Bloody Thursday

Bloody Thursday

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 8:00pm


The story of the San Francisco dockworkers who stood up against extreme odds and changed the course of American labor history.

This Emmy®-winning documentary tells the story of longshoremen fighting for their rights in the midst of the great depression. Faced with unsafe labor conditions and unfair treatment, they decide to form a Union for protection. During this period many mainstream newspaper publishers, fearful of unionization efforts at their own businesses, launched attacks against the dockworkers and drove public sympathy against them with accusations of communism. Politicians and police openly used their resources to side with the shipping companies against the striking dockworkers. On July 5, 1934 police killed two longshoremen at a massive dockworker strike in San Francisco, a tragedy known as Bloody Thursday. The tragic events of Bloody Thursday turned public opinion against the shipping companies and lead the citizens of San Francisco to go on a general strike in support of the dockworkers. This lead to the formation of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, now known worldwide as the ILWU.

Bloody Thursday encores Tuesday, September 7 at 8 p.m. on PBS World (cable 524/DT21.2).

Bloody Thursday includes a range of filmed interviews with union officials and historians who provide fascinating insight to the dockworker’s struggles during the depression. These interviews are visually supported through an extensive archive of photographs, film, and old newspapers. Dramatic accounts of the longshoremen, labor activists, and politicians who were participants in the tumultuous events of the historic West Coast strike of 1934 are poignantly brought to life by actors who read their accounts verbatim and bring a new level of emotional impact to the story through their performances.