Today in labor history: 1934 San Francisco longshoremen strike

On this day in 1934, the San Francisco Longshoremen’s strike spread throughout the city. It was the first major port city to be shut down by a strike. The workers, employed during the Great Depression, grew dissatisfied with working conditions and attacks on unions. Though the mass protest lasted for four consecutive days, it had been in the works for months beforehand.

The International Longshoremen’s Association led the battle for better pay and better hours, beginning their first strike on May 9, 1934. They were later joined by other workers as the picketing grew and intensified.

The following year, the National Labor Relations Board was created, protecting the right of workers to organize into labor unions.

Photo: University of California