Dick Meister: The union makes us strong


It's for very good reason that San Francisco has long been considered a premier "labor town."

By Dick Meister

(Dick Meister, former San Francisco Chronicle labor editor and labor reporter for KQED-TV's "Newsroom, " has covered labor issues for a half-century as an author. reporter, editor and commentator.)

The 75th anniversary of the San Francisco general strike this year should remind us of the key role that organized labor has played in the city's economic and political life, through good times and bad - often despite fierce opposition, sometimes despite the reluctance of unions to adjust to changing circumstances.

Local labor history is full of dramatic events. But none have been more dramatic than the general strike that brought the city to a standstill for four days in July of 1934 during a time of economic troubles even greater than we're facing today. People in just about every occupation walked off the job in support of longshoremen who had struck on their own to demand an end to their truly rotten working conditions.