This porthole view reveals a brawl between two sailors—one a striker and the other a strikebreaker. In 1934 more than thirty thousand maritime workers held a strike protesting inhumane conditions, including dangerous forty-eight-hour shifts, and abysmal pay. As one longshoreman recalled, “I became convinced . . . that five years of this and I would be dead unless something was done.” The strike closed every seaport on the West Coast for eighty-three days, eventually succeeding in its aims. Striking and unionizing became increasingly common during the Great Depression, as Americans sought relief from poverty and exploitation.
Gallery label from 2022