30 Years of Collective BargainingCurtis Allen2023-03-22T22:40:29+00:00
30 Years of Collective Bargaining
Joseph Paul St. Sure:
Management Labor Negotiator, 1902-1966
A Thesis By Jennifer Marie Winter
Collective bargaining encompasses almost all possible relations between the employed and the employer. Long experience indicates that unions will continue to ask for more and more and we must assume that management will continue to strive for greater efficiency and improvement of operations. It is our job as industrial relations negotiators to straighten these conflicts out.
Joseph Paul St. Sure: Management Labor Negotiator 1902 – 1966
Jennifer Marie Winter B.A., California State University, Sacramento, 1986
Thesis Submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at California State University, SacramentoSpring 1991.
Abstract of Thirty Years of Collective Bargaining Joseph Paul St. Sure: Management Labor Negotiator 1902 – 1966
by Jennifer Marie Winter
Joseph Paul St. Sure’s career as a management labor negotiator traversed most of California’s major industries. He touched the agricultural, electrical, lumber, manufacturing, maritime, medical, retail, and steel industries. With a keen sense of the industrial order, St. Sure convinced his clients that their best interest would be served if they worked with labor rather than seeking its destruction.
Numerous factors contributed to St. Sure’s development as a sophisticated conservative. His family background, major industrial strikes, and his varied clientele all played a part in the evolution of his ideology. Throughout St. Sure’s career he held firmly to his ideology as a sophisticated conservative; he believed unionism should be promoted and took the first steps toward industrial and labor peace.
Unlike many of his fellow negotiators of the practical right, St. Sure understood the ultimate implications of the collective bargaining process. When employers engaged St. Sure’s services they also engaged his ideology. Although he always promoted management’s interest he never lost sight of the worker. St. Sure, a man of great integrity, used his sophisticated ideology to influence the industries he touched.
This study traces St. Sure’s career from its development during the 1930s to its culmination in 1960 with the implementation of the Modernization and Mechanization Agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union. Combining insights from his oral history, “Some Comments on Collective Bargaining in Northern California Since 1934,” his manuscript collection, and Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union archival material, this study reveals the extent of his influence on labor-management relations in California.
The American labor movement is made up of a stream of events that allow us to view its development from numerous perspectives. Each perspective is accurate and meaningful and adds to our breadth of knowledge. However, each is also selective. Some perspectives examine unions, some examine corporations, some examine the role of government, some examine events while others examine the individuals involved in each of these perspectives. One such individual is Joseph Paul St. Sure. As a management labor negotiator, St. Sure guided many management groups through the collective bargaining process.
Labor history is a constantly changing discipline. The once sharp divisions, between the “old” and “new”, are finally fading. “Old” labor history was dominated by labor economists from the time of John R. Commons and the Wisconsin school through the World War Two era. These men wrote about labor unions and the collective bargaining process. Their studies rarely examined individual workers, their families, or their social surroundings. However, during the 1960s as many aspects of American life began to change so did labor history. The outline for a “new” labor history was laid during this decade. Labor historians abandoned the institution as a focus and began to concentrate on the lives of workers. Through exhaustive examinations of the social structure in which workers lived, historians were finally able to create a picture of the workers themselves.
Labor history, as it developed over the last decade, has again begun to change. This change is not a radical departure, as was seen with the change from “old” to “new.” The change is not so much a change as it is a search for synthesis. Labor historians are again looking at the collective bargaining process, the role of management, and the structure of unions in their attempt to define labor in America. In this study I seek to add to this synthesis. By examining the career of Joseph Paul St. Sure, a management labor negotiator, I reveal the impact he had on both management and labor. With the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, negotiators like St. Sure came to the forefront of the collective bargaining process. Well versed in the new law, these men led management down the often thorny path toward industrial peace.
This study, as do many other newly emerging labor histories, owes a great deal to the discipline of oral history. Oral history, like labor history, has seen many phases since official recognition in the 1950s. Oral history, or folklore, has been a part of our lives for thousands of years. As an official discipline oral history has flourished only in the last forty years. The first generation of oral historians interviewed prominent and influential citizens of various communities. Along with these interviews, the many organizations and institutions that created them also collected the narrator’s correspondence, thus creating a manuscript collection to complement the interview transcript. The transcripts generated were oral biographies, which created important primary source material for future historians to develop into a more coherent examination of the interviewee.
The sixties generation of historians began to change the discipline of oral history. They, like the labor historians, sought to examine the lives of common people. Oral histories of this generation examined the lives of the illiterate, the laborer, and the immigrant. Although the change was not couched in the terms “old” and “new” like labor history, there indeed was a radical departure from the previous generation. The new oral historians revealed to us the thoughts, beliefs, and dreams of the “common” man.
Today, a third generation of oral historians has emerged. These historians seek to create a synthesis between the preceding generations. Oral historians are reaching beyond the once final product of the typed transcript. They seek to develop a complete history about the interviewee. Oral historians are also taking the process of the interview to new heights. In this age of television and video they are able to capture the interviewee on much more than the tape recorder and resulting printed page. However, in this new age we must not lose sight of these older oral histories. The histories developed in the first and second generation are historically significant in themselves; yet many need to be made historically intelligible.
J. Paul St. Sure’s oral history, Some Comments on Employer Organizations and Collective Bargaining in Northern California Since 1934, conducted in 1957 by Corrine Gilb of the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Industrial Relations, is of the first generation. Although a brief sketch is given about St. Sure and his contributions at the beginning of the interview, no further interpretation of the interview exists. In this thesis I seek to interpret St. Sure’s interview, bringing to light a fuller measure of his importance and contribution to California labor relations. Using this interview as my primary source admittedly led to problems. As a researcher I had to determine the validity of St. Sure’s statements. When possible I attempted to collaborate his reminiscences with his papers located at the Bancroft library, and with the archival material at the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union Research Library and the Pacific Maritime Association. However, some still will argue that a paper based almost solely on an interview cannot be accurate, because the interview is the selective reminiscences of the person. St. Sure himself addressed this problem. In a letter to Corrine Gilb, he commented:
I must confess I have read it [the interview] twice and indeed with mixed emotions. Some portions seem to contain reasonably objective and readable accounts of things that happened; other portions seem to be a self revealing monologue about St. Sure, still other portions reveal personal and political prejudices that may be out of place in documents to be on file at institutions of higher learning.
All of these statements about St. Sure’s oral history are true. There are portions that are objective accounts, there are other portions that are a self-revealing monologue, while there are still other portions that vividly reveal his prejudices. But when all of these aspects are combined a solid interview is the result. It is impossible in an oral interview to weed out the interviewee’s personal prejudice and philosophy. The oral historian of today does not want to do this, because the point of the interview is not only to find out about the subject the interviewee is discussing, but to also develop a better understanding of the interviewee himself.
Throughout this study I attempt to reveal St. Sure’s philosophy, prejudices, and politics. In the first chapter, I examine St. Sure’s family background and early life. This examination creates a picture of St. Sure’s early philosophy from which I build upon in the successive chapters. Chapter two begins with a discussion of the waterfront turmoil as it existed in 1934. The chapter continues with a brief discussion of the 1934 San Francisco general strike and its surrounding events. These sections are included in order to show the impact these events had on St. Sure’s career. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the newly enacted National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and St. Sure’s involvement with it. The third chapter is an examination of St. Sure’s work from 1935 to 1952. Heavy emphasis is placed on the work he undertook during the late thirties and early forties in order to demonstrate his rapidly growing philosophy. The fourth chapter is a discussion of St. Sure’s work in the Pacific Coast Maritime industry and his direction of the negotiations which initiated the industry’s Mechanization and Modernization agreement. Chapter five concludes this study with an examination of the M & M agreement and an overall discussion of St. Sure’s contribution to California labor relations.
Throughout this study I used C. Wright Mills and his work the New Men of Power. Mills, writing in 1948, created a sociological model to assist in his explanation of labor leaders and their growing importance in post World War America. Although his thesis that the labor leaders were going to become the “new men of power” does not hold true today, his explanation of political publics does. Through his breakdown of the “political public” I was able to place St. Sure in an ideological mold. It is through his ideology as a sophisticated conservative that I sought to understand St. Sure.
This study is by no means complete, it only scratches the surface of St. Sure’s diversity as a labor relations negotiator. At least four theses could be written on the many aspects of St. Sure’s career. I chose to give you, the reader, a brief overview of his entire career and philosophy, which includes a somewhat deeper examination of his work with the Pacific Maritime Association and its dealings with the Pacific Coast longshoremen. Whatever conclusions you choose to draw about St. Sure from this study, my sincere hope is that it will spark your interest in both labor and oral history.
Seven years have passed since I completed this work on J.P. St. Sure and during this time so have my thoughts regarding this work and the work of St. Sure. More recent research into the career of St. Sure found me delving deeper into his philosophy, prejudices and politics. By broadening my reading into the field of industrial labor relations I have concluded that St. Sure still follows the track of a sophisticated conservative. Yet, I have sought to take a more explanatory track regarding St. Sure’s motivations. New research attempts to reveal why St. Sure moved away from the anti-union stance of his earlier career to one of working within the confines of the expanding labor law and growing unionism in the United States. Finally, current research reveals more clearly the impact St. Sure had on industrial relations during his career and how his leadership set him amongst the leading management negotiators of the era.
The following thesis would not have been possible without the support, advice, and criticism of numerous individuals. First, I would like to thank the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Industrial Relations. This institutions Oral History Project, and subsequent interview of Joseph Paul St. Sure, made this paper feasible. I also express my gratitude to the university’s Regional Oral History Office and the Bancroft Library for their collaborative effort of acquiring the St. Sure Family Papers.
For their more than generous help and encouragement I would like to thank Robert Dockendorff, Research Director for the Pacific Maritime Association, and Eugene Vrana, Librarian and Archivist for the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union. Both gentlemen allowed me to extensively examine archival material which revealed many perceptive insights about St. Sure and the maritime industry. Thanks also to Don Watson, President of the Bay Area Labor History Association, for sharing his knowledge and perception of St. Sure with me.
In the process of writing and rewriting my mentors, friends, and family have generously contributed their time to reading different versions of this manuscript. Professor Ernie Isaacs convinced me to begin researching St. Sure while I was a student in his undergraduate research seminar. He has provided valuable guidance and support in this undertaking. Professor Herbert Perry has also been extremely helpful, his knowledge of industrial and labor relations and subsequent suggestions and critique of my work on St. Sure have helped to broaden the scope of my thesis. Both men have given me the criticism and distance that have helped me grow as a historian.
In addition, I have benefited from the comments, suggestions, criticisms, and encouragement of Professor Kenneth Owens, Julice Winter, John Winter, John Lewis, Janet Lewis and most especially Eileen Kerr.
And finally, I would like to thank Jon Winter, without whose tireless devotion and support I would not have been able to reach this point in my life. For this I am very grateful.
ST. SURE AND THE CONSERVATIVE TRADITION, 1902-1933
Joseph Paul St. Sure was unique. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he saw the legitimacy of labors’ position. With a keen sense of the industrial order St. Sure convinced his clients that it was in their best interest to work with unions, and not seek their destruction. If a client continually insisted on violating the law, refusing to follow St. Sure’s recommendation for change, St. Sure simply refused to conduct further business with them. His understanding of the industrial order evolved over time. His family background, major industrial strikes, and his varied clientele all played a part in the evolution of his ideology.
J. Paul St. Sure’s career traversed most of California’s major industries. The agricultural, electrical, lumber, manufacturing, maritime, medical, retail, and steel industries were all touched in some way by St. Sure. During his thirty years as a management counselor he advised a majority of the San Francisco based corporations. Some of his more prominent clients included the food stores Safeway and Lucky, the retail stores Capwell, Hale, Hastings, and Kahn, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and the Kaiser Steel Company. St. Sure also played a leading role in the refinement of the labor policies of the California Processors and Growers Association, the California Milk Products Manufacturing Association, the Oakland Retail Store Association, and the Pacific Maritime Association.
St. Sure did not limit himself to these large companies and trade associations. He counseled the Walker family, owners of the Red River Lumber Company, on their illegal resistance tactics when they were confronted with the newly enacted National Labor Relations Act of 1935. He also argued the first challenge to the act before the United States Supreme Court for the Santa Cruz Fruit Company. When the corset manufacturing factory, Spirella, found itself involved in the San Francisco Bay Area’s first sit down strike, they called in St. Sure.
The culmination of St. Sure’s career came with the negotiation of the unprecedented 1960 Mechanization and Modernization agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union. As President and Chief negotiator and finally Chairman of the Board for the Pacific Maritime Association he, and Harry Bridges, President of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, initiated a lasting period of waterfront peace.Recollecting his thirty year career in labor management negotiations St. Sure said, “There have been six distinct periods wherein major changes have occurred in the basic relations between management and labor.” Outlining these six periods, periods that spanned his career, he said the periods were distinguished by changes in legislation or marked by major historical events.
The Depression, an era of intense competition between employers and employees, marked the first period in which St. Sure dealt with labor and management. The passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, which forced many reluctant employers to recognize labor, was the second period he helped management negotiate. World War II, an era of wage and price controls, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, an act that restricted the gains given to labor in 1935, were the third and fourth periods that St. Sure’s career traversed. The fifth period in which St. Sure worked revolved around the McClellan Committee Hearings, hearings that investigated the extent of union corruption and resulted in the passage of the Landrum-Griffin Act in 1959, which outlined a number of democratic procedures that union leaders were to institute. Finally, St. Sure called the sixth period, the period of “Human Relations Committees.” According to St. Sure this period was characterized by the pressure to automate, government intervention, and experimental collective bargaining. During this period St. Sure, working for the Pacific Maritime Association, made lasting contributions to labor management relations.1
Family background and position, coupled with St. Sure’s college and career experiences, formulated the foundations of his perceptive insight into the industrial order. Sophisticated conservatism can be used to describe St. Sure’s ideological framework. This term is one division of the sociological model presented by C. Wright Mills in his book The New Men of Power.2
Mills’ sociological model asserts that society is divided into two sections: the politically indifferent mass and the political public. He wrote of five distinct “political publics” discernible within the active community.3
The divisions he created were based on distinct political principles and ideas. The first group was the Far Left. It is a highly focused group with specific and unwavering political demands. This group, characterized by younger men and women of some education, sought for the destruction of capitalism through the formation of an independent labor party within the American working class. They attempt to politically control labor, through their unions and its leaders, to attain their goals.4
The second public, the Independent Left, is a less solidified group. Membership in this division is characterized by intellectuals and professionals of the upper class and upper middle class. This group’s political demands were general, they felt the concepts that distinguished the left from the right needed to be reconsidered, for they did not maintain the faith of their Far Left counterparts. The Independent Left saw the growing bureaucratization of labor. They saw a coalition forming between business, labor, and government; however, unlike the Far Left, they did not know what to do about this coalescence.5
The Liberal Center is Mills’ third political public. This group’s political ideals were ambiguous. The ambiguity of their ideas allowed this group’s political loyalties to become dispersed. They often supported too many causes at once. Although they set a series of political goals for each cause the large number of causes they supported impeded progress on any front. Membership in the Liberal Center generally consisted of the middle class, especially urban white collar employees and skilled workers. The Center considered trade unions the “occupational and industrial pressure groups” that temper the power of big business.6
“The wild-eyed Utopian capitalists,” Mills dubbed the Practical Right, the fourth group of his sociological model. The Practical Right or Practical Conservatives consisted of businessmen. Characterized by the local Republican Party, they are a very pragmatic group. Wishing to continually increase their profits, these conservatives repressed those who stood in their way, especially labor. They attempted to manipulate the political realm to further their economic position. Practical conservatives conducted vehement battles with the liberal center, especially during important elections. The mass public was most familiar with these two groups.7
The Sophisticated Conservatives, as reflected in the ideology of Joseph Paul St. Sure, concluded Mills’ model. This group is relatively small, its spokesmen were generally those of the trade association world. According to Mills these individuals “work in and among other elite groups, primarily the high military, the chieftains of large corporations, and certain politicians.” Unlike the practical right they work quietly to achieve their aims. Perceiving unionism as an essential aspect of the industrial order, sophisticated conservatives believed unionism should be promoted and were willing to take the first steps toward industrial and labor peace. Conceiving unionism as the counter force to radicalism, sophisticated conservatives worked with labor leaders in their attempt to keep the Far Left in check. Sophisticated conservatives are willing to compromise, even pay labor for their cooperation in various situations.8 As expressed by Mills the sophisticated conservatives and far left had two aspects in common:
In their imagery, both split the labor leader from the rank and file of labor; and in their strategy, both would use the leader to manage the working men and women of the union. The left would use the labor leader to radicalize or release radical forces among workers. The right would use the labor leader to de-radicalize or to keep radicals away from the workers.9
Joseph Paul St. Sure’s ideology incorporated many of the ideas that Mills’ sociological model identified as those belonging to sophisticated conservatives. This ideological base developed during the early years of his career and by the mid-1940s became the guiding force in St. Sure’s work in the field of labor management negotiating. In order to trace St. Sure’s ideological evolution one must examine his family background, especially the life and resulting influence of his father Adolphus Frederick St. Sure.
