U.S. PORT WORKERS PREPARE FOR ôSOLIDARITYö RALLIES
U.S. port workers around the country will hold “solidarity” rallies today to show their support for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which is negotiating a new three-year labor contract with West Coast maritime employers.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has vowed to stand with the ILWU through the contract negotiation process. The current ILWU contract is set to expire midnight, June 30.
“The Teamsters are committed to fighting for justice and unity in the ports,” the union said in a statement. “Over the past two years, the Teamsters have engaged in a national effort to organize North American port drivers. Port drivers are some of the lowest paid workers in the U.S.”
Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa, in addition to Chuck Mack, Teamsters international vice president, and George Cashman, Teamsters port division director, will join ILWU President Jim Spinosa for a rally in the Port of Oakland Thursday morning.
Other rallies are planned by port workers in Boston; Newark, N.J.; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Norfolk, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; New Orleans; Houston; Long Beach, Calif.; Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.
The rallies on the West Coast, in particular, are scheduled to take place during scheduled lunch hours and break times.
“This has absolutely nothing to do with job actions or slowdowns,” a Teamster official said. “It’s about demonstrating solidarity.”
Teamster and International Longshoremen’s Association locals on the East Coast have been asked to show their support by wearing blue-and-gold T-shirts on the job, which say “Unity on the Waterfront” in both English and Spanish, and include the logos of the ILWU, Teamsters and ILA.