Category: Labor
Trump’s Jerusalem Statement is a Declaration of War

December 9, 2017

Trump’s Jerusalem Statement is a Declaration of War

The Communist Party of Canada condemns the statement by US President Trump, declaring US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and directing the US Embassy to move to Jerusalem from its present location in Tel Aviv.

The US statement is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people, and complete support and endorsement of the Zionist and expansionist policies of the Israeli government, including expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements, the continuing illegal blockade of Gaza, and the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian people fighting to protect their land and national sovereignty.

The US actions have not only ended the peace process, flying in the face of UN resolutions aimed to find a peaceful political solution, but the US has declared war on all the progressive peoples and states of the Middle East who seek peaceful political solutions to complex political problems in the region.  Trump’s actions are an endorsement of Israeli militarism and aggression against the Palestinians, and others in the Middle East.

Trump’s actions are a threat to global peace and security, because of his actions in the Middle East, because of his actions and threats to DPRK, to Syria, to Venezuela, to Cuba, and because of his administration’s decisions to abandon the UN and assign itself to the role of the world’s policeman.

This is the road to calamity and global destruction.

We call on the government of Canada, and the UN to clearly and unequivocally condemn this latest US provocation and act of war, and to take immediate action to reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital, based on the 1967 boundaries, and guaranteeing the right of return to Palestinians now living abroad, which is the internationally recognized framework for a peaceful political solution.

We further call on the labour and democratic movements in Canada to oppose Trump’s criminal acts of war, to demand their retraction, and to step up the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, pending the ending of the occupation, the dismantlement of the “security” wall, full equality for Arab Palestinian Israelis and the realization of the rights of refugees including the right to return.

The Communist Party of Canada will continue to support the just cause of the Palestinian People for sovereignty and independence in their homeland, free from Israeli and US aggression and expansionism.  Their brave resistance is supported by all who value peace, democracy and sovereignty in the Middle East.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Greece: Everyone in the strike of December 14th – Le 14 décembre tous à la grève partout!
| December 12, 2017 | 8:04 pm | Announcements, Labor, PAME, Syriza | No comments

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Greece: Everyone in the strike of December 14th – Le 14 décembre tous à la grève partout!
All in the strike rallies in all cities! We fight back!
Let’s give a militant response to the new measures of impoverishment of the working people!
The positive climate that the government of SYRIZA – ANEL is trying to cultivate all along this time through the tale of the “just development” does not contain anything positive for the working people, since a new wave of anti-popular measures is being planned. The “just development” that the government promotes and defends, means further assault on the life of the working-people family with further abolition of rights and advances.