Adolphus Frederick St. Sure
Gold brought many people to California in the second half of the nineteenth century, including the St. Sure Family. Joseph Paul St. Sure’s grandfather, Franklin Adolph, migrated to California as a merchant late in 1869. Like many Civil War veterans St. Sure, a Confederate veteran and staunch Democrat, moved west in the aftermath of the war. Departing his father’s home of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, with his wife Ellen Mary Donaghue, and sons Franklin and Adolphus, the family set out for the California gold country. Settling in Oroville, California, St. Sure set up shop as a druggist catering to the gold dredging miners in the area. Shortly after the family’s arrival in California the eldest son, Franklin, died leaving the St. Sure’s with their infant son Adolphus Frederick. Born March 9, 1869 in Sheboygan shortly before the family’s migration to California, Adolphus was thrust into the role of family provider in 1881 when his father mysteriously drowned. Forced to drop out of grammar school, Adolphus began working as a printer’s devil at the Oroville Mercury. Over the next few years he graduated first to typesetter and then to printer. Through these jobs, Adolphus told his sons, he learned his spelling and grammar. By the late 1880s he worked his way up to reporter and then assistant editor for the Mercury.10
Growing tired of small town life Adolphus St. Sure moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1891, and settled in the growing city of Alameda. Nestled between the bay and rolling hills of the area Alameda proved to be the transition St. Sure needed. Across the bay from San Francisco, it possessed many of the small town characteristics similar to Oroville; however, its close proximity to San Francisco allowed St. Sure the big city outlet he desired to further his newspaper career. Adolphus St. Sure worked first for the San Francisco Call and then for the Examiner as the Alameda city correspondent.
As city correspondent Adolphus St. Sure developed an interest in Alameda politics. In 1892 he ran for Justice of the Peace. Although he lost to the Republican candidate, his showing as a young conservative Democrat in a Republican community proved successful, for when an opening in the City Recorder’s Court became available the Board of Supervisor’s appointed St. Sure as the replacement.
Although this post did not require previous judicial experience or legal training, St. Sure determined that it was improper for him to remain in office without some knowledge of the law. For the next three years he studied law, and in 1895 he passed the bar exam. Concurrent to his several successive terms in the City Recorder’s Court and subsequent to his passage of the bar exam St. Sure joined the general law practice of Tirey Ford in San Francisco. In the wake of the 1906 earthquake St. Sure transferred his law practice to Oakland. Located across the Bay and adjacent to Alameda, Oakland was quickly developing into the East Bay’s central city. As a resident of Alameda St. Sure won election to the City Attorney post in 1910. During his eight year tenure as Alameda’s City Attorney he developed the community’s first city manager charter.11
Adolphus St. Sure developed lasting friendships with many leading Bay Area citizens. Perhaps the most important of these friendships was with Joseph R. Knowland, an independently wealthy man, who was active in politics. However, unlike St. Sure, Knowland was a conservative Republican. Despite differing political affiliations at the onset of their friendship, the two became close friends, each helping the other advance their careers.
As campaign manager for Knowland’s successful bids to the State Assembly, State Senate, and United States Senate, St. Sure grew tired of the press referring to him as the conservative Democrat who supported the conservative Republican. Early in the second decade of the twentieth century he officially changed his loyalty to the conservative faction of the Republican party. This political switch can be characterized more as a simple formality than any sweeping ideological change. Adolphus St. Sure’s political ideology had always been conservative. The “Democratic” conservatism which St. Sure adhered to was very similar to the “Republican” conservatism that Knowland followed. The same moral convictions that prompted St. Sure to become a lawyer after his election to the City Recorder’s Court prompted him to formally switch political parties.12
Patronage also characterized the relationship between Joseph Knowland and Adolphus St. Sure. Shortly after Knowland’s 1914 reelection loss to Jim Phelan for the United States Senate Knowland retired from politics and bought the financially troubled Oakland Tribune. In 1922 Sam Shortridge, running for a second term in the United States Senate, went to Adolphus St. Sure and requested that he persuade Knowland to increase the Tribune’s support for his campaign. Tribune support up to that point had been indifferent because of Shortridge’s wavering loyalty to the conservative faction of the Republican party. Following an earlier election in which Knowland defeated Shortridge for the Republican nomination, Shortridge threw his support to the Progressive candidate, greatly offending Knowland and other conservative Republicans. This incident was not forgotten by Knowland and upon his acquisition of the Tribune he resolved that the paper’s support of Shortridge’s future election bids would be almost non-existent. St. Sure however, convinced Knowland of the importance of Shortridge’s reelection to the U.S. Senate and Knowland subsequently agreed to solidly support Shortridge in return for a then unnamed favor for his friend St. Sure. Shortridge won the election and promised to help St. Sure whenever the occasion arose.
The following year, 1923, Shortridge repaid the favor. A seat opened on the United States District Court, and Shortridge nominated St. Sure. At the end of a stop-the-clock session the U.S. Senate approved him. Senate confirmation advanced St. Sure’s nomination to the desk of President Calvin Coolidge for final appointment. When the Attorney General Mortimer Stone, later a Supreme Court Justice, objected to St. Sure’s appointment because he lacked formal education, both Shortridge and Coolidge were reported to have responded, “Neither am I,” in response to Stone’s objection that St. Sure was not even a high school graduate. In light of Coolidge’s response Stone dropped the objection and St. Sure gained a lifetime appointment to the Federal bench.13
In reviewing Adolphus St. Sure’s life two dominant ideologies reveal themselves, conviction and conservatism. Both of these ideologies strongly impacted Joseph Paul St. Sure’s life. Paul St. Sure remembered the intensity of his father’s convictions. Recalling one of his father’s standard lectures St. Sure said, “He used to lecture my brother and me that the wisest thing we could do was to learn a trade as he had done — something that would give us security, which was the one thing that counted.”14 He also recalled the intense political battles, while a youngster, that his father and Joseph Knowland waged against the Progressives Hiram Johnson, Guy Eral, Jack Neylan.
Joseph Paul St. Sure
Joseph Paul St. Sure, born in Alameda, California on July 1, 1902, grew up in an era of many changes in the political atmosphere of both California and the United States. Theodore Roosevelt began his first full year as President vowing to curb the rapid growth of trusts and use the Federal government as an instrument to regulate private business. To reach these ends Roosevelt instructed the Attorney General to use the Sherman Anti-Trust Act on Big Business as the authors of the act had originally intended. Unlike previous administrations, the Roosevelt administration used the act to support unionization. In an unprecedented move, Roosevelt threatened the coal mining interest of J.P. Morgan with government intervention unless he agreed to come to terms with the United Mine Workers grievances, especially the union’s desire to abolish Morgan’s substandard wage system. Successful in both undertakings, the President laid the foundations for business regulation and union recognition in the future.
While the Federal government under the direction of Theodore Roosevelt was enacting unprecedented reforms, so too were the California Progressives. Between 1900 and 1916 Progressive reforms changed the face of California government. The Progressives concentrated on two main goals. First, dismantling the power of railroad interests in state politics, and second, restricting the power of city bosses in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Progressives succeeded on both counts, reaching their pinnacle of power in 1910 with the election of Hiram Johnson as Governor. Johnson revolutionized California government. His six years in office curbed the political power of big business, in turn fostering the development of a modern state government. Through the referendum, recall, and initiative processes ordinary citizens finally gained a political voice.15
Coming of age as the wave of Progressivism swept California, Joseph Paul St. Sure began to form his own political impressions. Raised in a strongly conservative household, St. Sure said of his political upbringing:
I just don’t have any clear recollection of what made up a conservative or a progressive, except that the Johnson faction were progressive and the Knowland faction were conservative. . . . Political affiliation was a personal thing. Either you knew the people and like them and therefore you trusted them, or you grew up with that inheritance because your father before you had been a Republican, you were one, and you belonged to the same camp and you traveled in the same crowd.16
St. Sure grew up in the shadow of his father’s Republicanism. He followed the same party line, belonged to the same camp, and traveled in the same crowd.
Educated in the Alameda County School System, St. Sure graduated from Alameda High School in 1918, at the age of sixteen. Determined to become a lawyer and practice with his father, he entered the University of California Berkeley’s School of Jurisprudence. Active in school affairs while attending Berkeley, St. Sure managed the glee club, taking them on a tour of China, Japan, and the Philippines at the end of his senior year. He also reported for the Daily Cal, in time becoming the editor. The Oakland Tribune also hired him to be the campus correspondent, writing a daily column describing the University’s activities.
St. Sure spent five of his six college years at Berkeley. During his first year of graduate work, he “had a little wanderlust,” and transferred to the Harvard University law school. After a year at the “finest” law school, and after being informed that a great deal of his undergraduate work was not transferable, he returned to the Berkeley program. The following year, 1924, he graduated with a doctoral degree in law, and immediately began to practice law as a Alameda County District Attorney. In a prearranged agreement between his father, Adolphus St. Sure, and Ezra Decoto, the Alameda County District Attorney and political friend and associate of his father, the young J. Paul St. Sure was guaranteed a job in the District Attorney’s office. Just a few hours after his father swore in his graduating class, St. Sure began working as a Deputy District Attorney by appointment of Ezra Decoto.17
Shortly after appointing St. Sure to the District Attorney’s office Decoto became one of Governor Friend Richardson’s appointees to the Railroad Commission, now known as the Public Utilities Commission, and subsequently resigned as District Attorney. With Decoto’s resignation an intense political battle ensued between the forces of Joseph Knowland and those of Mike Kelly, a City Supervisor and liberal Democrat. Earl Warren, the Knowland faction’s preferred choice, was a Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County, and a previous Deputy City Attorney for Oakland. Frank Shay, a Deputy District Attorney like St. Sure and Warren, was the Kelly nominee. St. Sure, a Knowland man like his father, recalled telling Earl Warren, “Either you’ll make it or we’ll all leave together.”18 After heated debate amongst the Knowland and Kelly faction supervisors, Earl Warren was chosen to succeed Decoto as District Attorney in 1925. With Warren’s victory St. Sure continued in the District Attorney’s office.
On January 16, 1926, Paul St. Sure married Elizabeth Bliss, also of an established Bay Area family. Their first daughter, Ellen, was born in 1929 and their second, Elizabeth, arrived two years later. During St. Sure’s tenure in the District Attorney’s office he worked closely with Earl Warren, becoming Chief Deputy District Attorney and finally Assistant District Attorney. St. Sure learned a great deal from Earl Warren. He became a skilled lawyer, knowledgeable in law and its procedures. The District Attorney’s office was diversified and democratic. Because the office functioned as both a civil and criminal law office, St. Sure and the other lawyers in the office advised various city and county officials while also prosecuting criminal cases. St. Sure worked as a police court prosecutor for Oakland, a general court house lawyer, an advisor to the Board of Supervisors, and as a criminal prosecutor trying felony cases.19
The benefits of St. Sure’s training in the District Attorney’s office were revealed later in his private practice. Through his experiences St. Sure learned to deal successfully with individuals when later involved in labor relations. From the management side of the collective bargaining table he was able to see the workers as individuals rather than a commodity like many of the employers he counseled saw them. The breadth of training he received in the District Attorney’s office gave him an advantage over other company lawyers who entered managerial employment directly from college. These experiences enable St. Sure to begin developing his keen awareness of the industrial order. St. Sure’s ideological base, as characterized by the beliefs of the sophisticated conservative, had begun to develop.
Late in 1929 St. Sure left the District Attorney’s office to begin a law practice with Ezra Decoto. His decision to leave the District Attorney’s office was threefold. First, he decided that he had been there long enough, and if he had any intentions of becoming the District Attorney there was a long line of successors before him that deserved the position. Second, Earl Warren announced his candidacy for State Attorney General and would be leaving the office. Visualizing the political battle that would develop and knowing he had no political ambitions he decided the time had come to move on. Ezra Decoto, St. Sure’s reason for joining the District Attorney’s office, also became his motivation for leaving it. With the conclusion of Decoto’s appointment to the Railroad Commission he decided to open up a private law practice and asked St. Sure to become his partner. Recognizing the clientele that Decoto’s reputation could generate, St. Sure resigned his post in the District Attorney’s office to open a law practice with Ezra Decoto.20
St. Sure explained his reasons for not seeking the appointment to the District Attorney’s position as follows:
Two things, I think, two real reasons, probably three. . . . One was that I didn’t feel that a political life, while it might give you a good living, lead to much more than a salaried position and the necessity of getting re-elected, which didn’t appeal to me. I had more ambitious projects in mind from the point of view of being a lawyer. . . .
Secondly, St. Sure did not want to have his career and his life decimated by a change of the political wind. Finally he concluded, “it takes a very strange kind of person to announce that he is the man that the people need…. I just don’t think that I could get to that conclusion, that I could make that statement.” His objections to running for political office, particularly the District Attorney’s office are important in that they also begin to show the growth of his ideology. As the developing sophisticated conservative St. Sure perceived his role as one away from the spotlight. He believed he could make a greater impact advising and working amongst the corporation owners and politicians.21
A lack of political ambition notwithstanding, St. Sure’s involvement in politics was pervasive. While in the District Attorney’s office he became good friends with William Knowland, Joseph Knowland’s second son. Like his father, J. Paul St. Sure became William Knowland’s campaign manager in his bid for State Assemblyman from the 14th district. The campaign was successful and Knowland was elected to the post in 1932. Two years later, again with St. Sure’s guidance, Knowland successfully ran for State Senator. Throughout his career St. Sure also wrote numerous letters of recommendation for his colleagues in their appointment attempts to various posts.22
Opening their private law practice in Oakland in the midst of the Depression, Decoto and St. Sure took the majority of the business offered them except criminal cases. Although, as St. Sure recalled, a great deal of criminal business came their way because of their previous positions in the District Attorney’s office, they decided they had seen enough of the “other side” and did not want to defend criminals. Some of their Depression era work involved the salvaging of clients’ businesses in the face of economic decline, and public utility cases. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company hired their firm, based on Decoto’s reputation on the Railroad Commission, to be local counsel for their Alameda County dealings. However, the majority of their cases, those that paid the rent as St. Sure recalled, were insurance cases. With their experiences as jury trial lawyers they argued many insurance casualty cases.23
As a result of his successful law practice and skill in dealing with individuals in the Oakland community, St. Sure became secretary for the California Crime Commission in 1932. The Commission, established by the State Legislature, reviewed the general procedures criminal law and was to recommend any changes it saw appropriate. The part time position paid $250 a month, a substantial supplemental income during the Depression years, and St. Sure was pleased to have the job.
Meeting randomly, St. Sure and the rest of the commission made a few recommendations for procedural change in the criminal code, but overall the commission remained relatively inactive. The position ended, St. Sure recalled, when the State Senate Appropriations Committee eliminated future appropriations. As an employee of the Crime Commission he received an invitation to appear before the appropriations committee and justify the Commission’s future, St. Sure advised the Committee that further appropriations for the Crime Commission could not be justified based on its inactivity. Although he testified himself out of a job, like his father, he did not consider it right to receive money for a job not fully performed.24
The Depression rapidly took hold after the stock market crash of 1929. Numerous workers found themselves out a job by 1932. In the first three years of the Depression the United States Steel Corporation discharged 225,000 full-time employees. Other companies were also laying off large portions of their work force, so much so that by 1932 an average of 100,000 people a week lost their job. By year’s end an estimated 13 million people were jobless. In 1932 the California Unemployment Commission issued an extensive report on the pervasiveness of the Depression in California. The Commission’s investigation into the social price paid by the California citizenry eloquently sums up the effect of the Depression on the entire nation; their conclusions follow:
The study of the human cost of unemployment reveals that a new class of poor and dependents is rapidly rising among the ranks of young, sturdy, ambitious laborers, artisans, mechanics, and professionals, who until recently maintained a relatively high standards of living and were the stable self-respecting citizens and taxpayers of this State. Unemployment and loss of income has created standards of living of which the country cannot be proud. Many households have been dissolved; little children parceled out to friends, relatives, or charitable homes; husbands and wives, parents and children separated, temporarily or permanently. Homes in which life savings were invested and hopes bound up have been lost never to recovered.
The report continues by explaining the conditions that families evicted from homes and forced to take to the road had to endure. The Commission concluded, “The once industrious and resourceful work
THE IMPACT OF LABOR STRIFE: St. Sure Begins a Career, 1934-1936
Suddenly bedlam broke over Stuart Street…. The air was filled with blinding gas. The howl of sirens. The low boom of the gas guns. The crack of pistol-fire. The whine of bullets. The shouts and curses of sweating men. Everywhere was a rhythmical waving of arms–like trees in the wind–swinging clubs, swinging fists, hurling rocks, hurling bombs. As police moved from one group to the next, men lay bloody, unconscious, or in convulsions–in the gutters, on the sidewalks, in the streets. . . . But an insane courage drove on the strikers. In the face of bullets, gas, clubs, horses’ hoofs, death; against fast patrol cars and the radio, they fought back with rocks and bolts till the street was a mass of debris.Donald Mackenzie Brown
Scribner’s January 1935
“Bloody Thursday,” one of the most violent days in labor’s struggle for legitimacy, occurred during the 1934 San Francisco longshoremen’s strike. On May 9, 1934, the Pacific Coast Branch of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) went out on strike. From Tacoma, Washington, to San Diego, California, 12,000 longshoremen walked off the job demanding a fifteen cent wage increase, a minimum six hour work day not to exceed thirty hours a week without overtime pay, and most important to San Francisco longshoremen, a union controlled hiring hall.1 It is with the unfolding of these events that Joseph Paul St. Sure stumbled onto what would become a career in industrial labor relations.
Turmoil on the Waterfront
Harry Renton Bridges, himself a San Francisco longshoreman, led his compatriots in their struggle to revive the defunct International Longshoremen’s Association upon the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933. In September of 1933 the San Francisco District Recovery Board recognized the ILA’s right to become the Pacific Coast longshoremen’s collective bargaining representative after the Association filed a complaint against the “Blue Book Union,” the Longshoremen’s Association of the San Francisco and Bay District. The Longshoremen’s Association was a company union, and membership in this “Blue Book Union” was a prerequisite of working on the docks. Longshoremen referred to the Longshoremen’s Association as the “Blue Book Union” because of the blue books they were given by the union outlining the longshore contract.
