Longshoreman’s Protective Union Association | South Carolina Public Radio


“L” is for Longshoreman’s Protective Union Association. Chartered in 1869, the Longshoreman’s Protective Union Association [LPUA] established the legacy of a strong union presence, comprised almost entirely of African Americans, along Charleston’s docks. Their longevity, influence, and success marks Charleston longshoremen as perhaps the most prominent exception to South Carolina’s long tradition of anti-unionism. The decline of the port of Charleston in the late 19th century led to a decline in the LPUA. The union’s charter was not renewed in 1900, but in 1936 Charleston longshoremen organized Local 1422 of the International Longshoremen’s Association. At the beginning of the 21st century, ILA Local 1422 was measured among the most efficient port labor forces in the world, and for a South Carolina labor union, enjoyed unusually broad support among local politicians and business leaders.