Monument to ILWU founder Harry Bridges unveiled at union’s dispatch hall in Wilmington – Daily News

on Jul29
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On what would have been Harry Bridges’ 118th birthday, a bronze statue depicting the iconic union leader was unveiled Sunday, July 28, in Wilmington.

The life-sized statue, created by sculptor Eugene Daub, stands in front of the doors of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s new dispatch hall at Anaheim and Alameda streets.

Organized labor pioneer Bridges founded the union — and remains its most revered figurehead nearly 30 years after his death.

Attending the unveiling were several members of Bridges’ family, including his son, Robbie Bridges, and several grandchildren.

Born on July 28, 1901, in Australia, Bridges arrived in San Francisco in 1920 where his subsequent union organizing activities a few years later landed him in jail.

Bridges also was threatened with deportation, but became a naturalized citizen in 1945.

He died on March 30, 1990, at the age of 88.

The statue depicts Bridges speaking at a lectern, his right arm and forefinger extended as he makes a point. The pose was a familiar one of his during his organizing years, according to those who knew Bridges.

The $90,000 statue was commissioned by ILWU’s Southern California Pensioners with strong support by former union President David Arian, who before his death pledged $50,000 toward the cost from the Harry Bridges Foundation.

Greg Mitre, ILWU Pensioner president, and Arian had the idea 10 years ago of creating a monument that would honor the union’s leader and become a “beacon” to workers entering the hall.

Mitre served as host for the outdoor ceremony.

In addition to Daub, the artist, those attending included:

  • ILWU Local 13 President Ray Familathe;
  • ILWU Local 13 Vice President Gary Herrera;
  • ILWU President Willie Adams;
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn;
  • Los Angeles City Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Mike Bonin;
  • ILWU Coast Committee member Ponce De Leon;
  • And Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner Diane Middleton.

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