Scope and Content
Material Cataloged Separately
Title: Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149 Records,
Date (inclusive): 1869-1985
Accession number: 1991/077
Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149
Extent: 7 cubic feet
San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
San Francisco, California 94132
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing
to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149 Records, 1991/077, Labor Archives & Research Center,
San Francisco State University.
Records of the Shipwrights, Joiners and Boat Builders Local 1149 were donated to
the Archives by Local 2236 in April, 1991. The collection was processed by Dennis Scott,
The Shipwrights, founded in 1857, is one of the oldest unions in the San Francisco
Bay Area. Local 1149 grew out of the merging of various worker associations that
formed shortly after the Gold Rush of 1849. These included the Caulkers' Association
Local 554 (founded in 1853, merged in 1960), Dry Dock Workers Local 3116 (merged in
1976), and Shipwrights and Steamboat Joiners Local 21. According to the Labor
Archives Survey in 1991, another shipwrights local (Local 71 or 72) also merged with
1149. This is not documented in the Collection. Local 1149 was a member of the United
Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America throughout the time period
documented in the Collection. Local 1149 merged with Industrial Carpenters Local 2236
Shipbuilding and ship repair were important industries in the Bay area from the
1850's until the 1950's. Shipwrights built the entire hull of ships and Joiners worked on
ship interiors, mainly cabinetwork. The 1936 Morrow Castle Fire, which resulted in new
ship regulations banning wooden interiors, along with the increased use of metal in
shipbuilding and repair, led to a decrease in specialized ship carpentry work in the
decade preceding WWII. Fewer ships were being built and repaired on the West Coast
after the War, and the unions lobbied to retain and regulate the work that was available.
In 1952-53, growing dissatisfaction within Local 1149 with the Pacific Coast Metal Trades
Council, the collective bargaining unit for shipwrights, led to the formation of the Pacific
Coast Council of Marine Carpenters (PCCMC), an independent organization that
represented shipwrights unions throughout the Pacific coast in collective bargaining
negotiations. Throughout the 1950's, the PCCMC negotiated favorable agreements with
employers for shipwrights, gaining an additional hourly stipend for workers using their
own tools and premium wages for work involving creosote-treated timber and fiberglass
Scope and Content
The collection largely consists of textual records, primarily minutes and office
correspondence of Shipwrights Local 1149. Also included are union/employer
agreements, conference summaries, books on shipbuilding in WWII, dues books and one
The records date primarily from around 1937 to 1985, with the period between
1939-1946 most heavily represented. Much of the earlier material in the Collection was
donated to 1149 in 1947 by John Howson, a member of the Union since 1887. Materials
include records of unions that merged with 1149, including Caulkers Local 554 and
Shipwrights Local 3116. The collection also includes photographs of dock workers
(presumably shipwrights) performing repair work on wooden cargo cartons dating from
1959. They have been placed in the Labor Archives Photograph Collection #4.
The records of Local 1149 provide insight into the shipwright craft on the Pacific
Coast, primarily documenting work in the decade preceding World War II until around
1955. Jurisdictional disputes between sheet metal workers and shipwrights resulting
from the industry's transition from wood to steel ships and the Shipwrights' efforts to
define their work by task (and not by materials utilized) are documented in the
collection, primarily in the subject and correspondent files of Local 1149 and Pacific
Coast Committee of Marine Carpenters.
Meeting Minutes of Local 1149 included in the collection cover the years 1941 -
1985. The location of general meetings alternated between labor halls in San Francisco
and Oakland. During World War II, meetings were also held in Richmond, California,
the location of large wartime shipyards. The collection contains duplicates of the minutes
of years 1955-1965. One set is pasted into bound notebooks. The other set, donated to
the Archives in 3-ring binders, has been placed in folders. Both sets have been retained
for item-by-item level comparison at a later date.
Records from the World War II era document the high degree of cooperation
achieved between labor groups, employer groups and the federal government to make
efficient use of the work force to supply and repair the ships needed in the war effort.
