We talk a lot about logistics on this show – the industries, like Amazon or FedEx, that have made fortunes managing the movement of goods from one place to another. Logistics companies undergird the globalized economy, making it possible for companies to benefit from low wages and labor abuses in the global South by moving finished products quickly and cheaply to markets all over the world. Our guest today explains how dock workers have been another force enabling the global economy to function and examines the power they wield even in the era of the container ship.
Peter Cole is a Professor of History at Western Illinois University and a Research Associate in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand. He is the author of Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area as well as Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia.