The Cannery Pier Hotel rests on the 100 year-old pilings that formerly supported the Union Fisherman's Cooperative Packing Company. Formed in 1897, it was the result of a turbulent time that favored big business cannery owners instead of the fishermen. Disputes with cannery owners about prices per fish started in 1876, with fishermen going on strike, and in 1880 they formed the Columbia River Fishermen's Protective Union. Tensions came to a head in 1896 when the fishermen went on strike again. Two strike-breakers were shot and more violence threatened, and the Oregon National Guard was called in to break the strike. After this, about 200 fishermen (mostly Finnish) came together, pooled their resources, and formed the Union Fisherman's Cooperative Packing Company. By 1904, it had become the largest cannery in Astoria. It remained a fishermen-owned business until the late 1940's.
For in-depth information about the history of Astoria's fishing past and Finnish heritage, check out "Fins, Finns and Astorians" by Greg Jacob, Ph.D. , available in the Hotel gift shop and Astoria local bookstores.
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