Twelve Canadian National Railway cars derailed December 2, 2014 near Brereton Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park about 115km east of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Global News). It took CN about 16 hours to clean up the derailment and restore service.
A CN tanker car loaded with highly corrosive sulphuric acid flipped off the tracks November 28, 2014 on Vale Canada Ltd. property in Sudbury, Ontario (Sudbury Star).
For many more examples of CN derailments, spills, fires and explosions, see CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents.
Filed under: Canadian National Railway, Derailment
December 3, 2014: Behind closed doors, a handful of Congressional representatives are planning to pass a major change to federal pension law, by making a last-minute amendment to the omnibus budget bill which Congress must pass by December 11 to avoid a shutdown. You need to take action now to stop this sneak attack.
Does that seem like the right way to consider the future of pensions for hundreds of thousands of Teamsters and millions of Americans?
We say No.
And we are not alone. The AARP, the Pension Rights Center and some unions such as the International Association of Machinists are working hard to head-off this deal, so that hearings will be held on a proposed bill to consider amendments, improvements, and alternatives to it.
We need Teamster president James Hoffa to use the political weight of the Teamsters Union to help stop this sneak attack. You can email your request that Hoffa to call upon all congressional reps and senators to say No to junking the anti-cutback rule of ERISA by a sneaky deal. Put the millions of Teamster dollars given to politicians to good use, right now.
One year ago, Hoffa sent a letter to Congress on this issue. But a year-old letter is not what’s needed. Now is the time to press the case, with all the clout the Teamsters Union can muster. Call on Hoffa to take action.
This proposal has nothing to do with the federal budget. It has everything to do with the future of workers’ hard-earned pensions.
Alex Adams, a retired Teamster out of Cleveland Local 407 speaks for thousands of other Teamsters facing these cuts:
“I’ve been retired for ten years after working for over 36 years moving freight across the country. In 1980, due to government deregulation, many companies went out of business in the freight industry. I worked for ten companies at one time (on call) to make sure I stayed active to receive contributions into the pension. I earned my pension the hard way as I have a clear memory of giving up many possible wage increases so that money could go towards benefits.”
Because the deal is being done secretly, we don’t have all the terms of the proposed pension change. But it will allow “deeply troubled” pension plans—including the Central States Pension Fund—to slash existing pensions and those already vested. Central States officials have said the cuts will be about 30%.
We recognize that Central States and some other funds are in trouble, but Teamsters and retirees deserve an open discussion of the terms of the law, and possible protective amendments to it, before Congress rushes it through.
Contact your Congressperson and Senators. Tell them making a sneaky deal is no way to respect their constituents. Retirees and hard working Teamsters deserve better.
For more information:Pension and Benefits
Tom Petri (R-Wis.), the outgoing chairman of the subcommittee on highways, said he will become a co-sponsor of a bill that would increase federal fuel taxes to support the nation’s transportation system.
The measure would gradually raise the 18.4-cent gasoline tax to 33.3 cents a gallon starting in 2016 and the 24.4-cent diesel tax to 39.3 cents. The levies would be kept in place until 2025.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.Issues: Freight
Here’s what’s really being missed in most snapshot explanations of Detroit’s bankruptcy: the unprecedented hit being taken by retirees who believed that, after working throughout their lives, they would be secure in their old age.
And Detroit sets a dangerous precedent. Your city’s retirees may be next in the crosshairs.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Pension and BenefitsLabor Movement
Amendment to County Drink Tax Allocation Proposed
At the County Council Budget and Finance committee meeting on Thurs Nov 20, Councilwoman Green Hawkins and Councilwoman Heidelbaugh put forward an amendment to the proposed county operating budget for 2015. Co-sponsored by Councilwoman Danko, the amendment allocated 3 million dollars from the county’s transit support fund (revenue from the car rental and drink tax) to Port Authority’s operating budget. This is in addition to the 15% county match of the state subsidy for operating provided to the Port Authority.
Ms. Green Hawkins stated that various communities have been indicating their needs for transit service, and while the funds cannot be specifically directed, this additional money being provided each year would allow Port Authority to implement and sustain additional service.
