Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for December 3 2016

IBU - Mon, 12/05/2016 - 09:35
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Categories: Unions

Unionism and Anti-Fascism

IWW - Wed, 11/30/2016 - 12:13

Statement on Opposing All Oppression from the Twin Cities GDC Local 14

1. ANY SUCCESSFUL WORKER REVOLUTION WILL REQUIRE PARTICIPATION FROM DIVERSE MEMBERS OF THE WORKING CLASS, CURRENTLY DIVIDED BY MANY OPPRESSIONS.

We fight against capitalism. We do so because capitalism is organized theft based on hierarchy. We unionize because fighting this authoritarian theft can be done most successfully in the workplace, at the point of production. In unionizing we face many challenges, from creating strategies and tactics to accomplish our goals, as well as maintaining morale, fighting spirit, and solidarity with each other.

One of the most difficult challenges the working class faces is that of oppressive social divisions. We may be of a single class, but we are not the same as a result. In addition to experiencing the oppressions of our class, we have differing experiences of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism and Islamphobia, along with other types of oppressions. Some of us experience privilege on the basis of our race, sex, gender, or religion, while others among us experience oppression on precisely the same grounds.

The ruling classes know this, of course. It is one of their favorite strategies for destroying organized workers: divide and conquer. Many of these oppressions exist in starkest relief in America’s massive prison-industrial system, where wardens encourage and enforce racial segregation and violence among prisoners, precisely as a system of maintaining control. These forms of control through oppression are not limited to prisons, of course. We see and experience them in our daily lives, and in our workplaces as well.

To maintain solidarity with all workers requires that we maintain explicit solidarity with workers on the diverse grounds of their oppression. Our revolution cannot maintain a merely minimal, workerist, program which concentrates on the oppression of labor and leaves other problems solely to those workers who face them. Given the still relatively homogenous makeup of the Industrial Workers of the World, to do so sends a clear message to the working class experiencing such oppressions that the class struggle and their struggles against racism, gendered, or religious oppression are separate issues. If you were already struggling to keep the basics of your life together in the face of constant attacks on your person, would you be interested in taking on another massive but unconnected struggle in your workplace? By pointing out the ways in which struggles against all oppression support and further our collective freedom from class and other oppressions, we gain strength as a union.

Neither have we proceeded, historically, with a minimal program of workplace organization that leaves other oppressions unchallenged. The Industrial Workers of the World were founded in 1905 in part precisely to overcome the divisions of race, sex, religion, language, nationality, etc., among the working class. Militantly in favor of the organization of the entire working class, Wobblies quickly turned toward the power of young women in garment factories, racially-mixed work-gangs on the waterfronts, and nationally diverse immigrant groups. The IWW took on the Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations that attempted to divide the class on the grounds of race. More recently, some IWW branches have begun to successfully undermine the divisions of oppressions based on gendered identities in ways that seem truly revolutionary.

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Categories: Unions

Anti-racist message from Clydeside IWW | St Andrew’s Day march 2016

IWW - Wed, 11/30/2016 - 12:04

By Edinburgh Wobbly - IWW Scotland, November 25, 2016

Now more than ever we need organising that is:

  • anti-racist
  • anti-fascist
  • internationalist.

Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections, following the recent Brexit vote, creates a whole new political climate in the West.

Since the 1980s, working class people have suffered a massive attack with the loss of traditional industries, in favour of low-paid service jobs, and the destruction of the labour movement.  The neoliberal model that was created was based on growth through the financial sector and it led to the 2008 economic crisis.

When the UK government bailed out the banks it forced us to shoulder the cost through austerity, cutting vital services and targetting the most vulnerable.

The left responded to post-crisis austerity first through mass protest around the world, and then the rise of several populist movements seeking parliamentary power.  One by one, they have been defeated or have so far been unable to provide any real challenge.

And now things are about to get worse.

There are many uncertainties – what will Brexit mean? how will Trump govern?  What we can expect in the UK is that austerity will go on, even if the aim is no longer to cut the deficit, and real wages  will continue to decline.

Both Brexit and Trump’s presidency are a victory for the far right.  Immigration to the UK will be curbed and border controls will become even more cruel.  Racism against ethnic minorities will be reinforced by the tabloid media as the nationalist dream fails to appear.

Of course, we know that migrants don’t lower wages – bosses do.