Although the board granted the ILA recognition, the situation did not change and by March of 1934 the ILA filed a second complaint. The Waterfront Employer’s Union, an amalgamation of the San Francisco ship operating companies and contracting stevedores, refused to acknowledge the union’s demands of a fifteen cent wage increase, a shortened work day, and a union controlled hiring hall. The union controlled hiring hall was the most important change the longshoremen sought. With a hiring hall the longshoremen could end what had become known as the shape-up. The shape-up was the daily hiring ritual of the docks. Every morning hundreds of longshoremen would gather to compete for the jobs available on that given day. This competition led to an extensive system of corruption which included payoffs to the hiring foreman. As the Depression began to make increasingly large inroads into the general labor market, increasingly larger numbers of the unemployed ranks assembled for the morning shape-up. These increasingly large numbers added to the to what longshoremen called the modern day slave market.2
In light of the employer’s refusal to bargain collectively with the ILA, the union called for a coast-wide strike vote. On March 23, 1934, longshoremen in all ports would go on strike if wage and hour demands were not met. President Franklin Roosevelt wired W.J. Lewis, President of the Pacific Coast branch of the ILA, to delay the strike until an independently appointed board could investigate the issues and recommend solutions. The union agreed to hold off the strike. As the days and weeks passed without progress, the ILA formally notified the Waterfront Employers Union that unless an agreement was reached by 8:00 p.m. May 7, all further negotiations would be halted and all Pacific Coast longshoremen would strike on May 9, 1934.3
Harry Bridges was born Alfred Renton Bryant Bridges in a middle class suburb of Melbourne, Australia, on July 28, 1901. Unhappy following in his father’s footsteps into the real estate business and fascinated with Jack London’s stories about the high seas Bridges, taking his favorite uncle’s name, ran off to sea at age sixteen. At age twenty after a disagreement with a ship’s captain Bridges jumped ship while it was docked in San Francisco. He immediately joined the Sailor’s Union of the Pacific and for the next two years found work on the ships sailing the Pacific and Gulf Coasts. In 1922 he retired from sailing and became a longshoremen in San Francisco. Bridges entered the longshoring profession during one of its lowest points.
After the waterfront employers crushed the Riggers’ and Stevedores’ Union in 1919 they created the “Blue Book Union,” the Longshoremen’s Association of the San Francisco and Bay District, and effectively crushed longshore union activity in San Francisco. It was in this atmosphere that Bridges began his career as a longshoremen. As the corruption surrounding the shape-up worsened and the Depression rocked the United States economy Bridges began to investigate the possible directions that he and his fellow longshoremen could turn. He determined that the longshoremen needed their own voice, their own union. In 1933 he revived the defunct International Longshoremen’s Association of the Pacific Coast.4
1934 Waterfront Strike
All members of the International Longshoremen’s Association Pacific Coast Branch walked off the job at 8:00 a.m. May 9, 1934. The strike quickly erupted into a coast-wide maritime dispute as the Teamsters and International Seamen’s Union, which included the sailors, firemen and oilers, and marine cooks and stewards, joined the ranks of striking longshoremen. Within a week all the Pacific Coast ports were paralyzed.
Despite this unprecedented show of strength and effectiveness the Water Front Employer’s Union, with the support of the San Francisco Industrial Association and Chamber of Commerce, would not budge. In all the ports employers associations, following San Francisco’s lead, prepared themselves for a long fight. Determined to crush the union at any cost, the employers dug in for the duration. Meeting the challenge posed by the employers, the strikers created the Joint Marine Strike Committee. The committee, composed of representatives from every involved union, elected Harry Bridges its leader.5
By the end of June tensions had risen to unprecedented levels. As the Industrial Association attempted to thwart local leadership by bargaining with the ILA’s national President, Joseph Ryan, random violence rapidly increased. Ryan, “an old style Tammany politician,” who would agree to anything that increased his financial standing, ignored the rank and file demands, and negotiated an end to strike with the Pacific Coast employers. The strikers refused to follow Ryan’s directive and continued their walkout. Enraged, the Industrial Association announced that the port would reopen on July 3.6
Prepared to stop the employers, hundreds of strikers gathered at San Francisco’s Pier 38, the proposed field of battle. Hundreds of policemen and spectators also converged on the area. Shortly after lunch on July 3, the huge doors of Pier 38 opened and five loaded trucks escorted by eight police cars rolled out of the pier. Strikers, breaking through the police barricades, launched their arsenal of bricks, stones, and railroad spikes onto the procession of vehicles. Quickly retaliating, the police fired tear gas and riot guns into the oncoming strikers. Fighting between longshoremen and police went on for hours until the gas took its toll and the strikers retreated. The Industrial Association claimed victory. Fourth of July headlines throughout the Bay Area read, “The Port Is Open!” As a result of the Fourth of July holiday the employers decided to forego the movement of goods until Thursday, July 5.7
Precisely at 8:00 a.m. on July 5, the doors of Pier 38 rolled open and the strikers, back to their battle posts, again launched their arsenal on the convoy. The war between strikers and police raged on until lunch time when an unofficial truce occurred, only to have the battle intensify later in the afternoon.
By three o’clock the strikers were surging down Mission Street . . . attempting to seize the waterfront just south of Market. This time it was no skirmish, it was a mass attack. . . . They [the strikers] were fighting desperately for something that seemed to be life for them. They came from everywhere with fresh loads of iron and stone.They swarmed onto the Embarcadero, outnumbering the police by enormous odds. The police answer to this was gas, and still more gas. . . . Volley after volley of these crashed into the closely packed mob, searing flesh, blinding and choking. Where the ranks broke, mounted officers drove in with clubs, trampling those who could not get out of the way. Again the sirens screamed, and carload after carload of officers and plainclothesmen armed with more tear gas and shotguns swung into action.8
Police, with technologically advanced weapons, gained control and cleared the waterfront by early evening. In the wake of this battle two strikers were shot and killed while countless scores of strikers, police, and even bystanders were injured. To curb further violence the governor ordered the National Guard to take control of the waterfront, and by evening they were in place.9
Headlines of the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune screamed “WAR!” Columns described, “Bloody Thursday” in vivid detail, and accused the strikers of attempting to start a revolution. The Joint Strike Committee, knowing that their cause was in serious jeopardy, called for a general strike. Over the weekend, unions up and down the Pacific Coast voted to participate in a general strike. In an incredible show of resolve thousands of Bay Area workers participated in the funeral march of the two fallen longshoremen. For hours an estimated 40,000 workers silently walked along the two mile stretch between the ILA hall and the funeral parlor. Paul Eliel described the funeral march and its impact as follows:
The funeral cortege formed in the most orderly fashion. . . . The procession was orderly and quiet. Every marcher walked with head bared. Not a word was spoken. None smoked. The ranks were well formed and the cadence of the marcher’s feet was set by the slow music of a Beethoven funeral march played by a single band. . . . Tens of thousands of spectators lined the streets as the files of strikers, extending for more than a mile and a half down Market Street, swung slowly past. . . . Not a police officer nor National Guardsmen was in evidence. . . .
Eliel, continued his account of the funeral march, by explaining its impact on the pending general strike. “It was one of the strangest and most dramatic spectacles that had ever moved along Market Street. Its passage marked the high tide of united labor action in San Francisco.”10
The dramatic funeral procession created a tidal wave of support for the maritime strikers. The once threatened general strike became a reality. Through the course of the week many more unions voted to participate in the general strike scheduled for Monday July 16, 1934. The reality of a general strike terrified employer groups throughout the Pacific Coast, and they all scrambled to suppress it. 11
The Oakland Chamber of Commerce employed Joseph Paul St. Sure as secretary of the East Bay Defense Association for Business and Labor. This association, conceived under the authorization of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, was created to combat the spread of the General Strike. Employed as a liaison between the public agencies of Oakland and the San Francisco Industrial Association, St. Sure’s primary purpose was to keep the Oakland business interests abreast of the activity in San Francisco.12
The General Strike
Hysteria gripped the Bay Area business community in the days prior to the start of the General Strike. In the face of this general panic the conservative newspaper interests, especially those of William Randolph Hearst–owner of the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle–took over the direction of business response to the impending strike. They developed a strategy to break the back of the strikers: fabricate a Red Scare, thus rallying all levels of government behind their call to smash the strike.13
St. Sure described the East Bay Defense Association as a volunteer organization that, “on a telephone notice, would all rush down to the Hotel Oakland ballroom and listen to someone make a speech about what was happening and what was going to happen and how the revolution was at hand and the Communists were on the march.” Following these often dramatic speeches St. Sure would apprise the Association of the reality of the situation. He advised them that they were not in the midst of a Communist takeover and that the best course of action was to sit tight and not become involved any more than necessary in guaranteeing the smooth operations of their respective businesses.14
The general strike partially in effect by Thursday, July 14, when the Teamsters shut down transportation in and out of San Francisco, became fully effective by Saturday night prior to the strike’s official start, as union members all over the city walked off the job with the close of business that evening. Over the course of the weekend the mayor of San Francisco, Angelo Rossi, the governors of Washington, Oregon, and California and the well respected United States Senator from California, Hiram Johnson sent urgent appeals to the White House, demanding intervention. Roosevelt, vacationing in the Caribbean, communicated by wire with Francis Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, regarding the situation on the Pacific Coast. The President and Perkins were cautious not to succumb to the hysteria, opting instead to let the strike play itself out.
All the Bay Area papers ran front page editorials on Sunday, July 15, with the intention of discouraging workers from striking. Describing the British government’s successful triumph over labor in the aftermath of Britain’s 1926 General Strike, the publishers warned labor to seriously consider their actions. The barrage of negative reporting, St. Sure recalled, did not effect the labor movement in San Francisco or Oakland. At 8:00 a.m. Monday, July 16, 1934, the remaining union workers walked out. The long feared General Strike had peacefully begun. Although molded in the wake of intense violence the General Strike would not be marred by more of the same as so many had feared.
The General Strike began to deteriorate as rapidly as it had begun. By early Wednesday, July 18, the transportation systems in the Bay Area had been restored and by the afternoon the Joint Strike Committee permitted union restaurants and stores to resume business. The following afternoon the labor union delegates involved in the strike voted to discontinue the strike.15
This, however left the original dispute between longshoremen and their employers unsettled. Under the direction of General Hugh Johnson, director of the National Recovery Administration, the International Longshoremen’s Association and the Waterfront Employer’s Union agreed to submit their grievances to arbitration. Over the next three months the newly created Longshoremen Board heard testimony from all sides regarding the problematic issues found in the maritime industry. The Board announced its decisions on October 12, 1934. The employers were endowed with the right “to introduce labor saving devices and to institute such methods of discharging and loading cargo as he considers best suited to the conduct of his business.” To the longshoremen the Board granted a ten cent wage increase, a five day–thirty hour work week, but most importantly a jointly run hiring hall in which the union would name the dispatcher.16
The 1934 General Strike changed labor management relations not only in the Bay Area but throughout the nation. St. Sure stated:
Unions obviously had demonstrated convincingly that by unified concerted action even with limited organization, they could paralyze an entire community. Employers learned of the tremendous pressures that unions could apply in any situation involving a conflict between management and labor.17
The 1934 General Strike was St. Sure’s first experience with labor relations. St. Sure recalled that the series of events that culminated in the general strike made him, “acutely aware of the great areas of potential social conflict which I had not realized existed. Personally, these events changed the course of my professional life.” From this point on in his career St. Sure committed himself to labor management negotiations. He came to the understanding that labor was important to the industrial process. By accepting labor, employers would be able to control the industrial process to a greater extent. As a rapidly developing sophisticated conservative, St. Sure saw unionism as a counter force to the radical over throw of the employer class.18
Perpetuating the East Bay Defense Association
In the aftermath of the upheaval in San Francisco some of the more prominent Oakland business men suggested the continuation of the East Bay Defense Association. Retaining St. Sure as the sole staff member, the association sought to “impartially analyze the issues and perhaps formulate the opinion of the community,…and help settle disputes. . . . defending, . . . against interruption of business.” Although the impartial analysis sounded naïve, St. Sure said he attempted to apprise the association of both sides of the issue they were discussing.19
Designated as the leader of the East Bay Defense Association, St. Sure was thrust before large gatherings of employers, who knew less than he about the labor movement. As a result many of them began coming to him for advice on an individual basis and as St. Sure’s involvement in labor relations grew, he recalled the advice Ezra Decoto, his elder partner gave him:
This entire labor business was a flash in the pan, this was something that was a result of an emergency strike situation in San Francisco, that the whole thing would quiet down and be forgotten in six months, that I was very foolish to devote too much time to it, as it was something that was purely temporary. The thing would get back to normal and stay normal; there wouldn’t be any particular problem in connection with labor matters that should interest a lawyer.20
St. Sure, however continued his involvement with the association. He described their meetings as being similar to a town meeting. Unlike their San Francisco counterpart, the Industrial Association, which actively sought to maintain open-shop business in the city, the Defense Association merely discussed issues pertinent to the East Bay community.21 A year following the General Strike, the East Bay Defense Association led by St. Sure faced its most pertinent issue, one that would concern the business community to an even greater extent than that of a general strike. It was the passage of the National Labor Relations Act which threatened to change the face of traditional collective bargaining by raising labor onto an equal plane with management. The Oakland and entire East Bay business community, consisting primarily of industrial and manufacturing enterprises, faced an entirely new labor management relationship.
The National Labor Relations Act
In May of 1935 the National Industrial Recovery Act was abandoned by the federal government. The Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional. All, except labor, happily accepted the court’s ruling. Business rejoiced that they no longer had to cater to labor’s demands in the conduct of their business activities. Consumers bearing the financial burden of the coding system were relieved to see the act outlawed.
Labor, finally achieving some tangible success under Section 7(a) of the NIRA, was disappointed with the court’s decision. However, labor’s safeguards were not completely swept away. Eleven days prior to the Supreme Court’s decision a bill guaranteeing the rights of labor was passed by the United States Senate. Within a month, Senator Robert Wagner, the bill’s author, won the support of the House of Representatives and President Roosevelt signed it into law on July 5, 1935.22
The National Labor Relations Act, often referred to as the Wagner Act, was immediately hailed as labor’s Magna Carta, a charter for the newly emerging labor movement. Unlike Section 7(a), the Wagner Act included the machinery necessary to enforce compliance. The provisions of the act stated that workers had the right to freely engage in collective bargaining activities. These activities included the right to actively petition for unionization, freely elect a bargaining representative of their choice, the right to protest unfair labor practices, and the right to redress their grievances, all without employer intervention or coercion.
Specifics of the act defined unfair labor practices and established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as the agency to administer the Wagner Act. The NLRB guaranteed secret ballot elections for the determination of an appropriate collective bargaining agency. The board was also empowered to issue cease and desist orders against companies that conducted unfair labor practice. Such practices include the restriction of employee’s rights to organize by threatening them with layoffs or demotions. Employers were also forbidden to support, especially financially, any one union over the other. This effectively outlawed the company or blue book union. All of the unfair labor practices defined in the act pertained to management, the act defined no sanctions against workers for exerting their rights. For the first time the Federal Government openly supported and encouraged unionization, an unprecedented move that resulted in far reaching changes in the power balance between labor and management.
The business community criticized the government for enacting, what they perceived to be such one sided legislation, they vowed to ignore the provisions it promised labor. Many in the management community, including St. Sure, were of the opinion that the Wagner Act was “just another piece of New Deal legislation.” They believed that this legislation, like its predecessor the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), would be declared unconstitutional. With this attitude management designed policies that would test the act’s constitutionality. Others simply ignored it and continued to resist all forms of labor organization.23
Management would not accept the Wagner Act as valid legislation until the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality, and then they would only grudgingly accept it. Two years after its April 1937 enactment, the Supreme Court affirmed the National Labor Relations Act’s constitutionality in, National Labor Relations Board vs. Jones and Laughlin Steel Company , a case involving unionization drives in the steel industry. However, this decision did not settle the question. Employers in the San Francisco Bay Area felt that the act’s scope of enforcement would not apply to small local companies as it had to the nationally based Jones & Laughlin Steel Company.24
In a case involving the Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Company, headquartered in Oakland, St. Sure under the auspices of the East Bay Defense Association, represented management in the first complaint case to be brought before the National Labor Relations Board, 20th District. Union organizers of the International Longshoremen’s Association filed unfair labor practices with the NLRB after the company “farmed out” its packing business, effectively neutralizing the union’s effort to organize the company’s warehouse workers.
Standing on what they thought to be a sound theory, St. Sure recalled that he and management had no other defense except to challenge the Act’s scope of enforcement. St. Sure argued that the company’s actions did not “affect commerce,” because “the fruits and vegetables were all grown in California. They were all packed in California. They were sold to brokers in California.” Thus the company’s actions did not constitute any unfair labor practice by restraining trade. Shocked by a guilty verdict, St. Sure and the Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Company with the financial assistance of the East Bay Defense Association appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court.25
This case became St. Sure’s first Supreme Court experience. Even though St. Sure and the Oakland management community made a tremendous effort in trying to override the act, the Supreme Court upheld the earlier court’s decision, and the Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Company was found guilty of unfair labor practices. The Supreme Court continued to interpret the Wagner Act allowing it to have a wide range of enforcement. With this failure, Bay Area management had to recognize and bargain with organized labor. For many companies this was a first time experience.
