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Salcido, Tony (1929-) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Salcido, Tony (1929-)
Fuller Form: Anthony Salcido

Historical Note:

Tony Salcido was born on May 20, 1929 in Wilmington, California. His parents, Cristobal "Chu-Chu" and Sofia Salcido, had a total of fourteen children of which he was the seventh.

Salcido’s father, Cristobal, was well known and respected on the waterfront. He was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association local in Los Angeles from its beginnings in 1934 until 1937, and a charter member of the ILWU, Local 13 from 1938, when the West Coast Union broke away from the ILA. Cristobal continued to be an active dockworker until 1956 when he retired. "Chu-Chu” Salcido was one of Local 13's legendary longshoremen and the head of a renowned family of ILWU activists. A lumber handler in the early days and a 1934 strike participant, Chu-Chu was known as a stalwart unionist.

In June of 1947, Salcido joined the United States Army and served for a year and a half. He was discharged as a Staff Sergeant. At this time, Salcido's brother Mike was a dispatcher on the waterfront. When the need for more men presented itself he called Tony and offered him part time work on the docks. Salcido, disillusioned by his junior college basketball coach, decided to pursue extended casual work on the waterfront in Wilmington instead continuing his education.

In August of 1949, Tony Salcido became a Casual Longshoreman (I.D. man). Salcido became a full union member upon being elevated to "A" registration status on December 5, 1951. By 1955, there were six Salcido brothers working as longshoremen: Mike, Cristy, Frankie, Victor, Ned, and Tony.

Salcido's first five years on the waterfront were spent working in the ship holds, loading and unloading bulk cargo. Then he joined different ship "gangs" as a winch driver. In 1965, Salcido was selected as a "supplementary foreman." In 1966, he was selected by the Banning Stevedoring Co. to work steady for them rather than working out of the Dispatch Hall, which allowed him to transfer into ILWU, Local 94, the foreman's union. Salcido did not enjoy being foreman but the local’s secretary and treasurer, Roy Brastead, talked him into remaining for a couple of years. By 1968, he had enough and returned to Local 13 and his position as a winch operator.

In 1972, Salcido checked into the Supplementary Crane Board in the Dispatch Hall and began to learn how to drive cranes by asking drivers to show him how to operate the various models. In 1974, Salcido gained admission into the Crane Operators Training Program. Salcido primarily worked on the docks as a crane operator from 1975 until he retired in 1994.

In 1973, Salcido got more involved in local and international affairs. That year, he ran and was elected to the ILWU, Local 13's Executive Board. In 1974, Salcido ran and was elected as a Caucus and Convention delegate and ran for both positions every year until 1991 when he "…decided to let the new breed [of longshoremen] run their own business." Salcido was also elected to various committees throughout his career including positions on the District Council, Chairman of the Stewards Council and the Registration Advisory Committee.

Salcido ran against Joaquin Hernandez for Secretary and Treasurer in 1977 and was elected to the post for a one-year term. He chose not to run again in 1978 due to the amount of time the position demanded. In notes provided by Salcido for this finding aid, he reflects, "The reason I ran for the job was to remove Hernandez from office as I thought he was doing a lousy job, was incompetent, and had an employer mentality. That year 1978 was a contract year, thus I had the job of running the union while the President was away …”

In 1981, Salcido was elected to the International Executive Board and served in that capacity until 1988. In October 1987 he underwent back surgery due to a work injury. This resulted in his immobilization for approximately eight months. The accident restricted his involvement as a union leader. Since the success of his recovery was uncertain, in 1988 he decided not to run for the Board again.

Tony Salcido retired in November of 1994 at the age of 65. At the time of this writing, Salcido remains active in the union by attending the ILWU Pacific Coast Pensioners' Association Convention every year and regular membership meetings at the Union Hall in Wilmington; however, he has always maintained an excused absence for family vacations.

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