As news of this event spread, hundreds of workers raced to the scene. Some were union members from Buick and Chevrolet; some were bus drivers who had been helped by the auto workers during their recent strike; some were 'flying squads' of union members in town from Toledo and Norwood, Ohio, to help out. The outside picketers from Fisher Body Plant Number Two fought with the company guards, using homemade billy clubs. They succeeded in taking the guards' keys, regaining control of the plant perimeter.
The National Union of Marine Cooks and Stewards: Union Democracy, Civil Rights and American Communism, 1934-1954
Poet Maya Angelou dubbed it the "Los Angeles Rebellion." It not only ignited a four-day uprising in L.A., but also inspired hundreds of smaller demonstrations across the globe. Most media merely lip-synced the white suburban cliches of it being a "black riot" caused by "racial tension." Or, when the Rodney King verdict was taken into consideration, they described it as legitimate demonstrations hijacked by hard-core criminals and transformed into a maddened assault on their own community. Such superficial analysis ignores the facts and could not be further from the truth.
1988 "Near Riot" in San Francisco: 10,000 Workers Protest Rat Contractors Meeting
by Frank McMurray West Coast correspondent
*This first appeared in New York Hard Hat News, a rank and file construction worker publication:*
At five in the afternoon of May 1, the desk clerks closed the registers on the desks of the St. Francis, the Palace, the Mark Hopkins, the Fairmont and the other eleven hotels rated Class A. The cooks laid down their ladles, waiters and waitresses took off their aprons, porters and bellhops set down the luggage they were carrying, and they all walked out of the hotels. They returned a short while later, this time wearing red and white ribbons proclaiming AFL PICKET, and began to walk in lines in front of the hotel entrances. As soon as they walked out, it was announced that the other unions of the San Francisco Labor Council would support them; the musicians, bakers, drivers, chauffeurs and butchers all refused to cross the picket line. At the St. Francis the assistant manager explained to a circle of angry guests that they would have to make their own beds. A puffing Oliver Hardy had to carry his own bags up the stairs to his room, and other administrators were put to work answering the telephone. At the Palace the elevators stopped. Three hundred guests on the top floors were moved to the first and second floors. At the Fairmont there was no heat or ice, the new swimming pool closed, and the assistant manager was handed an apron and sent to the kitchen to cook for the remaining guests.