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Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for November 26 2016

IBU - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 09:31
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Categories: Unions

A message to the working class in the wake of the 2016 United States Presidential election from the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World

IWW - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 12:41

Official Statement - IWW General Executive Board, November 22, 2016

These are difficult times for the working class, times of struggle and hardship. The employing class controls more of the world’s wealth and power than ever before, and the divide between working people and our oppressors grows wider by the day.

It is important to remember that this is nothing new. The ruling class has been waging a war against the working class since the birth of capitalism. We, the workers of the world, continue to be exploited and abused, the value of our labor always falling into the boss’ pockets. While they rake in unprecedented profits, the employing class continues to damage our planet through the unsustainable and irresponsible extraction of natural resources. These vultures tell you that your disappointments, your failures, and your hardships are the fault of other working class people. People of different races, genders, nationalities, and religions. “Blame immigrants,” they say. “Blame blacks and Latinos,” they say. As we fight amongst ourselves, the ruling class celebrates in their gilded halls, making toasts to the disunity of the working class.

Many people in the working class sought out hope in the electoral system this year, confident that reason and compassion would hold the day. Many other people in the working class were motivated by bigotry. The electoral system is designed to disenfranchise all working people, to take their hopes and desires as mere suggestions rather than as concrete demands. Unions, which are supposed to fight for all working people, organized people to put their faith in fighting bigotry at the ballot box - and now they say they are “ready to work with” the representatives of bigotry and division.You are no doubt feeling disillusioned, fearful, and angry, and are ready to consider different ways of fighting back against our oppressors.

We, the Industrial Workers of the World, invite you to work with us in building a new kind of labor movement, one that refuses to play by the rules of the employing class. An approach where we no longer allow them to divide us along artificial lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or religion. From housewives to factory workers to prisoners to office workers, we are all the working class, and it is our labor that creates all wealth. We can challenge the ruling class if we unite with each other, but that unity must start with defending the most oppressed and vulnerable groups among us first, for “an injury to one is an injury to all.” It is clear that there is a strong current of bigotry within the US working class, and we pledge to confront that head on in our organizing. We believe we can win workers away from bigotry if we show that we have a plan to win a better world. We must work towards the creation of a new world in the shell of the old, and the only way to do that is through organizing in our workplaces and in our communities.

The Industrial Workers of the World have been organizing working people for over 110 years, and our future as a revolutionary union is bright. Our approach is one of direct action. Instead of relying on elected officials and other intermediaries, we take the fight directly to our oppressors. We have been trailblazers in the modern labor movement, organizing fast food workers in Oregon, package handlers in Minnesota, entertainers and restaurant workers in New York, and prison laborers throughout the country, to name just a few. Our members have been at the forefront of resistance to police violence and the Dakota access pipeline. We have been working tirelessly to build a genuine and truly representative working class organization that can provide strength to working people, and we need your help.

If you have questions about exactly who we are and what we do, let's talk. If you're ready to organize and resist, join us and we will welcome you as fellow workers and fellow members of the working class. It is time to organize, it is time to fight back. Let's make white supremacists, fascists, and other hate mongers fear our power. Our struggle will be long and it will be difficult, but we will win. Sign up for the One Big Union today, and let’s organize together in our workplaces and communities. Nothing is too good for the working class, and we want all the good things life has to offer.

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Categories: Unions

Calling Alaska Pensioners!

ILWU - Fri, 11/18/2016 - 12:13

ILWU pensioners are beginning to get organized in Alaska. It started this past September at the Pacific Coast Pensioners Association Convention where ILWU President Bob McEllrath and Pacific Coast Pensioners President Greg Mitre presented a new charter authorizing the formation of the All Alaska Pensioners Group. Coordinating the effort is W.C. “Pee Wee” Smith of Ketchikan, shown in the lower photo, receiving the official charter document. He’s counting on help from many pensioners to overcome the large distances and travel expenses

involved with organizing a network in Alaska. Important help was recently provided with a donation from active members of the Alaska Longshore Division who donated $5000 to help jump start the Pensioner’s treasury plus a $5000 annual donation to the group’s travel fund. Smith says the contributions are a big help and much appreciated. Appearing in the top photo are (L-R) former Local 200 President John Bush from Juneau, Ardith and husband W.C. “Pee Wee” Smith of Ketchikan who is President of the All Alaska Pensioners Group, Past President of Kodiak Unit John Kennedy who also served as past Secretary-Treasurer of the Alaska Longshore Division, Gene and Maggie Fennimore of Wrangell, Alaska.

