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USA: FL's largest teachers union sues state over reopening schools

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/20/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NBC
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Mourns the Passing of Civil Rights Icon and Congressman John Lewis

ILWU - Mon, 07/20/2020 - 15:56

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union joins millions of people across the country in mourning the death of Civil Rights icon and United States Congressman John Lewis. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all of those whose lives were touched by Congressman Lewis’ life and work.

John Lewis was an unfailing supporter of the rights and dignity of working-class Americans and a fearless champion for liberty and civil rights throughout his entire life. He was one of the original Freedom Riders in the summer of 1960. As a young leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis helped to organize and also spoke at the historic 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the “I Have A Dream” speech.

Lewis courageously put his body on the line in pursuit of racial justice and equality. He and Reverend Hosea Williams from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led a nonviolent march in 1965 across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, headed toward Montgomery. The pair led over 500 peaceful marchers into a line of violent racist police who attacked the group with clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas while Lewis urged everyone to kneel and pray. Lewis was so severely beaten in the “Bloody Sunday” incident that he had to be hospitalized with skull fractures.

John Lewis had longstanding connections with the ILWU that were forged over many decades because of a shared dedication to racial and economic justice, lifelong support for unions and workers, and the fact that his youngest sister, Rosa Tyner, was a member of ILWU Locals 10 and 91 for 23 years.

As a member of Congress, Representative Lewis was a champion of working people and a strong supporter of collective bargaining rights. He advocated for a living wage, calling for raising the minimum wage and supporting the Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage laws. He called for and strengthened workplace safety standards. Rep. Lewis was in all ways a true friend to longshore, maritime, and warehouse workers.

In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. During the ceremony, Obama said: “There’s a quote inscribed over a doorway in Nashville, where students first refused to leave lunch counters 51 years ago this February. And the quote said, ‘If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’ It’s a question John Lewis has been asking his entire life. It’s why, time and again, he faced down death so that all of us could share equally in the joys of life.”

“John Lewis was a true hero and warrior for the working class,” said ILWU International President Willie Adams. “He was fearless, committed, and unwavering in his dedication to racial and economic justice. In the streets of Selma and in the halls of Congress, John Lewis fought for us all. The torch has truly been passed to a new generation of activists who today are continuing the fight for civil rights. May the memory of his life-long dedication and commitment to social justice and the struggle for freedom be a light that guides us through these challenging times.”

 

Download a PDF of the ILWU statement on the passing of John Lewis

Categories: Unions

Australia: Unions launch plan for jobs led reconstruction

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 07/19/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ACTU
Categories: Labor News

Philippines: Global unions condemn Philippines Anti-Terrorism Act

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 07/18/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

Young rebels connect for a good cause in Tacoma

ILWU - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 10:57

Local 23’s Young Workers Committee led a delegation of members and casuals who joined a Juneteenth march in Tacoma called, “Stop Killing Us!” The event was organized by Lincoln High School students who belong to the Black Student Union.

Marchers gathered at Tacoma’s Wapato Park for the photo below that shows three of the student-organizers up-front wearing black shirts with a goldcolored slogan that read, “NO JUSTICE! NO PEACE! 2020.”

Local 23 Young Workers Committee members learned about the action on an Instagram account because many high school students no longer use Facebook, which they consider to be something “for old people.”

Local 23 activists have gotten recent props and praise from the community, thanks to the June 9th action in memory of George Floyd and the Juneteenth stand-down on the 19th. Out-of-town reporters contacted Local 23 activists for interviews, including the Majority publication from the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) East Bay chapter and author/professor Peter Cole, who wrote an article about the ILWU’s anti-racism work that appeared in In These Times.

While Local 23’s Young Workers Committee didn’t initiate the march, they did bring it to the attention of local leadership and promoted it to the membership. Some Local 23 members went up to Seattle for Local 19’s Juneteenth action, and others were busy attending Local 23’s “stop-work” union meeting.

