It's Time For ILWU To Stand Up To PMA! Fight For Workers Rights!
Defend Solidarity Actions! Defend ILWU Local 10!
'In my view, the SF Longshore Union's action in support of Wisconsin state workers was entirely consistent with the basic principle of union solidarity in America.' (Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor (April 29, 2011)
The labor movement is under attack, not just the public sector workers in Republican-run Wisconsin and Ohio but Democrat-run California and Massachusetts. Our Longshore Caucus convenes this week May 9-13 at the Stanford Court Hotel (Powell & California Sts.) in San Francisco. These are dangerous times for all unions.
Our waterfront flank, Warehouse Local 17, was raided in March by the Teamsters in Sacramento despite a protest letter from President McEllrath. There has been no word on this attack in The Dispatcher. We've been in alliance with the Teamsters since the 2002 lockout and given them the opportunity to organize the port truckers. In return we got a knife in the back. When we shutdown all ports on the West Coast on May Day 2008, the port truckers witnessed the power of the ILWU and were clamouring to join our union. We need to organize them NOW! The Caucus will have to make some tough decisions that will effect our union, our jobs, our benefits, our working conditions and the labor movement. Remember we're a democratic 'bottom up' union not 'top down'.
When ILWU International President Bob McEllrath and the AFL-CIO called for solidarity actions with the besieged state workers of Wisconson on April 4th , in the best tradition of the ILWU, Local 10 longshoremen did what they've always done for solidarity, chose not to work. The ports of San Francisco and Oakland were shutdown. Now, the bully PMA is suing Local 10 under the vicious anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act which bans solidarity actions. If they are successful, it will have a chilling effect on the labor movement because ILWU more than any other union has organized solidarity actions on the docks with other unions, here on the West Coast and abroad.
In 2008, when PMA tried to intimidate the ILWU Longshore Division from shutting down all West Coast ports to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Negotiating Committee let PMA know there'd be no negotiations if they pursued that course. PMA, in short order dropped their Taft-Hartley threat, and we closed all ports. Now, the Caucus must mobilize all locals to defeat this Taft-Hartley threat against the Local 10.
The lessons of the 1981 PATCO strike are clear: we can not allow unionbusting or raiding today whether in Wisconsin or the California. It'll have a ripple effect across the country. Labor must shut it down tight! That's what ILWU President Jimmy Herman reportedly proposed to Machinists' Union President Winpisinger to support the PATCO strike, that transport unions shut the whole country down. The Machinists' head declined. The labor movement has been on the ropes since the unionbusting of PATCO.
Support for Local 10 came first from the San Francisco Labor Council, the Wisconsin South Central Federation of Labor and Local 34. A joint defense committee set up by the SFLC and Local 10 organized a protest rally in front of PMA headquarters in SF on April 25. A few days before the rally a solidarity message was received from Brother Jim Cavanaugh of the Wisconsin SCFL: 'At our monthly meeting this past Monday night, the delegates to the South Central Federation of Labor, by unanimous vote, directed me to convey to Local 10 our heartfelt thank you for the solidarity your members showed on April 4. The South Central Federation of Labor consists of 95 labor unions representing some 45,000 union members in the greater Madison, Wisconsin, area.
Whether it's racist apartheid in South Africa, imperialist war in Iraq, or fascist plutocracy in Wisconsin, Local 10, over and over again, shows us 'What a Union [should] look like!!'
Please convey our appreciation to your members and kick some PMA ass on April 25.
Now, Local 10 has endorsements from the other Bay Area Labor Councils, the United Electrical Workers Union (Eastern Region), ILA Local 1422 Charleston, South Carolina, the Seattle Pensioners Club, the CGT(Brazil) and the World Federation of Trade Unions.
Harry Bridges and others built the ILWU under the banner 'An injury, to one is an injury to all.' If ILWU still upholds that slogan and the '10 Guiding Principles', then the defense of Local 10, where the ILWU was started, must be paramount. Dockworkers' unions have been busted by joint employer and government attacks in Mexico after NAFTA and Britain. The Teamsters took Warehouse Local 17. Now is the time for our Longshore Division to stand tall.
It's critical that you listen to the radio interview for May Day of Local 10's Clarence Thomas on the nationally syndicated 'Democracy Now!' He explains the importance of Local's 10 defense campaign and why it's been resonating so much in the working class.
CAUCUS DELEGATES: PLEASE SUPPORT LOCAL 10'S DEFENSE CAMPAIGN
Clarence Thomas (Local 10) #8714, Trent Willis (Local 10) #9182, Seattle Pensioners' Club, Farless Dailey (Local 10) #9157, Jerry Lawrence (Local 8) #81878, James Curtis (Local 10) #9639, Anthony Leviege (Local 10) #9576, Russ Miyashiro (Local 34) #13474, Gabriel Prawl (Local 52) #57304, Debby Stringfellow (Local 8) #82838, Michael Hoard (Local 52) #57290, Jack Mulcahy (Local 8) #82013, Norm Parks (ret. President Local 8) #81082, Marcus Holder (Local 10) #101355, Jahn Overstreet (Local 34) #9189, Bill Ross (Local 34) #9078.
May 8, 2011