Categories: Unions

ILWU members help public radio survive in Alaska

ILWU - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 16:32

Young voices: Radio station KUCB provides essential news and information for a diverse community in a remote part of Alaska where natives, newcomers and Filipino immigrant families work in the maritime and fishing industry.

Radio station KUCB is a relatively small operation compared to her big-city sisters in the Lower 48, but she provides a vital lifeline of news and information for thousands of residents living around the small town of Unalaska and the Port of Dutch Harbor, located in the Aleutian Islands, hundreds miles from Alaska’s mainland on the edge of the fish-rich but notoriously deadly Bering Sea.

Falling oil prices have been hard on Alaska’s state and local budgets – resulting in 50 percent less state funding for KUCB. “We were really concerned about our budget this year because of the funding cuts, but the ILWU and other groups really came through for us,” said station manager Lauren Adams. The station held a one-day pledge drive on October 14 with a $20,000 goal – but ended up raising a record-breaking $30,000.

Over $3,000 of those dollars came from ILWU members who responded to a challenge from  longshore worker Juliet Vries, who volunteers each year during the pledge drive. A total of 25 ILWU members stepped forward to help the cause.

“The ILWU is strongly invested in our community here and they showed that during our pledge drive. We can’t thank them enough for contributing when our station needed it most,” said Adams who has managed the station for 12 years

Categories: Unions

ILWU solidarity helps Hanjin seafarers defend their right to shore leave

ILWU - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 15:35

Chinese crew members from the Hanjin Seattle celebrate their shore leave. Customs officials changed their policy after solidarity efforts from the ILWU and support from lawmakers in Washington.

Crewmembers on foreign flagged vessels arriving at West Coast ports have frequently sought help from ILWU members and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) inspectors.

“Sometimes we discover that crew members haven’t been paid correctly, or other times they report abusive working conditions, but sometimes it comes down to respecting their right to shore leave after working weeks or months at sea,” said ITF Coordinator Jeff Engels in Seattle.

This history of helping seafarers explains how a brief, spontaneous solidarity action by ILWU members at the Port of Seattle on the evening of September 26, helped crewmembers aboard the Hanjin vessel Marine who were denied shore leave by officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Spontaneous solidarity

“The solidarity action on September 26 was a spontaneous response by ILWU members who saw the frustration of those crew members who were locked aboard their ship for several weeks,” said Local 19 President Rich Austin, Jr.

ILWU members responded quickly to the sight of crewmembers aboard the Marine who dangled a homemade banner emblazoned with the words, “We deserve shore leave” and “Thank you ILWU.” Dozens of ILWU members who were working on the Seattle dock briefly cheered for the crew and blew horns on vehicles that were operating alongside the container vessel around 6pm.

Support from ITF officials

The solidarity action won praise from leaders of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), who said the refusal to grant shore leave to seafarers on Hanjin ships calling at U.S. ports amounted to a denial of human rights.

ITF First Vice Chair and ILWU Vice President (Mainland) Ray Familathe said, “Preventing these seafarers from going ashore denies them a basic right, especially after they’ve been on a ship for weeks or months.” Familathe said the ILWU urged the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review decisions made by some regional officials who enacted the lockdown against seafarers.

Familathe, who previously served as an Inspector/Coordinator for the ITF, added, “members of Congress asked CBP for an explanation and change of policy,”

Customs officials said the shore leave was denied because of fears that Hanjin’s recent bankruptcy might encourage some seafarers to jump ship.

Those fears haven’t been realized and the ILWU solidarity action and follow-up work appears to have encouraged CBP officials to reconsider their blanket prohibition against shore leave – confirmed when crewmembers on the next Hanjin vessel that docked in Seattle on October 14 were allowed shore leave.

Monitoring conditions

ITF West Coast Coordinator Jeff Engels and ITF Inspector Stefan Mueller closely monitored working conditions aboard Hanjin vessels after the company declared bankruptcy on August 31. ITF officials also worked closely with the Federation of Korean Seafarers’ Unions and Korean Shipowners’ Association, who formed a joint taskforce to ensure that food, water and other provisions were put aboard, along with special insurance coverage to see that wages and pension benefits would be guaranteed for seafarers.

Weeks without shore leave

“We want to ensure that crewmembers are being paid fairly and served good food, which has been the case on every Hanjin vessel we’ve inspected so far,” Engels said. He was, however, concerned about conditions aboard the Hanjin Marine in September, because that vessel had been waiting offshore for several weeks before it docked in Seattle. To make matters worse, crewmembers aboard the Marine and other Hanjin vessels had been previously stranded offshore in Southern California and denied shore leave there.

