 1911-1999. person
associatedWith Margolin, Julius person
associatedWith Marine Workers Historical Association (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Mayes, Barney person
associatedWith McAndrew, Raymond L. person
associatedWith McElrath, Ah Quon, 1915- person
associatedWith Mendelsohn, Peter Patrick person
associatedWith Meyer, Arthur S. (Arthur Simon), 1880-1955. person
associatedWith Meyers, Irving, 1907-2003. person
associatedWith Murnane, Francis J., 1914-1968. person
associatedWith National Maritime Union of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Nelson, Bruce, 1940- person
associatedWith New York (State). Crime Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
associatedWith Osborne, Selden. person
associatedWith Pacific Coast Maritime Industry Board. corporateBody
associatedWith Postek, Stanley, 1912-1991. person
associatedWith Powell, Helene, person
associatedWith Price, Jack person
associatedWith Prometheus Research Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Riehle, David. person
associatedWith Riehle, David J. person
associatedWith Rojo, Trinidad person
associatedWith Ruuttila, Julia, 1907-1991. person
associatedWith Ryan, Joseph. person
associatedWith Ryan, Joseph. person
associatedWith Schmidt, Henry, 1899- person
associatedWith Stanton, John. person
associatedWith Summers, Clyde W. person
associatedWith United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America. Research Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National War Labor Board. person
associatedWith Weinstock, Louis, 1903- person
associatedWith Yoneda, Elaine Black, 1906-1988. person
associatedWith Yoneda, Karl G., 1906- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Oregon--Portland
New York (N.Y.)
New York (State)--New York
United States
United States
Oregon
California
Subject
Racketeering
Labor unions--Oregon
Merchant mariners
Legislation
Collective bargaining--Stevedores
Working class
Labor unions
Civil rights
Labor
Collective bargaining--Stevedores--United States
Strikes and lockouts--Stevedores--New York (State)--New York
Stevedores--Labor unions
Stevedores--Labor unions--United States
Strikes and lockouts--Oregon--Portland
Strikes and lockouts--Stevedores
Labor movement
Strikes and lockouts
Aliens
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

Active 1921

Active 1984

Information

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