Why Workers Fought and Died for Union Hiring Halls

This is Part II of our spe­cial two-part episode with Taco­ma long­shore work­ers Zack Pat­tin and Bri­an ?“Skiff” Skiff­in­g­ton. Zack and Skiff are both mem­bers of the Inter­na­tion­al Long­shore and Ware­house Union (ILWU) Local 23 and orga­niz­ing lead­ers with the ILWU Young Work­ers Com­mit­tee. In Part I of our con­ver­sa­tion with Zack and Skiff, we talked about their wind­ing paths to work­ing on the water­front and about the beau­ty and mad­ness of long­shore work. In Part II, we take a deep­er dive into the pol­i­tics and his­to­ry of the ILWU. We talk about what being part of the union has meant to Zack and Skiff, their fam­i­lies, and their cowork­ers?—?and why fix­tures like union hir­ing halls are so impor­tant that work­ers fought and died for them.

This blog originally appeared at In These Times on December 23, 2020. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Maximillian Alvarez is a writer and editor based in Baltimore and the host of Working People, “a podcast by, for, and about the working class today.” His work has been featured in venues like In These Times, The Nation, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and The New Republic.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.