Striking Todd Workers, 1947

Mariners and those in the shipbuilding trades demanded higher wages and better benefits, in the years following WWII.  In 1947, thousands who worked at the Todd Shipyard in Red Hook, Brooklyn went on strike.  

They were not alone. 67,000 workers, at shipyards across the nation, with similar demands were also on strike.

On July 24, 1947, Todd offered a new contract which included a 12 cent an hour increase and the union men gathered to consider it.

Transcription of the Brooklyn Eagle, July 24, 1947 article:

Will Vote Today On Agreement to End Walkout of Thousand 

Thousands of workers at' the Brooklyn division of the Brooklyn Division of the  Todd Shipyard s Corporation , today packed Prospect Hall to the rafters to hear the terms of a proposed settlement of the hours-old strike which brought activity at the vast borough yards to a virtual standstill since midnight.  Prior to the general membership meeting, which was called to order shortly after 1 p.m. to ratify or reject the proposed agreement, the executive board of the union met behind closed I doors in an anteroom of Prospect Hall ln order to draw up a top-leadership recommendation on the course of action to be followed. 

Union leaders attending the executive board meeting declined to reveal what recommendation had been decided upon and told newsmen that: "A full statement will be made as soon as the membership takes a vote, but not before." The strikers, members of Local 39, of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers, C. I. O., are voting on a tentative agreement announced last night by John Green, national president of the union, reported to call for a 12-cent-an-hour wage increase. 

Union leaders and representatives of the shipbuilding industry expressed the opinion that, an agreement today on a contract would set a pattern that would end speedily the four-week-old nationwide strike against other shipbuilders involving more than 67,000 workers. 

The expiration of a contract between Todd and the union at 12:01 am today was the signal for the settling up of a token picket line and 2000 night-shift workers at the Brooklyn plant promptly walked out despite Mr. Green’s announcement that a tentative accord had been reached. 

Although neither side would disclose the terms of the proposed new contract it was understood that in addition to a 12-cent-an hour wage boost, agreement had also been reached on rate differentials improved vacations, six paid holidays and other benefits. 

In announcing the tentative agreement reached locally, Mr. Green said last night that it was “the most significant development in the walkout which began June 25.” And expressed confidence that it would bring about settlement with the other employers in the industry. 

Terms identical with those being voted upon by the Brooklyn shipyard workers are being presented to approximately 15,000 workers at the Hoboken, N.J.  division of Todd at a meeting today in Hoboken. 

The strike, which was called a month ago when the union failed to win its wage demands, spread progressively as local contracts expired and to date has tied up construction and repair work in more than 20 yards on the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Coasts. 

Early resumption of Government sponsored mediation between the union and the Bethlehem Steel Company, larges shipbuilder affected by the strike, is expected should a Todd settlement be reached today. 



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