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Finding Aid to the Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast Records larc.ms.0002
larc.ms.0002  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement
  • History of the Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast (MFPC)
  • Scope and Contents

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast records
    Date (inclusive): 1935-1942
    Creator: Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast.
    Collection number: larc.ms.0002
    Accession number: 1986/026
    Repository: Labor Archives and Research Center
    J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
    San Francisco State University
    1630 Holloway Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94132-1722
    (415) 405-5571
    larc@sfsu.edu
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English.
    Extent: 35.75 cubic ft. (65 boxes, 2 oversize boxes)
    Abstract: The Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast records document the activities of the Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast (MFPC), more commonly known as the Maritime Federation of the Pacific (MFP), an organization representing the interests of longshoremen, seamen, ship cooks and stewards, other various maritime occupations, agricultural and cannery workers in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. The collection consists of the organizational records of the MFP, including material related to conventions and conferences, the Executive Board, constitutions, officers, District and Subdistrict Councils, subject files, financial records, and records pertaining to the Federation's publication Voice of the Federation. Also contains material related to organizations supported by the MFP, including the Bay Area Committee to Aid Agricultural Workers, the Council of Marine Crafts of America, the Marysville Defense Committee, and the Modesto Defense Committee. Materials include correspondence, minutes, clippings, telegrams, circular letters, teletypes, reports, and financial and legal material.
    Location: Materials are stored onsite.

    Administrative Information

    Availability

    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast Records, larc.ms.0002, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.

    Restrictions

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives and Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Separated Materials

    Seven volumes containing issues of the Voice of the Federation, 1935-1941, have been added to the periodicals collection; also included are duplicate issues of 1935-1936.

    Custodial History

    For many years previous to their transfer to the Labor Archives, this material was on deposit at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Anne Rand Library where they were open to qualified researchers. Some reorganization of the material occurred at this time; some of the material is marked "microfilmed." Many files are a combination of incoming correspondence received by the Maritime Federation's Headquarter's office, the offices of District Council 2 (San Francisco), and the offices of the Voice of the Federation. At one time, all three groups shared office space.

    Acquisition Note

    The Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast Records were donated to the Labor Archives by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in 1986 under the supervision of Carol Schwartz.

    Processing

    Initial processing of the collection took place in the fall of 1986 and spring of 1987 under the direction of Leon Sompolinsky assisted by Suzanne Forsyth. Final processing and the finding aid were prepared in 1991. The finding aid was revised in 2011 by Tanya Hollis and Seth Cotterell.

    Arrangement

    The Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast collection is divided into three record groups: Record Group 1: Headquarter's Office Files; Record Group 2: Voice of the Federation Editorial Board and Staff Files; and Record Group 3: Affinity Groups and Coalitions.
    Record Group 1: Headquarter's Office Files is further divided into fifteen series: Series 1: Conventions and Conferences; Series 2: Executive Board; Series 3: District Councils Minutes; Series 4: Constitutions; Series 5: Officers' Files; Series 6: Secretary Treasurer's Office, District and Sub-district Councils; and Series 7: Secretary Treasurer's Office, Administrative Subject Files; Series 8: District Council 1: Washington State (Puget Sound); Series 9: District Council 2: San Francisco Bay Area; Series 10: District Council 3: Columbia River (Portland, Oregon); Series 11: District Council 4: Southern California (Long Beach); Series 12: Sub-district Council 5: Gray Willapa Harbor (Washington); Series 13: Sub-district Council 6: Ketchikan, Alaska; Series 14: Secretary Treasurer, Revels Cayton/District Council 2 Administrative Subject Files; and Series 15: Financial Records of MFP and its organ, Voice of the Federation.
    Record Group 2: Voice of the Federation is further divided into seven series: Series 1: Editorial Board and Staff Files; Series 2: Editorial Board Minutes; Series 3: Financial; Series 4: Correspondence; Series 5: Rank and File Letters to the Editor; Series 6: Editors' Correspondence; and Series 7: Radio Edition of Voice of the Federation.
    Record Group 3: Affinity Groups and Coalitions is further divided into four series: Series 1: Bay Area Committee to Aid Agricultural Workers; Series 2: Council of Marine Crafts of America; Series 3: Marysville Defense Committee; and Series 4: Modesto Defense Committee.