St. Sure said that the structure of the labor movement changed as a result of the Wagner Act. During this period the Committee for Industrial Organizations (CIO), later to be called the Congress of Industrial Organizations, emerged from the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The CIO, with a new form of labor organization, pursued industrial organization over the traditional craft organization that the AFL pursued. Organizing attempts created many jurisdictional challenges between the two organizations.26 As a result, management had a variety of reactions, and two major forms of resistance emerged. First, employers tried to convince workers that labor organization was unimportant. Management felt labor organization created problems instead of solving them. However the Wagner Act severely limited employer’s influence. The second form of resistance to the AFL or CIO unions was to create independent unions within the company. These independent unions were of course company controlled.27
In 1937 St. Sure dissolved his law partnership with Ezra Decoto. As a result of his increasing devotion to industrial labor relations, he decided that a half-hearted continuation with the firm would be unfair to his partner and to their clients. Although unsuccessful with the Supreme Court challenge to the Wagner Act, the Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Company retained him as their labor counsel. Many other businesses, including the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the California Processors and Growers Association, and the California Milk Products Association also asked him to become their labor counsel.28
From this point on in his career, St. Sure remained active. He advised many employers on the requirements of the Wagner Act, especially the requirements dealing with the coercion of unionization activities by management. He recalled that “on several occasions I advised disbelieving managements that their encouragement of inside unions amounted to a violation of the law.”29 Reflecting on these turbulent Depression years St. Sure said:
This was a period when Oakland was beginning to burgeon out. Alameda County and Santa Clara County were experiencing factory growth. There hadn’t been much labor organization…. There were the basic crafts. . . . But there was no general organization of production workers or factory workers. . . . Then the ’34 strike suddenly brought into focus the conflict in attitudes of management and labor. . . . Then came the Wagner Act; and the New Deal administration of that time gave aid to labor and encouragement to organize. All of these things combined to bring about a rather complete change in the relationship between management and labor and certainly brought about a very real organizing drive on the part of unions. From that day forward the whole character of the relationship between the worker and management of that community was changed.30
From 1937 until his appointment as President and Chief Negotiator for the Pacific Maritime Association in 1952, St. Sure counseled and collectively bargained for numerous companies and trade associations: he had discovered his career.
TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AND COMPANY UNIONS: ST. SURE’S CLIENTELE, 1937-1952
The formation of trade associations, the elimination of company unions, and strike mediation characterized J. Paul St. Sure’s work between 1937 and 1952. His clientele during this fifteen year period encompassed large corporations, trade associations, and small industrial manufacturing operations. Although the needs and philosophy of his clientele varied, St. Sure’s basic advice regarding unionism did not.
During this period St. Sure’s ideology, characterized by the model of the sophisticated conservative, developed rapidly. As he dealt with growing numbers of Northern California employers St. Sure’s ideas about the relationship between labor and management crystallized. Explaining this development St. Sure said:
I have had the good fortune either because of family background or something inherent to resent unreasonable prejudiced positions that are arbitrarily taken. . . . My own experience in dealing with labor and management very quickly led me to the conclusion that management wasn’t always right, nor was labor always wrong, and the converse as well, that the real job was to try and find where the right might lie between the two positions1
Over the next fifteen years St. Sure advised his clientele to accept unionism. He insisted that the acceptance of “legitimate” unionism, like the Teamsters, would counter the trend toward radical unionism, like that practiced by the International Longshoremen’s Association of the Pacific Coast. This acceptance, St. Sure concluded, led to a stable industrial order, in turn lending itself to uninterrupted business operations and ultimately increased profits for his clients.
Compromise also marked the majority of St. Sure’s collective bargaining sessions. Without compromise by both sides he realized that labor negotiations would fail. “If you take the position that ‘my side’s right regardless,’” St. Sure explained, “you can’t do the kind of job I think has to be done.”2 St. Sure saw his job as keeping industry running smoothly, even during labor negotiations.
St. Sure also redefined his role as a lawyer between 1937 and 1952. He quickly determined that although he was a lawyer, the nature of his profession required him to be much more. “A lawyer,” he said:
. . . is a very poor person to do the kind of work I’m doing. A lawyer is essentially an advocate. He’s supposed to win on the set of facts his client gives him, regardless of what the other side may be able to give forth. I don’t think the job of labor-management relations can be that kind of job. I don’t consider myself a lawyer. . . . I claim to be an expert in the field of labor relations.3
St. Sure came to consider himself an industrial relations negotiator. As such, he operated as a negotiating advocate. In this role he not only argued his clients’ positions but also negotiated settlements that would be in his clients’ long-term best interest. On numerous occasions this leeway allowed him to reach settlements that went beyond a client’s original position regarding the situation.4 This paradigm of beliefs is seen throughout all of his negotiations during this fifteen year period.
Although, trade associations came into existence during the nineteenth century they increased steadily in the years immediately following the passage of the National Labor Relations Act. A trade association is a combination of employers in a particular industry who form an association to promote their economic interests. Although every trade association is unique, they do have some similarities. First and foremost trade associations usually all deal with labor matters. Most also seek to control the extent of both state and federal intervention in their particular industry. Like unions, employers’ associations range from the very militant to the very cooperative. The trade associations that J. Paul St. Sure counseled were of the cooperative or mediatory affiliation. This type of association attempted to negotiate with labor unions rather than seek their destruction. As labor counsel for these mediatory associations, St. Sure encouraged cooperation between employees and employers in the collective bargaining process.5
Many of the trade associations that arose because of the Wagner Act were created to combat the threat of increased unionization which the new law encouraged. As a result of St. Sure’s experience with the Wagner Act, many burgeoning Northern California trade associations sought his advice. These trade associations requested interpretation of the new law’s requirements. Since he had argued the Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Company’s case before the National Labor Relations Board many employers determined that St. Sure was the most knowledgeable man for the job. The majority of those who initially consulted him eventually invited St. Sure to be their labor counsel.
The trade associations that St. Sure became involved with were formed in a similar fashion. All were created in the wake of the San Francisco waterfront strike and the passage of the Wagner Act. Employers decided they should unite in order to equalize and protect their position in respect to the new guarantees promised to labor by the federal government. Between 1937 and 1939 St. Sure became intricately involved in developing the labor policy of the newly created California Processors and Growers Association and the Milk Products Manufacturing Association.
The California Processors and Growers Association
The California Processors and Growers Association (CP&G) came into existence in late 1936. The CP&G intended to form an organization encompassing Northern California agricultural canners and farmers. The farmers, however, determined their aims to be different from those of the processors, and decided not to become a part of the CP&G. With the farmers’ decision, the association became an organization almost strictly comprised of canning companies. Only the large corporate farming operations of Cal Pac and Tri Valley Growers remained in the CP&G, because of their dual interest in both farming and agricultural processing.6
From the onset of its creation, the CP&G comprised approximately eighty percent of the total packing capacity in California, which translated to about forty percent of the national packing capacity of fruits and vegetables. Members included the name brand packers of CAL-PAC, Hunts, Heinz, and Libby, and the independent plants which packed store labels for companies like Lucky and Safeway. Farming co-ops, like Turlock and Tri-Valley Growers also joined the CP&G. The original goal of the CP&G was to improve the economic position of its members. The association’s emphasis quickly turned toward labor and J. Paul St. Sure’s advice.
As the CP&G’s labor counsel St. Sure advised the association to formulate a common policy encompassing unionization, wages, hours, and working conditions. This common plan also included abolition of the rural differential, a policy which paid lower wages to employees working in smaller communities. This course of action, St. Sure argued, would enable the association to “stand as a unit” during future labor negotiations.
The path leading to this cohesive policy was not one easily traversed. According to St. Sure, many of the association members held the “old fashioned” idea that wage scales were a trade secret. St. Sure persuaded the CP&G that a common labor policy was essential to the success of the association. The membership agreed and within a few months of the association’s inception they established a common policy.7
Events moved rapidly after the association agreed to create a common wage for all plants. Shortly thereafter they developed a unionization policy. St. Sure explained, “we reached the conclusion that it might be wise for the canners not to resist organization, but to try to find a ‘responsible union’ to deal with.” This decision also held a “quid pro quo” for the canners. In return for allowing a preferably non radical union to organize the industry the association decided:
. . . we might avoid the violence or disturbing problems of organization,. . . . We’d come off more cheaply in the long run by having avoided trouble and perhaps by getting an easier deal.
In their effort to accept and foster non-radical unionism in the canneries, the CP&G approached the Teamsters union. The association chose the Teamsters because they controlled truck transportation in California. Members of the CP&G depended on the uninterrupted movement of their goods, and reasoned that by bringing the Teamsters union directly into the processing part of the canning operation they would prevent future jurisdictional disputes between the Teamsters and any rival unions. After some resistance the Teamsters agreed to organize the cannery workers and signed their first contract with the CP&G at the end of 1937.8
Although the CP&G recognized the Teamsters union as the cannery workers bargaining agent, association members encountered numerous jurisdictional strikes in 1937 and 1938, and then again in 1945 and 1946. St. Sure advised the membership to again present a united front and develop a strike policy to counteract the effects of these jurisdictional strikes. By way of example, St. Sure explained the policy:
If the Tri-Valley plant in Modesto were struck and was unable to operate and they were packing spinach, the spinach was diverted from the Modesto Tri-Valley plant to some other plant that might have an excess capacity. That second plant would actually pack the items; and label it for Tri-Valley so [they] would have the merchandise to sell to its customers.
This pledge to pack each other’s product during a strike tempered the effect of strike activities. This policy, along with the common wage and a unionization program, cemented the association.
The Milk Products Manufacturing Association
The Milk Products Manufacturing Association (MPMA) paralleled the CP&G in many ways. Like the CP&G this association came into existence in 1936 to improve the economic position of participating manufacturers. The MPMA membership produced approximately eighty percent of all the processed milk in the state. This association included the national brands Borden, Carnation, and Golden State, along with numerous local dairies and farming cooperatives. Farmers’ co-ops represented a substantial portion of the association’s membership. The Danish Co-Operative Creamery in Fresno, the Tulare Co-Op, the Milk Producers Association of Modesto and Stockton, and the Petaluma and Harmony Valley Co-Operatives made up a portion of the association’s membership.
The Milk Products Manufacturing Association originally encompassed those who manufactured condensed and evaporated milk, cheese, butter, and all other dairy products except fresh milk. Fresh milk producers were not originally incorporated into the association because of the greater perishability of their product, which led to a completely different type of operation. Only as some of the larger association members expanded their scope of operation to include the production of fresh milk did the MPMA include fresh milk producers in the organization.
Almost immediately after the passage of the Wagner Act, individual milk producers began encountering unionization drives within their plants. These sporadic unionization efforts induced many of the milk product producers to consult J. Paul St. Sure. Aware of St. Sure’s success with the formation of the California Processors and Growers, the milk manufacturers desired a similar association. Determining that the creation of an association would benefit the industry, under St. Sure’s guidance the members instituted a statewide contract embracing unionism.9
In 1937 the MPMA established a negotiating relationship with the Teamsters. Over the next few years, as the Operating Engineers and then the Machinist Union claimed jurisdiction over certain aspects of the manufacturing process, both the Teamsters and the MPMA members recognized each unions claims. Recognition and contract negotiations with three unions, according to St. Sure, were not difficult. As labor counsel he developed a master contract covering the scope of operations in the industry. Within this master contract, he incorporated each union’s specific wages and working guidelines. The contract expired annually, at which time each union would negotiate for their respective demands. This method, as outlined by St. Sure, eliminated the need for three individual labor contracts within each plant. It also tempered the possible damage posed by a strike. Because strikes occurred around contract renewal periods, and under the master contract negotiations with all three unions occurred at once, the MPMA reasoned that a threat of interrupted operations would only occur once a year. This line of reasoning proved itself successful in the milk products industry. From the time that the MPMA signed the master contract with the Teamsters, the Operating Engineers, and the Machinists, until St. Sure left the association in the mid fifties not one strike or work stoppage occurred in the industry.10
The MPMA membership, a more liberal employer’s association than the CP&G, were receptive to St. Sure’s recommendations in 1940 that they begin to outline a welfare program. First, they eliminated all wage differentials that existed in the making of fluid milk versus processed milk. This action removed the possibility of union action interrupting operations because of the inequality in wages. Next, the association developed an employee benefits policy outlining such things as vacation time, sick leave, and insurance benefits. St. Sure, recounting the association’s reasons for instituting a benefits package, said:
Our reasoning was that this was a coming thing, that we’d be far better off if we could start with our own operation, that we probably could save money by selecting our own plan in advance of the union’s demanding it.
St. Sure’s reasoning was insightful. For a number of years prior to union demands, the MPMA offered a cost effective benefit plan.11
The last and rather unique move by the association was their gradual implementation of the forty hour week, again prior to the unions demanding it. Describing the MPMA motivation St. Sure said, “At that time we felt that the wages were still rising, that it would be far better to try to cushion the reduction of hours at a time when wages were going up.” Like their previous reasoning, the implementation of this policy prior to the unions request would counter any work stoppage stemming from this issue. These three innovative policy decisions point to the influence that St. Sure had within the MPMA. They also reveal his evolving ideology.12
In establishing himself as a labor relations consultant, St. Sure moved away from the ideological positions of William Knowland and Ezra Decoto, both practical conservatives. He fully embraced the beliefs of the sophisticated conservative. An examination of his negotiating policy for both the California Processors and Growers Association and the Milk Products Manufacturing Association, demonstrates his move toward sophisticated conservatism.
St. Sure developed a standard negotiating policy for both the California Processors and Growers and the Milk Products Manufacturing Association. Within each association he established a negotiating committee that included one representative from each member of the association. In the beginning, St. Sure said, the committee members were the owners and as the owners came to trust St. Sure they appointed vice presidents and plant managers to the negotiating committee. These negotiating committees, as designed by St. Sure, were not involved in the actual contract discussions with the union because he found it unwise. Explaining his reasoning, he said, “A policy that I’ve followed wherever I can is to have the professionals do the negotiating and eliminate the employer from the direct discussions.” This policy prevented individual employers from being put on the spot by the union. It also prevented the union from pitting two employers against each other and “furthermore discussion tends to be franker without the bosses present, and there is less need to resort to ‘campaign oratory.’”13
The negotiating committees, however, did play an important role within each association. These committees formulated the basic labor policy for their association. In an advisory position St. Sure developed a technique of:
. . . trying to avoid specific recommendations until the last moment. . . . But what I try to do is to explain the issues that the union has presented or will present. To explain the bargaining atmosphere in the community and the country. Explain the peculiar politics of the union at the moment. . . . And having explained these things I’ll ask them to discuss [the issues presented].14
Listening carefully to the committee’s discussion of the issues enabled St. Sure to formulate a picture of the association’s desires. “At the point I’ve got the employers’ group to express themselves,” St. Sure explained, “I’ll ask the meeting to be adjourned. I don’t want any specific authorization, I don’t want any specific instruction. On the basis of what I’ve heard, I’ll get into negotiation and see how much of this area I can narrow down.”15
These techniques allowed St. Sure to manipulate the various contract negotiating sessions. Through compromises and incentives he attained the optimum contract for the employers while at the same time fostering unionism within the industry. St. Sure applied these same techniques to the other trade associations he advised, two of which were the Oakland Retail Store Association and the Pacific Maritime Association. St. Sure also implemented these negotiating techniques when he counseled large corporations like Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Safeway, and smaller independent industrial firms like the Red River Lumber Company and Spirella, an Oakland corset factory.
Eliminating Company Unions
Rising numbers of company unions began to appear in the years following WWI. Most were created to counter the growing trade union movement. Employers determined that a company controlled union constituted a viable substitute for outside agitation, and assured the employers of an open shop. A survey conducted in 1926 showed that approximately 432 company dominated unions existed in the United States, covering 1,369,000 employees, which equaled about half the union membership of the American Federation of Labor’s unions. By the end of the twenties employer dominated unions were making major inroads into the struggling labor movement.16
Employer dominated unions did not encompass entire industries nor did they strive to do so. Instead, a company union was created to cover the employees of one plant. Union participation was limited to employees and often times the extent of this participation went no farther than the employees paying dues into a union in which they had no voice. Few, if any, employees ever held important positions within the union, and these unions lacked the power to express their grievances. Company unionism tapered off during the Depression as many of the small companies that created these employer dominated unions went out of business.
The passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 began a resurgence in the creation of employer dominated unions. Almost immediately following the Act’s passage employer associations, like the National Association of Manufacturers, began interpreting the scope of the Act’s Section 7(a) which pertained to labor. The Association informed its members that the act, “does not attempt to describe the kind of organization, if any, with which employees should affiliate.” They continued by saying, “the company-union form of collective bargaining is legal now, as it was before the passage of the Recovery Act.” With this and similar recommendations company unionism soared to even greater Hieghts than in the twenties. Three hundred and seventy-eight of the almost six hundred company unions in the United States were created in the two years following the passage of the NIRA.17
Company unions, however, were outlawed by the NIRA’s successor the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. As outlined in the act’s unfair labor practices section, the assistance or control of a labor organization by management was illegal. After numerous cases of litigation before the National Labor Relations Board, the United States Supreme Court finally upheld the constitutionality of the Wagner Act and its definitions of unfair labor practices. Company unions were outlawed, and once again Northern California management sought J. Paul St. Sure’s advice. Two companies, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the Red River Lumber Company, consulted St. Sure about the legality of their company dominated unions.
The Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Shortly after St. Sure wrapped up the Santa Cruz Fruit Packing case, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, headquartered in San Francisco, consulted him on National Labor Relations Board procedures. PG&E contacted St. Sure because they were facing a hearing before the NLRB regarding the legality of their company union, the California Gas and Electric Employees Association. Within a few days of initial contact, the company called St. Sure a second time, this time inviting him to become their labor counsel, a job he accepted and kept until 1950.
