National Affairs: Waterfront Conchie

As he toiled amid swaying cargo nets, blue-eyed, 50-year-old Charley Ross* looked like the prototype of all San Francisco longshoremen. He weighed 185 pounds with a bailing hook in his hip pocket; he had broad, sloping shoulders, stubby hands, and a stevedore's pugnacious attitude toward bosses and beer. When Harry Bridges told his boys to hit the bricks, Charley was always up front in the longshoremen's wall of flesh. His picketing record in the bloody dockside strife of 1934 and in the all-out strike of 1937 was perfect.

But after the 1937 strike was settled, Charley changed. To the Embarcadero's profane amazement,...

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