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Inventory of the Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149 Records, 1869-1985
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Material Cataloged Separately

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149 Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1869-1985
    Accession number: 1991/077
    Creator: Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149
    Extent: 7 cubic feet
    Repository: San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
    San Francisco, California 94132
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & 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 & 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149 Records, 1991/077, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.


    Records of the Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149 were donated to the Archives by Local 2236 in April, 1991. The collection was processed by Dennis Scott, November 1991.


    The Shipwrights, founded in 1857, is one of the oldest unions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Local 1149 grew out of the merging of various worker associations that formed shortly after the Gold Rush of 1849. These included the Caulkers' Association Local 554 (founded in 1853, merged in 1960), Dry Dock Workers Local 3116 (merged in 1976), and Shipwrights and Steamboat Joiners Local 21. According to the Labor Archives Survey in 1991, another shipwrights local (Local 71 or 72) also merged with 1149. This is not documented in the Collection. Local 1149 was a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America throughout the time period documented in the Collection. Local 1149 merged with Industrial Carpenters Local 2236 in 1989.
    Shipbuilding and ship repair were important industries in the Bay area from the 1850's until the 1950's. Shipwrights built the entire hull of ships and Joiners worked on ship interiors, mainly cabinetwork. The 1936 Morrow Castle Fire, which resulted in new ship regulations banning wooden interiors, along with the increased use of metal in shipbuilding and repair, led to a decrease in specialized ship carpentry work in the decade preceding WWII. Fewer ships were being built and repaired on the West Coast after the War, and the unions lobbied to retain and regulate the work that was available. In 1952-53, growing dissatisfaction within Local 1149 with the Pacific Coast Metal Trades Council, the collective bargaining unit for shipwrights, led to the formation of the Pacific Coast Council of Marine Carpenters (PCCMC), an independent organization that represented shipwrights unions throughout the Pacific coast in collective bargaining negotiations. Throughout the 1950's, the PCCMC negotiated favorable agreements with employers for shipwrights, gaining an additional hourly stipend for workers using their own tools and premium wages for work involving creosote-treated timber and fiberglass insulation.

