Al Allen collection on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, 1939-2016

Overview of the Collection

Allen, Al
Al Allen collection on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union
1939-2016 (inclusive)
1970-1979 (bulk)
.72 cubic feet (2 boxes) plus 4 videocassettes
Collection Number
6028 (Accession No. 6028-001)
Compiled by Al Allen, a retired longshoremen, the collection contains research materials and correspondence documenting the activities of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and its members.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access. VHS cassette of "LifeStory: Bill Bailey" should not be played; instead the DVD access copy should be used.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Al Allen grew up in San Francisco, Califronia, and entered a career as a longshoreman in International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 10 (San Francisco). In 1959, Allen came onto the "B List" in San Francisco, working as a winch driver. The ILWU created the new hiring category in San Francisco--"B" men worked irregularly and had the dirtiest jobs, with the promise of promotion to "A" status after a year of work, and were not considered full union members until that time. Later in his career there, Allen moved into crane work. Allen was one of the original people to go to work at SeaLand as a supplement prior to the 1971 Pacific Coast Longshore Strike. During that strike, he served as a picket captain. While at ILWU Local 10, Allen also served on the Promotions Commitee. During this period, Allen worked in various different ports on the Pacific Coast, incluing Los Angeles, Portland, and Tacoma.

Later, Allen used the ILWU transfer program to transfer to the growing port of Tacoma, where he became a member of ILWU, Local 23.

During his time in Tacoma's Local 23, Allen formed a coalition with other transferred longshoremen from the Portland local (ILWU Local 8), and advocated reforms in the union's handling of the dispatch system and the qualification for the test necessary to become a crane operator--a coveted job. Eventually, these transfers from Portland and San Francisco began to reform Local 23's internal political culture, winning offices as the local's president, vice president, on the Longshore Relations Committee, as walking bosses, as clerks, and as crane operators--all positions of esteem and influence in the local. Allen also became an internal advocate for union militancy and policing of the contract and working conditions; filing and assisting other members in filing grievances. Allen was also involved in a gender discrimination grievance and lawsuit by Linda Nyland against the Local 23 and the Pacific Martime Association (the employers' organization).

Allen later retired from ILWU 23 and remains living in Tacoma.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Research materials and correspondence collected by Al Allen and created and collected by Allen or Stanley Weir. Correspondence in the collection includes articles on the longshore industry and its workers by Herb Mills as well as correspondence from Mills to Allen. Subject files and reports include information on the impact of techonology on the longshore industry, including containerization and mechanization, and its impact on workers. Other files and reports includes studies on longshore decasualization, the hiring hall, and the mechanization of the Port of Rotterdam by Sidney Roger. Several VHS tapes are included in the collection, including information on the life of Bill Bailey and talks by David Arian and others on longshore issues and history.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Forms part of the Labor Archives of Washington.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

DVD viewing copy of "LifeStory: Bill Bailey" by Maria Brooks digitized and available via a viewing copy.

Restrictions on Use

Creator's copyrights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Al Allen, 2016-05-11.

Related Materials

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union website has been regularly captured by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine since 2013. The snapshots can be viewed here:*/

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1/1 Herb Mills papers circa 1979-1989
1/2 "Same Cargoes Different Cultures" by Sydney Rodgers March 1976
1/3 Decasualization Studies 1939
1/4 "Application of the Pacific Maritime Association and The International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union" March 14, 1972
1/5 Contract 2002
1/6 PMA Lockout 2002
1/7 "Hiring Halls in the Maritime Industry" 1950
1/7 "The Work Culture of the San Francisco Longshoremen" circa 1974
1/8 "Decasualization of Dock Labor" by Joseph H. Ball 1966
2/1 American Longshoremen in Rotterdam 1975
2/2 Congressional Hearing on Hiring Halls 1950
2/3 Causes of Pay Board 1972
2/4 ILWU - Copies of "The Dispatch" newspaper March 2006-February 2016
2/5 "A Study of the Work Culture of San Francisco Longshoremen" by Stan Weir 1975
2/6 Containerization November 1959
2/7 HIP Pocket Rules 1956
2/8 Miscellaneous Clippings and Photocopies 1979, 1991, undated
videocassette #14 Floating Palaces (Ships) - History ACLU undated
videocassette #15 Pacific Maritime Association - General Safety Training Modules 1-8 undated
videocassette #16 Canadian Area Speeches - Randy Veckich and David Arian June 12, 1991
videocassette #17 "LifeStory: Bill Bailey" produced by Maria Brooks
DVD viewing copy of "LifeStory: Bill Bailey" by Maria Brooks digitized and available via a viewing copy.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)--Specimens
  • General strikes--United States
  • Hiring halls--United States
  • Labor movement--United States
  • Labor unions--United States
  • Labor--United States
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Stevedores--United States

Corporate Names

  • International Longshore and Warehouse Union

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Labor Archives of Washington (University of Washington) (creator)