West Coast Dockers to Stop Work May Day to Oppose Iraq War
At the International Longshore & Warehouse Union’s annual Pacific Coast Longshore Caucus, an overwhelming majority of delegates voted to stop work during the day shift on Thursday, May 1, 2008 at every West Coast port, to express their opposition to the war in Iraq.
Delegates called on unions to mobilize for a “No work, no peace holiday” on May Day “to demand an immediate end to the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East.” The union issued “an urgent appeal for unity of action to the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Coalition...to bring an end to this bloody war once and for all.”
The Longshore Caucus, or convention, was meeting in San Francisco January 28 to February 8, to prepare for bargaining a new contract for ILWU members in ports up and down the West Coast. The current contract expires on July 1, 2008.
Letter Carriers local plans May Day action in solidarity with the ILWU
The ILWU also urged other unions to participate in similar events on May 1 to bring the Iraq war to an end and bring the troops home safely. In response, the 2,700-member Letter Carriers Union in San Francisco voted to observe two minutes of silence in all carrier stations at 8:15 a.m. on May 1in honor of International Workers’ Day, and in solidarity with the ILWU stop-work action, “to express our opposition to the war in Iraq.”
The following resolution was adopted by the ILWU at its Pacific Coast Longshore Caucus:
“ILWU resolution: For Workers’ Action to Stop the War
“WHEREAS: On May 1, 2003, at the ILWU Convention in San Francisco resolutions were passed calling for an end to the war and occupation in Iraq; and
“WHEREAS: ILWU took the lead among labor unions in opposing this bloody war and occupation for imperial domination; and
““WHEREAS: Many unions and the overwhelming majority of the American people now oppose this bipartisan and unjustifiable war in Iraq and Afghanistan but the two major political parties, Democrats and Republicans continue to fund the war; and
“WHEREAS: Millions worldwide have marched and demonstrated against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but have been unable to stop the wars; and
“WHEREAS: ILWUs historic dock actions, 1) like the refusal of Local 10 longshoremen to load bombs for the military dictatorship in Chile in 1978 and military cargo to the Salvadoran military dictatorship in 1981; and 2) the honoring of the Teachers Union antiwar picket May 19, 2007 against SSA in the port of Oaklandstand as a limited but shining example of how to oppose these wars; and
“WHEREAS: The spread of war in the Middle East is threatened with U.S. air strikes in Iran or possible military intervention in Syria or the destabilized Pakistan; therefore be it
“RESOLVED: That it is time to take labor’s protest to a more powerful level of struggle by calling on unions and working people in the U.S. and internationally to mobilize for a “No Peace, No Work Holiday” May 1, 2008 for 8 hours to demand an immediate end to the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East; and further be it
“RESOLVED: That a clarion call from the ILWU be sent with an urgent appeal for unity of action to the AFL-CIO, the Change to Win Coalition and all of the international labor organizations to which we are affiliated to bring an end to this bloody war once and for all.
“Adopted by the ILWU Longshore Caucus, meeting in San Francisco, California, February 8, 2008”
“San Francisco Letter Carriers on May Day and the War
“RESOLVED: That Branch 214 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, representing 2,700 letter carriers in the San Francisco Bay Area, request that carriers in all carrier stations observe 2 minutes of silence at 8:15 AM on May Day May 1st, 2008 in honor of International Workers Day and in solidarity with the ILWU longshore workers’ action in stopping work in all West Coast ports for 8 hours on May Day, to express our opposition to the war in Iraq.
“Adopted by NALC Branch 214, meeting in San Francisco March 5, 2008, by unanimous vote.”