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Harry Bridges listening to ILWU members in San Francisco's Local 10 hiring hall, about 1960

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Harry Bridges listening to ILWU members in San Francisco's Local 10 hiring hall, about 1960
Photograph by Otto Hagel, from Men and Machines, 1963; reproduced by permission of the Center for Creative Photography; 1998 The University of Arizona Foundation

IN CONTEXT

This object appears in the following sections:


Making the Exhibition
Container Back Story — Maritime Labor

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

RELATED OBJECTS
Wedding portrait


Harry Bridges in a Labor Day parade


Harry Bridges in the union hall
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
This photograph shows Harry Bridges standing at a podium in the ILWU Local 10 hiring hall in San Francisco. Rank and file members of the union are seated or standing at a microphone waiting to speak. Bridges is discussing the details of the Mechanization and Modernization (M&M) Agreement with union members, whose lives were going to change dramatically once the agreement was put into effect.
Physical Description
Photograph
Details
Date Made:
about 1960
Dates Used:
about 1960 - about 1960
Locations:
California
Note:
San Francisco
History
In the late 1950s, when shipping companies like Sea-Land Services, Inc., Matson Navigating Company, and American President Lines were moving forward with containerized freight operations, the unions representing maritime labor were scrambling to foresee how the container revolution would affect their members. Harry Bridges, President of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) since 1937, recognized that the effect would be monumental. He determined early that the unions could not block mechanization, but vowed to make the best deal possible for ILWU members or, as he said, "We should accept mechanization and start making it work for us, not against us." For nearly two years, the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), the employers' group, negotiated details of the Mechanization and Modernization (M&M) Agreement, a landmark settlement that eliminated out-of-date work rules while allowing the employers to introduce new machines and systems for increased productivity. The agreement also stipulated that all jobs on the docks would be performed by members of the ILWU and provided a fund for longshoremen that was intended to offset losses in earnings.

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