Harry Bridges Institute (HBI)
Now in its 17th year of operation, was founded to meet a pressing need to educate a new generation of workers about the rich history of the labor movement; to demonstrate the working community and to showcase and celebrate the contributions of labor leaders as well as rank-and-file trade unionists, not only in the founding of unions, but in the continuous struggle for worker’s rights.
Harry Bridges, champion of those rights and true union hero, founded the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) based on principles held in common by free trade unions the world over:
Social Justice and Equality,
Union Democracy and
The Right of Workers to Organize in
Free Trade Unions
The work of the HBI is aimed, not only at reviving the validity of these principles within the labor community, but also at “spreading the gospel” of trade unionism to the public at large. For decades, Americans have been told that unions are negative, and counterproductive to the ideals of American society, when in fact the opposite is true. A closer, more honest look reveals that many societal improvements - the benefits, etc. - have been earned by the blood, sweat, and tears of trade unionists, fighting for what they believed to be basic human rights.
The Harry Bridges Institute Community Labor Center has a large meeting room that is available to labor and community groups for meetings and events. We have a separate training room with state of the art video and audio equipment. We have a traditional (book) library and also a video library of hundreds of interviews with rank and file trade unionists from up and down the West Coast. If you have not yet seen this outstanding facility be sure to stop by. We are open Monday thru Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. . As funds become available we hope to be open on a full-time basis.
We stand for the principle that our working class is based on labor throughout the world and that we must both educate ourselves about the struggles of workers everywhere and support these struggles as needed. We have organized in support of the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia), the Liverpool Dockers, The United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) and other international labor battles.
The HBI has developed an outstanding program of labor education directed at high school students, union members, and the community. We do everything from labor boat tours of the harbor to role playing lessons from the 1934 strike.
The HBI promotes a positive culture for labor by recognizing the contributions working class people make not only to their unions but the communities in which they live.
Board Of Directors
Dave Arian, President
San Pedro, CA
Arne Auvinen, Vice President
Willie Adams, San Francisco, CA
William Aviles, Mill Valley, CA
Rachel Bruhnke, San Pedro, CA
Hector Cepeda, Wilmington, CA
Luisa Gratz, Los Angeles, CA
Al Green, San Pedro, CA
David Greene, San Pedro, CA
Ian Kennedy, Seattle, WA
Penny Lavery, Long Beach, CA
Louis Loveridge, Carson, CA
Annette Mcdonald, San Pedro, CA
Diane Middleton, San Pedro, CA
Robert Osornio, San Pedro, CA
Goetz Wolff, Los Angeles, CA
Lewis Wright, San Pedro, CA
Pilar Wright, Wilmington, CA
Noriko Bridges, In Memoriam, San Francisco, CA
Spreading the good word of Labor...
“I don’t know of any way for working people to win basic economic justice and dignity except by being organized into a solid, democratic union.”
The Big Strike (1934)
“We cannot rely on
others to teach our history for us. They haven’t done it, and won’t do it. We need to play a central role in teaching our history.”
-From a “Dispatcher” article on the
founding of the HBI (March, 1994)