Committees were formed to monitor and evaluate the movement of workers between
shipyards and to assist in locating and training workers. Records of the War Manpower
Commission, as well as membership lists found in 1149 meeting minutes, reflect the
introduction of women into the shipbuilding workforce at this time. Conflicts between
wage and work condition standards desired by the unions and the high production of
warships desired by the government, the US Navy in particular, are also documented in
the minutes of 1149 as well as in the correspondence between the Union and the local
The shipwrights' and joiners' need to define the work and desire to maintain some
degree of autonomy within collective bargaining agreements between unions and
employers is reflected in the records, most notably in briefs submitted in National Labor
Relations Board proceedings, records of jurisdictional disputes, correspondence between
Local 1149 and other shipwrights locals and records relating to the Pacific Coast
Shipbuilding Zone Conferences. The need for some autonomy, combined with
dissatisfaction with their present collective bargaining unit, may have contributed to the
formation of the Pacific Coast Committee of Marine Carpenters. Records from the
Pacific Coast Shipbuilding Zone Conference also includes a draft proposal for the
reclassification of dry dock and marine waysmen on new ship construction which
contains information on the wages and duties of these workers.
Records of the Pacific Coast Committee of Marine Carpenters (PCCMC), the
collective bargaining unit that represented the Shipwrights after 1953, are also included
here. The files date from the formation and founding of the Committee in 1949-52 to
1969, when the PCCMC was succeeded by the Pacific Coast Marine Carpenters Council.
Stan Lore, the President and General Manager of 1149, was also the secretary of the
PCCMC, and both organizations shared the same space during Lore's tenure with the
PCCMC. The PCCMC re-affiliated with the Pacific Coast Metal Trades Council in 1967,
and in 1969, was renamed the Pacific Coast Marine Carpenters Council.
Records documenting the regular tasks and special interests of the Union officers
and concerns of regular members can be found in Officers' Correspondence and Office
Correspondence. Copies of correspondence regarding members' status, general letters of
introduction, work recommendations and form letters comprise the bulk of these records.
A draft essay on the history of the dispute between carpenters unions and the
International Longshoremen Workers Union (ILWU) is included in the Officers'
Correspondence of Stan Lore, 1961.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Files contain transcripts and briefs
relating to the establishment of collective bargaining units for shipwrights on the West
Coast. Three cases before the NLRB, 20-RC-1375, 20-RC-1327 and 20-RC-1354, dealt
with issues surrounding collective bargaining inside and outside of organized units and
were heard together by the NLRB and remain filed together here. The briefs in
particular include detailed lists of the tasks in shipbuilding and repair expected to be
undertaken by shipwrights, as well as a general history of the shipbuilding industry on
the West Coast, probably written by Stan Lore. The records of NLRB case 19-RC-1552
includes an aerial photograph of Foss Launch and Tug Co., Tacoma, WA, from around
Records of Dry Dock, Marine Waysmen and Stage Riggers Local 3116 include
work agreements, correspondence, conference notes and meeting minutes of the Local
and of the PCCMC with which 3116 was affiliated. The record group also includes a
copy of the Charter and By-laws of the Journeymen Shipwright Association, apparently
used as a model for its own charter. Other miscellaneous records include a copy of the
Pacific Coast Master Ship Repair Agreement, 1949, correspondence regarding Stage
Riggers and Shipwright Helpers Local 2116, and a short history and description of dry
dock work and wages on the Pacific Coast.
The records of Local 1149 primarily document the emergence, growth and decline
of a facet of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry on the West Coast: its appearance
and fluorescence in the mid 19th Century to WWII and its decline afterwards. The
collection also provides insight into the daily duties, interests and concerns of the
members and officers of the Local, from personal correspondence regarding the status,
health and welfare of individual members to efforts on the part of officials to establish
and maintain satisfactory relations with employers and other unions. Unfortunately,
union records from the period of the Great Depression and the San Francisco General
Strike are not included, although there are scattered references to events of this period in
later minutes and correspondence.
Material Cataloged Separately
- Pamphlets, passes and dues books have been relocated to the ephemera collection
of the Archives, and publications not generated by Local 1149 have been placed in the
Brochures and booklets placed in the ephemera collection include:
Constitution and By-Laws [of the] City Front Federation of the Port of San Francisco, 1902
Constitution, By-Laws, and Rules of Order of the Journeymen Ship and Steamboat Joiner's Protective Association of the Port
of San Francisco, 1908
Demarcation of Work on Tyneside between Shipwrights and Ship-Joiners, 1891
The Merchant and Seaman's Expeditions Measurer;...[Table Book], 1869
Books relocated to the reference book section of the Archives:
Finnie, Richard, editor,
Marinship: The History of a Wartime Shipyard. San Francisco: Taylor and Taylor, 1947.
Maslin, Marshall, editor,
Western Shipbuilders in World War II. Oakland, California: Shipbuilding Review Publishing Association, 1945.
Proceedings of the First Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, revised by Wm. E. Trautmann. New York: New York Labor News Company, 1905.