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Chile: Thousands of Chileans strike as protest death toll hits 18

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Yahoo
Categories: Labor News

USA: European Corporations Abuse the Rights of Working People in America’s Southern States

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Svenssonstiftelsen
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Riot police attack, arrest protesting AzarAb workers

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IHRM
Categories: Labor News

Kazakhstan: Union leader Erlan Baltabay imprisoned again

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

ILWU holds regional organizing talks

ILWU - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 16:04

Challenging discussions: The ILWU’s International Subcommittee on Organizing met in Tacoma in early October. Discussions and new ideas were encouraged from over 30 participants who included rank-and-file members, officers and organizing staff.

ILWU’s International Officers have launched a series of regional meetings aimed at sharpening the union’s approach to organizing. The most recent involved a meeting and workshop for the Puget Sound Region that was held at Local 23 and attracted 30 participants.

“Our goal,” says ILWU Vice President (Mainland) Bobby Olvera, Jr., “is to involve leaders from every part of the union to come together, share ideas, consider different strategies and find ways to participate in the organizing process.” Olvera is coordinating the discussions which are open to local union officers as well as rank-and- file members.

Members of the International Executive Board volunteered to serve on the Organizing Subcommittee earlier this year. The Committee’s first meeting took place in Los Angeles at Local 26 on June 25-26. Future events will be scheduled in other regions, beginning with the Columbia River on January 27-28, 2020.

At the Puget Sound meeting, Lead Organizer Jon Brier gave a presentation that framed the discussion around long-term changes in marine cargo logistics – and how those changes are impacting union jobs and ILWU power. Participants then broke into regional groups to identify examples of supply chain solidarity in recent ILWU and IBU campaigns, assess the strengths and challenges in those fights, and explore strategies for new organizing.

Those participating in the Tacoma meeting included leaders and members from Locals 9, 19, 22, 23, 47, 52, the Inlandboatmen’s Union (ILWU Marine Division) National Office and Puget Sound Region, and the Alaska Longshore Division (ALD) and ALD Unit 60.

IBU Secretary-Treasurer Terri Mast attended with some newer IBU members. “They told me the meeting made them feel empowered by learning what it means to organize along the supply chain,” said Mast. “It was refreshing to see the different divisions of our union coming together to talk honestly about our past mistakes and disagreements – part of the process we need to build real solidarity.”

Members of the International Organizing Committee include Local 6 Secretary-Treasurer Chris Castaing, Local 5 Union Representative Myka Dubay, Local 63-OCU President John Fageaux, Local 63 President Joe Gasparov, Local 26 President Luisa Gratz, Local 22 President Dax Koho, Local 23 President Dean McGrath, Local 19 member Dan McKisson and IBU President Marina Secchitano. Staff included Organizing Director Ryan Dowling, Puget Sound Lead Organizer Jon Brier, and Columbia River Organizer Ryan Takas.

“Organizing is crucial to our union and this meeting gave me a chance to hear from leaders and organizing staff about what lies ahead,” said International Executive Board member Dan McKisson from Local 19, who added that he liked the mix of senior and younger people who attended. “I also appreciate the effort to hold talks in every region, and identify local targets and criteria. The meeting was a great step towards ramping up our organizing to a new level.”

Categories: Unions

USA: Wendt workers win first contract following global solidarity campaign

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 10/19/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BWI
Categories: Labor News

Canada: Arrested while trying to stop the killing of temporary workers

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/18/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RadioLabour
Categories: Labor News

Gabriel Prawl, first African American President of ILWU Local 52

ILWU - Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:10

Local 52 President Garbriel Prawl

In January of this year, Gabriel Prawl was elected the first African-American President of the ILWU Clerks Local 52. Prawl was born in Panama. He immigrated to New York when he was 15 to join his parents who had moved there in the late 60s and early 70s. The Prawl family has been migrating to America since the early 1900s from Jamaica and Europe, he said.   At the age of 16, Prawl moved to the Pacific Northwest, but after graduating high school, he returned to New York where he lived for 11 years before finally returning to Seattle in his early 30s. He started working as a causal at

Local 19 in 1994. He was introduced to the work through his uncle and some friends who were casuals at the time. “I became active in the ILWU after getting my A-book,” Prawl said. “I requested to be a part of the Local 19 Education Committee, and eventually became the chair in 2004. When I started learning about the real history of the ILWU—that is what inspired me.” He was also elected to the Local 19 Executive Board for five years and also attended the Leadership, Education and Development program put on by the Coast Longshore Division. Prawl said that he was influenced by many of the rank-and-file activists from Local 10. “Leo Robinson was a mentor to me,” he said.

