Harry Bridges: Working Class Hero

Harry Bridges, Australian seafarer who jumped ship in San Francisco in the Roaring Twenties, worked the wharves and led the US longshore in rebellion to found the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, died 20 years ago today. Read a tribute to Harry by Dick Meister of the San Francisco Bay Guardian

He died 20 years ago this month, but I can still see him, a tall, wiry, gray-haired, hawk-nosed man. I can hear him.

I see him pacing restlessly back and forth behind the podium at union meetings, nervously twirling a gavel, puffing incessantly on a cigarette. I hear him calling on members, white, black, Asian, Latino, in the broad accent of his native Australia, actually encouraging debate and dissent.

He died in San Francisco at the age of 88 -- Harry Bridges, co-founder and for 40 years president of one of the most influential organizations in this or any other country, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Read the feature Working Class Hero by Dick Meister