PG&E’s company union was embroiled in a jurisdictional dispute with the AFL’s International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). St. Sure recalled that in negotiating for the company, he first argued that the California Gas and Electric Employees Association had been developed without company assistance and remained outside of the company’s influence. His second argument involved the definition of a bargaining unit. PG&E officials believed that the IBEW could not claim jurisdiction unless it could effectively organize the entire company system, which spanned the state. The union disagreed and filed suit with the NLRB. The IBEW argued that if they were able to organize effectively on the basis of geographical divisions, similar to those determined by the company for administrative purposes, they should be granted recognition as the bargaining unit in those areas.18
In the midst of the NLRB hearings St. Sure discovered that a PG&E vice-president was underwriting the California Electrical Workers Association’s credit and paying for their legal counsel with PG&E funds. With a strong understanding of the law and the trend of decisions reached by the NLRB, St. Sure advised the company to drop their resistance to the IBEW unionization drive. Faced with the choice of incurring heavy financial penalties that the NLRB probably would have imposed on the company if they resisted unionization, or abandoning the company union, the company chose the later route. Company officials agreed with St. Sure, unionization from the outside was workable, and they authorized him to drop the case the following day.19
Again, this action demonstrates St. Sure’s sophisticated approach. Seeing the company’s involvement with the employees’ association, which constituted a violation of the law, he persuaded management to drop its protest. St. Sure convinced PG&E management that at some point they would have to accept legitimate trade unionism, and their long term best interest would be to accept it as soon as possible. Thus, he helped insure stable and perhaps uninterrupted business operations within the company.
The Red River Lumber Company
The Red River Lumber Company located in the town of Westwood part of Lassen County, California faced a similar, although much more entangled situation, than PG&E. St. Sure’s dealings with the lumber company further demonstrate his evolving ideology. His handling of the company’s strike and resulting National Labor Relation Board hearings reveal his dislike for those practical conservatives who desired to crush labor in order to attain immediate economic goals.
The Red River Lumber Company contacted St. Sure in June of 1937. Ted Walker, the general manager, asked St. Sure if he was available to come to Westwood, California and advise the company on its labor problems. A Minnesota lumber baron, Fletcher Walker, moved his company, Red River Lumber, West to California in 1913 because the Minnesota forest had been over logged. By 1930 the company became one of the four largest lumber firms in the California Pine region, with 800,000 acres of harvestable timberlands. Walker created the classic company town, accessible by one main road and surrounded by about thirty miles of forest land. The company dominated every aspect of life in Westwood. It controlled all the businesses in the town and actively opposed outside competition.20
In 1920, the resident manager, Robert Prey, explained the basic theory behind the company town:
The Walkers wanted to be in position to do . . . the necessary thing in the conduct of their business without having to pass it through the red tape of politics or the cumbersome machinery of city government. They wanted to be in a position to keep undesirable citizens and labor agitators out.
The Walkers combined their economic and political control with paternalism so effectively that Westwood resembled a medieval fief.21
Continual violence over collective bargaining and union disputes explains the history of the California lumber industry during the decade of the 1930s. Competition was nothing new to employers and employees involved in this industry. The grueling conditions under which the lumbermen worked created many reasons for owners and workers to disagree. Union organizers encountered employers who actively opposed all union organization or who set up company unions. During the first World War the California lumber barons created the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen (4 L’s). The 4 L’s set themselves up as company unions and in 1933 they formed a local at Westwood. They became a very power local, run by company supervisory personnel. Employee membership in the local was mandatory. This membership required that dues be paid directly from workers’ paychecks.22
The passage of the Wagner Act in 1935 made the 4 L’s an unlawful form of unionism because of employer influence in the organization. The Industrial Employees Union (IEU), an independent union, replaced the 4 L’s at Westwood. Although the union claimed to be independent, company managers and foremen controlled the IEU, and without a full vote of the union membership reached an agreement with Red River Lumber to become the employees’ sole bargaining agent. The Walkers, like many other employers that St. Sure counseled, failed to recognize that supervisory personnel’s control of the union, automatic deduction of dues from paychecks, and company spies within the union were illegal under the Wagner Act. Thus, from the beginning, the IEU was illegal according to the provisions outlined in the Wagner Act.23
In 1936 the Red River Lumber Company’s problems with unionism intensified when the newly formed Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) created the International Woodworkers of America (IWA). In May of 1937, the CIO began to establish an IWA Local in Westwood. The CIO regarded Westwood as unclaimed territory. The IEU, a company dominated union, was illegal; since the AFL had not made any attempts at organization, Westwood was wide open territory.
The CIO held mass organizational meetings, hundreds of Red River employees attended. As the International began to directly challenge the IEU, the Walkers consulted St. Sure to determine the legality of the CIO challenge to their union. St. Sure advised them on the technicalities of the Wagner Act and the current trend of the courts to decide cases in favor of the affiliated unions.24 In the following months the IWA challenge continued to grow. The IWA began to claim the right to be the employees official bargaining unit because of the rapidly growing number of employees joining the association. The Walkers ignored these claims because, according to their union rolls, sixty percent of the Red River employees were enrolled in the IEU. The problem that the CIO faced was the fact that the IEU was a company union in a company run town. Red River employees knew where their bread and butter came from and they knew that they would be cut off if they left the company union to join the CIO.
IEU strength was put to the test in early July of 1937 when the company announced a 17.5 percent pay cut. The Walkers ceased to support the IEU when the employees refused to accept the wage reduction. With this move the Walkers put into motion the chain of events that would culminate in their final acceptance of legitimate labor organization in Westwood. The CIO stepped in after the Red River management dissolved the IEU. They called a membership meeting and decided to establish a picket line on July 8, the day the wage reduction became effective. Many employees peacefully crossed the line and went to work, only to have the company shutdown the plant at 11:30 a.m. “for an indefinite period to avoid serious bloodshed.” During the first few days of the plant shut down IWA membership rolls swelled.25
The Walkers and their supervisory personnel perceived the CIO local as a major threat to their company and decided to squelch the unionization effort by any means necessary. On July 13, supervisory personnel and loyal company men descended on the picket line. The group forcibly ran the picketers out of town
ST. SURE AND THE PMA, 1952-1959
“Incidental contacts,” as St. Sure refers to them, were his only experiences with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) prior to his 1952 election as President and Chief Negotiator for the association. He came to the job in 1952 when the PMA requested his assistance in their search for a replacement for their retiring labor counselor. “That was my poorest job of negotiating,” St. Sure stated in several interviews, “I negotiated myself into a job.” Each time St. Sure appeared before the PMA hiring committee with a possible successor, they suggested that he take the job.
Continually refusing St. Sure’s recommendations for a possible successor, the PMA hiring committee finally received the resume they had wanted all along; that resume belonged to J. Paul St. Sure. With the intention of having the selection committee summarily reject his application St. Sure offered the PMA his expertise in a proposal that St. Sure thought went far beyond the association’s requirements. To St. Sure’s amazement the association accepted his proposal, which included a substantial salary and the right to maintain his law firm. St. Sure said, “I suddenly found myself with a job, [in an industry] I had no close relationship with.”1
The Pacific Maritime Association was a vehicle through which the Pacific Coast ship operators dealt with sea and waterfront unions. The job as head of the association was considered by most observers an uneasy one because of the traditional discord between the employers and the unions, between the individual waterfront unions, and between the employers themselves. The PMA, created in 1948, was the successor organization of two earlier waterfront employer groups, the Waterfront Employers Association (WEA), and the Pacific American Steamship Association (PASA). The WEA came into existence as a result of the 1934 waterfront and general strike. The association existed in all of the major Pacific Coast ports and negotiated coast-wide longshore contracts. The PASA, a separate organization, existed to negotiate offshore contracts with the seafaring unions. As a result of the 1948 coast-wide waterfront strike these two organizations merged to form the pacific Maritime Association.
The 1948 Pacific Coast Maritime Strike
The events leading up to the 1948 strike were brought on by years of institutionalized animosity between the Waterfront Employers Association and the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU). The ILWU was previously the International Longshoremen’s Association until 1937 when the Pacific Coast longshoremen affiliated their union with the burgeoning Congress of Industrial Organizations, thus changing their name. Strikes, lockouts, job actions, personal recriminations, and numerous arbitration hearings characterized the ongoing struggle between Pacific Coast waterfront employers and the longshoremen they employed. The collective bargaining relationship between the two parties was strained during the fourteen year period following the violent upheaval of 1934. Four coast-wide strikes, twenty port strikes, and more than 1300 job actions continually rocked the industry. Then in 1948, as a result of the long and embittered ninety-five day strike, the employers and the longshoremen put aside all previous differences, found some common ground, and ventured forth in a peaceful relationship. This relationship grew out of the employers’ policy shift, widely regarded as the “new look.”2
Harry Bridges’, suspected association with the Communist Party, came to be the central issue of the 1948 strike. Yet, it began with a conflict over the hiring hall. The hiring hall and its legality under the newly enacted Taft-Hartley law was the initial reason for the ILWU and other maritime unions’ walkout on September 2. Under the guise of the new law the employers sought to regain some control of the hiring hall. At the time the ILWU elected the dispatcher which allowed them to have unilateral control over the hiring of men for longshore work. This resulted in a closed shop because the dispatcher only assigned union members to longshoring jobs. Fearing a return to pre-1934 hiring conditions of the shape-up, the union refused to negotiate away their control of the hiring hall.3
However, in the days prior to the 1948 strike deadline the union offered numerous proposals which called for the retention of the hiring hall until the courts could determine the Taft-Hartley Act’s legality. The WEA refused these proposals and finally revealed their motivation in a press release a few days after the strike began:
The industry has finally faced the fact that it cannot continue to operate as it has in the past 14 years. . . . l We cannot continue to operate with union leadership intent on the industry’s destruction. To represent our employees from now on, union leadership must disavow Communism, as any real American would be proud to do.4
With this announcement the WEA brought Communism to the forefront, hoping to raise public support in their battle against the union. However, the intended support did not come, and as the strike wore on, it became obvious that the road to settlement rested solely with the association’s change in policy.
In the face of continuous frustration with the union and those employers directing WEA policy, a majority of ship operators decided to take a new approach to negotiating with the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union of the Pacific Coast. A major consequence of this decision was the abandonment of the Waterfront Employer’s Association, its leadership, and philosophy. Following the lead of the Matson Navigation Company and the American President Lines, a new confederation of employers created the Pacific Maritime Association. In a complete reversal of previous employer policy, the new association decided to pursue a conciliatory relationship with the ILWU and its leader Harry Bridges.
On December 6, after ninety-five days of complete shutdown, the Pacific Coast shipping industry resumed operations. The settlement reached by both parties ushered in a lasting peace throughout the industry. The new longshore contract contained specific features to help insure the development of the relationship. First, the contract was designed to run for three years with yearly wage reviews, thus eliminating the threat of almost yearly strikes. To further this idea the contract called for a ban on all strikes and lockouts during the three year contract period. The third feature of the settlement was the implementation of a streamlined grievance procedure which sought to resolve disputes at the local level, instead of at the hands of an arbitrator. Again, to build on this feature the contract eliminated the proliferation of arbitration awards from the new contract. Over the previous fourteen years these awards had been incorporated into the yearly contract, creating an overly complicated document. Betty Schneider, in her work Industrial Relations in the Pacific Coast Longshore Industry summed up this “new look:”
With alarming suddenness the longshore industry heaved itself out of a rut so well worn deep that few persons in the past had been optimistic enough to believe that any other path was possible. From apparently irreconcilable differences came a constructive plan for the future.5
O.W. Pearson, vice president of the Marine Terminals Corporation, became president of the newly created PMA. The only background experience he brought to his new job was longshore employer. Pearson, like his successor Henry Clark, agreed to take the job temporarily. These men helped to foster an internal shift in the PMA structure that would not be complete until St. Sure took over the reins in 1952.
Shortly after the 1934 Waterfront strike the San Francisco District of Immigration and Naturalization began investigating Harry Bridges. Looking for a way to deport Bridges and thus thwart his leadership of the ILWU, the District attempted to link him with the Communist Party. The District, unable to produce evidence linking Bridges to the party dropped their deportation proceeding by 1935. However, the following year 1936, Bridges was again justifying his actions, this time before a Congressional Committee. They too were unable to prove any connection and had to drop the case. This series of events continued for the next four years.
In 1940 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 9766 which specifically called for the deportation of Bridges on the grounds that Congress deemed him a “hurtful” presence in the United States. Again, deportation hearings began and after a series of hearings the committee determined in 1942 to deport Bridges. He appealed to the Supreme Court and won their support; they overruled the lower courts in June of 1945. Later this same month Bridges was finally granted citizenship. Yet, this did not settle the issue and by 1949 Bridges found himself in court again. After five months of hearings the court found Bridges guilty, revoked his citizenship, and sought his deportation. On June 20, 1955, Bridges appeared for the fifth time before the courts. The charge was the same: Bridges posed a threat to the American public because of his Communist Party connections. Bridges was vindicated by the courts in a sweeping denunciation, the judge condemned the government’s covert actions against Bridges’ personal freedoms. The everlasting Bridges case was over. He was finally allowed to manage the ILWU in the way he saw fit. The waterfront employers involved themselves throughout Bridges’ twenty-one year court battle. At first they testified against Bridges, but after implementation of the “new look” and the arrival of St. Sure the employers began testifying in his behalf. The PMA officials saw that this continuous series of court cases was having a detrimental impact on longshore productivity and it needed to stop as soon as possible.
The “New Look”
In the years following the Korean War shipping boom, the Pacific Coast shipping industry fell into recession. The number of ships covered by labor agreements negotiated by the Pacific Maritime Association dropped from approximately 400 in 1951 to 175 in 1955. By 1955 most Pacific ports were experiencing at least a twenty-five percent decrease in tonnage handled by the port. New and intense competition from foreign shipping companies was one reason for the post-Korean War decrease. However, the employers equated union non-compliance with the longshoring contract as the primary cause for the economic decline.
Recounting the turbulent years from 1934 until his takeover of negotiations in 1952, St. Sure pointed to the fact that “there had been built up innumerable restrictive work practices requiring the double handling or even triple handling of cargo on the dock.” On repeated occasions St. Sure referred to the following example of over-manning:
When grain used to be loaded in sacks by hand, the gang of longshoremen reporting to do work numbered over 20, and yet when bulk storage by pouring grain into a ship came into being and only some three men were required to operate the machinery, there were still 20 men or more on the job.6
This excessive double handling and over-manning pushed the Pacific Coast Maritime Industry into a further state of decline. Much of the cargo that went through the port began to go elsewhere because of the inefficiency of the docks. Labor negotiations through the mid 1950’s consisted of complaints by employers about inefficiency, slowdowns, and excessive job actions. The unions countered with complaints about the numerous dock restrictions, long hours, and unsafe working conditions. As the decade of the 1950s came to a close the pressure to mechanize and modernize the waterfront became a reality.
As a result of decreasing trade, the ship operators took a renewed interest in longshoring efficiency. Lincoln Fairley in his work Facing Mechanization, describes the new bargaining atmosphere that arose from the employers’ change in policy:
There followed, indeed, a relationship between the ILWU and the new PMA in the sharpest possible contrast to the 1930’s. There was no coastal strike from 1948 to 1971, yet the Union made major gains in addition to steady wage increases, including unusually good welfare and pension plans, and, in 1960, the M. & M. Agreement. The Employers had given up their long fight to eliminate or to hog-tie the union, while the union officers realized that the time had come to give up its program of harassment through work stoppages designed to win concessions.7
This policy shift or “new look” of both labor and management began in earnest when Joseph Paul St. Sure assumed the role of President and Chief Negotiator for the PMA, in 1952.8 When asked in a 1957 interview if he had become an association man, St. Sure responded, yes, but with important stipulations. He characterized the conditions of his employment as follows:
Part of the condition that I made in writing to the PMA group was that I would not operate as an association man in the sense that I regarded myself as an employee and somebody else would make the policy. I would operate only on the basis that I would recommend what I believed was a course of action to be followed and expect to have reasonable support in the following out of those recommendations . . . If I were not satisfied and they were not satisfied with me why the relationship was to end right then. . . . I think there’s a distinction between an association secretary and an association president. I still think I’m a lawyer, I still think I’m employed as a professional, and I still think that my job is to advise the people that employ me, rather than have them merely tell me what they want done. I don’t feel that I’m simply an administrative agent of an employer group. 9
The employers’ association accepted St. Sure’s terms. In 1952 the PMA’s negotiating policy became J. Paul St. Sure’s negotiating policy.10
Through St. Sure, the employers initiated a program of performance and conformance. The ship operators urged each other to improve efficiency and reduce costs by requiring longshoremen to observe the longshore contract and work rules. Employer’s did not seek to challenge the method and manning aspects of previously accepted contracts. They sought to confront practices illegally added through job actions.
Acting upon a resolution passed by the PMA Board of Directors in 1950, St. Sure started to execute the ship operators’ desire to increase port efficiency by initiating discussions between himself and Harry Bridges, President of the ILWU. The 1950 resolution that St. Sure used to commence discussion stated that both the association membership and the union must abide by the contract. Thus, the collective bargaining process, begun in 1948, would attain its full intentions, the implementation of the contract.11
On October 27, 1952, in the first of two formal letters to Bridges, St. Sure addressed the problem of union non-compliance with the longshore contract. Job actions were overriding contract compliance. St. Sure suggested that the Union comply with the contract provisions or “. . . the spirit and intent of the entire contract is nullified. . . . ” Concluding his letter, St. Sure indicated that the PMA would not tolerate the continual violation of the contract. Allowing the union time to correct the violations and for the Association’s policy to coalesce, St. Sure did not address the issue again until August 27, 1954 when he wrote a second formal letter to Bridges. 12
In this second letter St. Sure pointed to the specific problems frustrating the employers. Violations of the work rules remained major obstacles toward the efficient operation of loading and unloading ships in Pacific ports.
Violating the Work Rules
Through “quickie” strikes, illegal under the longshore contract, longshoremen were successfully detaining docked ships in order to establish more restrictive working rules. These job actions resulted in rapidly rising labor costs, which in turn led to increasing shipping costs. These rising costs were driving various industries to look for other forms of transportation; trucks and trains were gaining increasing portions of cargo transportation. Work rule violations of “four on-four off”, multiple handling, and sling load limit arose as a result of on-the-job-actions.
