Shipyards in Decay


Strike: Union Iron Works--1917

Unskilled workers at the Union Iron Works (1997 photo) went on strike in 1917 in solidarity with their counter-parts at Iron works in Oakland. They were seeking an 8 hour day and basic wage increases.

By 1996 the once thriving Union Iron Works had changed hands several times, most recently occupied by Todd Shipyards, a firm that abandoned the facility after only a few years of occupancy in the early 1980s. Today the buildings are hollow shells, and the shipyards have become obsolete relics of a bygone era. Plans come and go to revive San Francisco's port and shipping industries, but the old buildings at 20th and Illinois are the same as they were during the 1917 strike.

--Chris Carlsson, 1996

1917 Strike


Striking workers mill about outside office building of the Union Iron Works in 1917.


Former office building of the Union Iron Works. 1997

top photo by David Green, bottom photo by Chris Carlsson, historic image from video clip, courtesy Prelinger Archive.

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