In 1969, the legendary African American activist Bayard Rustin wrote, “The Negro can never be socially and politically free until he is economically secure.” Rustin could have been describing the civil rights unionism of ILWU Local 10.
Political prisoner and revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal has been the victim of criminal neglect by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for months, and his life is in grave danger. He is weak, in the infirmary, and continues to need a wheelchair to come out to visits. Mumia needs all of us to help now! Sign the petition to help save – and free – Mumia. Also, we need to keep up the pressure with phone calls. No execution by medical neglect! Save Mumia’s life!
Despite an original agreement to hold negotiations between the PMA and the ILWU negotiating committee in secrecy, which has been upheld on the union’s side since the contract expired on June 30, the PMA has chosen to go public with their offer in an attempt to negotiate the contract through the media. In taking these steps, the PMA is putting out an all or nothing proposition and challenging the union’s right to negotiate the contract under normal fair bargaining practices.
Beginning Saturday, Aug. 16, dock workers at the Port of Oakland honored the picket lines of thousands of people over a period of four days – and many months of organizing in solidarity with the people of Palestine – to block Israeli apartheid by preventing the docking and unloading of the Zim Pireaus liner anywhere on the West Coast. On Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Zim Pireus left the Port of Oakland with its cargo untouched, unloaded, unremarked and unwanted.
Members of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, including (among others) the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, BART workers and AC Transit bus drivers, were appalled to hear that the Oakland Unified School District succumbed to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police and the right-wing Fox News by shutting down the educational Urban Dreams website, which includes material on Mumia Abu-Jamal and Martin Luther King Jr.
Two decades after the fall of apartheid in South Africa, the ANC-led Tripartite government represents big business’ interests. This has led the government to brutally attack workers who fight back against austerity. Black poverty has worsened. Inequality has worsened. Trade union officials collaborate with employers against workers, youth and the unemployed. Does this sound familiar? Isn’t the situation similar in the U.S.?
The Civil Rights Movement, which led to a massive expansion of educational, political and economic rights for African Americans and others who were traditionally marginalized, has been under attack since before it started. The ongoing attacks against public sector workers and unions seem to be more of the same. Rather than happening in far away states, though, the attacks are happening to workers in the Bay Area.
Leo L. Robinson believed in the power of the union, and in the power of the people. He fought to change the conditions of women within the ILWU just as fiercely as he fought against the apartheid regime of South Africa. “Inhale the spirit of Leo Robinson. Embody the spirit and go into struggle and battle for victory. Victory is ours only if we struggle,” said one of several who spoke at the memorial service.
Leo Robinson was a Black leader of the longshore union in San Francisco. He died in mid-January. For many of us, he was a lifelong companion, an example of what being an internationalist and a working class activist was all about. When Leo Robinson spoke, he had the full attention of every union member in Local 10’s cavernous waterfront union hall.
Eighteen-year-old high school senior and Oakland resident Alan Blueford was shot to death by police on May 6 under curious circumstances. The coroner’s report, showing Blueford never shot at the officer, was finally released after the July 19 press conference Alan's parents were forced to organize.
The threat of impending rainfall did not deter hundreds of people from showing up and calling out for justice for Oscar Grant on Saturday, Oct. 23 in downtown Oakland.
In San Francisco, more than a thousand people marched from Local 10’s union hall, led by the Local 10 Drill Team, along the Embarcadero where the 1934 Big Strike took place.