“Four on-four off” was a practice by which the hold gang, of eight men, worked only about seventy percent of the actual time they were paid. In the process of loading or unloading break-bulk cargo from the hold of a ship four men worked in the hold while the four others worked on the dock. As one team hooked the cargo to the winch for movement into or out of the hold the other team waited or rested until the winch transported it. While they unloaded the cargo the other team was able to rest. This period of nonactivity by a respective team was accepted because of the taxing physical labor bulk-break goods required. This practice, however, degenerated over time. Longshoremen, through job actions, changed the practice to a system in which half of the hold gang worked while the other rested. In some ports this translated into only four men working at a time, two in the hold and two on the docks. The amount of idle time spent by the non-working team varied from every other load, to half or hour time blocks, to half a day on and half a day off. This degeneration of the work rules led to the hold gang being paid for a full day’s work while only working half of the time. Employers were paying men for work not done.13
Multiple handling, a practice designed to maintain employment levels and control job jurisdiction on the docks, was the practice that employers resisted the most. This “skin of the dock” practice required that all goods passing through the port touch the actual dock. As a result, all palletized loads constructed by other than longshoremen were to be unloaded and repalletized. For example, as a trainload of goods entered a port the teamsters, who held the jurisdiction for unloading trains and trucks, unloaded the goods off of the train then off of the pallet, thus placing the goods directly onto the dock. The longshoremen would then come and reload the goods onto pallets, then stow them on the ship. This process also worked in reverse; longshoremen unloaded the ship, then the pallets, and then the teamsters came and reloaded. This practice resulted in the employers paying for more work than was necessary, in turn, this payment, like the one for the “four on-four off” practices, led to higher labor costs.14
Sling load limits were the controlling factor in the pace and job productivity in the movement of cargo to and from the dock. Limits varied for the type of cargo being handled. Sugar, for example, would be x number of pounds or bags, while boxes of bananas would be y number of pounds or boxes. Although these limits were roughly outlined in the longshoring contract, employers and longshoremen disagreed strongly over them. Longshoremen associated large limits with a faster and unsafe work pace. Employers, on the other hand, saw the larger limits as a faster port turn around time and lower labor costs. Disagreement over these limits resulted in deliberate slow downs by longshoremen; by failing to meet the winch hook or reducing the pallet size in the repalletizing process they effectively controlled the pace of work.15
Longshoremen continually forced individual ship operators to agree to restrictive work rules, although they were in direct violation of the longshore contract. By initiating a “quickie” strike prior to unloading the ship, longshoremen were able to establish these restrictive practices. Individual ship operators, in the face of expensive delays, broke ranks with the association and arbitrarily agreed to these on-the-job-demands. In time, through continuous job actions, these restrictive work practices became an ingrained component of longshoring. St. Sure realized these practices were lending to “the progressive and substantial deterioration of longshore productivity.” In this second letter to Harry Bridges St. Sure said, “the Employers [are to] receive just what they are entitled to under the contact–no more–no less. All men are to work.” He strongly reiterated the 1950 PMA resolution, insisting upon contract compliance.16
Acting upon this second communique, Bridges forwarded copies of St. Sure’s letters, with his interpretations attached, to the union locals on September 2, 1954. Movement toward an eventual consensus is seen through Bridges’ following assessment of the letters:
The PMA has now determined to eliminate the [restrictive] practices. . . . We are convinced that the PMA means business. We are convinced that the union is on extremely weak and unstable ground and that the PMA’s business – like approach to the problem–whether we like it or not–is a sound one and has an objective we would find difficult, if not unwise, to combat. . . . The International officers and the Coast Committee recommend that all locals take steps to eliminate these practices, . . . .17
As this response indicates, the ILWU leadership saw cooperation with the employers as their key to ultimate strength and survival.
Working Toward Mechanization
St. Sure and Bridges, as presidents of their respective organizations, continually communicated with each other over the next few years. Both leaders were concerned with the economic decline of the West Coast shipping industry. At one of their early discussions about the possibilities of mechanization for the industry, St. Sure warned Bridges:
Whether you or I, or the union, or the steamship operators, like it or not, pressures are going to continue to mount to the point where either we are going to have a show down battle, or we are going to have to find some way to bring about a correction, or adjustment.
18Bridges agreed with St. Sure. He surmised that the economic situation facing the West Coast shipping industry would only deteriorate further if mechanization and modernization, including the lowering of labor costs on the docks, did not take place. Both men agreed that the industry could not afford the continual loss of cargo to truck and train transportation. St. Sure, through his two formal communiques and his informal discussions with Bridges, put the option of cooperative change into the ILWU’s court. It was now up to Bridges, the other union leaders, and the rank and file to decide the direction that longshoring on the West Coast would take in the future.
The ILWU was also facing outside pressure to conform with the longshore contract. Local authorities, Congress, and various independent associations launched individual investigations into the declining West Coast maritime industry. All the groups concluded that the economic decline of the industry was, in large part, a result of job actions driving up labor costs.
In 1954 the mayor of Los Angeles, like local authorities in other areas, appointed a committee to investigate businessmen’s complaints of declined port activity as a result of the ILWU’s restrictive work rules. The Los Angeles committee confirmed business’ grievances. Ship operators, they concluded, were bypassing the port–diverting cargo elsewhere–because of exorbitantly high labor costs. This and other port condition surveys prompted Congress to investigate the problem.19
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries threatened the industry with restrictive legislation through H.R. 5734. The “Bonner Committee,” named after the committee’s chairman Congressman Herbert C. Bonner of North Carolina, held a series of hearings between 1954-1956 that sought to examine the Pacific Coast’s longshore practices and resulting conditions. St. Sure, testifying before the committee in 1955, requested that a regulatory agency not be set up. He, like Bridges, thought it would only worsen the situation. Although the industry was plagued with labor problems, St. Sure assured the committee that both the PMA and the ILWU were making a conscious effort to resolve them. During the committee’s cross examination, Bridges reiterated St. Sure’s testimony. “You have got our promise and the employers have got our promise that we will go down there [to the rank and file] and persuade and push and do our best.” Bridges promised that the leadership would attempt to wipe out the restrictive practices hindering the industry. This promise, combined with St. Sure’s testimony, convinced the Bonner Committee that a consensus would soon be reached, so a regulatory body was not established through H.R. 5734. As a result of the Congressional hearings Bridges and the union leadership developed a new strategy.20
Max Kossoris, director of the Western Regional Office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, discussing the union leadership’s new strategy of cooperation with the employers, explained the union’s position as follows:
. . . union leadership was not unmindful of the fact that high labor costs were driving a considerable volume of coastal and intercoastal cargo to rails and trucks. They also realized that changes in operating procedures were creeping up on the union, slowly but surely, and that the union was losing ground.21
With this keen awareness of his union’s economic position Bridges again wrote longshore locals advising them of their bargaining position as they entered the 1956 longshore contract negotiations. His advisory letter concluded, “the use of job action . . . and working rules, has reached the point of diminishing returns–a great deal of energy as well as money of the union is going in this direction and is gaining little.” Bridges and the Negotiating Committee came to the realization that job actions no longer guaranteed the protection of longshore jobs. Ship operators were mechanizing, thus displacing longshoremen.22
The 1956 longshore negotiations generated a joint Statement of Principles. In this Statement the PMA sought to reduce the length of port time by seeking a reduction in restrictive longshoring rules as demanded by the union through job action. The ILWU sought to shorten the longshoremen’s shift from 9 to 8 hours without a corresponding reduction in wages. The Negotiating Committee referred the Statement to the general caucus. This allowed the rank and file to accept or reject its incorporation into the 1956 longshore contract.
Lincoln Fairley interpreted the unions understanding of the Statement as follows:
The essence of the proposal to be voted on was: As a price for further negotiations toward a reduction in the work shift with no reduction in pay, are you willing to give up a series of job practices to which the Employers are bitterly objecting?23
The rank and file voted yes. They chose to incorporate the Statement of Principles into the new longshore contract. Acceptance of the Statement reflected the union’s decision to pursue the PMA’s offer of cooperative change. Over the next four years, through intense collective bargaining, the PMA and the ILWU added a new dimension to management-labor relations in the United States.24
Following the acceptance of the Statement of Principles the caucus commissioned the union’s Coast Committee to investigate and report on the realities of achieving the Statement’s goals. They also asked that the union leaders continue to pursue informal discussions with the PMA in regards to the Statement.
The Coast Committee’s investigation concluded that in order for the union to achieve its reduction of the work shift it would have to give in to the employers’ demands. The committee’s report recommended accommodation because mechanization was already becoming a factor in longshoring and its proliferation had become inevitable. While the Coast Committee was conducting its investigation, union officials were involved in informal discussions with the PMA. Union officers soon came to the same conclusions as those of the Coast Committee; until the union was willing to negotiate in regards to its restrictive practices the PMA was not going to consider negotiating a reduction in the work shift. The PMA had given the union three years–seven if one counts back to the 1950 resolution–to comply with the longshore contract by putting a stop to job actions.25
At the 1957 contract talks the PMA, negotiating through St. Sure, refused to grant a wage increase or a reduction in the work shift because of the union’s flawed record in the area of contract compliance. St. Sure said, “The PMA position is that the Union has not performed under the contract as it has been negotiated and the PMA is not getting value for the money it pays under the negotiated contract.” 26 St. Sure recalled, “We made a record proving that over the years [the] ILWU was unable to keep its word, its commitments, . . . its contracts.” The PMA, going all the way back to 1942, showed their unsuccessful attempts to secure contract compliance. They also presented their many PMA surveys demonstrating the extent of job action and the resulting restrictive rules, especially the practices of four-on–four-off and late starts and early quits.27
Summarizing the informal discussions and the concluding 1957 contract negotiations St. Sure said, “The negotiation that we have just gone through is a very unusual one, which I think may develop into something by way of some new departure.” He continued, “He [Bridges] now sees the movement forward of mechanization, . . . he knows that unless somethin
THE MECHANIZATION AND MODERNIZATION AGREEMENT
THE CULMINATION OF A CAREER, 1960-1966
Formal mechanization negotiations began on May 17, 1960. As the 1959 agreement’s expiration date approached, the PMA initiated negotiations with the union in order to continue and expand on the achievements gained over the past year. With a nearly complete accounting of productivity gains, the employers’ negotiating committee entered the negotiations with a new priority.
St. Sure “exploded a bombshell” on the first day of talks when he announced that the PMA was prepared to negotiate a complete contract. Another interim agreement would not be acceptable to the employer association. The following week St. Sure introduced a proposal “as a possible basis for future negotiations.”1
The PMA proposal called for the continuation of the fund concept and requested that the fund not be allowed to build up for use at some later date, but be used “daily” for early retirements, relocation of longshoremen from port to port, and as a wage guarantee. The employers also insisted that “all contract provisions, working rules, and other provisions restricting the use of manpower, both in connection with the utilization of labor saving devices and the changing methods of operation . . . be abrogated. . . .” The proposal concluded that if the ILWU “or its members” failed to comply with the above provisions the “trustees and permanent umpire shall have the authority to assess appropriate damages” and subsequently allow the PMA to withhold payments to the fund or be reimbursed from the fund.2
Along with the submission of the proposal St. Sure also announced that the association was no longer going to pursue the use of a productivity measurement as a base for contributions into the mechanization fund. The PMA decision to abandon the productivity measure was never directly revealed. Max Kossoris, however, offers a plausible explanation:
Behind this shift in the employers’ position was a significant and interesting change in thinking. During the preceding two years, ‘the sharing of the gains’ concept was generally accepted,. . . . It seemed a reasonable and equitable way out of the bind of restrictive rules, and it promised far-reaching benefits. But in early 1960, the men running some of the larger steamship companies reversed their thinking. To permit the union to share in gains was considered an invasion of management prerogatives and consequently was completely unacceptable. Management decided to ‘buy out’ the restrictive practices and labor’s opposition to mechanization.3
A shift again took place within the PMA; past dissenting positions now became a majority, again revealing St. Sure’s impact. He realized that the employers’ acceptance of trade-off was crucial. However, the Association membership chose to view the trade off was up to them so long as they accepted its basic premise: the monetary buyout of restrictive work practices. This buyout, in the eyes of a sophisticated conservative like St. Sure, would lead to employer control of the work environment, which translated into control of the union and stabilization of the employers’ economic position.
The employers, still agreed on the fund concept, yet they no longer accepted the ILWU’s suggested contribution method. The union’s method presented a “conceptual concern.” According to Lincoln Fairley, the association concluded that:
A simple measure of manhours saved would lump together inextricably hours saved as the result of new equipment, elimination of restrictive practices, improved supervision, and improved dock facilities. It would not take into account capital expenditures or rate reductions. ‘Why should longshoremen get benefits from the use of expensive new ships and loading gear that increased productivity?’ Savings in this case would be due to the capital expenditure.4
Employers, already unsure about their cooperative approach to mechanization, were not willing to give up any more than necessary to the union. Abandonment of the productivity measurement changed the face of the ensuing negotiations. Employers now offered the union a guaranteed wage, via a lump sum payment, in exchange for the freedom to mechanize. A caucus delegate from Los Angeles expressed the rank and file position when he said, “We’ll give up our rules, for a price; but we set a high value on our rules.” Negotiators now had to determine “how much and what for.”5
The proposal surprised the union’s negotiating committee. They were unaware of the employers’ preparedness to pursue a formal agreement. Union officials were operating from the assumption that the PMA, following the proposed productivity measurement or manhours saved contribution plan, would ask for more time to evaluate the increase in productivity resulting from the 1959 agreement.
Despite the ILWU’s surprise they submitted a counter proposal at the following negotiating session. The union’s proposal agreed to begin immediately working toward the removal of certain restrictive practices. It also accepted the PMA’s call for a redress of grievances and any subsequent fines to be determined by an umpire. The majority of their counter proposal dealt with the fund and its uses. The union proposed that the fund be used primarily as a weekly wage guarantee and secondarily as an early retirement fund. The union negotiators also expressed their discontent with the PMA’s decision to abandon the productivity measurement as the base for contributions to the fund.6
The employers accepted the union’s counter proposal. Over the next five months the negotiating committees determined the provisions of what would become the 1960 Mechanization and Modernization Agreement (M&M).
As negotiations approached their conclusion St. Sure eloquently summed up the process that the ILWU and the PMA had participated in over the last eight years:
We are not approaching this next five years in a spirit of defeatism; we think this is an industry that can survive, and we’re trying to find a way, with your [the union’s] help. We’ve attempted to go down a road that hasn’t been much traveled in the industry before. Some on labor’s side will say, ‘What kind of a union is preparing to recognize diminishing members?’ Ours will say, ‘Since when do workers have property rights in work to be performed?’ And I have a feeling that anything that makes sense ought to be legal. I hope we can conclude on this novel approach.7
St. Sure was dedicated to the concept of cooperative change that he had helped to foster since his arrival in 1952. “Labor,” he said in a 1958 speech, should not be the first concern of management “but I think it should be a parallel concern . . . after all economic and engineering problems have been solved you would then still have the question of who.” St. Sure’s concept of cooperative change incorporated “the question of who.”8
In the days prior to the final acceptance of the M & M agreement, opposition factions in both groups still existed. The majority of union opposition stemmed from the “old timers” or “’34 men,” those who would benefit most from the agreement. These opponents, Lincoln Fairley pointed out, were “staunch trade unionists, brought up in the tradition of getting everything possible out of the employers.” They believed that the union should hold out against mechanization as long as possible. Bridges argued that their position was tenuous. The restrictive rules they wished to retain were no longer protecting jobs. Containerization of cargo was overriding load limit rules, double handling, and manning restrictions. He argued that it was time to make the trade-off, while the union still retained some control over the process of dock work.9
Factions within the PMA also opposed the pending agreement because they considered the fund a bribe; management prerogative, they concluded, should not have to be purchased. This minority also questioned the union’s ability to uphold its commitment to a contract providing them with twenty-seven and a half million dollars to spend as they saw fit. Unwilling to accept this employer factionalism, St. Sure almost resigned just days before the final agreement was to be signed.10
At a meeting of the PMA Executive Committee an unnamed member refused to ratify the forthcoming agreement. St. Sure argued that in the face of a complete operational change the laborer had to be considered. Otherwise, the change would not proceed smoothly; labor would resist. He continued, according to a participant, that the contract provided adequate safeguards protecting employers in the face of union non-compliance. Only a unanimous vote of the Executive Committee would be acceptable to St. Sure. With this he reportedly picked up his papers and walked out of the room. The committee immediately called him back and voted unanimously to accept the pending agreement. St. Sure’s threat to resign revealed his deep commitment to the principles embodied in the M & M agreement and to the provisions of his own employment understanding with the PMA. It also revealed the confidence he held about his ideology and actions.11
The Mechanization and Modernization Agreement
On October 18, 1960 the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union executed the “Memorandum of Agreement on Mechanization and Modernization.” Prior to the final acceptance both St. Sure and Bridges commented on the agreement’s significance. St. Sure commented:
We have had to fight down, constantly, arguments within our own organization that what we are doing is something imaginative, and interesting, but pretty damned unrealistic. . . . I mentioned before that I expect a considerable amount of flack after the announcement is made as to the type of document. A lot of people both inside and outside the industry–management and union–are going to expect, and maybe even hope that this operation fails. I’m not sure why–but I’m damned sure it will be there from the type of news I’ve received from special writers and experts in various fields, and their thinking on this subject.
Bridges followed up on St. Sure’s remarks by saying the new agreement was:
A departure from regular trade union tradition–we have been struggling with the problem of change in attitude. . . . We still have plenty of work to do on our side to change attitudes. The reluctance to change, the fear of the machine, job security, and fear of no jobs. . . . Well, give us time, and working hard we will eliminate the fear of our workers. These are the number one issues in the eyes in this country today, but no union has half as good an answer as we have here on this matter of replacement of men by machines.12
These statements reveal the dedication and satisfaction that both leaders believed they had achieved with this landmark agreement.
