"Men Versus Machines:Mechanization on the Waterfront"
This documentary film tells the story of the time leading up to the implementation of the first Modernization and Mechanization (M & M) Agreement in 1961. These stories reveal the often-fierce debates that erupted within the union. At stake was the transformation of the ILWU.
The agreement was also groundbreaking for the American labor movement, helping it fight for the rights of workers in the other industries that faced increased mechanization and subsequent job loses.
The M&M agreements are a vital part of the economic scenario that has made globalization possible. It is perhaps ironic that agreements seen as visionary for American industry have played a part in the movement of so much of that industry abroad. It is certainly ironic that today the longshore division of the ILWU, rather than facing the continued shrinking of it's workforce as feared in 1961, is expanding it's membership to handle the ever increasing work in the west coast ports.
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