“Brian Skiffington and I missed the first speakers at the rally because we were at the stop work meeting, but we were able to join the march after it started,” said Local 23’s Zack Pattin. “We caught-up with Paul Malleck and Colin McGee from Local 5 who are both Aramark workers at Evergreen State College. They were happy to see all the A, B, and casual members from Local 23, and we even met one new casual who came on his own and introduced himself when he saw us at the end of the march.”

Another young worker, Local 23 ID Casual Nyef Mohamed, said the Juneteenth march meant a lot to him. “Marching the streets for Juneteenth in the city where I grew up was a powerful moment, and seeing that the action was organized by local high school students was inspiring,” he said, adding that, “Juneteenth needs to be a national holiday.”

Categories: Unions

ILWU turns out big for Juneteenth Seattle march against police brutality and racism

ILWU - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 10:10

Hundreds of ILWU members marched with their families, friends and community members in Seattle to commemorate Juneteenth. Work stopped at the Port of Seattle for eight hours as part of a coastwise shutdown to mark Emancipation Day, and as an act of solidarity with people protesting racism and police violence across the United States.

The “Rally and March to Stop Police Brutality and Systemic Racism” began at 10 am at Local 19’s hall. ILWU motorcycles led the marchers along the waterfront to Terminal 46 before heading to the State Department of Corrections Day Reporting Center. ILWU speakers included Local 19 President Rich Austin, Jr. and Gabriel Prawl, Sr, a Local 52 member and president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute in Seattle which co-sponsored the event. Prawl, former Local 52 President, was the first African-American elected to that office.

Austin started his remarks by quoting the ILWU’s Third Guiding Principle: “Workers are indivisible. There can be no discrimination because of race, color, creed, national origin, religious or political belief, sex, gender preference, or sexual orientation. Any division among the workers can help no one but the employers. Discrimination of worker against worker is suicide. Discrimination is a weapon of the boss. Its entire history is proof that it has served no other purpose than to pit worker against worker to their own destruction.”

Austin added, “We are the union who refused to handle cargo from apartheid South Africa. We are the union who made Dr. Martin Luther King an honorary member and we are the union who has shut down the West Coast! Why? Because there are injustices that must be addressed.”

Prawl spoke about the difference between having a moment and building a movement. “Today we don’t want this to be a moment, we want this to be a movement. The difference between a moment and a movement is sacrifice,” Prawl said. “The ILWU knows how to take action. We call on all labor to join us because we can make it stop.”

Categories: Unions

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

ILWU - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 14:02
“I can’t breathe.”

ILWU International Secretary-Treasurer Ed Ferris

These three words seemingly can’t get out of my head. Quite honestly, they have haunted me ever since I witnessed the recent public police execution of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

That is the day that former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin murdered Mr. George Floyd by applying an illegal and unjustifiable chokehold.

That is the day that he knelt with his full body weight on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

That is the day that three other former Minneapolis policemen openly ignored Derek Chauvin’s criminal behavior.

They all quietly watched a man be choked to death by their co-worker and shamefully, did not intervene at all. That is the day that George Floyd’s humanity was ignored by the very people who were paid to protect and serve the public. Fortunately for all of us, that is also the day that a courageous teenager, Ms. Darnella Frazier, filmed Derek Chauvin’s cruel murder of George Floyd. If she had not, one could argue that the current wave of increased social activism and public demand for police reform in this country would not exist.

I never met George Floyd, but after watching the video of his death by law enforcement, I shamefully realized that I personally haven’t done enough to advocate for the significant changes and reforms required to end systemic racism. You see, it isn’t enough to just be kind, courteous, and decent to all people.

It isn’t enough to not possess hate in your heart. It isn’t enough to treasure diversity or inclusion or have friends of all different types of ethnicities. We all must do more. In my opinion, we must collectively recognize the vast societal inequities that exist in the U.S. and eliminate them if we ever are going to experience true equality, justice, and peace for all of our people.