Ms. Heidelbaugh stated that the “most vulnerable” members of our community cannot get to work or health care. She acknowledged that the 3 million will not solve the problem altogether, but if the county has this money and does not spend it, it is a disservice to county residents.
Ms. Danko acknowledged that the growth of the drink tax fund from 32 million in 2009 to 42 million in 2013 indicates that the money could be allocated for Port Authority’s operating costs each year.
The amendment failed with a vote of 3 to 6. Voting in favor were: Green Hawkins, Heidelbaugh, and Daly Danko. Those opposed were: Rea, Means, Futules, Macey, Palmiere, and Finnerty.
Pittsburghers for Public Transit commends the efforts of Council members Ms. Green Hawkins, Ms. Heidelbaugh, and Ms. Daly Danko to designate these funds for adding much needed transit service and expect the rest of the Council to work to find a solution to the inadequate service throughout the county.
- Whole Foods Workers Demand Higher Wages And A Union
- Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Organize With The IWW
- IWW Resurgence In Bellingham, Washington
- Farewell, Fellow Worker Fred Lee
- Oregon Canvassers Continue Push For Unionization
- Understanding Co-ops And The IWW
Download a Free PDF of this issue.
December 1, 2014: UPS CEO cashed in 40,000 shares of company stock two days before Thanksgiving for $4.3 million. Starting pay for UPS part-timers, in several areas, has fallen behind the minimum wage.
Davis still owns another 246,412 shares of UPS stock worth $26.5 million.
CEOs make more than Teamsters. We get that. But this is obscene, especially when many UPS part-timers are making poverty wages. Starting pay for UPS part-timers is frozen at just $10 an hour until 2018.
Legislation has been introduced to raise the federal minimum wage to higher than that: $10.10 an hour.
In several areas, the minimum wage has already surpassed starting pay under the UPS contract negotiated by Ken Hall.
Hawaii and Maryland voted to phase in hikes to the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Seattle will phase in a new minimum wage of $15 an hour. Businesses with more than 500 workers must meet that level within three years. That includes the UPS hub.
San Francisco will also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the same period. A UPS hub will be covered there too.
UPS part-timers at the hub in Richmond, California will make $12.30 starting in 2017 thanks to a minimum wage hike there with a COLA after that.
This list will continue to grow by 2018.
It’s time to End Part-Time Poverty at UPS. That starts with building a movement to elect new International Union leadership in 2016.Issues: UPS
December 1, 2014: Walmart workers and allies ramped up the pressure for $15-an-hour with protests across the country.
Walmart workers held pickets, rallies and walk-outs at more than 1,600 stores nationwide on the biggest shopping day of the year. Some workers fasted and risked arrest to highlight their demands for $15-an-hour and full-time work at Walmart, the nation’s largest employer. In Washington, organizers reported protests at 64 stores—every store in the state.
Click here to read more from protesting Walmart workers and see a survey of the protests.Issues: Labor Movement
Open Letter In Response to SF Building Secretary-Treasurer Theriault’s “Open Letter to the ILWU”
Response to Secretary-Treasurer Theriault’s “Open Letter to the ILWU”
113 STEUART STREET LANDMARK COMMITTEE 113 STEUART LABOR CENTER PROJECT
535 Geary St 912 • San Francisco, CA 94102 • phone: 415.694.3605 • email: email@example.com
Response to Secretary-Treasurer Theriault’s “Open Letter to the ILWU”
On June 23, 2009, Michael Theriault, San Francisco Building Trades Secretary-Treasurer, published “An Open Letter to Longshore and Warehouse Locals.”
This “Open Letter” by Brother Theriault attacks the ILWU for passing a Resolution at its International Convention on June 10th opposing the demolition of the historic building at 113 Steuart Street where the 1934 Great Maritime and General Strikes were organized.
The “Open Letter” also attacks the proponents of preserving 113 Steuart Street as a landmark building.
The ILWU Resolution calls for a building project involving the development of 113 Steuart Street as a landmarked labor center that applies the lessons of the 1934 General Strike to the protection and securing of union jobs for workers today, while reflecting and respecting planning criteria that preserve the Waterfront and Maritime District.
