Working Together: Waterfront Politics, Peace and Solidarity during the 1948 West Coast Maritime Strike
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In 1948, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and a coalition of other maritime unions went on strike, bringing the United States’ West Coast Ports to a standstill for 95 days. Despite facing increasing criticism for its radicalism in the face of the emerging Cold War, the union was able to win concessions in their new contract and establish an industry peace with a once obstinate employers’ association. The ILWU’s strong participatory democracy and workplace culture enabled it to maintain solidarity and militancy during a period when American labor was purging its radical elements and facing growing political conservatism.