The Problem of Systemic Racism in the United States

In a June 23, 2020 ASU NOW interview, Arizona State University Associate Professor Eleanor Seaton clearly explains that “Racism is a system of power and privilege based on perceived race and/or ethnicity that defines one group as dominant to and more deserving than all other groups. In this system, there is a dominant group (e.g. whites) and there are subordinate groups including Native Americans, Black Americans, Lantinx, and Asian Americans. Racism is rooted in historical oppression (e.g. genocide of Native Americans, enslavement of Africans) such that subordinate groups were and are defined as “inferior” to the “superior” dominant white group. The dominant group created and currently maintains societal privilege through values, behaviors, and institutions. This privilege results in subordinate groups lacking access to power, status, and resources.”

“One of the most common misconceptions about racism is that it is based solely on individual acts. Many people believe that a few individual “bad apples” are racist or engage in racist behaviors. In fact, racism is baked into our society and in the institutions that make up our society, including schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, banks, health care, the media, and policing systems.”

“What is systemic racism or institutional racism?”

“Institutional racism is when societal institutions engage in practices that favor the dominant group and practices that are biased against subordinate groups. It is important to acknowledge that institutional racism in one domain reinforces institutional racism in other domains, providing an interconnected system that constantly reinforces each other while reproducing racial disparities across the lifespan.

I would argue that institutional racism is more dangerous than individual racism because institutional racism creates environments that dictate every aspect of life for subordinate individuals. Racism dictates where one lives and attends school, what type of jobs one is able to work, whether one has health care, whether one has access to healthy and nutritious food and where one is treated fairly by the criminal justice system to name a few examples. The cycle repeats itself throughout the lives of individuals and across generations.”

Professor Seaton’s explanation of systemic racism has really helped me in my personal understanding of racism in general, and I truly hope that her words educate you as well. George Floyd’s Memorial Service On June 8, 2020, I had the honor of representing the ILWU at George Floyd’s memorial service in Houston, Texas along with Melvin Mackay (Local 10) and Tyrone Harvey (Local 19).

I was thrilled by this opportunity but was admittedly concerned about traveling in the midst of a global pandemic. I worried about potentially compromising my family’s health and safety. But after much family discussion, it was decided that I would self-quarantine after attending the service and that alleviated the majority of my concerns.

Attending the memorial service was definitely the right decision and I would like to personally thank ILWU President Willie Adams and ILWU Vice President Bobby Olvera, Jr. for their ongoing support and encouragement. Special thanks also go out to our ILA comrades for their wonderful hospitality and solidarity that they provided our delegation throughout the day. The memorial service took place at a beautiful church named The Fountain of Praise Church in Southwest Houston. Despite the sweltering heat, the attendance at George Floyd’s memorial service was remarkable with estimates of approximately 6,000 people.

We were all fortunate to experience the palpable feeling of community, solidarity, and hope in that large crowd. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Civil rights activist and scholar W. E. B. Du Bois once said “Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.” It is long overdue that we collectively heed Du Bois’ wise and cautionary words. If we do not, we will never be truly “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.”

In solidarity,
Ed Ferris
#Blacklivesmatter

Categories: Unions

International Executive Board meets via video conference amidst Coronavirus pandemic

ILWU - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 12:43

Physically distant, socially conscious: International Vice President
Bobby Olvera. Jr. addresses the International Executive Board which was held via
Zoom on June 18th. The Board unanimously passed a Statement of Policy on Racism
that condemns racism, police brutality and the targeting of African-Americans.

With the Covid-19 pandemic raging in the United States, the ILWU International Executive Board met June 18th via video conferencing. Instead of presenting their reports on the video call, Executive Board, members submitted their reports two weeks beforehand. Board members read the reports ahead of the meeting and came prepared with questions.

“We’ve had to make some adjustments to ensure the health and safety of the Executive Board but the International officers, IEB and staff continue to do the work of the union during this crisis,” said ILWU International President Willie Adams.