Gabriel Prawl, first African American President of ILWU Local 52 Prawl transferred to Local 52 in 2010 after suffering a rotator cuff injury. He was elected to several leadership positions at Local 52, serving on the Labor Relations Committee for four years and as Vice President for two years. He ran for President of Local 52 with the encouragement of outgoing President Max Vekich.  In addition to his leadership position in the union, Prawl also serves as the Seattle chapter President of the A Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), an organization of Black Trade Unionists who fight for racial equality and economic justice. Through his position at the APRI, Prawl sits on the Board of the Washington State Labor Council. “I want to be in a leadership position so I can make a difference,” Prawl said. My goal is to make sure we educate our members, build solidarity within our membership, and make connections with organizations outside our union.”

Categories: Unions

Educate, Agitate and Organize: The 4th Young Workers Conference inspires a new generation of leaders

ILWU - Fri, 10/18/2019 - 11:23

Past, present and future leaders: Over 200 delegates and guests attended the fourth ILWU Young Workers Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Over 200 registered delegates and guests gathered at the Maritime Labour Centre in Vancouver, B.C., from September 4-6 for the fourth biennial ILWU Young Workers Conference. This was the largest Young Workers Conference yet with the largest delegation of workers from the ILWU International. In addition to impressive membership turnout from Canada and the U.S., this meeting had the largest number of international delegates with workers from Australia, Indonesia, Poland, Croatia, and the United Kingdom.

Recognizing the First Nations

ILWU Canada’s Second Vice President Dan Kask began the conference by acknowledging and thanking the First Nations people’s, on whose land the conference was held. A moment of silence followed to honor all union members who passed since the last Young Workers Conference.

In his introductory remarks, Kask said the purpose of the conference was to build worker power by providing young workers with the tools and space to organize. “This year’s theme, ‘Educate, Agitate and Organize,’ contains three words that you will hear in any discussion about the history and struggle of the ILWU,” said Kask in his opening remarks. “This conference is about providing the next generation an opportunity to write the ongoing history of militant rank-and-file unionism. If we want to strengthen our unions, we must build workers’ power.”

The conference covered ILWU history, the union’s Ten Guiding Principles, political action, and other concerns, such as workplace health and safety, port security, international solidarity and social media. Also featured was a theatrical performance from a musical, The Battle of Ballantyne Pier. A wide variety of speakers included international guests, current and former ILWU elected officers, rank-and-file leaders, along with active members and pensioners from many of the union’s divisions.

Leaders past, present and future

Past, present and future leaders: Over 200 delegates and guests attended the fourth ILWU Young Workers Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The first speaker was former First Vice President of ILWU Canada, John Cordecedo, who spoke about the history of the ILWU Longshore locals in British Columbia. ILWU Canada President Rob Ashton followed with a short but inspiring speech that touched on the first of the conference’s three themes: “educate.” He encouraged delegates to learn throughout their careers to keep up with an ever-changing industry.

“This is our future here in this room,” he said, “and our future is ever-evolving. As we go through our lives as workers, we have to educate ourselves. Don’t be stagnant. Don’t expect that today is going to be same as tomorrow. It’s going to change whether we like it or not. Learn about the technology that’s coming. Learn to use it; learn to fight against it. Learn to protect what you have and expand upon it for the future.”

Next up were members of the Young Workers Committee who were elected two-years ago at the previous Conference. Ashley Bordignon, Tyler Gerard, Danielle Phelan, Isaac Baidoo, Viri Gomez and Stef Flores each offered their reflections on the ILWU’s Ten Guiding Principles. Conference participants then held small group discussions where they proposed a “new” guiding principle.

Pensioner experience

A panel of ILWU Canada pensioners provided an important perspective on ILWU history. The group included former ILWU Canada President Tom Dufresne, Herb Howe, Ted Grewcut and Gord Westrand. Each reflected on their most memorable experience of rank-and-file power in the workplace, their thoughts about leadership and automation, and sharing what they miss most about working on the waterfront.

