International President Brian McWilliams' speech for WTO labor
free trade advocates of the WTO have come to Seattle to further
strategic takeover of the global economy. We in the ILWU want
to give them
the welcome they deserve and let them know what we think of their
So we've closed the Port of Seattle and other ports on the West
will be no business as usual today.
In closing these ports the ILWU is demonstrating to the
CEOs and their agents here in Seattle that the global economy
will not run
without the consent of the workers. And we don't just mean longshore
workers, but workers everywhere in this country and around the
When the ILWU boycotted cargo from El Salvador and apartheid
Africa, when we would not work scab grapes from the California
cross picket lines in support of the fired Liverpool dockers,
concrete expressions of our understanding that the interests
people transcend national and local boundaries, and that labor
truly means that when necessary we will engage in concrete action.
That is why the ILWU is here today, with all of you--to
agents of global capital that we, the workers, those who care
justice and protecting our rights and our planet, will not sit
while they meet behind closed doors to carve up our world. We
what they have in mind for us is a race to the bottom, dismantling
protective laws wherever they find us weak, that they want to pit workers
country against the workers of another, to erase our protections
standards in an international corporate feeding frenzy in which
are not just on the menu--we are the main course. We will not cooperate!
We know our history, our legacy and our ongoing responsibility.
one can make this statement stronger than longshore workers who
living moving international cargo. And what do we want? We demand
trade--not free trade--not the policies of the WTO that are devastating
workers everywhere and the planet that sustains us.
And let us be clear. Let's not allow the free traders
to paint us as
isolationist anti-traders. We are for trade. Don't ever forget--it
labor of working people that produces all the wealth. When we
demand fair trade policies we mean we demand a world in which trade
dignity and fair treatment to all workers, with its benefits shared fairly
equally, a world in which the interconnectedness of trade promotes
and encourages healthy and environmentally sound and sustainable
a world which promotes economic justice and social justice and
sanity. The free traders promote economic injustice, social injustice
We are sending the WTO this message loud and clear. We
will not sit
idly by while you corporate puppets of the WTO plot this economic
You will not seize control of our world without a fight.
Are you ready for the fight? Damn right!