Statement of Policy on racism

In the wake of the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, the Executive Board unanimously passed a Statement of Policy on Racism. The statement affirmed that the International Executive Board is “emphatically and unequivocally against racism, including police terror, brutality, and the unfair targeting of African Americans.” The policy encourages ILWU members to reach out to local, state and national organizations that are fighting racism in their communities. The full text of the Statement of Policy is below:

STATEMENT OF POLICY ON RACISM

The horrific image of George Floyd being murdered by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds graphically symbolizes the oppression African Americans have experienced in North America since they first arrived on slave ships.

The United States’ ideal of equality for all stands in sharp contrast with the shameful manner in which the nation has treated its African American citizens, Latinos, Native Americans, and other minorities. This racism is deeply ingrained in every fabric of our society—unequal educational opportunities, police intimidation, employment discrimination, disproportionate incarceration rates, housing, racial profiling, a cash bail system that discriminates against people of color, access to financial capital, and a criminal justice system that routinely dehumanizes people of color.

The widespread availability of technology to record incidents of overt racism, such as police harassment and violence, and share them over social media has laid bare how the persistent disease of racism has plagued the black community in particular—when it comes to unequal treatment of black Americans by police. Brother Floyd’s tragic murder, along with those of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery among others, have created the opportunity to have the very hard discussions about racism at the national, state, local, and individual levels.

Unfortunately, we cannot expect any leadership out of the White House as Trump barricades himself in and threatens to use the military to quell peaceful demonstrations. These discussions must go on without the White House involvement. This is an opportunity that must not be wasted as we, as a society, cannot permit yet another racist murder. The ILWU has a proud and storied history of standing up for civil rights and opposing racism.

Today, the International Executive Board of the ILWU reaffirms that legacy as we stand up emphatically and unequivocally against racism, including police terror, brutality, and the unfair targeting of African Americans. Our motto “an injury to one is an injury to all,” speaks of our principles of solidarity and support to workers and community members in need. Under that banner, we stand with our communities in support of an end to police brutality and harassment because we understand that “black lives matter.”

Additionally, we strongly encourage all ILWU members to reach out to local, state, and national community groups addressing racism in all its ugly forms. We will be putting together a website listing several such organizations. Finally, our condolences go out to the family and friends of Brother Floyd and other brothers and sisters who have been subject to violent racist attacks.

Categories: Unions

ILWU stands down at West Coast ports for historic Juneteenth action to honor Black lives

ILWU - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 12:18

March towards justice: The Local 10 Drill Team kept the pace for the three-mile march from the Port of Oakland to City Hall. Photo by Brooke Anderon.

This is a movement!” said ILWU International President Willie Adams, who was invited to speak from the back of a flatbed truck by Local 10 and 34 leaders as thousands of marchers assembled to commemorate Juneteenth on a sunny morning outside the Port of Oakland’s SSA Terminal. “Young people are taking to the streets all over the world. They are militant; they are smart, and they are marching without apology,” said Adams, who was accompanied by International Secretary-Treasurer Ed Ferris and International Executive Board member Melvin Mackay.

Ongoing struggle against racism

The June 19th event was part of a historic coastwise stand-down that reached from the Port of San Diego up to Vancouver, Canada. The goal was to raise awareness about America’s legacy of racism that began with slavery in 1619, is woven into the nation’s founding documents, caused a Civil War that killed 850,000 Americans which was followed by a century of universal discrimination and sometimes brutal repression – the remainders of which are stubbornly persistent today – 400 years after the first African slaves were brought to North America.

Killing that sparked a movement

The stand-down was an act of solidarity with millions of people across America and around the world who joined protests against racist police violence, sparked by the brutal killing of unarmed man George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Floyd’s brutal murder was caught on a cell phone video and triggered continuous protests and demands for sweeping reform of the criminal justice system.

Born in the Bay Area

The Bay Area march and rally was organized by ILWU Locals 10 and 34, where Presidents Trent Willis and Keith Shanklin encouraged locals up and down the coast to participate in a united stand-down on June 19. Their effort won backing from all longshore locals, the International Union, the Inlandboatmen’s Union, and ILWU Canada – along with dozens of community groups.