Musical interlude

Following the lunch break, conference attendees were treated to a performance from the Battle of Ballantyne Musical. The musical was written by award-winning playwright Sherry MacDonald and tells the story of the 1935 strike by longshore workers in Vancouver. The remainder of the afternoon featured sessions on Canadian Transport Security Clearances and social media.

Internationalism and activism

Young Workers Committee: The newly elected committee members (L-R): Tyrel Ratich, Local 500; Bryan Delwo, Local 502; Alexander Fernadez, Local 29; Brittni Hodson, Local 508; Tereza Tacic, Local 500; Lateesha Myers, Local 502; Paul
Gill, Local 502.

The second day emphasized international solidarity with a panel of workers from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). Delegates watched a short documentary on the Patrick’s dispute that took place in 1998 when the Patrick Corporation fired MUA members in four Australian ports and replaced them with non-union workers. The ILWU responded by refusing to unload cargo from Australian ships loaded by non-union workers. The firing of MUA members was later ruled illegal by Australian courts. The film was followed by a panel of MUA speakers who discussed the current issues and struggles facing Australian maritime workers.

A second panel of featuring International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) delegates included workers from Australia, Indonesia, Poland, Croatia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. ILWU International Secretary- Treasurer Ed Ferris spoke on this panel and reported about efforts by the ITF Dockers’ Section Occupational Safety and Health Working Group.

Afternoon Activism

The conference took time out during the afternoon for some hands-on agitation. Delegates rode by bus to Vancouver’s Jack Poole square where they participated in some street theater by staging a mass “die-in” – part of ILWU’s Canada’s “Kill a Worker, go to Jail” campaign. The effort dramatized on-the job fatalities and serious accidents caused by poor enforcement and weak health and safety laws. Afterward, delegates held a short rally that included a speech from Secretary-Treasurer Ed Ferris.

“I’m tired of losing family and friends every year for corporate profit,” said Ferris. “You have the right to go home to your family at the end of the day. We need to start valuing our lives a little bit more.”

The rally also heard from Local 502 President Tom Doran: “We have not stopped industrial manslaughter because we haven’t even begun to enforce the law.”

History lesson

During the Friday morning session, Mark Leier, a history professor at Simon Fraser University, explained how movements can build solidarity. His session included small group brainstorming and a sing-along to a song written by the famous Wobblie organizer Joe Hill.

Community activism

ILWU Local 23 young workers Zack Pattin and Brian Skiffington delivered a presentation about their effort to connect the union with community activism. The example they used was a tenant organizing campaign assisted by Local 23 members who helped working-class tenants in Tacoma’s Tiki Apartments resist evictions by greedy landlords. ILWU members helped the tenants organize and provided assistance to displaced tenants. They also worked with tenants and community groups who forced the City Council to delay evictions and pass stronger tenant-protection laws.

Call to Action: ILWU International
President Willie Adams challenged the
delegates to apply what they learned at
the conference when they return to their

Internal organizing

Puget Sound IBU Business Agent Ryan Brazeau and Columbia River IBU Business Agent Adam Smith discussed the recent effort by Inlandboatmen’s Union activists to strengthen their public-sector membership by enlisting employees to recommit their union affiliation in light of the Janus decision. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that non-union members represented by a union contract are no longer

required to pay representation fees that cover the costs of contract administration and enforcement. Anti-union forces funded the Janus court fight and they continue funding nationwide campaigns aimed to weaken labor unions.

ILWU President Willie Adams

ILWU International President Willie Adams delivered a keynote address on Friday that shared details about his forty-year evolution from a young worker on Tacoma’s waterfront in 1978 to being elected ILWU International President in 2018. Adams challenged workers to encourage greater participation and combat apathy when they return to their local unions. “What are you going to do when you get home?” he asked. “We are going to kill this working-class, labor movement if we don’t have participation from our brothers and sisters,” he concluded.

The afternoon session also featured a training to “build power on-the-job” that was led by Barbara Madeloni and Joe DeManuell-Hall from Labor Notes. A final inspired and heartfelt address was provided by Steve Nasby, former ILWU Canada Second Vice President who helped establish the Young Workers’ Conference.

