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Longshoremen's Time Book

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Longshoremen's Time Book
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Susan Tolbert


This object appears in the following sections:

Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960–1970
Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960–1970 — Negotiating Change

Longshoremen working in the hold of a ship

Harry Bridges in a Labor Day parade

Longshoremen's Time Book
Catalog #: 2002.3003.03 , Accession #: 2002.3003
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This time book was kept by ILWU Local 10 longshoreman Herb Mills. It contains his handwritten notes concerning the ships he loaded and unloaded, the types of cargo, hours worked, meetings attended, and other information. This is one of eleven time and date books from the 1960s and 1970s donated to the museum by Mills.
Physical Description
Artifact. This paper book measures 5-3/8” H x 3-1/2” W x 1/4” D when closed. Titled "Longshoremen's Time Book," it was distributed by T. R. Turner, 327 Paris Street, San Francisco 12, Calif. The dates "Jan. 1966 / Jan. 1967" are written on the front cover.
Date Made:
Dates Used:
1963 - 1964
San Francisco waterfront
Gift of Herb Mills
Workers who load and discharge ships are called longshoremen, a name derived from the days when men would gather along the shore as a ship arrived, in hopes of getting work unloading its cargo. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the work of unloading ships became increasingly dangerous, as longshoremen were pressured to work ever faster to unload huge ships full of heavy cargos. Despite the dangers and risks, men competed for longshore work, participating in the informal "shape-up," where individuals were selected for jobs out of a teeming crowd. On the West Coast this system was abolished after the 1934 labor strike. Thereafter, the union and ship owners negotiated contracts that specified work rules, including pay scales and time. Modern longshoremen can keep track of their hours on a job in record books like this.

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