Fired up, ready to go: Local 10 President Trent Willis fires up the crowd outside the SSA terminal on the morning of Juneteenth.

‘Say their names’

The morning rally kicked-off a three-mile march from the port to Oscar Grant Plaza at Oakland City Hall. Before noon, a sea of protesters left the SSA terminal and streamed down Middle Harbor Boulevard, marching behind the Local 10 banner and the Local 10 Drill Team. The atmosphere was festive but defiant. Marchers chanted, sang songs, beat drums, and joined call-and-responses that named those recently killed at the hands of police. Chant leaders called out “Say their names!”, as marchers responded by shouting the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Peddie Perez, Miles Hall, Oscar Grant, and others who have died at the hands of police or to white vigilantes. An estimated 20,000 strong By the time marchers reached downtown Oakland, organizers estimated that the group numbered 20,000 strong. They stopped outside the Oakland Police Department headquarters for a brief rally. Speakers called attention to the OPD’s massive $330 million annual budget and the Department’s long history of abuse, racial discrimination, and violation of court orders- -behaviors that cost residents millions in lawsuit settlements.

Remembering George Floyd’s death

The massive Juneteenth action followed a 9-minute work stoppage by ILWU dockworkers on June 9th that began at 9 a.m. in all West Coast ports. The symbolic stand-down action recalled the agonizing eight minutes and 46 seconds that George Floyd suffered while being slowly choked to death by Minneapolis police officers.

Origin of Juneteenth

The action also honored June 19, or Juneteenth, which has been celebrated by African-Americans as a holiday since the late 1800s. Also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in America and the on-going struggle for Black freedom.

Civil War history

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived at Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved African-Americans of their freedom and the end of the Civil War. The soldiers came to Galveston two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery throughout the Confederacy – and two months after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia. Slavery was officially abolished in the United States on December 6, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified.

Growing recognition

Early Juneteenth commemorations included an annual pilgrimage to Galveston by formerly enslaved people and their descendants. It wasn’t until 1980 that Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday. It is now recognized in 47 states and the District of Columbia, although most employers fail to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Coastwise shutdown The call to shut down the ports originated at Local 10 where President Trent Willis sent a letter to ILWU locals at all 29 ports along the West Coast about the Juneteenth standdown which received overwhelming support.

On June 15, the ILWU issued a nationwide press release announcing that ports along the West Coast would stop work for eight hours in observance of Juneteenth. “Juneteenth has long been recognized by the African-American community, but for many others, it was unknown until now – as our nation, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder refocuses on ways to address ongoing, systemic racial injustice,” said President Adams in a press statement. He went on to explain, “Thousands of dockworkers will stop work for the first shift on June 19, 2020, to show their commitment to the cause of racial equality and social justice.” Local 13 leaders also issued a statement announcing the shutdown: “Since the founding of our great Union, the ILWU has fought against racism and injustice. We have de-segregated our membership, we condemned the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, we appointed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with an honorary membership, we opposed wars in the East and Middle East, we supported Occupy Wall Street, we fought for immigrant rights, and we opposed police brutality. How did we show our solidarity for those causes? The best way a longshore worker knows—we stop working. When workers stop working it is the loudest voice we have. It is a voice unlike any other in the US.” ILWU Longshore workers in Vancouver, Canada also joined in solidarity by stopping work for eight hours.

“Racism and division are weapons used by those in power to keep the working class down. A divided class is a class that can never rise and brings true prosperity to us all,” said ILWU Canada President Rob Ashton. “That is why the ILWU Canada Longshore division will be taking part in this coast-wide shut down on Juneteenth. Canada’s hands are not clean either, in the past or the present. We also had slavery; there was the internment of Japanese Canadians, the incident of the Komagata Maru and the residential schools. In the present day, we have the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) and we see systemic racism in Canadian society.” ILWU Canada Grainworkers Union Local 333 honored Juneteenth by stopping work for 9 minutes on June 19 in solidarity with West Coast port shutdown.