The measures of the 3rd IMF-EU-ECB assessment, which are preparing to implement silently, among the dirt and scandals that are rising to conceal the new attack, target “workers” matters with new cuts in pensions and social benefits, the launch of electronic auctions for the “red” loans to banks.
At the same time, the data contained in the new budget plan show what it means for the workers the promotion of the measures for the recovery of the profits of business groups. The swelling of the primary surpluses means further intensification of the exploitation for the workers. The final draft budget provides new privileges and bonuses for monopoly groups with “hot” money but also an extra blow to the workers-popular income, with the escalation of “tax-grabbing” and cuts, seizures and auctions, privatizations.
At the same time, the SYRIZA – ANEL government is preparing to make real a constant longing of big employers and to give another serious blow to the workers’ trade union movement, by attacking the organization of workers’ struggles and demands, by giving a blow to the right to strike and to trade union action, to organization and action of workers.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government in these circumstances strengthens the repression and authoritarianism against worker-popular protests. Supermarket workers in Ioannina, students and workers outside the Ministry of Education, as well as protesters against bank seizures were persecuted, arrested, they received violent repression and chemicals.
Enough with the lies, the delusions, the meagre life!
We take the case of organizing the fight and the success of the strike in our hands. We send away the compromised and sell-out union leaderships that have neither the will nor the orientation to organize a movement against the demands of business groups, competitiveness, the measures that support the profitability of monopolies.
We call on the trade unions to make decisions to participate, to organize meetings, discussions in the workplace, to make decisions in the industries, in the factories.
We call on workers to respond to the anti-popular agreements, to the new bankruptcy plans for workers. To take part massively in strike rallies addressed by PAME in all cities, on December 14th.
We demand to:
• Sign a National General Collective Agreement and restore with law the salary of 751 euros for those paid with the basic salary as the minimum basis for increases in the lower salary. Lower wage at 33.57 euros.
• Abolish with law the humiliating salaries of hunger of € 586 and € 511, and no worker to take less than € 751.
• Restore Sectoral Agreements.
• Immediately abolish all anti-workers laws that crash the Collective Agreements. Collective Agreements that apply to all and be obligatory. Implementation of the continuing effect until the signing of a new Collective Agreement without any time restriction.
• No to the anti-workers changes that impede the functioning of trade unions, which obstruct the proclamation of strikes and the development of workers’ struggles and demands.
• Tax-free limit per person of 20,000 euros, plus 5,000 euros for each child. Remove ENFIA (the tax for residence) and all the extra taxes.
• Prohibition of auctions for the working-popular family. No house in the hands of a banker!
* * *
PAME:  Le 14 décembre tous à la grève partout!
Passons à la contre-offensive!
Donnons une réponse combative et militante aux nouvelles mesures d’appauvrissement des travailleurs !
L’ambiance «bon enfant» que le gouvernement de SYRIZA et d’ANEL entretient ces derniers mois avec son conte de fées sur la «croissance juste», n’apporte rien de bon pour les travailleurs, puisqu’une nouvelle vague de mesures est dans les plans. La «croissance juste», mise en avant et défendue par le gouvernement, se traduit en une attaque plus intense à la vie des familles ouvrières et populaires avec davantage de suppression de droits et de conquêtes.
 Les mesures de la « 3ème évaluation» de l’économie grecque par le FMI, l’UE et la BCE visent le Code du travail avec de nouvelles coupes dans les pensions de retraite et les allocations sociaux. Les enchères électroniques pour les emprunts «rouges» aux banques y sont incluses aussi. Ces mesures sont préparées dans le silence absolu, dans l’odeur nauséabonde des scandales qui apparaissent ici et là pour dissimuler l’attaque.
 Dans le même moment, les chiffres présentés dans le projet de Budget pour 2018, illustrent en quoi se traduit pour les travailleurs l’implémentation des mesures visant la reprise des profits de grands groupes. Le gonflement des «excédents primaires» signifie l’intensification de l’exploitation des travailleurs. Le projet du Budget envisage encore de nouveaux privilèges et de nouveaux «cadeaux» aux grands groupes et une nouvelle attaque contre les revenus populaires-ouvriers, avec plus de taxes et de coupes, avec des confiscations et des ventes aux enchères, ainsi que des privatisations.
 Le gouvernement de SYRIZA-ANEL se prépare à réaliser encore une des vœux du patronat en portant encore un coup significatif au mouvement syndical ouvrier avec l’attaque contre l’organisation des luttes ouvrières et les revendications ouvrières, l’attaque contre la grève et l’action syndicale, contre l’organisation et l’action des travailleurs.
 Le gouvernement de SYRIZA-ANEL intensifie, dans ces conditions, la répression et l’autoritarisme contre les mobilisations ouvrières-populaires. Les travailleurs des supermarchés dans la ville d’Ioannina, les étudiants et les travailleurs aux logements étudiants devant le Ministère de l’Education ou encore ceux manifestant contre les confiscations des maisons par les banques, ils ont tous subi une violente répression avec des persécutions, des arrestations et des charges de la police anti-émeute.
 Ça suffit avec les mensonges et la vie «au minimum» !
 Nous prenons l’organisation de la lutte et la réussite de la grève entre nos mains. Nous mettons de côté les dirigeants syndicaux du compromis ou rachetés par le patronat, qui n’ont pas l’intention d’organiser le mouvement contre les exigences des grands groupes, contre la compétitivité et les mesures soutenant la rentabilité des monopoles.
Nous appelons les organisations syndicales à faire voter des résolutions de participation à la grève par branche et par usine, en organisant des assemblées générales et des discussions avec les travailleurs.
 Nous appelons les travailleurs à donner une réponse aux négociations contre le peuple et aux nouveaux plans d’appauvrissement des travailleurs. Nous les appelons à participer massivement aux rassemblements du PAME dans toute la Grèce, le 14 décembre.
 Nous exigeons:
  • Convention Collective Nationale et rétablissement, par loi, du SMIC à 751 euros comme la base de départ pour des augmentations au SMIC. Rémunération journalière minimale à 33,57 euros.
  • Suppression, par loi, des abominables salaires de faim de 586 et 511 euros. Aucun travailleur ne doit gagner moins que 751 euros par mois.
  • Rétablissement des accords de branche.
  • Suppression immédiate des toutes les lois contre les travailleurs qui écrasent les Conventions Collectives. Nous demandons que leur portée soit globale et que leur application devienne obligatoire pour tous les patrons. Extension indéfinie de la période de validité de l’accord après sa fin jusqu’à ce qu’un nouvel accord survienne.
  • Non aux changements anti-ouvriers limitant considérablement le fonctionnement des syndicats, qui entravent les grèves et le développement des luttes des travailleurs et celui de leurs revendications.
  • Abattement fiscal familial à 20.000 euros, augmenté de 5000 euros pour chaque enfant. Suppression de la taxe d’habitation (ENFIA) et d’autres taxes du même type.
  • Interdiction des ventes aux enchères portant sur les maisons des familles ouvrières-populaires. Aucune maison dans les mains des banquiers !
Drew Brees among Saints players to speak out on Thursday night games
| December 8, 2017 | 8:04 pm | Labor | No comments

