Defend Bay Area Dock Workers Mon 4/25, 11am SF

Dockworkers sued for rank and file action.Drop the lawsuit!



Monday, April 25th 11am – 1:30pm

Pacific Maritime Association (PMA)

555 Market Street, San Francisco (Between 1st & 2nd Streets, near Montgomery BART)

We are coming together to defend the rank and file of Local 10, who took voluntary solidarity action on April 4, to support workers in Wisconsin and 15 other states facing attacks on collective bargaining and cuts to social services.

Their action took place on the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an honorary member of Local 10.

The labor movement is under attack from Wisconsin to California and from New York and Ohio to Arizona . And we’re beginning to fight back. On April 4, when working people across this country demonstrated in solidarity with the Wisconsin state workers, the rank and filers of ILWU Local 10 did what they’ve always done, implemented their union’s slogan, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” No cargo moved in the ports of San Francisco and Oakland – in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin .

Now the employers’ group, the Pacific Maritime Association, is trying to put an end to workers’ solidarity actions by intimidating the union through a court suit. Their bullying tactics must be stopped.

ILWU Local 10 rank and filers and the San Francisco Labor Council are organizing a broad defense campaign. Last week 100 labor, community and social justice activists came together to form a Labor/Community Committee to Defend ILWU Local 10.

The defense campaign kicks off on Monday, April 25th with a mid-day MASS RALLY at PMA’s San Francisco headquarters, 555 Market Street , to tell the employers: Drop the lawsuit! Hands off the ILWU!

San Francisco Labor Council Resolution – adopted April 11, 2011

Defend April 4th Solidarity Action by the Rank-and-File of ILWU Local 10

….Whereas, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 and its President Richard Mead are being sued in court by maritime employers of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) for a 24-hour shutdown of the Port of Oakland on April 4, for responding to the AFL-CIO call for a National Day of Action and in line with ILWU International President McEllrath’s March 8th call for mobilizing in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin; and

Whereas, each rank and file member of Local 10 made this selfless choice to stand up for public workers in Wisconsin and for all workers in the best tradition of the longshore union, as they have done since the Big Strike of 1934 and the historic San Francisco General Strike, which built the foundation for the trade union movement in this city and on the West Coast; and

Whereas, these same maritime employers were unsuccessful in their attempt to use the slave labor Taft-Hartley Act to stop the ILWU from carrying out a Local 10-initiated coastwide shutdown of all ports on May Day 2008 to demand an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a first-ever in U.S. labor history; and

Whereas, Local 10, the heart and soul of the San Francisco labor movement, is now under attack for implementing the principled labor slogan, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council … initiate a defense of ILWU Local 10 by setting up a broad-based defense committee in close collaboration with Local 10, and by mobilizing the AFL-CIO labor councils and unions of the Bay Area and California; and

Be it further resolved, that the first step in this campaign will be to call for a mass mobilization of all Bay Area Labor Councils and the California AFL-CIO to rally in front of PMA headquarters in San Francisco on Monday, April 25, to demand that the court suit be dropped and that the vindictive … procedures against the union in the arbitration be halted immediately; and

Be it finally resolved that ILWU Local 10 be commended for its solidarity action and that we request that the state and national AFL-CIO do likewise. (Excerpts)

At 6 a.m. on the AFL-CIO National Day of Action April 4, a long snake-line of trucks bearing shipping containers idled on the roadway, while Local 10 dock workers stayed away from work at the Port of Oakland for 24 hours. Photo: Delores Lemon-Thomas

No cargo worked April 4 in solidarity with heroic Wisconsin

Dockworkers shut down ports of Oakland and San Francisco for 24 hours

By Dave Welsh

Oakland, April 4, 2011 – The power of workers to bring production to a halt was on dramatic display April 4, when longshore workers of ILWU Local 10 shut down the ports of Oakland and San Francisco for 24 hours, in solidarity with the heroic struggles in Wisconsin .

The big container port of Oakland was deader than a doornail Monday at 6 a.m. I saw a long snake-line of trucks bearing shipping containers idled on the roadway. The shipping cranes were all “standing at attention” – i.e., not working any containers. [These are same Port of Oakland cranes that gave George Lucas the idea
for some of his “Star Wars” imagery.]

The Oakland port’s rail yard was deserted and the shipping cranes were all “standing at attention” – i.e., not working any containers — due to the 24-hour shutdown by rank-and-file dock workers on April 4th. Photo: Delores Lemon-Thomas

The ILWU hiring hall was practically deserted at dispatch time for the night shift, leaving several hundred jobs unfilled. The dock workers stayed away, and no cargo was worked on any shift Monday in Oakland or San Francisco .

The rank-and-file-initiated shutdown was part of nationwide actions on April 4 to challenge the draconian budget cuts and union busting in Wisconsin and other states.

An ‘act of organized resistance’ by rank-and-file dock workers

“This was a voluntary rank and file action which resulted in an act of organized resistance,” said Clarence Thomas, a dock worker and Local 10 executive board member. “It was a courageous act of conscience on the part of these rank and filers – whose work, by the way, is critical to the functioning of the global economy.”

“It is significant that the action by Local 10 was taken in solidarity with Wisconsin public sector workers who are facing the loss of collective bargaining,” Thomas said. He pointed out that April 4 is also the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – who was killed in Memphis fighting for collective bargaining for sanitation workers in that city.

“So we’ve come full circle,” Thomas concluded. “The Memphis public workers got their union, after a two-month strike. Now 40 years later their Wisconsin counterparts are threatened with losing theirs. But it is Wisconsin ’s fierce resistance that is inspiring all of us today.”

It is not surprising that the 24-hour port work stoppage came out of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, a racially diverse, predominantly African American local and the home local of legendary labor leader Harry Bridges. Martin Luther King was named an honorary member of Local 10 six months before he was killed.

The Port of Oakland was ghostly quiet after dock workers volunteered to stay away – the only solidarity action in the workplace anywhere, on the April 4 National Day of Action called by the AFL-CIO to support the besieged workers of Wisconsin. Photo: Delores Lemon-Thomas

Local 10 member interviewed on KPFA Radio April 5

Clarence Thomas, executive board member of ILWU Local 10, is interviewed April 5 on KPFA’s Morning Mix after dock workers shut down the ports of Oakland and San Francisco , protesting union busting legislation in Wisconsin and other states. To hear the interview, click this link:

To contact the Committee to Defend ILWU Local 10, email

We need you to rise to the defense of these dock workers when they’re under attack. They are the one union that has always practiced solidarity with others.

About Mad Scientist

Member of California Association of Professional Scientists
This entry was posted in AFL-CIO, Black workers, Class Struggle and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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