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Episode 5 – Automation and Attrition
Emerging from the 1950s having survived government crackdowns, receivership, and attempted raids by the AFL, the ILA was immediately confronted with a new existential threat: automation. The introduction of containerized cargo posed a greater threat to the profession of longshoring than any previously faced. Organizing on the Port of New York in the 1960s was dominated by the fight to keep the shipping companies from slashing the workforce to the bone. While the union still did not implement more democratic measures, the rank and file forced their voices to be heard loud and clear in some of the biggest strikes in the history of the US waterfront.
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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