International Solidarity: ILWU International President Willie Adams
brought word of solidarity actions by workers in Italy and South Africa.

International solidarity

During his morning speech, President Adams announced that dockworkers in Genoa, Italy and South Africa were stopping work in solidarity with the protests. General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi of the South African Federation of Trade Unions issued a statement saying, “Comrades in the ILWU, we applaud your action taken in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter uprising. Closing down 29 ports on the US West Coast, the United States gateway to the world during this deep economic crisis, is an extraordinary act. We celebrate Juneteenth with you, the ending of slavery in the US. We also have suffered such depths of racism and have watched the video of George Floyd’s murder in agony.” Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector labor union, also sent a letter of solidarity. “On behalf of Unifor Canada members, we salute your membership for their actions today, Juneteenth, in support of Black Lives Matter. ILWU has a proud history of standing up and speaking out for social justice and today you are once again showing the best of the labour movement,” wrote Dias.

High profile speakers

Trent Willis and Keith Shanklin served as emcees during the event. The issue of police violence has effected Shanklin and Willis directly; both had family members killed by police. Shanklin got the crowd fired up at the start. “We are going to make some noise. We want them to hear us coming. We are here to make a change. You matter. Black Lives Matter,” said Shanklin before introducing Bishop Bob Jackson from Oakland’s Acts Full Gospel Church.

The port rally featured high profile speakers including film star Danny Glover along with scholar and civil rights activist Angela Davis. Both Glover and Davis addressed the crowd remotely in order to maintain social distance. Glover called into the rally to deliver his message while Davis stood through her car’s sunroof, fist raised in the air, while her pre-recorded address was played.

Davis thanked the ILWU for shutting down the West Coast ports, noting the ILWU’s long tradition of using their collective power to stand up against racism in the US and across the globe. “Whenever the ILWU takes a stand, the world feels the reverberations,” Davis began. “Thank you for shutting down the ports today, on Juneteenth – the day when we renew our commitment to the struggle for freedom,” Davis said. “You represent the potential and power of the labor movement.” Davis added that if she had not chosen to become a professor, her next choice would have been to become a dockworker or warehouse worker “in order to be a member of the most radical union in the country, the ILWU,” she said.

Family members detail killings

The crowd also heard from family members who lost loved ones to police violence. Their powerful stories illustrated how widespread and systemic police violence is in Black and brown communities across America. Speakers included Michael Brown Sr., whose 18-year old son, Michael, was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Also speaking was Richard Perez, who donated and drove the flatbed truck used at the Juneteenth event. He spoke about the 2014 shooting of his son “Peddie” Perez by police in Richmond, CA – and how that killing has devastated his family. “My wife cries every day,” he said.

Another speaker was Taun Hall, mother of Miles Hall, a 23-year-old Black man who was killed in 2019 by police in Walnut Creek, CA. She said their family called 911 for mental-health assistance because Miles was experiencing a schizophrenic episode – but their son ended up being killed by police.

Trent Willis spoke about the death of his own brother who was killed by Military Police who were called because of a verbal altercation in a bar. “The time when Black people are arrested, charged, tried, convicted and executed on the spot must end,” Willis said. “My brother was executed for talking back to a white person.”

International officers

At the morning rally, President Adams and International SecretaryTreasurer Ed Ferris spoke on behalf of the International. “We’re not working today. We’re standing in solidarity,” Adams said. He called on police officers to stop their fellow officers when they see them engaging in misconduct. “Good cops have got to start checking those bad cops. You can’t stand by and let something happen. You’re just as guilty,” Adams said. Ferris spoke passionately about the impact that George Floyd’s murder has had on him. “That video changed my life,” Ferris explained as he referenced the ILWU slogan, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” “Until the US addresses its deeprooted racial inequalities,” Ferris said, Americans will not be truly free. Until the color of your skin is as important as your hair color or your eye color, we are not all going to be free. I’m so grateful to see this diverse group of people because we are fed up.”

