The Big Strike – Mike Quin

  • The first step toward changing the situation occurred in the latter part of 1032 when a small mimeographed publication, the Waterfront Worker, began to appear on the docks and in places where longshoremen congregated. Humble in format and clumsily turned out, it hardly gave the impression of a powerful influence. Yet it was the first step in what was ultimately to develop into a general strike.
  • Long years of experience had ingrained the workers with a deep mistrust of salaried union officials, who more often were the favored appointees of higher AFL bodies than elected representatives of the men.
  • Men had been shot down in cold blood. Authority had taken the shape of force and violence.
  • Employers began hiring scab truck drivers, and teamsters began tipping over scab trucks in the streets.
  • Labor had withdrawn its hand. The workers had drained out of the plants and shops like life-blood, leaving only a silent framework embedding millions of dollars worth of invested capital. In the absence of labor, giant machinery loomed as so much idle junk.
  • Ultimately the power of any union that serves as an instrumentality of the workers rests on the courage and conviction in its ranks.