Why Workers Fought and Died for Union Hiring Halls

Part II of a conversation with Tacoma longshore workers Zack Pattin and Brian “Skiff” Skiffington.

Maximillian Alvarez

The San Francisco ILWU hiring hall, which was new when this photo was taken on March 11, 1949. BPA2# 2786

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.

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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