Change for the better

“When Customs officials changed course by allowing crewmembers aboard the Hanjin Vessel Seattle to go ashore on October 14, it signaled that the agency was open to a more flexible and compassionate approach,” said Engels, who believes that ILWU solidarity and support from lawmakers in Washington played an important role in encouraging the change in shore leave. But he wanted to make sure that Hanjin crewmembers would get shore leave at other ports, so after the vessel Seattle departed the Puget Sound and traveled south to the Port of Long Beach in late October, Inspector Stefan Mueller was ready and waiting to help.

“When I came up the gangway to do my inspection, five crewmembers were already heading down with their shore leave,” he said. Mueller completed a thorough inspection and interviewed the Captain and crew, which allowed him to verify that all hands were paid up and fresh provisions had recently been put aboard.

Both Engels and Mueller agree that it’s too early to know if the CBP policy on shore leave for Hanjin crewmembers will continue, so both plan to monitor the issue.

Tradition of solidarity

The ILWU was founded on a tradition of solidarity for all workers, especially those in the maritime industry.

Sailors had already organized unions aboard vessels long before dockworkers succeeded in doing so. In 1934, longshore workers were day-laborers without rights and subject to terrible abuse.

The West Coast Waterfront Strike in the summer of 1934 sought to improve conditions for all maritime workers, including seafarers as well and longshore workers.

“The ILWU’s history is based on solidarity and when we say an injury to one is an injury to all, we mean it,” said ILWU International President Bob McEllrath who added, “all of us have a responsibility to keep that tradition alive.”

Categories: Unions

 Trump stuns the establishment; union members face challenges

ILWU - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 11:03

 

Getting out the vote in Missouri: Local 5 member Ron Solomon talks with a Missouri voter about the issues facing working class Americans. The ILWU sent teams to support pro-union candidates in six states.

Donald Trump stunned the political establishment on November 8 with a knockout blow to conventional wisdom and corporate liberalism, delivered by angry working-class voters.

“America’s working class has been frozen out or falling behind for three decades while the upper crust has been partying with Washington insiders and Wall Streeters from both parties,” said ILWU International President Bob McEllrath. “Trump tapped into that anger while his opponent stood for the establishment.”

Would Bernie have done better?

The ILWU backed Bernie Sanders during the primaries because he spoke honestly about working class anger, the loss of good jobs and corruption of the political process. And unlike Trump, Sanders also offered specific proposals to make things better, including Medicare for All, free tuition at public colleges, and ending the corrupt campaign finance system. He made his appeals without the scapegoating, racism and threats of violence that Trump used to manipulate media coverage and tap into dangerous hate politics. Nobody can say for sure whether Sanders would have prevailed over Trump if he were running instead of Clinton, but he did prove it was possible to win big support from working class and independent voters in Michigan and Wisconsin who embraced Sanders over Clinton in both primary elections.

The only vote that counts

The final results show that Clinton won the overall “popular” vote, but she failed to win according to America’s peculiar Electoral College system that gave Donald Trump the White House after winning the decisive “rust-belt battleground” states where working class voters, including current and former union members, chose Trump as their change agent in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Voters were hurting

“I kept meeting people at their homes around Cleveland who told me about the good jobs they used to have that were gone now because of NAFTA,” said Local 6 member Victor Pamiroyan who travelled to Ohio with Erik Ferrel of the IBU and Local 5’s Mark Sailor and Ron Solomon. The quartet hoped to win support for pro-union Senate candidate Ted Strickland, but quickly came to realize how hard their task was to reach voters who had been hammered by decades of job losses. “Seeing all those empty factories as I drove into town from the airport was really shocking,” said Pamiroyan.

ILWU helps in six states

Our team in Ohio: (L-R) Team Leader Erik Ferrel from IBU’s Puget Sound Region,
Local 6 member Victor Pamiroyan, Political Director Dan O’Malley of the North
Shore Central Labor Council, ILWU Local 5 member Mark Sailor, Cleveland Canvassing
Director Zachary Ogle and Get-Out The Vote Director Jessica Weinstein from Zone 2
in Ohio.

The ILWU sent small teams of union members to six key states during the final two weeks of the election: Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Missouri.

