ILWU to be Excluded from Rally Speakers
|AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA LABOR MOVEMENT
Last month at the meeting of the Labor Committee for Peace and Justice
a vote was taken (12-1) to reverse a prior vote and endorse the Labor
Conference to Stop the War, initiated by ILWU Locals 10 and 34. I
requested at that meeting that Michael Eisenscher, the chair, query the
organizers of the labor rally and the main Oct. 27 antiwar
demonstration whether ILWU could have a speaker. I even suggested
Clarence Thomas of ILWU Local 10 speak. In a conversation last night
with Michael, both Clarence and I reiterated the request that our
union's voice be heard. Michael said he passed on our request to the
"deciders", Sharon Cornu (Executive Secretary of the Alameda Central
Labor Council) and Tim Paulson (Executive Director of the San Francisco
Labor Council), but that their decision was "No". Today, unable to
reach them, I left messages again requesting a speaker from the ILWU.
Considering that no other union locals have done more to oppose the
war, it is only reasonable that our voice should be heard. We believe
it is being censored because as our antiwar conference stated, we need
to organize workers' actions to end the war because the politicians
won't. Both the Democrat and Republican parties continue to fund the
war. It necessary to build antiwar demonstrations, but that's not
sufficient to stop the war. If the labor movement is to build a united
front in these antiwar demonstrations and mobilize workers, then
critical voices, especially of a militant trade union that was
instrumental in leading the general strike that built the modern trade
union movement here in San Francisco must be heard.
*We were the first union to vote to end the war and withdraw troops
(May 1, 2003).
*We spoke at the nearly 2,000,000 strong antiwar demonstration in
London, England (Feb. 2003) before the start of the war.
*Nine ILWU members were shot and business agent Jack Heyman beaten and
arrested April 7, 2003 along with scores of peaceful antiwar
demonstrators in a port of Oakland protest at the start of the war.
* One month later Clarence led a protest in the port of Oakland to
reassert everyone's Constitutional right to freedom of expression,
while the war profiteers, APL and SSA were forced to keep their ships
at sea rather than risk confrontation.
*We sent our member Clarence Thomas, the only African American
representative in the delegation of five, to Iraq during the war to
establish contact with the embattled Iraqi trade unions (Oct. 2003).
*In March 19, 2005 we shutdown the port with a stopwork meeting to
protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq on its second anniversary.
*We've participated in every antiwar demonstration in San Francisco and
Oakland since the start of the war.
*Longshore workers and ship clerks honored a picket line (May 19, 2007)
at the SSA Terminal in Oakland for two shifts for which these war
profiteers are attempting to penalize some of our members with one
month off work!
*Most recently two black longshoremen from San Francisco were beaten,
maced and arrested while returning to work after lunch in the port of
Sacramento, under the rubric of the repressive Homeland Security
regulations ordained by the "war on terror" directed against port
workers and supported by both Democrat and Republican politicians.
What more does a union have to do to be heard at an antiwar rally? You
Jack Heyman, Local 10 Executive Board member, Alameda Central Labor
Clarence Thomas, Local 10, Alameda Central Labor Council, Executive
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