    Scope and Content

    The collection largely consists of textual records, primarily minutes and office correspondence of Shipwrights Local 1149. Also included are union/employer agreements, conference summaries, books on shipbuilding in WWII, dues books and one waterfront pass.
    The records date primarily from around 1937 to 1985, with the period between 1939-1946 most heavily represented. Much of the earlier material in the Collection was donated to 1149 in 1947 by John Howson, a member of the Union since 1887. Materials include records of unions that merged with 1149, including Caulkers Local 554 and Shipwrights Local 3116. The collection also includes photographs of dock workers (presumably shipwrights) performing repair work on wooden cargo cartons dating from 1959. They have been placed in the Labor Archives Photograph Collection #4.
    The records of Local 1149 provide insight into the shipwright craft on the Pacific Coast, primarily documenting work in the decade preceding World War II until around 1955. Jurisdictional disputes between sheet metal workers and shipwrights resulting from the industry's transition from wood to steel ships and the Shipwrights' efforts to define their work by task (and not by materials utilized) are documented in the collection, primarily in the subject and correspondent files of Local 1149 and Pacific Coast Committee of Marine Carpenters.
    Meeting Minutes of Local 1149 included in the collection cover the years 1941 - 1985. The location of general meetings alternated between labor halls in San Francisco and Oakland. During World War II, meetings were also held in Richmond, California, the location of large wartime shipyards. The collection contains duplicates of the minutes of years 1955-1965. One set is pasted into bound notebooks. The other set, donated to the Archives in 3-ring binders, has been placed in folders. Both sets have been retained for item-by-item level comparison at a later date.
    Records from the World War II era document the high degree of cooperation achieved between labor groups, employer groups and the federal government to make efficient use of the work force to supply and repair the ships needed in the war effort. Committees were formed to monitor and evaluate the movement of workers between shipyards and to assist in locating and training workers. Records of the War Manpower Commission, as well as membership lists found in 1149 meeting minutes, reflect the introduction of women into the shipbuilding workforce at this time. Conflicts between wage and work condition standards desired by the unions and the high production of warships desired by the government, the US Navy in particular, are also documented in the minutes of 1149 as well as in the correspondence between the Union and the local shipyards.
    The shipwrights' and joiners' need to define the work and desire to maintain some degree of autonomy within collective bargaining agreements between unions and employers is reflected in the records, most notably in briefs submitted in National Labor Relations Board proceedings, records of jurisdictional disputes, correspondence between Local 1149 and other shipwrights locals and records relating to the Pacific Coast Shipbuilding Zone Conferences. The need for some autonomy, combined with dissatisfaction with their present collective bargaining unit, may have contributed to the formation of the Pacific Coast Committee of Marine Carpenters. Records from the Pacific Coast Shipbuilding Zone Conference also includes a draft proposal for the reclassification of dry dock and marine waysmen on new ship construction which contains information on the wages and duties of these workers.
    Records of the Pacific Coast Committee of Marine Carpenters (PCCMC), the collective bargaining unit that represented the Shipwrights after 1953, are also included here. The files date from the formation and founding of the Committee in 1949-52 to 1969, when the PCCMC was succeeded by the Pacific Coast Marine Carpenters Council. Stan Lore, the President and General Manager of 1149, was also the secretary of the PCCMC, and both organizations shared the same space during Lore's tenure with the PCCMC. The PCCMC re-affiliated with the Pacific Coast Metal Trades Council in 1967, and in 1969, was renamed the Pacific Coast Marine Carpenters Council.
    Records documenting the regular tasks and special interests of the Union officers and concerns of regular members can be found in Officers' Correspondence and Office Correspondence. Copies of correspondence regarding members' status, general letters of introduction, work recommendations and form letters comprise the bulk of these records. A draft essay on the history of the dispute between carpenters unions and the International Longshoremen Workers Union (ILWU) is included in the Officers' Correspondence of Stan Lore, 1961.
    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Files contain transcripts and briefs relating to the establishment of collective bargaining units for shipwrights on the West Coast. Three cases before the NLRB, 20-RC-1375, 20-RC-1327 and 20-RC-1354, dealt with issues surrounding collective bargaining inside and outside of organized units and were heard together by the NLRB and remain filed together here. The briefs in particular include detailed lists of the tasks in shipbuilding and repair expected to be undertaken by shipwrights, as well as a general history of the shipbuilding industry on the West Coast, probably written by Stan Lore. The records of NLRB case 19-RC-1552 includes an aerial photograph of Foss Launch and Tug Co., Tacoma, WA, from around 1953-54.
    Records of Dry Dock, Marine Waysmen and Stage Riggers Local 3116 include work agreements, correspondence, conference notes and meeting minutes of the Local and of the PCCMC with which 3116 was affiliated. The record group also includes a copy of the Charter and By-laws of the Journeymen Shipwright Association, apparently used as a model for its own charter. Other miscellaneous records include a copy of the Pacific Coast Master Ship Repair Agreement, 1949, correspondence regarding Stage Riggers and Shipwright Helpers Local 2116, and a short history and description of dry dock work and wages on the Pacific Coast.
    The records of Local 1149 primarily document the emergence, growth and decline of a facet of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry on the West Coast: its appearance and fluorescence in the mid 19th Century to WWII and its decline afterwards. The collection also provides insight into the daily duties, interests and concerns of the members and officers of the Local, from personal correspondence regarding the status, health and welfare of individual members to efforts on the part of officials to establish and maintain satisfactory relations with employers and other unions. Unfortunately, union records from the period of the Great Depression and the San Francisco General Strike are not included, although there are scattered references to events of this period in later minutes and correspondence.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Pamphlets, passes and dues books have been relocated to the ephemera collection of the Archives, and publications not generated by Local 1149 have been placed in the reference collection.

    Brochures and booklets placed in the ephemera collection include:

    • Constitution and By-Laws [of the] City Front Federation of the Port of San Francisco, 1902
    • Constitution, By-Laws, and Rules of Order of the Journeymen Ship and Steamboat Joiner's Protective Association of the Port of San Francisco, 1908
    • Demarcation of Work on Tyneside between Shipwrights and Ship-Joiners, 1891
    • The Merchant and Seaman's Expeditions Measurer;...[Table Book], 1869

    Books relocated to the reference book section of the Archives:

    • Finnie, Richard, editor, Marinship: The History of a Wartime Shipyard. San Francisco: Taylor and Taylor, 1947.
    • Maslin, Marshall, editor, Western Shipbuilders in World War II. Oakland, California: Shipbuilding Review Publishing Association, 1945.
    • Proceedings of the First Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, revised by Wm. E. Trautmann. New York: New York Labor News Company, 1905.