"May Day! May Day! May Day!"
MAKE MAYDAY A "NO PEACE, NO WORK HOLIDAY"!
The following was written by Jack Heyman a longshoreman who works on the Oakland docks
Longshoremen to close ports on West Coast to protest war
While millions of people worldwide have marched against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and last week's New York Times/CBS News poll indicated that 81 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction - key concerns being the war and the economy - the war machine inexorably grinds on.
Amid this political atmosphere, dockworkers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have decided to stop work for eight hours in all U.S. West Coast ports on May 1, International Workers' Day, to call for an end to the war.
This decision came after an impassioned debate where the union's Vietnam veterans turned the tide of opinion in favor of the anti-war resolution. The motion called it an imperial action for oil in which the lives of working-class youth and Iraqi civilians were being wasted and declared May Day a "no peace, no work" holiday. Angered after supporting Democrats who received a mandate to end the war but who now continue to fund it, longshoremen decided to exercise their political power on the docks.
Last month, in response to the union's declaration, the Pacific Maritime Association, the West Coast employer association of shipowners, stevedore companies and terminal operators, declared its opposition to the union's protest. Thus, the stage is set for a conflict in the run up to the longshore contract negotiations.
The last set of contentious negotiations (in 2002) took place during the period between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the invasion of Iraq. Representatives of the Bush administration threatened that if there were any of the usual job actions during contract bargaining, then troops would occupy the docks because such actions would jeopardize "national security." Yet, when the PMA employers locked out the longshoremen and shut down West Coast ports for 11 days, the "security" issue vanished. President Bush then invoked the Taft-Hartley Act, forcing longshoremen back to work under conditions favorable to the employers.
The San Francisco longshore union has a proud history of opposition to the war in Iraq, being the first union to call for an end to the war and immediate withdrawal of troops. Representatives of the union spoke at anti-war rallies in February 2003, including one in London attended by nearly 2 million people, the largest ever held in Britain. Executive Board member Clarence Thomas went to Iraq with a delegation to observe workers' rights during the occupation.
At the start of the war in Iraq, hundreds of protesters demonstrated on the Oakland docks, and longshoremen honored their picket lines. Without warning, police in riot gear opened fire with so-called less-than-lethal weapons, shooting protesters and longshoremen alike with wooden dowels, rubber bullets, pellet bags, concussion grenades and tear gas. A U.N. Human Rights Commission investigator characterized the Oakland police attack as "the most violent" against anti-war protesters in the United States.
And finally, last year, two black longshoremen going to work in the port of Sacramento were beaten, Maced and arrested by police under the rubric of Homeland Security regulations ordained by the "war on terror."
There's precedent for this action. In the '50s, French dockworkers refused to load war materiel on ships headed for Indochina, and helped to bring that colonial war to an end. At the ILWU's convention in San Francisco in 2003, A. Q. McElrath, an octogenarian University of Hawaii regent and former ILWU organizer from the pineapple canneries, challenged the delegates to act for social justice, invoking the union's slogan, "An injury to one is an injury to all." She concluded, "The cudgel is on the ground. Will you pick it up?"
It appears that longshore workers may be doing just that on May Day and calling on immigrant workers and others to join them.
May Day protest
WHEN: 10:30 a.m., May 1, followed by a rally at noon.
WHERE: Longshore Union Hall, corner of Mason and Beach (near Fisherman's Wharf)
WHAT: March to a rally at Justin Herman Plaza along the Embarcadero.
A CALL TO ACTION ALL OUT ON MAYDAY TO STOP THE WAR!
At the start of the Iraq War in 2003, many working people were opposed to the invasion. Now the overwhelming majority want to end the war and withdraw troops.
Yet, both major political parties continue to fund the war.
Marches and demonstrations have not been able to stop the war. The Longshore Union (ILWU) will stop work for 8 hours in every port on the West Coast on May 1st.
This action shows that working people have the power to stop the war.
Don't work on May 1st — MAKE MAYDAY A "NO PEACE, NO WORK HOLIDAY"!
*Stop the war!
*Withdraw the troops now!
*No scapegoating immigrant workers for the economic crisis!
*Health care for all!
*Funding for schools and housing!
*Defend civil liberties and workers' rights!
MAKE MAYDAY A "NO PEACE, NO WORK HOLIDAY"!
