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Indybay Feature

San Francisco | U.S. | Labor & Workers

Wed Apr 27 2011
Rally Defends ILWU's Right to Close Bay Area Ports
Wed Apr 27 2011
Supporters Defend “The Most Militant and Progressive Union in the Country" Against Lawsuit
Supporters of International Longshore & Warehouse Union, Local 10 (S. F. Bay Area) rallied in downtown San Francisco on April 25th. At issue was the union's right to close the ports of Oakland, San Francisco, and other ports in the S. F. Bay Area. ILWU Local 10 closed the ports of San Francisco and Oakland for twenty-four hours on April 4th, as part of a national day of action for solidarity with workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states. The employers association at the ports, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), has filed a lawsuit against Local 10 for the April 4th port closures. The PMA's suit seeks to prevent such future solidarity closures by the union.

Thousands of rallies and marches took place across the U. S. on April 4th, as part of the We Are One day of labor solidarity. Of all the actions taken by unions across the country, it was only Local 10 which chose to shut down the means of production. Speaker after speaker at the April 25th rally praised Local 10 as, “...the conscience of the U.S. labor movement,” “...the most militant and progressive union in the country,” “...a moral compass,” “...the heart and soul of the labor movement,” and said that they stood behind Local 10. Millie Cleveland ,of the OEA went further, “we don't want to stand behind Local 10, we want to stand beside them.”

Many speakers called for a general strike of all labor to confront the cutbacks, layoffs, and loss of collective bargaining rights workers are faced with. Quite a number criticized high ranking labor officials for holding the labor movement back from striking and other militant actions. Xan San Joi, of Code Pink, called for strike action to begin on May 1, 2011.

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Previous Related Indybay Feature: ILWU Sued After Solidarity Work Stoppage Shut Ports on April 4th