Market Street Carnival: Labor Panel



In the front row of "Labor's March" are Richard Powers of the Lake Seamen's Union, W.C. Owen of the Iron Trades Council, Andrew Furseth of the Coast Seamen's Union, Frank Roney of the Workingman's Party, and Michael Casey of the Teamsters. Patrick H. McCarthy of the State Building Trades Council was elected Mayor in 1909 as the Union Labor Party's candidate, despite Mayor Schmitz's impeachment. Then come activist Father Peter Yorke of St. Peter's Church, Tom Mooney, Warren Billings--who late in life had a watch repair shop in the Grant Building--Alfred Fuhrman of the International Workingman's Association, and Calvin Ewing, active in both the Knights of Labor and the Republican party.

Hod-carriers, cigarmakers and barbers all organized, and telephone operators struck in 1919. In the 1900s Olav V. Tietmoe was headof the Cement Workers Union yet advocated exclusion of Japanese immigrants. Walter T. MacArthur was President of the Federated Trades Council. Publisher of the Trades Assembly journal TRUTH, Burnett J. Haskell was active in the International Workingman's Association, Marxist politics and the Kaweah commune. World War One veterans were among the Communists who marched on Market Street in 1930.

Eugene Schmitz led the Musician's Union before his dismal Mayoralty. The anarchist Emma Goldman of Dolores Street was active in many good struggles. Paul Scharrenberg edited The Seamen's Journal. Workers in the beer industry organized, and butchers marched in the 1912 Labor Day parade. Typographer James H. Barry edited a labor paper called the Daily Star. Streetcar drivers went on strike in 1907 as in 1902. The IWW were most active in mining and lumbering industries. Will J. French and J. W. Mullen were successive editors of the Labor Clarion. Comedians Kolb and Dill join in, as daredevil aviator Lincoln Beachey circles overhead.

The druggist, radio shop and beerhall signs) were directly across Market Street from the Grant Building in the 1930s, and in the 1920s the Crystal Market opened in the next block. Though its windows were shaken out in the 1906 earthquake, the 1904 Grant Building wasn't dynamited during the subsequent fire because of the Courthouse beside it. Regrettably left out of most organized labor's progress in this era are Chinese, African-Americans and other nonwhites; some turned to entrepeneurial solutions, like candy-vendor "Uncle Sam" , remembered by cartoonist Albert Tolf.

Though I failed to find leaders of Chinese labor organizations to include, I hope other murals arise in San Francisco to fill my omissions. And when Nate Berkowitz suggested a central image of a 1900s policeman breaking up a fight between a German kid and an Irish kid, I was puzzled...until I realized how it reminds us that, for all the milestones achieved, ethnic distrust has continually halted labor's progress in San Francisco as elsewhere.

--Mike Mosher 1998