The Women of the Waterfront Oral History Project Collection consists of oral history interviews of female ILWU members conducted between the years 1993 and 1997 as part of the ILWU, Local 13 "Women on the Waterfront" Oral History Project. They were conducted as a continuation of the ILWU Oral History Project which documented the stories of the union’s workforce who labored on the docks of the Southern California Waterfront between the 1930s and 1960s. After the "1982 Golden et al. Consent Decree" more and more women came to work on the West Coast docks. These oral histories began to tell the story of waterfront from a female perspective.
In the early 1990s, Dr. Nancy Fernandez and several of her students from the CSUN History Department, in cooperation with the Urban Archives Center, undertook the "Women on the Waterfront" project to collect the personal stories of the women who worked the docks alongside the men, as well as those women who worked for the union as secretarial workers. Members of the ILWU Ladies Auxiliary, Local 8 were also asked to participate in the oral history project.
Some of the issues touched upon in these oral histories include family life of the women laborers, sexual and racial discrimination on the docks, the yearly picnic commemorating the "Bloody Thursday" strikes of 1934 and the Modernization and Mechanization Agreement which brought more women to work on the waterfront. In 1995, the Urban Archives Center was awarded a generous grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust to continue work on the "Women on the Waterfront" project. Final accessioning and transcription of this oral history project was completed in November 2005.
The collection is divided into two series, Audio Recordings (1992-1997) and Transcripts (2005).