San Francisco Landmarks
On July 3, 1934, this warehouse was the focus of attempts by the Industrial Association of San Francisco - a private organization that included the city's leading banks, transportation companies, and manufacturing concerns - to crush a three month old strike of longshoremen and maritime workers by symbolically "opening the port." The plan called for heavily guarded trucks of a dummy firm named Atlas Drayage to carry token cargoes a two block distance from Pier 38 to rented space at 128 King Street.
A crowd of several thousand strikers and sympathizers resisted the movement of the trucks. Six hundred police officers and several fire engines were used to force a path for the trucks and to defend the Garcia & Maggini warehouse. Fighting raged around the building for four hours, as a result of which at least 25 people were hospitalized.
This skirmish was the prelude for a larger battle fought on July 5, 1934, when the Industrial Association again operated Atlas Drayage trucks from Pier 38 to this warehouse. Two strikers were shot dead by police on July 5, still commemorated as Bloody Thursday. The deaths and the violence led to a very rare and historically significant three day general strike in San Francisco that paralyzed all economic activity. Soon after, the employers were forced to settle on grounds favorable to the striking workers.
As a result of these strikes, unionism was firmly established on the Pacific Coast, along with the concept of union-run hiring halls, and the militant and radical longshoremen broke from their national union and formed the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which since then has been one of the most progressive and powerful labor organizations in the nation. Locally, the strikes created a significant place for organized labor in the municipal political structure.
From San Francisco Planning Commission Resolution 16286, 15 November 2001.