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Friday, October 2, 2009

Harvey Schwartz on the ILWU 10/14/09

Time Tested Books is thrilled to host historian Harvey Schwartz for a talk on his new book, “Solidarity Stories: An Oral History of the ILWU”. Schwartz, an oral historian at the Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University, and curator of the Oral History Collection, ILWU Library, has written extensively on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the San Francisco Bay Area labor movement (“The March Inland”, “Union Carpenters, Navy Town”, “Harry Bridges”, etc.). “Solidarity Stories” is his most recent contribution to this history.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, born out of the 1934 West Coast maritime and San Francisco general strikes under the charismatic leadership of Harry Bridges, has been known from the start for its strong commitment to democracy, solidarity, and social justice. In this collection of firsthand narratives, union leaders and rank-and-file workers - from the docks of Pacific Coast ports to the fields of Hawaii to bookstores in Portland, Oregon - talk about their lives at work, on the picket line, and in the union.

Published by University of Washington Press, “Solidarity Stories” is a unique contribution to the literature on unions. There is a power and immediacy in the voices of workers that is brilliantly expressed here. Taken together, these voices provide a portrait of a militant, corruption-free, democratic union that can be a model and an inspiration for what a resurgent American labor movement might look like. The book will appeal to students and scholars of labor history, social and economic history, and social change, as well as trade unionists and anyone interested in labor politics and history.

"Harvey Schwartz is the dockworkers' Studs Terkel. Solidarity Stories is right up there with the best of Terkel's books, an inspiring account in their own words of how the men and women working the Pacific Coast docks and beyond built a great union and won dignity and fair pay on the job. Schwartz's oral history is so well organized and fully annotated that it rises to the level of a genuine history of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union." --David Brody, professor emeritus, University of California, Davis

The event is on Wednesday, October 14, 2009. 7 pm.

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