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The cargo hook and fist became a symbol of opposition in the 1971 strike.

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The cargo hook and fist became a symbol of opposition in the 1971 strike.
Herbert A. Mills

IN CONTEXT

This object appears in the following sections:


Other Topics
Words on Things — Some thoughts about words on things

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

RELATED OBJECTS
ILWU Union Pin


Button, 'Longshore Victory'


Strike of '71
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This image appears on the back page of a four-page newspaper titled "The Freeze." The undated paper was published by Local 10 of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) and is chiefly concerned with opposition to President Nixon's program for "the new prosperity" and its proposals for controlling inflation, including the freezing of wages.
Physical Description
Newspaper. Full-page (11.5" x 16") illustration of a fist and cargo hook appears above the words "STRIKE OF '71."
Details
Date Made:
1971
Dates Used:
1971 - 1971
Locations:
California
History
A decade after the first Mechanization and Modernization (M&M) Agreement was put into effect, many ILWU longshoremen called into question some of its details. One in particular was Section 9.43, the "steady man" clause, which allowed employers to hire crane operators on a steady, permanent basis. To the rank and file, this flew in the face of one of the union's core values--that all jobs were rotated among members through the jointly administered hiring hall. While the steady men were still members of the union, they were, in effect, employees of the shipping companies, while at the same time their jobs, among the highest paid on the docks, were not available to others. When members voted to strike in 1971, they adopted the fist and cargo hook as their symbol of opposition and resistance to the labor contract. The coastwide strike, which was not supported by ILWU President Harry Bridges, lasted 130 days and, when it was over, the steady man clause still stood. Since then, the fist and cargo hook has become widely used as a symbol of the ILWU itself and is used on pins, clothing, and posters.

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