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West Coast Longshoremen's Strike
The West Coast Longshoremen's strike took place between May 9 and July 31, 1934. All ports on the West Coast were paralyzed during this period as the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) battled employers for better working conditions. When employers tried to break [Page 660]the strike, the police and National Guard were called in. During the disturbances, seven strikers were killed.
In the 1920s, after a series of failed strikes, longshore workers began to organize into one union, the ILA. They were able to do so under the terms of President Franklin Roosevelt's National Recovery Act. The ILA demanded a coastwide agreement that would improve hourly pay and remove the use of the “speed up,” whereby workers were forced to work harder for no increase in pay. ...