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Fighting in ParadiseLabor Unions, Racism, and Communists in the Making of Modern Hawaii$
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Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835026

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835026.001.0001

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Stevedores Strike

Stevedores Strike

(p.175) Chapter 10 Stevedores Strike
Fighting in Paradise

Gerald Horne

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the stevedores' strike in Hawaii that lasted from May 1, to 24 October 1949. It was the longest strike to that point in the maritime industry and, arguably, the most important strike in Hawaii's history—surpassing the Sugar Strike of 1946. Around 2,000 men tied up the ports and heightened anxiety at a time when the Red Scare was rising. Decades after it ended, Dave Thompson of the International Longshore and Warehousemen's Union argued that the stevedores' strike “did two things”: “It set the stage for tremendous gains by the union[,] since we won. At the same time it isolated the union from a part of the community,” due to the economic distress the strike caused and the effectiveness of the Red-baiting—buoyed by trans-Pacific currents—to which the union was so deftly subjected. The strike jerked Hawaii forcefully into the mainland's consciousness, in a way unseen since December 7, 1941.

Keywords:   stevedores, labor strikes, labor movement, Hawaii

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