After arriving, each team connected with other union members who were part of a coordinated campaign effort to contact union households and encourage them to vote for pro-union candidates. Each of the six states had a competitive U.S. Senate race where union-friendly candidates were hoping to defeat anti-union incumbents or challengers.

Hoping to tip the balance

The hope was that winning U.S. Senate races in four or five states could change the balance of power in the Senate, to prevent Congress from passing more anti-union legislation.

That effort to elect four new pro-union senators failed, giving Trump a better chance to pass anti-union laws that will hurt working families and union members.

Anti-union history

Trump managed to win most of the working class votes – estimated to be 40% of the total – despite his clear record of anti-union behavior.

“Trump’s view about unions is pretty clear,” said President McEllrath. “There were picket lines in front of Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas because workers inside couldn’t get him to negotiate and the National Labor Relations Board just filed charges ordering him to recognize and negotiate a contract. He also exploited immigrant workers on his construction jobs, sent jobs overseas for his clothing line, and told workers here in the U.S. to cut pay and benefits if they want jobs – while promising bigger tax breaks for corporations and the super-rich.”

Seeking pro-union votes in Pennsylvania: The ILWU’s team in PA worked hard but despite their best efforts, pro-union candidate Katie McGinty was unable to prevail in her bid for the U.S. Senate. While voters in Philadelphia County
backed pro-union candidates by more than 80%, support was lacking statewide, especially in smaller towns and more rural areas. (L-R) Team leader Dane Fredericks from Local 5, Ali Vekich from Local 19, Philly AFL-CIO staffer Thelma Clements and IBU member Gary Bucknum.

Turning workers against each other

Trump wasn’t the first anti-union candidate to win working class votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. All three states were once full of union members, and politicians were dependably pro-union until factories started closing and moving overseas in the 1970’s. The families who remained after losing their jobs and benefits became fertile ground for anti-union politicians who constantly blamed unions for “driving away jobs” while promising to put more money in people’s pockets by cutting taxes, and talking tough on crime with racial undertones.

After years of this scapegoating, it became easier to attack public unions for being “greedy” when they sought pay raises and pensions.

Fertile ground for Trump

By the time Trump arrived in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, each state had been pounded for decades by runaway shops and anti-union politicians, including Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Governor John Kasich in Ohio and Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan. Walker and Snyder both advocated “right-to-work” legislation and Walker was able to strip public employees of most union rights – and won public support from many current and former union members for those policies. The final ingredient that secured anti-union political support from working-class voters in the Rust Belt were “wedge issues” including abortion, gay rights, gun control and school prayer. Trump arrived in the Rust Belt prepared with talking points that fit neatly into a narrative provided by anti-union politicians who are skilled at winning working-class votes. Polling by the AFL-CIO found over 40% of union members in these states were willing to vote for anti-union candidates, and claim that number fell to 30 percent after education and outreach work. Bernie Sanders proved that he could win back most of those voters with a positive, pro-union message, but the AFL-CIO and most large unions refused to support him. Hillary Clinton struggled to win working class voters and was easily dismissed as dishonest, entitled and more in touch with Wall Street than Main Street. The Clinton’s history of supporting free trade agreements like NAFTA and hob-knobbing with elites made her damaged goods on November 8.

Fighting the good fight

Despite these challenges, ILWU members went into battle against antiunion politicians and came away with their heads held high.

Fighting for workers in Florida: Voters in the Sunshine State went
for anti-union Senator Marco Rubio despite a spirited effort by ILWU team members James “Andy” Jackson (L) from Ketchikan, Alaska, and team leader Todd Weeks from Local 19 (2nd from right). Between them are Richard and Sergio, leaders of the South Florida AFL-CIO. Not in the photo is team member W.C. “PeeWee” Smith, retired longshoreman and President of the All Alaska Pensioners Group.

Florida is a long way from Alaska

“I’m an Alaska native from the Tlingit nation, so traveling to Florida was a long way from home and it was so much hotter there,” said James “Andy” Jackson. “We knocked on doors and talked with people about voting. I didn’t realize we’d be doing that when I signed up, but it was fun and worthwhile.” Pensioner W.C. “Pee Wee” Smith was also from Ketchikan, Alaska, and had a twisted ankle, so he navigated and drove Local 19 team leader Todd Weeks and Andy Jackson to each house on their route. They were warmly welcomed by most residents in the predominantly immigrant neighborhoods of Kendall near Miami.

“Many didn’t speak much English, but their faces really lit up when they saw who we were supporting,” said Jackson.