Drew Brees among Saints players to speak out on Thursday night games

ATLANTA – Numerous members of the New Orleans Saints made it clear they are not fans of playing on Thursday night football.

And it would be hard to fault the players after they watched rookie running back Alvin Kamara (concussion), linebacker A.J. Klein (groin), guard Senio Kelemete (concussion), defensive lineman David Onyemata (undisclosed), rookie defensive end Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and safety Kenny Vaccaro (groin) not finish the game because of injuries.

Tight end Josh Hill, running back Mark Ingram, wide receiver Michael Thomas and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. also missed some time after being checked out the medical staff.

Given all the injuries, it wasn’t surprising quarterback Drew Brees didn’t hold back when asked about playing after a short week of preparation.

“It’s 100 percent a product of playing on Thursday night,” Brees said. “You understand what guy’s bodies go through in a game, and then to turn around four days later and play a game?

“Look at the injury studies. They’re off the charts. Is this smart, as it pertains to guys’ health and safety? No, absolutely not.”

Players railing on Thursday night games isn’t new, but the voices around the league appear to grow louder after injuries, which are magnified because the game stands alone on national TV.

Left tackle Terron Armstead feels the NFL must take another look at the Thursday night matchups.

“From a player safety standpoint, that short rest, that short recovery from a Sunday NFL game is tough,” Armstead said. “It’s taxing on a body. That short turnaround, we have to check the analytics, those studies, those stats and see because we had quite a few guys go down today.”

Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison believes the NFL should also consider if the current format is smart.

Davison also didn’t mince words when asked what should be done about Thursday night games with player safety in mind.

“The people who decide whether or not we should do it are NFL owners who probably never played football at this level,” Davison said. “I feel like it’s hard for them to understand what you have to put your body through, and not only that but what the teams have to go through to get ready in that short amount of time.

“I feel like if they’re really interested in putting the best product on the field, then they should look at what they’re doing with these Thursday night games. On top of that, I just feel like it’s greedy.”

Punter Thomas Morstead, who serves as one of the Saints’ player representative for the NFLPA, points out the message from the NFL on player safety is “a little disingenuous” when it comes to the short week of preparation.

He also has a possible solution.

“To me, it’s very simple what they should do – they should remove a preseason game, have three preseason games,” Morstead said. “They should have an 18-week season, 16 games and every team should have a legitimate bye week and every team should have a half and half bye week.

“Half a bye week before a week of prep before a Thursday night game, and a half bye week at the end of the Thursday game, so when you play Sunday, you wouldn’t play for another 11 days.”

Meanwhile, the problem of Thursday night football games and the injuries won’t be going away anytime soon.

Brees, however, would like to see the discussions on how to improve player safety with the short week in mind continue during the offseason.

“I can sit here and tell you that no player likes putting himself at risk on four days’ rest to come and put their bodies through what they put them through in a game,” Brees said. “So you hope that it’s addressed, you hope that it’s talked about, and you hope that something is done about it.

“When you see guys go down, when you lose guys for what you think is unnecessary just because you put them at a much higher risk in such a quick turnaround, that gets you upset.”

There will be another opportunity for the players and the league to come together in the near future.

And Morstead believes the issue of Thursday night football games should be on the table when the NFL and NFLPA come together in 2021 to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.

“Obviously, we have a new CBA coming up in 2021 and I think that’s something the players should push for,” Morstad said. “It would be great for all teams, for ownership to have an extra week of regular-season football.