The pact provided employers the freedom to mechanize port operations in exchange for a “jointly trusted fund” of twenty-seven and a half million dollars payable over five and a half years. The agreement modified or eliminated restrictive practices. Employers were free to hire only those men required in the unloading of cargo. Cargo was no longer required to touch the “skin of the dock”; the agreement considered this requirement satisfied when the cargo was placed on the dock in preparation for the loading or the unloading of a ship. Load limits remained the same for cargo transported in bulk, but were abolished for those that were containerized.
The agreement divided the M & M fund into two parts. First, it guaranteed all fully registered longshoremen a payment for a specified number of straight time hours per week in lieu of work. Secondly, it provided longshoremen, with twenty-five years or more of service, a $7,920 retirement payment upon reaching age sixty-five. It also provide for early retirements and death benefits.
Finally, the agreement guaranteed the employers appropriate compensation “in the event of a union-caused work stoppage.” Through the abatement section of the agreement the employers’ fund obligation could be reduced as much as $13,650 a day if a strike occurred. The figure is equal to the average daily employer contribution into the fund.13
The Agreement generated considerable comment when the PMA and ILWU announced its implementation. Numerous journals, magazines, and newspapers ran articles about the landmark pact reached between the PMA and the ILWU. Most reviews praised the agreement. Many authors referred to the agreement as “a pioneering operation,” and “an agreement that will effect the course of labor relations in this county for years to come.”14 Comment also came from the U.S. Department of Labor Richard P. McLaughlin an attorney in the department’s office, wrote:
While this plan may not be the final answer to the problems growing out of “automation,” it certainly represents the kind of hard thinking that is necessary to resolve the complex issues it presents. Lastly–and this is to be emphasized–the plan is a real achievement because it is the product of free and voluntary collective bargaining. Being one of the first major private efforts to grapple with these matters, it represents a great example of what can be achieved through mature collective bargaining.15
The fact that the employers and the union were able to reach this agreement on their own is important. It reaffirmed both groups animosity toward arbitration. After years of contracts being decided by outside arbitrators this extremely important agreement was negotiated without any outside intervention.
Reviews and comments of the agreement, however were not always positive. The business community, as characterized by the ideology of the practical right, and the independent left believed that the employers and the union respectively sold out. A Wall Street Journal editorial of October 21, 1960, eloquently expressed the business communities’ viewpoint. The author remarked, “in return for payment of $27,500,000 . . . West Coast employers have brought the ‘right’ to run the docks they use. . . .” Harvey Swados, a left-wing novelist and political commentator, discussed the pact in his article, “West Coast Waterfront–The End of an Era,” published in the Fall 1961 issue of Dissent. He regretfully commented that the pact would eliminate some of the “conditions that made West Coast Longshoring the most attractive way of life for the casual laborer in the U.S.” Swados concluded that the abatement clauses of the agreement would discourage militancy, a hallmark of the ILWU and West Coast Longshoring.
The 1960 M & M agreement proved a successful venture for the West Coast
Maritime industry. In his book Collective Bargaining and Productivity: The Longshore Mechanization Agreement, Paul Hartman shows the productivity gains achieved as a result of the pact. In the table on the following page Hartman details the man-hours saved and the productivity gains achieved between 1960 and 1963. (See Table 1).
Estimated Man-hours required at 1960 Rates and
Man-hours Saved, by Commodity, 1964.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. Interview by Corrine Gilb, 7, 21 and 29 March, 4 and 11 April, and 13 and 21 June 1957, “Some Comments on Collective Bargaining in Northern California Since 1934.” transcript. Library of the Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, Berkeley. Interview also available at Pacific Maritime Association, San Francisco, California; International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, Research Library, San Francisco, California; and California State University at Sacramento, Library. 716pp.
These reminiscences are an excellent primary source. St. Sure recalled with great clarity most aspects of industrial relations in Northern California during his career. He is candid and open in his comments and recollections on strikes, litigation, unionization, employer association, and the people he dealt with over the years.
St. Sure Family Papers, Bancroft Library; University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California.
This manuscript collection includes Joseph Paul St. Sure’s papers along with his father’s in a cataloged five carton collection. The papers include correspondence, speeches, financial records, clippings, and an eight volume scrapbook of both men.
Pacific Maritime Association Historical Files, Pacific Maritime Association Headquarters, San Francisco, California.
This is an uncataloged collection of the PMA and its previous organizations from 1912 through the present. The collection includes news clippings, press releases, negotiation session minutes, agreements, coast bulletins, Coast Labor Relations Committee minutes, arbitration awards, ILWU Dispatcher, Maritime Commission Hearings, research reports, and an extensive clipping file of work stoppages, strikes, and shoreside labor relations. The collection also includes a copy of the ILWU-PMA Mechanization and Modernization Agreement, with its attachments and amendments.
International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union Research Library, ILWU Headquarters, San Francisco, California.
The Library contains extensive records on all longshore contracts, negotiating sessions, and caucus meetings. The library also contains numerous industrial relations journals and supporting articles. It also collects any information pertaining to the PMA or its leaders. The library has an extensive file collection on St. Sure was compiled during his tenure as President and Chairman of the Board for the Pacific Maritime Association. It includes speeches, debate transcripts, articles that St. Sure presented. The collection also includes news clippings from the major West Coast newspapers that wrote articles on St. Sure.
Speeches, Debates, Testimony, and Articles of St. Sure
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. A Bill Proposal: Extending the Union Shop to Hiring Halls. (14 April 1953), Photocopy of speech presented.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Stability Maintained by West Coast Maritime and Waterfront Labor.” Bay Ports News Bulletin, 2:7 (October 1953): 1-3.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Outlook Good: West Coast Shipping Prospers,” Seattle Journal of Commerce, (22 May 1956).
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Excellent Management-Labor Relations on West Coast Waterfront.” Bay Ports News Bulletin, 7:10-11 (November 1956): 1.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Uptrend Continuing: West Coast Lines Finish One of Best Years Ever.” Seattle Journal of Commerce, (22 May 1957): 31.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. Address presented before the Thirty-Second Annual Convention of the Propeller Club of the United States and the American Merchant Marine Conference. San Francisco, California. (16 October 1958).
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Dock Jobs and the Rise of Machines.” San Francisco Chronicle, (20 April 1960).
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Some Observations on Russian Industrial Relations.” Confidential Study Section Minutes of the Commonwealth Club of California. (6 February 1961).
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Issues Involved in the Pacific Maritime Dispute.” Confidential Study Section Minutes of the Commonwealth Club of California. (2 May 1962).
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “Why Compulsory Arbitration is Needed in the Maritime Industry.” Confidential Study Section Minutes of the Commonwealth Club of California. (6 May 1963).
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Merchant Marines and Fisheries. Maritime Labor Legislation: H.R. 1897. March-May 1963.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower. Nations Manpower Revolution. May-December 1963.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce, Subcommittee. Settlement of Maritime Interunion Disputes: S. 2222. December 1963.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee. Multiemployer Association Bargaining and Its Impact on the Collective Bargaining Process. December 1964.
St. Sure, Joseph Paul. “The Mechanization Agreement–An Evaluation and a Forecast.” Speech delivered before the Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities Convention. Portland, Oregon. 25 September 1966.
Secondary Source Material
Bakke, E. Wight and Kerr, Clark.Unions, Management, and The Public. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1949.
Bernstein, Irvine. A History of the American Worker 1920-1933: The Lean Years. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960.
Bernstein, Irvine. A History of the American Worker, 1933-1941: The Turbulent Years. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970.
Brody, David. Workers in Industrial America: Essays on the Twentieth Century Struggle. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
Chiles, Frederic Caire. “War on the Waterfront: The Struggles of the San Francisco Longshoremen, 1851-1934.” Ph.D. diss., University of California at Santa Barbara, 1981.
Clements, Joyce Maxine. “The San Francisco Maritime and General Strike of 1934 and the Dynamics of Repression.” Ph.D. diss., University of California at Berkeley, 1975.
Cortner, Richard. The Wagner Act Cases. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1964.
Daniel, Cletus. Bitter Harvest: A History of California Farmworkers, 1870-1941. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1981.
DeWitt, Howard. California Civilization: An Interpretation. Debuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1979.
Domhoff, William G. Who Rules America?. Englewood: Prentice Hall, 1967.
Domhoff, William G. and Ballard, Hoyt B. eds., C. Wright Mills and The Power Elite. Boston: Beacon Press, 1968.
Drucker, Peter F. The New Society: The Anatomy of the Industrial Order. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1950.
Dubofsky, Melvin. Industrialism and the American Worker: 1865-1920. 2d. ed., The American History Series. Arlington Heights: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1985.
Dulles, Foster Rhea and Dubofsky, Melvin. Labor in America: A History. 4th ed., Arlington Hieghts: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1984.
Dunaway, David K. and Baum, Willa K. eds., Oral History: An Interdisciplinary Anthology. The American Association for State and Local History in cooperation with the Oral History Association, 1984.
Dunlop, John T. and Chamberlin, Neil W. Frontiers of Collective Bargaining. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1967.
Ellis, Edward Robert. “The Great San Francisco General Strike” in Portrait of America vol 2., 4th ed., ed. Stephen B. Oates, 262-283. Palo Alto: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987.
Eliel, Paul. The Waterfront and General Strikes, San Francisco 1934. San Francisco: Hooper Printing Company, 1934.
Estey, Martin. The Unions: Structure, Development, and Management. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, 1981.
Fairley, Lincoln. Facing Mechanization: The West Coast Longshore Plan. Los Angeles: Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California Press, 1979.
Galbraith, John Kenneth. Economics and the Public Purpose. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973.
Galbraith, John Kenneth. The New Industrial State. 2d ed., Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1971.
Green, James R. The World of the Worker: Labor in Twentieth Century America. The American Century Series. New York: Hill and Wang, 1980.
Greenleaf, William; ed. American Economic Development Since 1860: Documentary History of the United States. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1968.
Goldblatt, Louis and Otto Hagel.Men and Machines: A story about Longshoring on the West Coast Waterfront, with and Introduction by Harry Bridges and J. Paul St. Sure. San Francisco: Phillips and Van Orden Company, 1963.
Hartman, Paul. Collective Bargaining and Productivity: The Longshore Mechanization Agreement. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969.
Harter, Lafayette G. and Keltner John, eds. Labor in America: The Union and Employer Responses to the Challenges of our changing Society. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1967.
International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union, Information Department. The ILWU Story: Three Decades of Militant Unionism. San Francisco: Longshoremen and Warehousemens Union, 1963.
Kimeldorf, Howard. Reds or Rackets? The Making of Radical and Conservative Unions on the Waterfront. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988.
Kirsch, Benjamin S. Automation and Collective Bargaining. New York: Central Book Company, 1964.
Knight, Robert Edward Lee. Industrial Relations in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1900-1918. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960.
Larrowe, Charles P. Harry Bridges: The Rise and Fall of Radical Labor in the United States. New York: Lawrence Hill & Co., 1978.
Link, Arthur S. and McCormick, Richard L. Progressivism The American History Series. Arlington Hieghts: Harlan Davidson, 1983.
Madison, Charles A. American Labor Leaders: Personalities and Forces in the Labor Movement New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1962.
Mangum, Garth, ed., The Manpower Revolution: Its Policy Consequences, Excerpts from Hearings Before the Clark Subcommittee Garden City: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1965.
Mills, C. Wright. The New Men of Power: America’s Labor Leaders. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1948.
Mills, C. Wright. White Collar: The American Middle Classes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1951.
Mills, C. Wright. The Power Elite. New York: Oxford University Press, 1956.
Minton, Bruce,; Stuart, John,; and Bransten, Richard. Men Who Lead Labor. New York: Modern Age Books, 1937.
Moody, J. Carrol, and Kessler-Harris, Alice. Perspectives on American Labor History: The Problems of Synthesis. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1989.
Nelson, Bruce. Workers on the Waterfront: Seamen, Longshoremen, and Unionism in the Thirties. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
Perkins, Francis and St. Sure, J. Paul. Two Views of American Labor. Los Angeles: Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California Press, 1965.
Peters, Edward. Strategy and Tactics in Labor Negotiations. Connecticut: National Foremens Institute, 1955.
Quin, Mike. The Big Strike. New York: International Publishers, 1979.
Roberts, Benjamin C. ed., Toward Industrial Democracy: Europe, Japan, and the United States An Atlantic Institute for International Affairs Research Volume. Montclair: Allanheld, Osmun, and Company, 1979.
Slavatore, Nick. Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist The Working Class in American History Series. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982.
Schneider, Betty V.H. and Siegael, Abraham. Industrial Relations in the Pacific Coast Longshore Industry. Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, Berkeley, 1956.
Schwartz, Harvey. The March Inland: Origins of the ILWU Warehouse Division, 1934-1938. Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, Los Angeles, 1978.
Schwartz, Harvey. “Harry Bridges: The ILWU Leader.” In Readings in California Civilization: An Interpretative Issue, ed. Howard DeWitt, 184-192. Debuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1981.
Simmons, John and Mares, William. Working Together. New York: Alfred Knoff, 1983.
Slichter, Sumer H.; Healy, James J.; and Livernash, E. Robert. The Impact of Collective Bargaining on Management. The Brookings Institution. Menasha: The George Banta Company, Inc., 1960.
Smith, William H. Local Employer’s Associations. Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, Berkeley, 1955.
Smyth, R.C. and Murphy, M.J. Bargaining with Organized Labor New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1948.
Taylor, Paul S. The Sailor’s Union of the Pacific. 2d. ed., New York: Arno Press, 1971.
Tindall, George Brown. America: A Narrative History. vol. 2, 2d ed., New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1988.
Ungar, Irwin. These United States: The Questions of our Past vol. 2, 2d. ed., Boston: Little Brown and Company: 1982.
Ward, Estolv E. Harry Bridges on Trial New York: H. Wolff, 1940.
Williamson, S.T. and Harris, Herbert. Trends in Collective Bargaining: A Summary of Recent Experience. New York: The Twentieth Century Fund, 1945.
Secondary Source Material
Bliven, Bruce. “Unions and Automation: Truce on the West Coast.” Reporter, (7 November 1963): 35-38.
Bridges, Harry. “Experience with the Mechanization and Modernization Agreement.” In: Maritime Cargo Symposium. Proceedings of a conference at Long Beach, California, September 17-18, 1964: presented by the UCLA Department of Engineering and University of California Extension, Los Angeles, in cooperation with Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Port of Long Beach, California and Port of Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles: 1965, 86-91.
Bridges, Harry. In: Nations Manpower Revolution. Prepared statement and testimony of Harry Bridges, President of ILWU, before Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower, Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Washington, D.C., 8 October 1963. Hearings, Part 5, 1708-1710, 1724-1750.
Bridges, Harry and St. Sure, J. Paul. “The U.S. West Coast Agreement,” Fairplay Shipping Journal (13 May 1965): 1-8.
Fairley, Lincoln. “The ILWU-PMA Mechanization Agreement.” Labor Law Journal, (July 1961): 664-668.
Fairley, Lincoln. “Problems of the West Coast Longshore Mechanization Agreement.” Monthly Labor Review, 84 (June 1961): 597-600.
Gilman, Roger H. “Cargo-Handling.” Scientific American, (October 1968).
Glazier, William. “Automation and the Longshoreman: A West Coast Solution.” Atlantic Monthly, (December 1960): 57-61.
Goldberg, Joseph P. “Longshoremen and the Modernization of Cargo Handling in the United States.” 107:3 (March 1973).
Gomberg, William. “The Job as Property.” The Nation, (26 November 1960).
Kerr, Clark and Fisher, Lloyd. “Conflict on the Waterfront.” Atlantic Monthly, (September 1949): 17-23.
Killingsworth, Charles C. “The Modernization of West Coast Longshore Work Rules.”Industrial and Labor Relations Review 15:3 (April 1962).
Kossoris, Max D. “Working Rules in West Coast Longshoring.” Monthly Labor Review, (January 1961): 1-10.
Kossoris, Max D. “1966 West Coast Longshore Negotiations.” Monthly Labor Review, (October 1966): 1067-1075.
Lima, Albert J. “The ILWU Mechanization Agreement.” Political Affairs, (June 1963).
McLaughlin, Richard P. “Collective Bargaining–The New Trend.” Labor Law Journal, (August 1964): 42-49.
Rosow, Jerome M. “Now is the Time for Productivity Bargaining.” Harvard Business Review, (January 1962).
Ross, Philip and Goldberg, Joseph P. “Two Views of the Longshore Situation: Distribution of Power within the ILWU and ILA and Containerization as a Force for Change on the Waterfront.” Monthly Labor Review, 91 (January 1968): 1-13.
Ross, Philip and Goldberg, Joseph P. “Waterfront Response to Technological Change: A Tale of Two Unions.” Labor Law Journal 21:7 (July 1970).
Doctoral Candidate in American History, The American University. Washington, DC. A.B.D., present.
Master of Arts, History. California State University, Sacramento. 5/91.
Bachelor of Arts, Social Science. Emphasis: History, Sociology, & Geography. Minor in Economics. California State University, Sacramento. 5/88.
Fraternity Charity and Loyalty: The Woman’s Relief Corps and the Politics of Female Reform, 1883-1940.
American Social History 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries
Women’s Social and Political History
Labor and Business History
Industrialization and Immigration
Western History and Native American Studies
US History Surveys
Lecturer, Department of History & Political Science, Montgomery College – Rockville & Germantown Campuses, Montgomery County, MD.
Taught both United States Survey sections, “Settlement through the Civil War” and “Reconstruction to the Present.” The courses combined numerous mediums; lecture, reading in both primary and secondary sources, along with exposure to historical films and primary research, by which students would gain historical knowledge. The courses were taught on a semester basis to first and second year undergraduate students with an average class size of 35. Also designed and implemented a multi-cultural history course. 9/93 to 12/95.
