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LaborFest 2019: The Building & Labor Struggles at Fort Point | SF
Submitted by the Event Organizer
LaborFest is an annual festival celebrating the history and culture of working people through film, art, lectures, and exhibits all over the Bay Area from July 2-31, 2019.
This year’s theme, Labor on the edge: Dystopia or a future for workers.
LaborFest this year celebrates the 85th anniversary of the San Francisco General Strike. The 1934 General Strike transformed San Francisco and the Bay Area into a strong union center in the United States. It also allowed hundreds of thousands of workers to join unions because of the collective power of the working people.
> View LaborFest 2019
Today, for the first time in decades, some union leaders, including the CWA AFA president Sarah Nelson, are calling for another general strike against the attacks on Federal workers and the entire working class.
This has also become the year of the teacher. Working people are on the move. For the first time in US history, hundreds of thousands of teachers, including in Oakland and Los Angeles, have been in the streets fighting for their rights and their students for a decent public education.
Working people are also organizing in San Francisco, including Anchor Steam workers, healthcare workers, and the VCA veterinarian workers. The need for unions is greater than ever, and despite efforts to stop workers from organizing, workers continue to join unions.
Fort Point in San Francisco was built by the US military between 1853 and the 1860’s as a seacoast defense site. At the same time, construction was taking place of what was to become Fort Alcatraz. While this construction was moving forward, laborers were under attack. In the midst of civil war in 1863, a telegram from Washington was read to the laborers cutting their pay. After hearing the telegram, the workers walked out at Fort Point and Alcatraz. This was one of the only labor actions during the Civil War in California, and with the shortage of labor construction workers at the time, laborers were able to make major gains in wages and conditions. The issue of housing and pay led to unrest, a work stoppage, and an eventual strike on all defense projects in the Bay.
Participants of the walk will learn about the construction of Fort Point and Alcatraz through the eyes of the those who did the work.
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Address: Fort Point, San Francisco