Labor Hall of Fame Honoree (2003)
"Money, marbles and chalk." Phrase Paul Hall used regularly to express solidarity with other unions."
A better life for seafarers, a strengthened Merchant Marine, a stronger labor movement, and better opportunities for youths and minorities this is the rich legacy that Paul Hall bequeathed to the Nation. Born near land-locked Birmingham, Alabama, he saw opportunity on the high seas and shipped out as a merchant ship's oiler. Concerned over harsh working conditions at sea, he helped found the Seafarers' International Union in 1938. After leading its Atlantic and Gulf District he rose to the presidency of the SIU in 1957 and served on the AFL-CIO's Executive Council. Hall banned discrimination in his union, negotiated welfare and medical programs, established the SIU training facility posthumously named after him, and helped raise seafarers into the middle class. He also helped revitalize the merchant marine by promoting containerization and by playing a major role in the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.