When longshoremen worked 6 & 2 (6 hours ST & 2 hours OT) and time and a half for 2nd shift, they were reminded every day of what happened in San Francisco on July 5th 1934.
In 1934 the West Coast longshoremen negotiated a 6 hour work day, with overtime paid at time and a half for all work after 3PM.
Back then July 5th was a big deal and no work was done on July 5th, period. Unless the ship was on fire, and in danger of sinking.
The incredibile feeling of ILWU solidarity was rekindled every July 5th, by every Local on the West Coast.
There were marches and picnics and a whole lot of longshoremen and their families would get together to celebrate what those who gave their lives on July 5th 1934 made possible for today’s ILWU members.
I for one was sad to see the end of the 6 & 2. It was unique to the West Coast longshore industry and a validation that the work was and is hard enough to dictate a 6 hour work day.
Now, every one gets 8 hours, steady men work a week on and a week off, crane drivers get paid crane pay under the table when they are not driving cranes, Local 13’s President spends more time at Employer luncheons than he does in his office, and July 5th is the day of the longshore softball tournament.
I met Harry Bridges and I remember what the ILWU used to be like.
I kind of miss it.
Happy Bloody Thursday……..