“And you would have a better quality of game overall on Thursday nights because you’d always have both teams rested. I just think it’s a no-brainer win-win for players, for ownership, for the league.”

KKE sends powerful message to Tsipras’ government: “The right to strike is non-negotiable, don’t dare to touch it!”

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

KKE sends powerful message to Tsipras’ government: “The right to strike is non-negotiable, don’t dare to touch it!”
Regarding the SYRIZA-ANEL government’s amendment about the right to strike- which provoked the militant response of Trade Unions and workers – the Press Office of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece issued the following statement:
“The SYRIZA-ANEL government broke any record of political impudence and nastiness, bringing, like a thief in the Parliament – and within an irrelevant law proposal in order to vote it quickly- an amendment in order to begin the rupture of the working class’ biggest conquest, which is the right to strike. 
It is a ruthless government, which has no inhibition in order to serve the interests of the capital, a solid pursuit of which is to hit the right of strike, so that “cemetery silence” will prevail in labor places. For that reason, the government receives the congratulations of her “partners” in the EU, for that reason it quickly finishes the antiworker-antipeople “evaluations”. The right to strike, which was conquered with blood and sacrifices, is non-negotiable and whoever dares to touch it will face the working people and the class movement.
The KKE calls the working people to strengthen their struggle, to be from tomorrow and everyday out in the streets, to thicken the strike mobilizations during the next days, with the peak being the nationwide strike of December 14th. 
Source: / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
SYRIZA government withdraws anti-strike amendment after Trade Unions’ militant reaction
| December 7, 2017 | 8:10 pm | Analysis, class struggle, Greece, Labor, PAME, Syriza | No comments

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

SYRIZA government withdraws anti-strike amendment after Trade Unions’ militant reaction
Workers-Trade Unionists invade the Ministry
of Labour in Athens.
The SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government was forced after militant mobilization by PAME and Trade Unions to withdraw a shameful amendment on workers’ strike and other labour issues only hours after they were tabled in parliament. Earlier today (Tuesday), demonstrators supported by the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) invaded the Ministry of Labor in central Athens, as an act of protest against the antiworker-antipeople measures of the government.
The government’s amendment proposes that for a union to go on strike, at least 50% plus one of active union members must agree. In fact, this measure is a step towards the restriction of the workers’ right to strike and consists an escalation of the government-EU’s attack against the labour movement.
Mass mobilization by PAME and Trade Unions in downtown Athens against the antiworker-
antipeople policies of the SYRIZA-ANEL government.
Workers gathered outside the Ministry of Labour, Athens.
Once again, the “left” government of Alexis Tsipras has proved how ruthless it is when it comes to the satisfaction of the needs of the creditors and the capital. From its side, the KKE, from the very first time, declared “hands down from the right to strike”, thus calling the working people to intensify their struggle against the governmental measures and organise their counterattack with the nationwide strike on December 14th.
McDonald’s workers on historic strike in Britain – Solidarity with their just struggle