In this together: International Secretary-Treasurer Ed Ferris rallies the crowd. He spoke about how racial justice is directly tied to economic justice for all workers.

Saving the Port of Oakland

Local 10 pensioner and long-time activist Clarence Thomas has been a leader against racial injustice for decades and remains active in today’s struggles. He spoke about the attempt by developers to build a baseball stadium, hotels and retail at the Port of Oakland. “We have to stop that,” Thomas said. “The Oakland A’s have to stay in East Oakland, not at the port.”

Thomas then introduced Andy Garcia, Executive Vice President of the trucking company GSC Logistics. “The rich and powerful and the politicians want to sell this port to the highest bidder,” said Garcia. “They want to take away our jobs. They want to take away our future. They want to take away our family’s future.”

Local attorney and former Oakland mayoral candidate Pamela Price also spoke out against the stadium project. “In East Oakland we are fighting against the abandonment of the Oakland Coliseum and the purchasing of Howard Terminal because we know the Howard Terminal stadium project means prioritizing profits over people,” she said. “The Howard Terminal project would destabilize the Black community in both East and West Oakland, and speed up our displacement from Oakland.” Oakland’s Black population has declined by half in recent decades, due to pressure from gentrification and the erosion of good union jobs in the industrial and warehouse sectors.

Rally at City

Hall Boots Riley, film director and frontman for the hip hop band, The Coup, was a featured speaker at the afternoon rally. Riley spoke about the power of workers to effect change by withholding their labor and the need for people to organize at work. “We’ve had, these past two weeks, millions of people in the street all over the country in every single city in the United States. And right now we’re at a point where people are like, ‘What’s the next step?’ And a lot of that question is a question of power.” Riley continued, “What is power? How does it work? What is our power? And that’s what today is answering. Our power comes from the fact that we create the wealth. Wealth is power. We have the ability to withhold that power. Wherever you work, wherever you are during the day, that’s where you need to be organizing.”

Other speakers at the City Hall included young leaders from the Bay Area and across the country, including Chris Smalls, who was fired by Amazon after he helped organize a work stoppage at the company’s warehouse on Staten Island, New York, to protest the lack of protective gear and hazard pay for workers. One of the youngest speakers was recent high school graduate and Bay Area activist Lauryn Campbell of Black Youth for the People’s Liberation. The group organized a march on June 8 in East Oakland to protest the killing of Oakland resident Erik Salgado by California Highway Patrol officers. “Today we are here to say we’re done,” Campbell told the crowd. “We’re done hiding our Blackness. We’re done looking over our shoulders.

Labor takes a stand

The ILWU’s role in the Juneteenth actions was amplified by local, national and international media coverage that was overwhelmingly positive. President Adams said the movement against police violence and racial injustice reflects the ILWU’s history and values. “Our own union was forged out of violent police attacks during the 1934 strike. Two workers in San Francisco, Nicholas Bordoise and Howard Sperry, were murdered by the police. From the beginning, Harry Bridges was committed to fighting racism in the labor movement because he understood that division undermines the power of the working class,” Adams said. “The ILWU has never been silent on the moral issues of the day. This historic moment required a historic response and the rank-and-file of our great union rose to the occasion.”

Categories: Unions

Turkey: Women workers dismissed from SF Trade for union organizing

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/10/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

USA: U.S. Ranked Worst for Workers’ Rights Among Major Economies

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/10/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Bloomberg
Categories: Labor News

Zimbabwe: Government must drop all charges and reinstate nurses now

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/09/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: PSI
Categories: Labor News

Global: 2020 Global Trade Union Assembly starts on Thursday 9.7

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/07/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUED / RLS / CUNY
Categories: Labor News

Global: British TUC organises global festival of ideas in union organising

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 07/05/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUC
Categories: Labor News

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