The final order of business was the election of a new Young Worker’s Committee that now includes Local 500 members Tyrel Ratich and Tereza Tacic, Local 502’s Paul Gill, Lateesha Myers and Bryan Delwo, Local 508’s Brittni Hodson and Local 29’s Alexander Fernadez. Local 5’s Andy Anderson said they left the conference with a sense of urgency and a renewed commitment to activism in their union.

“It’s important to show up and be a part of things,” they said. “There was a challenge issued at the conference for every member to attend at least one union event every year. If you can’t make it to your membership meeting, show up to another event.”

Local 10’s Morall Griffin said he intends to take the challenge issued by President Adams and put it into practice when he returns.

“This experience made me realize there is a lot of work that needs to be done when I get back home. I’m going to share what I learned here with my peers back home,” he said.

Past, present and future leaders: Over 200 delegates and guests attended the fourth ILWU Young Workers Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Young Workers Committee: The newly elected committee members (L-R): Tyrel Ratich, Local 500; Bryan Delwo, Local 502; Alexander Fernadez, Local 29; Brittni Hodson, Local 508; Tereza Tacic, Local 500; Lateesha Myers, Local 502; Paul Gill, Local 502. Past, present and future leaders: Over 200 delegates and guests attended the fourth ILWU Young Workers Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Call to Action: ILWU International President Willie Adams challenged the delegates to apply what they learned at the conference when they return to their locals.


Categories: Unions

Europe: ETUC statement on the Brexit deal

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ETUC
Categories: Labor News

Syria: Education International condemns Turkish aggression in Syria

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Education International
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Statement on the Death of Elijah Cummings

ILWU - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 15:42


With the passing of U.S. Congressional Representative Elijah Cummings, the nation has lost a leader, and the working people of our nation have lost a formidable champion and advocate. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, and their three children; his friends and staff; and the people of the 7th Congressional District of Maryland.

A former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cummings made voting rights, equality, and access to opportunity a top priority. He was also committed to ensuring that young people had access to a bright future. As Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, he led the charge to defend democracy and to hold government officials accountable.

The ILWU had the privilege of working with Rep. Cummings when he was both Chairman and Ranking member of the House Transportation Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over maritime law. He was a tough defender of maritime workers and our collective bargaining rights. He pushed the Coast Guard and the maritime industry to create more opportunities for women and people of color.

Chairman Elijah Cummings was respected by Democrats and Republicans for his toughness, fairness, kind heart and decency. A truly great leader, he once said that his life was “filled with pain, passion and purpose.” We can honor his legacy by acting with purpose and integrity in our efforts to achieve equality, justice and opportunity for the American people.

Download a PDF of the statement here.

Categories: Unions

Qatar: Qatar dismantles kafala system of modern slavery

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

ILWU solidarity for strike by United Autoworkers

ILWU - Tue, 10/15/2019 - 17:08

ILWU International President Willie Adams took an all-night “red-eye” flight to join striking members of the United Autoworkers Union in Michigan on Monday, October 14. “Solidarity is the most important thing union members can do for each other,” said Adams, who chose to spend his solidarity day in Flint, Michigan.

“Flint is a working-class town with an impressive labor history that continues to this day,” said Adams.

Workers who formed the United Autoworkers made history in 1936 by seizing control of Flint’s General Motors plant after company officials refused to respect the new union.

The “sit-down” strike was one of the country’s most dramatic labor actions that followed the 1934 Minneapolis general strike led by Teamsters and West Coast maritime strike the same year that was led by longshore workers. Adams visited a memorial in Flint honoring the sit-down strikers.  He was accompanied throughout the day by rank-and-file UAW activist Sean Crawford, a Flint native whose family members participated in the sit-down. Adams arrived on day 28 of the strike.  General Motors wants to continue a “two-tier” system with low-paid “perma-temp” workers, higher health costs and close more plants in the U.S.

“When we say ‘an injury to one is an injury to all,’ it means caring for each other, helping union brothers and sisters, and fighting for the entire working class,” said Adams.  “My trip was short, but I made new friends on the picket line, and shared our message of solidarity with these brave workers.”


Categories: Unions

Ecuador: Government represses strike

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/13/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BWI
Categories: Labor News


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