Two Unanimous Resolutions
There were, in fact, two Resolutions passed respectively in June by the ILWU International and by the Longshore Caucus for the entire West Coast.
Each Resolution passed unanimously – by acclamation – without one delegate from the assembly nor any member taking exception to the detailed, four page Resolutions setting out the facts and issues bearing upon the history and needs of the ILWU and of organized labor today.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault describes the ILWU membership as dupes who don’t understand the issues and who were prevented by the ILWU leadership from knowing the “facts” concerning developer Hines’ efforts to
raze 113 Steuart Street to the ground and replace it with an eleven-story glass high-rise.
“We do not believe,” wrote Brother Theriault, “that you would have taken this action had you known our side of the matter. We think it very unlikely that the proponents of the resolution even told you that there is another Labor position on the landmarking.”
It is curious that Secretary-Treasurer Theriault didn’t call the ILWU when he was privy to the plans of Hines to demolish 113 Steuart Street, plans concealed from the Planning Commission and the public.
He kept silent about what Hines was planning; or will Brother Theriault maintain that he was duped by Hines and believed their claim, presented as a formal historical report to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, that this building had played no significant role in the history of the city nor had any person associated with it made a contribution to the history and development of San Francisco?
On March 17, 2009 a five-hour hearing took place at the Board of Supervisors, preparatory to their vote on whether to authorize the demolition of 113 Steuart Street.
At this hearing, Brother Theriault, then as now, presumed to speak for the ILWU. “The ILWU,” he declared to the Board of Supervisors “in contradistinction to some of its members, considers this building so altered that it does not oppose demolition. I repeat, the ILWU does not oppose the demolition of this building.”
At this very meeting, Brian McDonald, President of ILWU Local 91, Russ Miyashiro, from ILWU Local 34 and Frank Gaskin, from ILWU Local 10 spoke and declared their firm
opposition to the demolition of 113 Steuart Street.
These ILWU figures were joined by former ILWU International President of seven years, Brian McWilliams, whose open letter to the Board of Supervisors was read into the record.
In addition, 77 officers and members of Executive Boards and Locals of Maritime and Bay Area trade unions joined in expressing opposition to the Hines project and in support of preserving 113 Steuart Street and the Waterfront District.
The Board of Supervisors, in rejecting the claim by Secretary-Treasurer Theriault to speak for the ILWU, repudiated the false claims of Hines and his enablers concerning 113 Steuart Street by a decisive vote of 8 to 3.
A report of the Board of Supervisors Hearing of March 17 was presented by attending ILWU and other participants to the membership of their respective Locals.
After these reports to the membership, ILWU Locals 34 and 10 adopted the March 23rd detailed Resolutions that addressed all the issues. These Resolutions support the development of 113 Steuart Street as a land- marked labor center. After full discussion, each Resolution was passed unanimously.
“Don’t Raze the Hall Where It All Began”
On April 29, 2009, an article was published in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled “Don’t Raze the Hall Where It All Began” that set forth the issues and the position of the ILWU Bay Area Locals. It was signed by President Rene Ducroux and Secretary-Treasurer Alan Fung of ILWU Local 34, President Melvin MacKay and Secretary Treasurer Adam Mendez of ILWU Local 10, President Brian McDonald of ILWU Local 91 and by former seven year ILWU International President Brian McWilliams.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault writes, “You will forgive us, then, if we do not understand what there is magical, talismanic, of near religious importance in the particular arrangement of building materials that constitutes 113 Steuart.” He cites a corner
display at Mission and Steuart commemorating the 1934 Strike and sundry markers and plaques at other locations.
He seeks to dismiss the importance to labor and the community of a historic building such as 113 Steuart Street and the actual Hall that served as ground zero for the General Strike. It is a building that has survived intact seventy- five years since the seminal events of 1934.
113 Steuart Street is on every walking tour and waterfront district tour for a reason. Workers were gassed in that Hall and week after week of organizing, deadly combat, and life and death struggle were centered in that Hall.