On a quick road trip they took further south of Miami, they noticed a lot more Trump signs. Senate challenger Patrick Murphy was soundly defeated by anti-union incumbent Marco Rubio, who won by almost 8% and 700,000 votes. “It was amazing to meet all the immigrants from so many different countries, and most of them were supportive,” said Todd Weeks. “It was a good experience and I would definitely do it again.”

Getting out the vote in Ohio

Ohio team leader Erik Ferrel’s group included Mark Sailor from Local 5 and Victor Pamiroyan from Local 6. He said their group was warmly greeted by other union members when they arrived at the North Shore AFL-CIO office in Cleveland. “They were excited to see us and said they had missed our help during the past few years,” he said. “We spent our days knocking on doors and getting commitments to vote early.” Despite the hard work by ILWU members and other union volunteers, pro-union Senate candidate and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland was crushed by anti-union incumbent Rob Portman, who won by 21 percent and over a million votes.

Wondering about Wisconsin

ILWU Legislative Assistant Bianca Bloomquist and Local 13’s Christine Aguirre both went to Wisconsin feeling hopeful because polls showed pro-union candidate Russ Feingold was expected to win his race against antiunion incumbent Senator Ron Johnson.

When it was over, Johnson, who defeated Feingold six years earlier, was able to keep his seat, winning by 3 percent and almost 100,000 votes. “After our visit, we could see there was lots of work ahead if we want to win back working class voters in Wisconsin, and now after the election results are in, it’s even more true,” said Bloomquist.

Pushing hard in Pennsylvania

“After we were welcomed into the union campaign headquarters in Philadelphia by a big group of our union brothers and sisters, we got right into the door-to-door fight in the neighborhoods,” said team leader Dane Fredericks of Local 5. The PA team included IBU member Gary Bucknum and Local 19 member Alexandra Vekich. The Senate race pitted anti-union incumbent Senator Pat Toomey against union supporter Katie McGinty, who was up in the polls at one point, but lost on election day by 2 percent and 100,000 votes. “We spent our days talking to union members, their families and neighbors. The reception was mixed, as we expected, but it was heartening to be out there trying to make a difference in this important election,” said Fredericks.

Moving votes in Missouri

Missouri team leader Brent Bissett of Local 8 went to the “Show Me” state with Local 5 member Ron Solomon, and Local 10’s Melvin Mackay. Bissett said he was excited to see a new city and immediately went to see the giant arch that spans the mighty Mississippi River. Initial impressions suggested that things might be slightly unorganized and the mood a bit ho-hum, but everything improved as the team got to work and started visiting union households in the surrounding suburbs.

“I’m happy we were able to work with the public, talk about labor issues and promote good people for office,” said Bissett. At one point as he was walking in a neighborhood, Melvyn Mackay encountered a home displaying a prominent Confederate Flag and some anti-union lawn signs. “I avoided that one,” said Mackay. Pro-union candidate Eric Kandor was unable to unseat anti-union incumbent Senator Roy Blunt who won by 3 percent and less than 100,000 votes.

Door-knocking in Nevada

Seeking votes in the Silver State: The ILWU’s Nevada team visited voters surrounding Las Vegas in Clark County, where most of the state’s voters live. The ILWU quartet included Keith Madding of the IBU San Francisco Region, Team Leader Regina Shore of Local 19, along with Local 19 members Steve Labbe and Kevin Baldado (not in photo).

Team leader Regina Shore from Local 19 was joined in the Silver State by co-workers Steve Labbe and Kevin Baldado plus Keith Madding from IBU San Francisco. The Las Vegas operation was large, with many union volunteers coming daily from Southern California to assist the effort. “We saw 40 to 100 electricians from the IBEW arriving each day to help from California,” said Shore. When the team visited voters at their homes, it appeared other volunteers had already been there. “It was almost overkill,” said Shore who added that 20-25% the voters she met had already cast early ballots, and others were being visited by the campaign every day. “We did find one neighborhood full of Trump signs, and an angry supporter followed us around for three hours, tearing up the literature we were leaving at the doors, but we just ignored him.” Nevada was the only U.S. Senate victory among the six states visited by ILWU teams across the country: pro-union candidate Catherine Cortez Masto won over anti-union challenger Joe Heck by less than 3 percent and 3500 votes.”e walked our butts off, are in better shape now, and we’d do it again in a heartbeat,” said Shore. “It was a great experience, and especially nice to see that our efforts paid off with a Senate victory.”

