1992 Southern California Drywallers Strike

Looking back at the 1992 Southern California Drywallers Strike

In June of 1992, the Southern California residential drywall market was in a downward spiral – the price of drywall labor was 3.5 to 5 cents a foot. Drywallers worked grueling 12-hour days, 7 days a week and were lucky if they took home $500. After meeting with other drywallers going through the same situation, they knew that something had to be done and decided to go on strike.

Workers held each other accountable. More than 4,000 drywallers stood shoulder-to-shoulder and brought the industry to its knees. Residential construction from Ventura County to the Mexican border came to a halt.

During the 9 months of the strike, workers took traveling pickets to job sites across Southern California. The strikers were harassed. They were jailed. They were subject to heavy police surveillance. But they would not be deterred from fighting for a better life for themselves and their families.

On December 19, 1992, a formal agreement was signed with 52 drywall contractors throughout Southern California. This movement not only resulted in almost 50% of increased wages but also has remained an important moment in the labor movement, as well as Southern California history.