    History of the Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast (MFPC)

    The Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast (MFPC), more commonly known as the Maritime Federation of the Pacific (MFP), was established in 1935 when waterfront workers and seamen joined together to further the interests of unionism for all maritime workers on the West Coast. Efforts to build greater unity among different maritime workers had been previously attempted in the early part of the 20th century with organizations such as the City Front Federation. Following the historic 1934 Pacific Maritime and San Francisco General Strike, labor unions and individuals representing different seafaring and shipping occupations overcame their divisions to form a more cohesive organization that would become known as the Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast. The Maritime Federation elected Harry Lundeberg, head of the Sailors Union of the Pacific, as its first President and the Federation was a visible and outspoken presence in the ensuing strikes and labor events of the mid-1930s.
    The Federation possessed a powerful communications and public relations tool in its official publication the Voice of the Federation. The weekly publication served to express diverse viewpoints within the coalition of maritime workers and union activists. It provided the voice of progressive ideology in the ongoing struggle between labor and capital on the waterfront and all across the United States. Eventually, however, the Voice became a destabilizing factor and exacerbated the internal conflicts that would eventually lead to the demise of the MFP.
    Among the many internal conflicts that doomed the Maritime Federation were the clash between sociopolitical factions within the organization and the competing priorities that arose between the different maritime occupation groups of its constituents. The struggle between the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) also marks this period, with the sailors and longshore unions on opposite sides of the divide. The ultimate demise of the MFP was a result of strife caused by ideological differences, increasing discord among its leadership, and diminishing solidarity among the rank and file members.

    Scope and Contents

    The Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast records document the activities of the Maritime Federation of the Pacific Coast (MFPC), more commonly known as the Maritime Federation of the Pacific (MFP), an organization representing the interests of longshoremen, seamen, ship cooks and stewards, other various maritime occupations, agricultural and cannery workers in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. The collection consists of the organizational records of the MFP, including material related to conventions and conferences, the Executive Board, constitutions, officers, District and Subdistrict Councils, subject files, financial records, and records pertaining to the Federation's publication Voice of the Federation. Of note is the correspondence from Tom Mooney, whose decades-long imprisonment for a bombing that occurred during a military preparedness parade in 1916 became a labor cause célèbre until his release in 1939; files relating to the 1936 Pacific Coast Maritime Strike that resulted from employer opposition to the implementation of the agreement reached after the historic 1934 strike; subject files on the King, Ramsay, Conner shipboard murder trial; material on the Spanish Civil War, and correspondence from J.B. McNamara, imprisoned for the 1911 Los Angeles Timesbombing.
    The collection also contains material related to organizations supported by the MFP, including the Bay Area Committee to Aid Agricultural Workers formed by John Steinbeck; the Council of Marine Crafts of America; the Marysville Defense Committee, the committee formed to defend fruit pickers in the 1939 strike violently repressed by the Associated Farmers; and the Modesto Defense Committee, the committee formed to defend strikers jailed on dynamite charges during the Pacific Coast Tanker Strike against Standard Oil in 1935. Materials include correspondence, minutes, clippings, telegrams, circular letters, teletypes, reports, and financial and legal material.
    Documentation of Filipino workers can be found in the agricultural, canning and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) locals, as well as reporting in the Voiceand support committee files for the Marysville workers. The Secretary Treasurer’s files also contains material relating to Women’s Auxiliaries. The issues of civil liberties and civil rights can be found in the files of Secretary Treasurer Revels Cayton.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
    Labor unions--Longshoremen--United States.
    Labor unions--Merchant seamen--United States.
    Labor unions--Organizing--United States.
    Labor unions--United States--History--20th century.
    Merchant mariners--Labor unions--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    Merchant mariners--Labor unions--United States.
    Merchant mariners--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    Merchant mariners--United States.
    Stevedores--California--San Francisco.
    Stevedores--Labor unions--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    Stevedores--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    Stevedores.
    Strikes and lockouts--California--San Francisco.
    Strikes and lockouts--Merchant marine--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    Strikes and lockouts--Merchant marine--United States.
    Strikes and lockouts.
    Voice of the Federation.