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.

Please consider supporting our work.

I hope you found this article important. Before you leave, I want to ask you to consider supporting our work with a donation. In These Times needs readers like you to help sustain our mission. We don’t depend on—or want—corporate advertising or deep-pocketed billionaires to fund our journalism. We’re supported by you, the reader, so we can focus on covering the issues that matter most to the progressive movement without fear or compromise.

Our work isn’t hidden behind a paywall because of people like you who support our journalism. We want to keep it that way. If you value the work we do and the movements we cover, please consider donating to In These Times.

Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at InThe​se​Times​.com. He is also the author of The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.

Illustrated cover of Gaza issue. Illustration shows an illustrated representation of Gaza, sohwing crowded buildings surrounded by a wall on three sides. Above the buildings is the sun, with light shining down. Above the sun is a white bird. Text below the city says: All Eyes on Gaza
Get 10 issues for $19.95

Subscribe to the print magazine.