Monday, September 11, 2017

McDonald’s workers on historic strike in Britain – Solidarity with their just struggle
Their solidarity towards the strike of the workers at McDonald’s fast food chain in Britain expressed labor-trade unions in Greece and Turkey. 
The Trade union of workers in Catering, Hotels, Tourism of Athens issued a statement expressing its solidarity to their colleagues working to McDonald’s in the UK, who went on strike earlier this week, struggling for better salaries and abolition of the “zero hour contracts”. 
More specifically, the union states:
“Every country has two faces. One face represents wealth and luxury, where a minority is exploiting the work of others. On the other hand, there is the face of the majority of the workers struggling to live with poverty wages. Even we, who daily serve food to thousands of people, we do not manage to serve food to our families.
The workers in catering, tourism and hotels of Athens, support your fair demands for better wages, working hours and union recognition.
The flight of every worker for life, working conditions and working rights, is a fight that concerns us all.”
In Istanbul, members of the Communist Party of Turkey raided McDonald’s restaurants in the city addressing the workers and customers, ‘Did you hear? McDonald’s workers are on strike!
The leaflets announced that McDonald’s has over 1 million employees throughout the world and 85 thousand of them who work in Britain are on strike. It vocalized the demands of the workers for higher hourly pay, union rights and an end to slavish treatment of bosses.
Over 200 thousand fast food workers in Turkey work in precarious, unsecure conditions, long hours standing and with low wages. Average hourly pay starts from 7 liras [about 2 dolars] and daily overtime reaches 9 hours, without week-end holiday.
The leaflet told that  McDonald’s workers under these conditions are expected to seem jocund and keep hardworking. They are monitored by cameras and a momentary rest is an excuse to get fired. Meanwhile the bosses record a turnover of 6 billlion dolars. ‘A “smiling service” in front of the kitchen and a cruel exploitation behind…
CP of Turkey stated that fast food culture speeds up the reaping of bosses and for workers the only way out is to get organized. “In Britain, Germany, Turkey and elsewhere in the world’said the leaflet, ‘either in McDonald’s or in others, the same exploitation, the same class of bosses. The only way out is to get organized and to act collectively.”
Regarding the historic strike of workers at McDonald’s, we read in the article published at the New Worker (No 1934, 8 September 2017), official newspaper of the New Communist Party of Britain:
WORKERS at two branches of the McDonald’s fast food chain began strike action early on Monday – the first strike at McDonald’s in Britain since the chain first opened in Brit- ain in 1974. The workers are members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU). They are demanding £10-per-hour minimum pay, union recogni- tion, an end to zero-hours con- tracts and an end to the bullying culture rife behind the scenes at McDonald’s.
Staff at the two branches, in Crayford, Kent and in Cam- bridge, were balloted for strike action and last month voted by 95.7 per cent in favour of the strike. Picket lines outside both branches found support from the general public and other trade unionists and progressives. Later on Monday they travelled to Westminster for a rally.
The workers are angry at the way managers use the zero-hours contracts to bully workers by cutting their hours so they can never be sure what their wages will be. This has led workers to lose their homes through not being able to pay rent. One young woman on the picket line described the bul- lying culture to reporters: “My mum passed away in January and the manager just thought I went on holiday. The way I was treated was really bad. I went into hospital because of the stress of it.”
ess of it.” Twenty-seven-year-old Lew- is Baker, who helped to organise the Crayford strike, said: “There is proper bullying going on here. The conditions have become really bad. There’s discrimination. Hours are cut if you’re not a manager’s favourite. “The fight for £10 an hour is great and it would help us all, but it won’t make working here any better.
“We’ve had bosses tell us this strike is a joke. But it’s not a joke,” he said gesturing to the crowd of supporters. “For everyone to come here and show them we have support is just incredible.”
In a statement before the strike, Ian Hodson, president of the BFAWU, said: “For far too long, workers in fast food restau- rants such as McDonald’s have had to deal with unexplainably poor working conditions, dras- tic cuts to employee hours, and even bullying in the workplace – viewed by many as a punishment for joining a union.
“Trade unions, such as mine – Baker’s, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) – have worked to support these brave workers in standing up and fighting back against McDonalds – a company which has let these workers down one too many times. “Yet, despite all the attempts to change McDonald’s approach and help them become a fairer employer, nothing has been done on their side. Nothing has changed. Empty promises have been made. Yet nothing has been delivered.”
On Monday he said: “This is the second-largest restaurant company in the world that makes $22 billion (£17 billion) reve- nues a year, and yet its workers are living in poverty. They have been the pioneers of zero-hours contracts.” This is the first strike at Mc- Donald’s in Britain but it is part of an international movement, the Fast Food Global workers’ movement. In the United States, McDonald’s has come under pressure as part of the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign.
How the ILWU Stopped Fascists
| September 4, 2017 | 8:19 pm | Fascist terrorism, Labor | No comments

How the ILWU Stopped Fascists


What role should the labor movement play in beating back the resurgence of fascism? Resistance, while a powerful concept, is far too vague. Local 10, the San Francisco Bay Area branch of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)—and perhaps the most radical union in the United States—demonstrates what can be done.

This past week, the San Francisco Bay Area—long a center of unionism, social justice movements and radicalism—took center stage. Patriot Prayer is a right-wing organization with a demonstrated history of inciting racist violence, most obviously in Portland, Ore., while ironically asserting peaceful intentions. The far-right group declared it would rally in San Francisco on Saturday.

Local 10 took a lead role in organizing counter-protests that contributed to the San Francisco event being canceled the day ahead of its scheduled event. The union’s role in this wave of popular mobilizations demands consideration.

At its August 17 meeting, Local 10 passed a “Motion to Stop the Fascists in San Francisco,” which laid out members’ opposition to the rally and intention to organize. This resolution enumerated the union’s justifications, starting with Donald Trump’s “whitewashing this violent, deadly fascist and racist attack [in Charlottesville] saying ‘both sides are to blame,’ and his attacking anti-racists for opposing Confederate statues that honor slavery adds fuel to the fire of racist violence.”