 

Other election news:
Unlike the rest of the country, elections in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii yielded few changes on November 8.

In California, Senator Boxer’s seat was filled by Kamala Harris who easily defeated Loretta Sanchez, despite backing from ILWU Local 13 and District Councils. The Northern California District
Council (NCDC) made a dual endorsement that included Harris.

Both candidates were pro-union. Corporate-friendly “moderate” Ro Khanna defeated prounion
House member Mike Honda in Silicon Valley’s 17th Congressional District. Efforts to unseat four anti-union House members fell short when Darrell Issa, Jeff Denham, David Valadao and Steve Knight were all re-elected. Janice Hahn’s former House seat was won by Nanette Diaz Barragán over Isadore Hall III who was endorsed by Local 13 and the SCDC. Barragán was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders.
Janice Hahn won a seat on the LA County Board of Supervisors. State Assembly and Senate races yielded few major changes.

Among the 17 ballot propositions, voters extended an income tax boost for the richest residents, legalized marijuana, made it easier to get parole, continued the death penalty and speeded up the appeal process, required background checks for ammunition purchases and prohibited high-capacity magazines, modified bi-lingual education, expressed opposition to the Citizens United case allowing unlimited political spending by corporations, and rejected a plan to lower prescription drug prices that big pharma spent an estimated $100 million to defeat.

In Washington State, Seattle voters elected strongly prounion advocate Pramila Jayapal to fill the Congressional seat held for 26 years by longtime union advocate Jim McDermott who is retiring. She easily defeated her corporate-friendly challenger. Other House seats remained relatively unchanged, as
did the state house and senate. Voters approved several ballot initiatives, including ones to raise the minimum wage, express opposition to Citizens United, build 62 miles of light-rail, oppose a state carbon tax and temporarily limit guns for those who pose an immediate danger to themselves or others.

Oregon voters saw few changes in their election, with one exception: an open seat for Secretary of State was won by conservative Dennis Richardson who defeated pro-labor candidate Brad Avakian. Despite the loss, Avakian will continue serving in another post as State Labor Commissioner. Progressive Portland City Council candidate Chloe Eudaly won a seat on the City Council. Local 8 Secretary-Treasurer Shanti Lewallen ran for U.S. Senate as a member of the Working Families Party and won 59,000 votes (3 percent) – but he also secured future ballot status rights for the pro-labor WFP. Statewide ballot measures included more funding for affordable housing and defeat of a corporate tax increase.

Hawaii is one of the most pro-worker states in the nation, and that remained unchanged after the 2016 general election. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Congresswoman-elect Colleen Hanabusa all won their races with larger than two-to-one margins over anti-union opposition. Hanabusa also won the special election to fill the remaining portion of the late Congressman Mark Takai’s term. Including Senator Mazie Hirono, Hawaii has an entirely labor-friendly congressional delegation. The Hawaii State Senate became the only all-Democrat legislative body in the nation when Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang defeated twenty-year incumbent
Sam Slom. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell kept his seat, prevailing over conservative Republican former Congressman Charles Djou in the non-partisan race. Hawaii voters also approved a Constitutional Amendment that gives the state legislature the option to, under certain conditions, appropriate excess general fund revenues for pre-payment of general obligation bond debt service or pension/post-employment benefit liabilities for public workers.

Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for November 10 2016

IBU - Wed, 11/16/2016 - 08:54
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Categories: Unions

Industrial Worker - Fall 2016 #1779

IWW - Wed, 11/09/2016 - 19:52
In November We Remember!

In this issue:

  • Nationwide Prison Strike: Incarcerated workers strike across the  United States on September 9th
  • Workplace Organizing: Restaurant workers at Ellen’s Stardust Diner organize with the IWW in New York City
  • Which Side Are you on?: Why labor must stand united against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

 ....and more!

Download a Free PDF of this issue here.

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Categories: Unions

Industrial Worker - Fall 2016 #1779

IWW - Wed, 11/09/2016 - 19:52
In November We Remember!

In this issue:

  • Nationwide Prison Strike: Incarcerated workers strike across the  United States on September 9th
  • Workplace Organizing: Restaurant workers at Ellen’s Stardust Diner organize with the IWW in New York City
  • Which Side Are you on?: Why labor must stand united against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

 ....and more!

Download a Free PDF of this issue here.

