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Dock Strike (1968)


 | 1968

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  •  Picket line 
  •  Idle ships at the Port of Houston 
  •  An unidentified man, possibly Port of Houston terminal manager J. B. Curtis, describes shipping operations in the midst of the strike 
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This news segment for Houston’s KPRC-TV captures a picket line at the Port of Houston on December 20, 1968. Portions of the footage appear silent, and would have been voiced over by the anchorperson during a live broadcast. The union contract for the International Longshoremen’s Association expired at midnight on September 30. All longshoremen would effectively be on strike until the union and employers reached a contract agreement. On October 1, the federal government issued an application for an 80-day cooling-off period as provided by the Taft-Hartley Act, allowing striking longshoremen to return to work while negotiations continued. When the 80 days concluded without an agreement, however, some 75,000 dockworkers went on strike along Atlantic and Gulf ports. Eleven ships sat idle off the coast of Texas, including seven at the Port of Houston. Agreements for each port were not finalized until 1969. With an estimated loss of $2 billion, the dock strike became the longest and costliest of its kind at the time.