Chapter

Who Controls the Waterfront?

William J. Mello

in New York Longshoremen

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034898
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038681 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813034898.003.0003
Who Controls the Waterfront?

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The characteristics that consolidated the waterfront labor process are indicative of the dialectical nature of power and work. Control over the workforce was vital. The longshoremen constituted one of the most controlled sectors of the working class. Fundamentally, whoever controlled the hiring of dock labor literally controlled the waterfront. Moreover, the hiring of dock labor defined relations between workers and employers in two distinct ways. On the one hand, it was a coercive device, but over time, it also served as a vehicle through which dockworkers would construct notions of group solidarity fundamental for the rank-and-file movement. A central aspect was the form in which dock labor was hired.

Keywords: waterfront; power and work; workforce; longshoremen; working class; dockworkers; rank-and-file movement

Chapter.  16218 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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