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Solidarity with ILWU Local 10 Against all Government Intervention


November 14, 2007


Dear Brothers and Sisters of ILWU Local 10,

It is blatantly obvious that the U.S. government's intervention into the affairs of ILWU Local 10 is designed to silence one of the proudest and important locals in the country.

Know full well that the members and supporters of The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal stand in solidarity against any and all government intervention into the affairs of your proud union or any other.

We know that this intervention is no accident. It is designed to intimidate a union whose ranks have stood on the side of social justice and equality for many decades.

We appreciate the support that we have consistently received from Local 10 in the struggle for the freedom of innocent political prisoner and death row fighter for social justice, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Count on us to help in whatever activities are planned to defend the interests of Local 10 against the union-busting efforts engineered by the forces of reaction.

ILWU Local 10 is invited to send a speaker to the planned "Day After" demonstrations scheduled in San Francisco the day following any decision in Mumia's case. This momentarily expected decision could be a major victory that leads to Mumia's freedom or it could be a major defeat that opens the door wide to Mumia's execution. We will rally at 5 pm at the federal courthouse at 7th and Mission.

Can we add the name of ILWU Local 10 to the list of local and national endorses of this emergency "Day After" demonstration and the national bi-coastal demonstrations to follow the third Saturday after such a decision is released?

Our platform is yours!

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Hands off ILWU Local 10!

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!


In solidarity,

Jeff Mackler and Laura Herrera, Co-coordinators
The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal


-----Original Message-----
Subject: U.S. GOVERNMENT STOPS ILWU LOCAL 10 FROM CONDUCTING LOCAL ELECTIONS - JACK HEYMAN

DEFEND OUR UNION!
STOP GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN ILWU LOCAL 10 ELECTIONS!

Nov. 12, 2007
In an unprecedented dictatorial move, the federal government has stopped Local 10 from holding union elections. For 70 years the federal government has tried but was never able to run our elections. How is that possible for such a democratic and militant union? Because two disgruntled members who were disqualified by our Constitution from running for office in 2005 and 2006, they went to the Department of Labor with their complaints. Rather than take their case to the membership for a democratic vote through a Constitutional amendment, they brought in the feds.

On Nov. 4, 2007, federal judge Vaughn Walker ordered the elections cancelled and a Department of Labor-supervised election in its place. Is it an accident if the feds prevent the Local 10 membership from electing officers and delegates to the Contract Caucus which will determine our contract demands and negotiators? During the last contract negotiations, the Bush administration threatened to occupy the West Coast docks with troops if there were any job actions. Then after the employers, PMA, locked us out, Bush forced us back to work under the slave-labor Taft-Hartley Act. That's the class nature of the government, pure and simple-to front for the employers, to do their dirty work.

Both Democrat and Republican presidents have used Taft-Hartley against unions. In 1948, maritime employers threatened a lockout. ILWU longshoremen voted 92% to strike with other maritime unions. Democratic President Truman invoked Taft-Hartley. Back in the day, every important question was put to a vote to the rank and file. In June, ILWU mobilized to contest Taft-Hartley at the courthouse until it was so crowded that longshore workers overflowed the courtroom into the corridors. ILWU longshore voted 94/3% to refuse to comply with the Taft-Hartley provision that unions had to sign non-communist affidavits. Therefore, employers were not required to bargain with the negotiating committee since ILWU was illegally violating NLRB's bargaining practices. Union solidarity, here and internationally, paid off. By November, employers and the government dropped the demand that the union sign the affidavits as it would have lengthened the strike. It was a defiant victory for the ILWU.

Harry Bridges and the longshoremen who founded this union, and helped build the trade union movement in this country, used to say that we can take on the attacks from outside the union, but it is attacks from the inside that will destroy this union. To bring inside our union one of the most anti-labor administrations in U.S. history is a crying shame. Bush has had to dump Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General Gonzalez of the Department of Justice, Both departments along with the Department of Labor (DOL) were involved in the threats against ILWU during the 2002 contract negotiations. Earlier this year, the NLRB ordered that the Inlandboatmen's Union (IBU) could not picket Hornblower on the San Francisco waterfront after that company fired its union workers. You can't picket a company that steals your job?! Just more government unionbusting!

The Bush's DOL will bring “democracy” to the ILWU like he did in Iraq, at the end of a bayonet. Asking the DOL to run a fair election is inviting the fox into the chicken coop. Bush stole the last presidential election in Florida as cops blocked black people from voting and in Ohio by miscounting votes in working class neighborhoods. And having them rewrite our union Constitution? That's both crazy and dangerous! DOL wants to allow members “not in good standing for one year” to run for office. What's next ruling that members don't have to pay dues to run for office?! Allowing strikebreakers to run for office? Bush violates the U.S. Constitution daily with “signing statements”, warrantless phone taps and torture. And after the feds are finished running our elections, maybe they'll want to put our union in trusteeship or takeover our hiring hall like they did to the ILA on the East and Gulf Coasts. Where will it end? We've got to stop this government interference now.

Our local has a proud history of taking progressive stands. Recently,we've taken actions against the war, in defense of immigrant workers' rights and against government repression of constitutional rights. Now, this reactionary government is stopping our union from exercising its democratic right to vote in a union election. Stand up for your rights!