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Episode 4 – 1953
Following World War 2, longshoremen in the Port of New York refused to accept the traditional company friendly deals that ILA President Joe Ryan arranged during the war. A wildcat strike movement shook the ILA, and alongside an investigation into his corruption, Ryan finally lost his grip on the union. 1953, the same year “King” Joe Ryan stepped down as President of the ILA was a momentous year for the organization. In this episode we discuss Ryan’s departure, the expulsion of the union from the AFL, the government stepping in to control hiring on the docks, and even a civil war in the house of labor. The end of Ryan’s tenure and the massive changes put in place in 1953 would reshape the union for decades.
Main sources for this series include: Reds or Rackets by Howard Kimeldorf, Strife on the Waterfront by Vernon Jensen, New York Longshoremen: Class and Power on the Docks by William Mello, and Mobsters, Unions, and Feds by James Jacobs. Clips from YouTube.
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