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Categories: Unions

NYC GMB Discusses New Memoir of Sam Dolgoff, Lifelong Anarchist and Wobbly

IWW - Wed, 11/09/2016 - 19:44

By Eric D - New York City IWW, November 9, 2016

On a recent evening, members and friends of the New York City General Membership Branch gathered to hear a book discussion by Anatole Dolgoff. The talk was held at MayDay, a left movement space in Brooklyn. Dolgoff, a professor at the nearby Pratt Institute, was discussing his new book about his father Sam, Left of the Left, My Memories of Sam Dolgoff , recently published by AK Press. The talk was introduced by radical scholars Yesenia Barragan and Mark Bray.

Sam was born in 1902 in Belarus and came to New York City at an early age. With little formal education, Sam went to work as a painter, and quickly found himself immersed in local radical politics. A brief membership with the Socialist Party led him to realize that he was an anarchist. He soon joined the IWW in the 1920’s and was a member until his death in 1990. Along the way, he developed friendships with many notable radicals, and had particularly close relationships with Carlo Tresca, the Italian anarchist, and Ben Fletcher, the legendary waterfront organizer.

Sam was a Wobbly activist and organizer for decades, involved in many campaigns and projects, speaking on street corners, meeting with workers who were organizing, confronting fascists in the 1930’s, and doing the dangerous and unglamorous work of keeping radical ideas alive during the tough times of the McCarthy era. Self-educated in the movement along the way, Dolgoff made significant contributions to the anarchist literature over the years, including a book on Bakunin.

According to Anatole, Sam knew everyone in Left circles for decades. One memorable anecdote about his father told the story of when they went to see the movie Reds together. Sam couldn’t keep quiet during the film, as he maintained a running commentary on nearly every major character, who he had known personally.

The book is a fantastic tour through the life and times of a lifelong Wobbly and working class intellectual, as well as a touching personal memoir of growing up in a radical family. It’s a great contribution to left history and we encourage all Wobblies to read it.

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Categories: Unions

NYC GMB Discusses New Memoir of Sam Dolgoff, Lifelong Anarchist and Wobbly

IWW - Wed, 11/09/2016 - 19:44

By Eric D - New York City IWW, November 9, 2016

On a recent evening, members and friends of the New York City General Membership Branch gathered to hear a book discussion by Anatole Dolgoff. The talk was held at MayDay, a left movement space in Brooklyn. Dolgoff, a professor at the nearby Pratt Institute, was discussing his new book about his father Sam, Left of the Left, My Memories of Sam Dolgoff , recently published by AK Press. The talk was introduced by radical scholars Yesenia Barragan and Mark Bray.

Sam was born in 1902 in Belarus and came to New York City at an early age. With little formal education, Sam went to work as a painter, and quickly found himself immersed in local radical politics. A brief membership with the Socialist Party led him to realize that he was an anarchist. He soon joined the IWW in the 1920’s and was a member until his death in 1990. Along the way, he developed friendships with many notable radicals, and had particularly close relationships with Carlo Tresca, the Italian anarchist, and Ben Fletcher, the legendary waterfront organizer.

Sam was a Wobbly activist and organizer for decades, involved in many campaigns and projects, speaking on street corners, meeting with workers who were organizing, confronting fascists in the 1930’s, and doing the dangerous and unglamorous work of keeping radical ideas alive during the tough times of the McCarthy era. Self-educated in the movement along the way, Dolgoff made significant contributions to the anarchist literature over the years, including a book on Bakunin.

According to Anatole, Sam knew everyone in Left circles for decades. One memorable anecdote about his father told the story of when they went to see the movie Reds together. Sam couldn’t keep quiet during the film, as he maintained a running commentary on nearly every major character, who he had known personally.

The book is a fantastic tour through the life and times of a lifelong Wobbly and working class intellectual, as well as a touching personal memoir of growing up in a radical family. It’s a great contribution to left history and we encourage all Wobblies to read it.

read more

Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for November 5 2016

IBU - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 08:50
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Categories: Unions

PMA & ILWU convene talks in San Francisco, agree to return

ILWU - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 16:28

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) met on November 1st in San Francisco, where discussions were held on the concept of a contract extension.

Both parties agreed to resume talks at a future date to be mutually agreed upon.

The current collective bargaining agreement covering 29 West Coast ports expires on July 1, 2019.

No additional comments from either party will be made prior to the next meeting date.

 

Download release here

Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for October 31 2016

IBU - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 08:55
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Categories: Unions

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