Lecturer, Department of American Studies, The American University, Washington, DC.
Team-taught “Images of Native Americans,” to upper level undergraduates. The course stressed an interdisciplinary approach to Native American Studies. 1/93 to 5/93.
Graduate Archival Fellow, George Meany Memorial Archives of the AFL-CIO, Silver Spring, MD.
Fellowship required historical analysis of various AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO industrial & service departments, collection acquisition, accessing of incoming materials, processing archival material relating to the departments, and the creation of collection guides. The fellowship also required extensive work on the production of Labor’s Heritage, the quarterly journal of the archives and assistance with development of the “Labor Education in the Schools,” program for junior and senior high students. 9/92 to 1/95.
Director, 1994 Landmarks Conference, The Smithsonian Institution and The American University, Washington, DC.
Developed and coordinated the 1994 Landmarks in American History Conference, “Cold War & American Culture,” sponsored jointly by the Smithsonian Institution and The American University. 5/93 to 6/94.
Lecturer, History Department, California State University, Sacramento, CA.
Design and teach “US I: 1492 to 1865″ and US II: 1865 to Present,” under the direction of a tenured faculty member in conjunction with History 400, “Teaching College History” graduate seminar. 8/89 to 5/90.
Intern, University Archives, California State University, Sacramento, CA.
Internship responsibilities required the cataloging and implementation of a finding aid for the Congressional Papers of John Moss. Supplementary duties included assisting patrons, creating preliminary indexes of incoming archival material, and assisting faculty members with research requests. 8/89 to 7/90.
Thirty Years of Collective Bargaining: Joseph Paul St. Sure, 1902-1966. San Francisco, CA: Pacific Maritime Association, 1997.
Washington/Chesapeake Area Women Historians, Annual Conference, Washington, DC, March 1994. “Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty: The Woman’s Relief Corps and Gilded Age Relief Work.”
Social Science History Association, Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD, November 1993. “The Making of a Sophisticated Conservative: The Early Career of Joseph Paul St. Sure.”
Phi Alpha Theta, Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, Annapolis, MD, April 1993. “The Optimistic Outlook of the Northern Business Community During the American Civil War.”
College of Arts and Sciences, The American University, Student Research Conference, Washington, DC, March 1993. “The Northern Business Community’s Preparation for Industrial Expansion in the Civil War Era.”
Phi Alpha Theta, Pacific Coast Regional Conference, Sacramento, CA, February 1990. “Joseph Paul St. Sure: Management Negotiator.”
ACADEMIC RELATED ACTIVITIES
President, Phi Alpha Theta International History Honor Society, Epsilon Pi Chapter, The American University. 9/92 to 9/93.
1Francis Perkins and J. Paul St. Sure, Recollections on
Thirty Years of Collective Bargaining, chap. in Two Views of American
Labor, (Los Angeles, CA: Institute of Industrial Relations, University of
California Press, 1965), 19.
2 C. Wright Mills, The New Men of Power: America’s
Labor Leaders (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1948). For further
discussion of the model also see C. Wright Mills, White Collar: The American
Middle Classes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1951) and C. Wright
Mills,The Power Elite (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956).
9 Ibid., 27.
10Joseph Paul St. Sure, Interview by Corrine Gilb, 7,
21, and 29 March, 4 and 11 April, and 13 and 21 June 1957, “Some Comments on
Collective Bargaining in Northern California Since 1934”, transcript. Institute
of Industrial Relations Oral History Project, Library of the Institute of
Industrial Relations, University of California, Berkeley: 1-2; and Adolphus St.
Sure and Joseph Paul St. Sure Family Papers, Scrapbook Volume I 1867-1875,
Volume II 1886-1888, Carton 1; and Biography by Ellen St. Sure Lifschulz of A.F.
St. Sure, Box 4.
11 St. Sure, “Some Comments”, 3-5; and Family Papers,
Scrapbook Volume III 1891-1905, Scrapbook Volume IV 1896-1908, Carton 1; and
Biography Box 4.
12 St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 7-8; and Family Papers
Scrapbook Volume IV 1896-1908 and Volume VI 1925-1934, Carton 1.
13 St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 14-19 and 20-26; and
Family Papers, Scrapbook Volume VI 1925-1934 and Volume VII 1922-1942, Carton 1.
14St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 10.
15Numerous texts discuss the Progressive era in the United
States, the following are some which were consulted. Howard DeWitt, California Civilization: An Interpretation, 2d ed., (Debuque:
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1979), 201-222: Melvin Dubofsky, Industrialism and the American Worker, 1865-1920 , 2d ed., The American
History Series (Arlington Heights: Harlan Davidson, 1985) 77-113: Foster Rhea
Dulles and Melvin Dubofsky, Labor in America, A History, 4th ed.,
(Arlington Heights: Harlan Davidson, 1984), 175-199: James R. Green, The
World of the Worker: Labor in Twentieth Century America, American Century
Series (New York: Hill and Wang, 1980) 67-99: Richard Hofstadter ed., The
Progressive Movement: 1900-1915 (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1963):
Arthur Link and William Catton, American Epoch: A History of the United
States Since 1900, 5th ed., vol. 1, An Era of Economic Change, Reform,
and World Wards: 1900-1945 (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1980), 1-77: Arthur Link
and Richard McCormick, Progressivism The American History Series
(Arlington Heights: Harlan Davidson, 1983).
16St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 11.
17Ibid., 29 and 32.
21Ibid., 47-48 & 49-50.
22 St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 44-50; and Family Papers,
J. Paul St. Sure Correspondence, Box 2 and 3.
23St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 53-55.
25Irving Bernstein, A History of the American
Worker, 1920-1933: The Lean Years (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960)
26Irving Bernstein, A History of the American
Worker, 1933-1941: Turbulent Years, vol. 2., (Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1970), 27-36.: Dulles and Dubofsky, Labor in America, 255-264.:
Green, World of the Worker , 140-141.: Richard Cortner, The Wagner Act
Cases (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1964), 44-71.
27St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 59-62.
28 Dulles and Dubofsky, Labor in America,
258-264.; Bernstein, “Eruption,” chp. in The Turbulent Years,
1Frederic Chiles, “War on the Waterfront:
The Struggles of the San Francisco Longshoremen, 1851-1934” (Ph.D. diss.,
University of California Santa Barbara, 1981), 92; Paul Eliel The Waterfront
and General Strikes San Francisco, 1934 (San Francisco: Hooper Printing
Company, 1934), 5; and Mike Quin, The Big Strike (New York: International
Publishers, 1979) 38-46.
2Bernstein, Turbulent Years, 254-255; The
International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, Information Department, The ILWU Story: Three Decades of Militant Unionism, 2d ed., (San
Francisco: Phillips & Van Orden Company, 1963) 16.
3Bernstein, Turbulent Years, 252-263; Chilies, War on the Waterfront, 82-104; Eliel, Waterfront and General
Strikes, 3-12; Quin, The Big Strike, 38-46.
4Bernstein, Turbulent Years , 252-259; Carl
Nolte, “San Francisco Labor Leader Harry Bridges Dies: Founder and Leader of
Longshoremen’s Union”, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 March 1990, A1:1-2,
A4:1-6, and A5:1.
5 Bernstein, Turbulent Years, 269.
6Bernstein, Turbulent Years, 266-272; Chiles, War on the Waterfront, 109-184, passim; Eliel, Waterfront and General
Strikes , 19-107 passim; Quin, The Big Strike, 47-102, passim. Joyce
Clements, “The San Francisco Maritime and General Strike of 1934 and the
Dynamics of Repression” (Ph.D., diss., University of California Berkeley, 1975)
and Bruce Nelson, Workers on the Waterfront: Seamen, Longshoremen, and
Unionism in the 1930’s (Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 1988) also
contain excellent discussions of the strike.
7Bernstein, Turbulent Years 272-273; Chiles, War on the Waterfront, 187-192; Eliel, Waterfront and General
Strikes, 108-112; Quin, The Big Strike, 103-109.
9Bernstein, Turbulent Years 273-279; Chiles, War on the Waterfront, 192-201; Eliel, Waterfront and General
Strikes, 112-115; Quin, The Big Strike, 110-118.
10Eliel, Waterfront and General Strikes,
11Bernstein, Turbulent Years 279-291 passim; Chiles, War
on the Waterfront, 202-250 passim; Eliel, Waterfront and General
Strikes, 118-144 passim; Quin, The Big Strike, 119-145 passim.
12St.Sure, “Some Comments,” 65-66.
13Bernstein, Turbulent Years pg. 287; St. Sure,
Some Comments,” 66.
14St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 66-68.
15Bernstein, Turbulent Years 291-294 passim;
Chiles, War on the Waterfront, 251-270 passim; Eliel, Waterfront and
General Strikes, 145-171 passim; Quin, The Big Strike, 146-186
16Bernstein, Turbulent Years 294-297 passim; and
Quin, The Big Strike, 196-201 passim.
17Perkins and St. Sure, Recollections on Thirty
Years, chap. in Two Views of American Labor, 22.
18Perkins and St. Sure, Recollections on Thirty
Years, chap. in Two Views of American Labor, 20.
19St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 81.
22Dulles and Dubofsky, Labor in America,
23Bernstein, Turbulent Years, 318-351 passim;
Cortner, The Wagner Act Cases, 72-88 passim; Dulles and Dubofsky, Labor in America 265-272 passim; Martin Estey, The Unions: Structure,
Development, and Management 3rd ed., (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
Publishers, 1981), 112-119 passim; Green, World of the Worker, 150;
Perkins and St. Sure, Recollections on Thirty Years chap. in Two Views
of American Labor, 22-23; and St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 94.
24Cortner, The Wagner Act Cases, 114-119; and
Perkins and St. Sure, Recollections on Thirty Years chap in Two Views
of American Labor , 23.
25St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 94-98.
26Numerous sources discuss the emergence of the CIO
from AFL in late 1930, the following are some which were consulted. Bernstein, Turbulent Years, 352-714; Dulles and Dubofsky, Labor in America,
278-300; Estey, The Unions, 27-34; and Green, World of the Worker,
27Perkins and St. Sure, Recollections on Thirty
Years, chap in Two Views of American Labor, 23-25.
28St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 99.
29Perkins and St. Sure, Recollections on Thirty
Years, chap in Two Views of American Labor, 24.
1Lawerance E. Davies, “Expert Negotiator
Again Heads Shipowners of the West Coast: Coast Association Gives New Term to
Lawyer Consulted for Advice on a Choice,” The New York Times, 5 April
2Betty V.H. Schneider and Abraham Siegel, Industrial
Relations in the Pacific Coast Longshore Industry, West Coast Collective
Bargaining Systems Series (Berkeley: Institute of Industrial Relations,
University of California Press, 1956), 3.
4Pacific Maritime Association Historic Files, WEA
Shoreside Report, 7 September 1948; The Pacific Maritime Association
Headquarters, San Francisco, California, Archives Box 9.
5Schneider, Labor Relations in the Pacific Coast
Longshore Industry, 74.
6 J. Paul St. Sure, “The Mechanization Agreement–An
Evaluation and A Forecast,: Speech presented at the annual meeting of the
Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities, Portland, Oregon, in the ILWU
Archives, San Francisco, California, File entitled, “J. Paul St. Sure
7 Lincoln Fairley, Facing Mechanization: The West
Coast Longshore Plan, Industrial Relations Monograph Series, no. 23 (Los
Angeles: Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, 1979),
8Clark Kerr and Lloyd Fisher, “Conflict on the
Waterfront,” Atlantic Monthly, (September 1949): 17-23.
9St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 612-613.
10Max Kossoris, “Working Rules in West Coast
Longshoring,” Monthly Labor Review 84 (January 1961): 2.
Kossoris supports Kerr’s and Fisher’s conclusion that a “new look”
arose, he goes on to say:
This improvement in the climate of industrial relations was
achieved through a complete change of approach and leadership by the
employers. . . . Much of the current attitude of the employers is due to the
leadership of J. Paul St. Sure, an outstanding negotiator in the San Francisco
Bay area and, since, 1952, the president of the PMA.
The Pacific Maritime Association hereby reaffirms its policy to
bargain collectively and deal fairly with all unions with which it has
agreements as we are currently doing. In the operation of the business of
member companies, it is association policy that such member companies live up
to the minute letter and support all basic agreements and working rules.
Likewise, the Association must insist that all unions live up to the minute
letter and support these agreements.
12Ibid, Box 3 and 5.
13Paul Hartman, Collective Bargaining and
Productivity: The Longshore Mechanization Agreement, (Los Angeles:
University of California, 1969), 56-57 and 74-76. See also Fairley, Facing
Mechanization, 34 and 39.
14Hartman, Collective Bargaining and
Productivity, 60-65; and Fairley, Facing Mechanization, 16-17 and
15Hartman, Collective Bargaining and
Productivity, 50-54; Fairley, Facing Mechanization, 12-13.
18 Harry Bridges and J. Paul St. Sure, “The U.S. West
Coast Agreement,” Fairplay Shipping Journal, (13 May 1965) 2.
19Hartman, Collective Bargaining and
20Bonner Committee hearings, 1955-1963, PMA Archive Box
30: “St. Sure Testimony 1955.” See also U.S. Congress, House of Representatives,
committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Study of Harbor Conditions in Los
Angeles and Long Beach, 84th Congress, First Session, 19, 20, and 21,
October 1955, 359.
24 Numerous authors have said the Modernization and
Mechanization Agreement between the PMA and ILWU was a land mark agreement which
had a profound effect on labor-management negotiations regarding industrial
automation. Reference can be found in William Glazier, “Automation and the
Longshoremen,” The Atlantic Monthly 206 (December 1960) 58.; Max
Kossoris, “Working Rules in West Coast Longshoring,” Monthly Labor Review
84 (June 1960) 1, 10; Joseph Goldberg, “Two Views of the Longshore Situation:
Containerization as a Force for Change on the Waterfront,” Monthly Labor
Review 91 (January 1961) 13.
25Longshore, Ship Clerks, and Walking Bosses Caucus,
March 1956; “Coast Labor Relations Committee Report.” ILWU Research Library, San
Francisco, California, 420-24.
The 1954 date is in reference to St. Sure’s letter to the ILWU,
addressing the specific practices that the employers saw as a violation of the
34Pacific Maritime Research Report, 2958, PMA
Archives Files, Box 24.
35Hartman, Collective Bargaining and
Productivity, 85-89; and Glazier, “Automation and the Longshoremen,” 58.
36 ILWU Caucus Proceedings Transcript 1958, Letter from
the PMA to the ILWU 2 April 1958, ILWU Research Library, 31. See also Coast
Labor Relations Committee, PMA Archive Files, Box 17.
37 J. Paul St. Sure, Address given to the 32nd annual
convention of the Propeller Club of the United States and The American Merchant
Marine Conference, Transcript 16 October 1958, ILWU Research Library, folder “J.
Paul St. Sure,” 15.
39Fairley, Facing Mechanization, 104-105.
40The Christian Science Monitor, (New York) 4
August 1959. See also PMA Annual Report – 1959, 6; The Dispatcher,
(San Francisco, ILWU Publications) 14 August 1959; and Glazier, “Automation and
the Longshoremen,” 57.
8St. Sure, Address given to the 32nd Annual Convention of the
Propeller Club of the United States and The American Merchant Marine Conference,
Transcript 16 October 1958, ILWU Research Library, 1.
11Negotiations 16 October 1960, “Memo’s and Related
Materials–Executive Meetings,” PMA Archive Files, Box 12. See also St. Sure,
“Some Comments,” 612, for a review of his employment conditions.
Mechanization, 164. 165.
13”Memorandum of Agreement on Mechanization and
Modernization,” Pacific Maritime Association General Files, passim.
14The Monthly Labor Review, Industrial Labor Relations Review, The
Atlantic Monthly, Labor Law Journal, Political Affairs, Newsweek, Business Week,
The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and The
Wall Street Journal are just a few of the publications that examined the
1960 M & M Agreement.; The New York
Times, 21 October 1960.; Fortune,
15Richard P. McLaughlin, “Collective Bargaining–The new
Trend,” Labor Law Journal, 15:8
(August 1964) 18.
16J. Paul St. Sure, “The Mechanization Agreement–An
Evaluation and A Forecast,” Address presented at the Annual meeting of the
Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities, Portland, Oregon, Transcript 25
September 1966, ILWU Research Library, Folder “J. Paul St. Sure,” 7-8. See
also Pacific Maritime Association Annual
Report–1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, PMA General Files; and Hartman,
“Productivity in Pacific Coast Longshoring,” chapter in Collective
Bargaining and Productivity, 110-128 passim.
17J. Paul St. Sure, “The Mechanization Agreement–An
evaluation and A Forecast,” 9-10.
18”Maritime Executive: J. Paul St. Sure Will Retire,” San
Francisco Chronicle, 31 August 1966, Article located in the ILWU Research
Library, file entitled, “J. Paul St. Sure 1952-1966.” and “J. Paul St.
Sure Retires; Called ‘Man of Integrity’,” The
Dispatcher, 2 September 1966, 5.
19George Panitz, “Ship Harbor Innovator Steps Down,” Seattle
Journal of Commerce, 2 September 1966, Article located in the ILWU Research
Library, file entitled “J. Paul St. Sure, 1952-1966.”
20”Maritime Executive J. Paul St. Sure Will Retire,” San
Francisco Chronicle, 31 August 1966.
21Richard Smyth and Matthew Murphy, Bargaining
with Organized Labor, (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1948) 3.
22St. Sure, “Some Comments,” 679-680.
23”Maritime Leader J. Paul St. Sure Dies” The
Dispatcher, 26 September 1966.
List of Abbreviations
American Federation of Labor
Congress of Industrial Organizations
California Processors and Growers Association
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Employees Union
International Longshoremen Association
International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union