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT:
Contact ILWU President Robert McEllrath With A Letter Of Support For The Longshore Caucus’ Resolution To Use International Workers Day To “Stop Work To Stop The War”
Date: 29 Mar 2008
From: Clarence Thomas
Via New York City Labor Against The War
As a result of an important action taken at the recent International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Caucus, Longshore workers will stop work during the first shift in opposition to the war in Iraq, on May 1, 2008.
They will also use this occasion to acknowledge International Workers Day to express labor solidarity concerning issues and challenges that confront workers.
This war has cost more than 4,000 American lives and 29,000 have been seriously injured. It has been estimated that 1 million Iraqis have lost their lives, untold have been injured and 4 million have been displaced in this illegal and amoral war and occupation. The war is costing $435 million per day.
So far, $526 billion has been expended on the war. The daily amount spent on the war could enroll 58,000 youngsters in Head Start or provide health insurance to 329,200 low-income children.
We’re writing to ask you to contact ILWU President Robert McEllrath with a letter of support for the Longshore Caucus’ resolution to use International Workers Day to “stop work to stop the war”. Please ask other organizations to do the same.
Robert McEllrath, ILWU President
1188 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 775-1302 FAX
Your support in spreading the word of this historic action is very important.
Million Worker March Movement
And there's MORE:
Mail Carriers Vote 2 Minutes Of Silence On May Day To Oppose The War
April 11, 2008 New York City Labor Against The War
Postal letter carriers in Greensboro voted to observe 2 minutes of silence at 9:15 a.m. on International Workers Day - Thursday, May 1, 2008 - to express their opposition to the war in Iraq.
Their workplace action is in solidarity with the ILWU longshore workers, who are shutting down all West Coast ports for 8 hours on May 1st in opposition to the war. The vote took place on April 3 at their regular membership meeting in Greensboro.
The action by Greensboro Branch 630 of the National Association of Letter Carriers is also in solidarity with San Francisco Branch 214 letter carriers and the American Postal Workers Union in the New York Metro Area and San Francisco, who earlier voted to pause for 2 minutes of silence on that day to oppose the war.
The APWU locals, whose members work around the clock, plan to observe the period of silence at specific times on all three shifts.
And still MORE:
New York Faculty/Staff Union Supports ILWU Anti-War Work Stoppage
April 11, 2008 New York City Labor Against The War
The following anti-war resolution was adopted unanimously at the March 27 delegate assembly of the Professional Staff Congress, AFT Local 2334 at the City University of New York.
Whereas, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has voted to stop work and shut down all 29 West Coast ports for the full 8-hour day shift on May 1st, in protest against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan; and
Whereas, this historic decision to use the power of their contract to close the ports represents one of the most powerful forms of labor action a union can take to demand an end to the war; and
Whereas, the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY has, since the start of the war in Iraq, called for an end to the war and a reordering of national priorities so that funding is available for education, healthcare, jobs and other human needs; and
Whereas, it is especially important that CUNY students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to discuss the meaning of a powerful labor action to end the war, given the intense military recruitment our students face and the direct effect of the war budget on CUNY funding and contracts; and
Whereas, the PSC has embarked on the most intense phase of our fight for a fair contract; and
Whereas, the ILWU has expressed the hope that its decision will be a "clarion call" to the rest of labor; and
Whereas, the March meeting of the Hunter PSC chapter voted to hold an outdoor event/teach-in against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan on May 1st in solidarity with the ILWU work stoppage and with the theme of mobilizing labor's power against the war; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the PSC send to the ILWU a message of solidarity on the occasion of their historic initiative for workers' action against the war, and as part of this effort, be it further
RESOLVED that while the priority for PSC organizing during the next two months will be the drive to reach a good contract settlement, PSC chapters that vote to undertake a campus event or teach-in on May 1 in solidarity with the ILWU action will be supported in
doing so; and such actions should reach out as broadly as possible to students and the community and should contribute to building the union campaign for a good contract.
A big Tip of the Hat goes out to Brother 'Nam Vet Thomas Barton, over at Military Project - G.I. Special and Traveling Soldier who passed on the above information in his lastest G.I. Special Newsletter, I just did abit of extra highlighting and added a few links!
What say folks, will You MAKE MAYDAY A "NO PEACE, NO WORK HOLIDAY"!
Take the Day Off, have a Planned Action to show your Solidarity with the Longshoreman and Support For The Troops, Real Support "Bring Them Home Now, And Take Care Of Them When They Return!!"