The dockworkers called out Patriot Prayer for inciting violence. “[F]ar from a matter of ‘free speech,’ the racist and fascist provocations are a deadly menace, as shown in Portland on May 26 when a Nazi murdered two men and almost killed a third for defending two young African-American women he was menacing,” they declared. The union called for a protest against Patriot Prayer’s scheduled rally in San Francisco.

The motion ended with an invitation to “all unions and anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations to join us defending unions, racial minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and all the oppressed.”

As Ed Ferris, Local 10 president and one of the lead organizers succinctly declared in a recent interview with Dr. Suzi Weissman on KPFK, “A woman [Heather Heyer] was killed by Nazis on American soil and that’s absolutely unacceptable.”

Local 10’s planned counter-march received wide publicity in the Bay Area and across California via the internet, mass media and social media. Thousands would likely have joined the anti-fascist demonstration, were it not for the rally’s cancellation. While Local 10 was hardly the only Bay Area group to mobilize, they played a role in inspiring others to take action. As San Francisco Against Hate noted on Facebook, ILWU Local 10 “has a long history of fighting against racism” so “many other SF community groups and individuals who stand against white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia, will be marching from Longshoreman’s Hall to Crissy Field to protest.”

After its first rally was foiled, Patriot Prayer attempted a second at the city’s famed Alamo Park. However, thousands of counter-protesters—including ILWU members and union electricians and teachers—got to Alamo Park first and occupied it, overwhelming what few fascists and white supremacists appeared. These protesters joined another large contingent in the city’s Mission district, long a working-class neighborhood now suffering from rapid gentrification.

On Sunday, the focus shifted to the East Bay city of Berkeley where far-right forces planned to gather. Yet, once again, anti-fascists out-organized the right. Upwards of 5,000 people appeared, including—once more—Bay Area dockworkers and union teachers. Among ILWU members present was Howard Keylor, a 90-year-old who led the anti-apartheid boycott that Local 10 conducted in 1984 in solidarity with South Africans.

Yet, dockworkers have not been immune to the rising tide of hate. Earlier this year, multiple nooses were found on the Oakland waterfront, which followed the discovery of racist slurs spray painted on port equipment. The African-American Longshore Coalition, a caucus of black longshore workers within the ILWU, has led the efforts to combat such racism. In late May, about one hundred workers stopped work to protest these racist provocations. Derrick Muhammad, Local 10’s Secretary Treasurer, commented in late May: “We believe it’s a bonafide health and safety issue because of the history behind the noose and what it means for black people in America.”

Instead of protecting their workers, SSA Marine, the employer, responded by filing a complaint with the port arbitrator who ruled this stoppage illegal. The port’s communications director declared, “The Port of Oakland does not tolerate bigotry or discrimination of any kind,” but offered no specific comment on the nooses or the work stoppage. The Pacific Maritime Association, to which SSA belongs and which represents West Coast shipping corporations in dealings with the ILWU, declined to comment for this story.

The ILWU offers an example of a labor union being widely and deeply involved in social justice beyond its own workplaces. It boycotted ships loading material for fascist and racist regimes in Japan in the 1930s, Chile in the 1970s, and South Africa in the 1980s. It stood as one of the few organizations to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It actively fought racism in its own workplaces, cities and nation. The ILWU shut down all West Coast ports, on May Day of 2008 to protest the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Trump’s inauguration day, 90 percent of rank-and-file members in Local 10 refused to report for work.

In its anti-fascist statement, the ILWU cited its own “proud history of standing up against racism, fascism and bigotry and using our union power to do so; on May Day 2015 we shut down Bay Area ports and marched followed by thousands to Oscar Grant Plaza demanding an end to police terror against African Americans and others.”

The labor movement has been greatly weakened by decades of anti-unionism, but the ILWU and Local 10 remain unbowed. Other unions should follow their lead. And, for the 89 percent of American workers not in unions, they must be reminded that individual acts of resistance—while noble—are nowhere as effective as collective action. Sadly, there will be many more opportunities to act.

Reposted from Working In These Times


Peter Cole is a Professor of History at Western Illinois University. He is the author of Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive Era Philadelphia and is currently at work on a book entitled Dockworker Power: Race, Technology & Unions in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a Research Associate in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has published extensively on labor history and politics. He tweets from @ProfPeterCole.