Harry Lundeberg

Harrald Olaf Lundeberg[2] (March 25, 1901 – January 28, 1957) was a merchant seaman and an American labor leader.

Harry Lundeberg
Harry Lundeberg by E. Hunt.jpg
Second President of SIU
Born(1901-03-25)March 25, 1901
DiedJanuary 28, 1957(1957-01-28) (aged 55)
Resting placeOlivet Memorial Park, Colma, California[1]
OccupationTrade union leader


Lundeberg left his home in Oslo, Norway at age 14,[3] joined the Seamen's Union of Australia in 1917 and transferred into the Sailors' Union of the Pacific in Seattle[3] in 1923.[4] He sailed for 21 years on sailing ships and steamers of a variety of flags,[3] eventually earning American citizenship.[3]

In 1934, Lundeberg was sailing as third mate aboard the SS James W. Griffiths.[3] In the course of the 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike, Lundeberg walked off his ship in Oakland in support of the strike.[5] At its height, at least 8,000 west coast sailors joined the strike. On July 30, 1934, as the strike came close to conclusion, Lundeberg was elected Sailor's Union of the Pacific patrolman for the Seattle area.

In April 1935[6] at a conference of maritime unions in Seattle, it was decided to establish an umbrella union to represent the membership of the International Seaman's Union as well as maritime officers and longshoremen. This umbrella organization was called the Maritime Federation and Lundeberg was named its first president.[6] Later that year, he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of SUP.

Over the next two years, the International Seamen's Union experienced intense difficulties, including the revocation of their charter and the loss of 30,000 seamen in July 1937 to the Congress of Industrial Organizations' newly formed National Maritime Union. A month later, William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, took over the ISU with the goal of rebuilding it under the AFL. Lundeberg, who was now also head of the Sailor's Union of the Pacific, oversaw this reorganization.[7] On October 15, 1938 at an AFL convention in Houston, Texas, Green handed Lundeberg the Seafarer's International Union charter. The new union numbered some 7,000 members on the east and gulf coasts.

Lundeberg served as president of SIU from 1938 until his death from a heart attack in a San Francisco hospital on January 28, 1957.[8]


This monument commemorates Harry Lundeberg, and his efforts in the S.U.P. strike
  • There is a memorial sculpture to Harry Lundeberg at 450 Harrison Street in San Francisco, California, outside the entrance to the Sailors Union of the Pacific Hall. The sculpture consists of a bust of Lundeberg, placed on a marble pedestal in front of the building. On the pedestal is a plaque which reads: Harry Lundeberg - 1901–1957 - He was indeed a man who crowded into a short life no glittering promise, but unselfish service and general achievement for the course he called his own.[9][10]
  • In 1967, Paul Hall established the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in Piney Point, Maryland to give young people the chance for a career at sea. Since then, thousands of SIU members have advanced their skills, and thousands of young people from deprived backgrounds have found employment through the school. There is a memorial to Hary Lundeberg outside the Seaman's Hotel at the Seafarers Harry Lundeburg School of Seamanship. Norwegian Cruise Line provides in-house STCW training in this facility for their new hires.


  • Lundeberg's nickname was "The Lunchbox."[11]
  • Lundeberg was 6 feet 2½ inches tall and weighed 190 pounds[11]
  • Lundeberg was tattooed and "never ducked a waterfront strike or a dock brawl."[11]
  • Lundeberg had a longstanding feud with longshoreman's president Harry Bridges.[11]
  • Lundeberg "once got a smashed jaw from a C.I.O.-swung baseball bat"[11]

In testimony before the Canadian Parliament in 1996, David Broadfoot of the Canadian Merchant Navy Association recalled that in 1946, "Our government imported a thug, a real heavy-duty gangster from Brooklyn (Hal C. Banks), to smash our union and bring in the Seafarers' International Union... which was no different from the Teamsters at its worst and no different from the longshoremen's association at its worst... They came on our ships with baseball bats and bicycle chains. That's how they introduced their union to Canada." "Tuesday June 18, 1996". http://www.parl.gc.ca. https://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Archives/Committee/352/defa/evidence/06_96-06-18/defa06_blk-e.html. Retrieved March 16, 2008

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Burial Place". Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  2. ^ "Harry Lundeberg Stetson" (PDF). West Coast Sailors. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 15, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Centennial Retrospective" (PDF). West Coast Sailors. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 15, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  4. ^ "Chapter IV: Twilight of Freedom" (PDF). Sailor's Union of the Pacific History. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 1, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  5. ^ "Chapter VI: Year of Rebirth (1934)" (PDF). Sailor's Union of the Pacific History. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Chapter VIII: Twilight of Freedom" (PDF). Sailor's Union of the Pacific History. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  7. ^ "SIU & Maritime History". SIU History. Archived from the original on February 24, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  8. ^ "The Early Years: New Union Elects First Administration". AMO History. Archived from the original on July 30, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2007.
  9. ^ Bust of Harry Lundeberg (Smithsonian Art Inventory Sculptures)
  10. ^ "CA Landmarks". laborheritage.org. Archived from the original on February 9, 2007. Retrieved March 16, 2007.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Milestones". Time Magazine. February 11, 1957. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2007.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Trade union offices
Preceded by
new position
President of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Succeeded by
Preceded by
new position
President of the Seafarers International Union of North America
Succeeded by