May Day and ILWU: what happened?
In the previous issue of The Partisan it was reported that the longshore workers would shut down ports for May Day. Unfortunately, this didn't occur. The memberships of International Longshore and Warehouse Union 10 (San Francisco Bay Area ) and Local 19 (Seattle) had voted, as an act of solidarity with the national immigrant workers rights marches and work and school walkouts, to cease work that day to hold a ''stop work meeting'' (as uniquely allowed under the Longshore contact with the Pacific Maritime Association).
The P.M.A. brought in an artibitator who ruled that these particular stop work meetings violated the contract and should not occur. No surprise there . But what was both surprising and upsetting to rank and fi le ILWU activists was that the International leadership of the union put up no resistance to the edict and instead ordered the presidents of the two locals to cancel the port shutdowns. Both presidents complied.
Jack Heyman, a Local 10 executive board member and supporter of the solidarity action, was outraged. He stated at a subsequent membership meeting that "In a unprecedented move the International leadership has overturned the votes of two membership meetings and the executive board, and our local president has gone along with it! This cannot ever happen again!"
Stan Woods is a member of ILWU Local 6 in Oakland and of the P&F State Central Committee.