We have contacted the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU). The ILWU has taken the stance that they will not stand in solidarity with Occupy, and as such, though we did talk to somebody from their local, it seems they aren’t talking about it. The first people who were contacted about this action was the Local ILWU, it’s hard for me to say exactly why he didn’t find out. I’ll have (redacted), one of the organizers of this action contact you about this if he has time as well.
There are some misconceptions about whether ILWU supports The December 12th West Coast Port Shutdown.
ILWU national leadership released a statement saying they “don’t endorse” the December 12th Shutdown.
This is exactly how it was done on November 2nd as well. They participated in and supported it just as much then as they do now.
Here’s how it works: We block the gates to the docks, the arbitrator comes and declares it unsafe for the longshoremen to go to work, and the longshoremen then go home- with pay.
ILWU has to officially say that they don’t “endorse” the shutdown, this is the only way that they will be able to claim that the blockade is a safety hazard for longshoremen.
If they endorsed it, there would be no safety hazard. How could there be a safety hazard from an action that they endorse? It would be a “strike”, no pay for longshoremen that day, and ILWU would be liable for a lawsuit in the millions.
Do not believe the rumor that this means the longshoremen rank-and-file, and the President of the locals don’t individually support us. They do. ILWU just can’t officially do it as an organization.
This action is in support of Longshoremen in Longview, WA who are militantly fighting union-busting activities by the grain company EGT. The actions of the rank-and-file there are not officially endorsed by ILWU either. These are technicalities for legal reasons, not a measure of support in this case.
Here’s what ILWU Local 21 President Dan Coffman said to Occupy Oakland last week at a public rally: “You can’t believe what you people have done for my people!”
ILWU Local 10 Executive Board member Clarence Thomas said publicly: “These Ports are public. People have a right to come to the Port and protest. The ILWU has historically honored picket lines at the Port.”
The ILWU has always honored community pickets. They understand solidarity. This is all part of how it works.
They supported the November 2nd shutdown under the exact same circumstances. The longshoremen support this one too.
Please let folks know about this. The details of this action have caused some confusion among people that need to be clear about their support.