Longshoremen win victory in West Coast waterfront strike settlement in October 1934.

  • By Ross Rieder and Walt Crowley
  • Posted 6/16/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2662

In October 1934, West Coast longshoremen win a victory in an arbitrated settlement to one of the most important and bitter labor strikes of the twentieth century.

The strike lasted from May 9 to July 31, 1934, and was characterized by violent clashes, including several deaths. President Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945) and the National Labor Board (forerunner of the National Labor Relations Board) arbitrated an end to the strike, which firmly established the rights of waterfront workers nationwide.

The settlement awarded the International Longshoremen's Association recognition, wage increases, and union control of the waterfront hiring halls.


Walter Havighurst, Pier 17, A Novel About the 1916 Strike (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1935); Ronald E. Magden, A History of Seattle Waterfront Workers, 1884-1934 (Seattle: International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 19 of Seattle, the Washington Commission for the Humanities, 1991); Ottilie Markholt, Maritime Solidarity: Pacific Coast Unionism, 1929-1938 (Tacoma, WA: Pearce County Central Labor Council, 1998); Emmett R. Murray, The Lexicon of Labor (New York: The New Press, 1998); Encyclopedia of the American Left ed. by Mari Jo Buhle et al. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992); Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 9-July 31, 1934.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You