The International Longshore and
Warehouse Union (ILWU) is a labor union which primarily represents dock workers on the West
Coast of the United States, and was established in 1937. The Los Angeles Chapter, Local 13,
was established shortly thereafter. The collection documents the establishment, development,
goals, and achievements of unionism on the Pacific Coast, including labor/management
relations, labor conditions on the waterfront, the sudden effects of mechanization on the
longshore labor force, and the day-to-day administration of this longshore union.
In 1892, members of the longshore union met in Detroit, Michigan to christen their
organization as the National Longshoremen's Association of the United States. The new union
quickly became an official arm of the trade unionist movement by joining with the American
Federation of Labor (AFL). With successful expansion into ports on the east and west coasts,
including several Canadian ports by 1895, the union changed its name to the International
Longshoremen's Association (ILA).
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