The hall where the Liberty Bell hung and where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were ratified has meaning to people who care about history and the origins of the country. So it is with the birthplace of the ILWU and of the decisive victories that prepared for the gains of the labor movement today.
A pizza parlor or a glass high rise with a plaque at the entrance is hardly an equivalent – anymore then it would be for the house in which Jack London, Mark Twain or Shakespeare lived and wrote their work.
Buildings and Locations Matter
Buildings and locations where the people who made history that shaped our culture and society lived and fought matter to each generation. The places where great works were composed, life and death issues were discussed, historic decisions taken and dramatic events unfolded are a precious legacy enabling us to touch and feel and experience the events that have shaped our sensibility.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault further claims, as did Hines, that the building at 113 Steuart Street has been so altered and modified that it has no physical continuity whatsoever with the original building. He claimed before the Board of Supervisors that the Hall itself was a gutted shell.
Unfortunately for Hines and for Brother Theriault, the Board of Supervisors saw the
actual photographs of the building and of the ILA Hall. The building and the Hall are intact.
Brother Theriault claimed to the Board of Supervisors and to the San Francisco Labor Council that the building was in unstable condition and composed of decaying old brick.
While he may be Secretary-Treasurer of Building Trades, Brother Theriault either is ignorant of the actual composition of the building or, like Hines, makes things up as he goes along. 113 Steuart Street is composed of reinforced concrete with no brick whatsoever.
It takes a callous disregard for the meaning of our past to ride roughshod over the importance to a city or community of such a site, let alone the significance of this Hall, building and location to the ILWU and to the labor movement in San Francisco and the United States.
The eleven-story glass high rise of Hines – all the lies and attempts to deceive the Planning Commission aside – violates the planning criteria and legal zoning for the Waterfront and Maritime District.
The Board of Supervisors rejected the Hines planning report and its fabrications and they rejected the spot zoning that is the opening shot of Hines’ plan to deep-six the Waterfront District.
Hines has been put on notice that this project as presented – 66% over the height limit – will never be approved or come into existence.
In the intervening five months since the Board of Supervisors rejected Hines and Secretary-Treasurer Theriault’s s boondoggle high-rise, a scheme that would demolish 113 Steuart Street and pave the way for the elimination of what remains of the historic Waterfront and Maritime District, Hines has failed to prepare a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
Not one penny further has been expended by Hines to put together an accurate historical report on the site or to modify their environmental documents to meet the legal
planning requirements for the building and the district.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault: ILWU Membership Vote “Exploited”
In his “Open Letter,” Secretary Treasurer Theriault claims that the ILWU membership had been manipulated. “It is in this dispute that your vote will be exploited. We are sure that none of this was discussed with you before you voted. We do not know if there is any way or will to undo now what you have done. We do hope you understand the consequences of your actions better than when you acted.”
Hines Interests Defaults to Lenders
Let us examine who is misleading whom. On July 28, 2009 the San Francisco Chronicle carried a revealing article entitled “S.F. Tower’s owners will forfeit it to lender.”
It reads as follows:
“The owners of a premier San Francisco office tower plan to forfeit the property to their lenders, the city’s second distressed transaction involving a major commercial building in recent weeks and another sign of the growing pressures in this sector.
“Hines and Sterling American Property decided to transfer their interest in 333 Bush Street to the original financiers, following the surprise dissolution of law firm Heller Ehrman in September, according to a letter Hines sent to local real estate brokers and obtained byThe Chronicle. The 118-year old law firm defaulted on its 250,000 square foot lease, leaving the nearly 550,000 square foot property 65 percent vacant.
“Industry watchers have been openly speculating that the building would fall into default in the months since. Hines and Sterling bought the tower for $281 million in 2007 near the top of the market when it was 75% leased.”
In short, Hines has defaulted on a major tower property at 333 Bush Street. Hines was required to send a letter to local real estate brokers admitting the default of a 118-year-old law firm on a 250,000 square-foot lease.
The Chronicle uncovered that Hines was compelled to admit its inability to maintain its interest in this “major tower property” in a letter to real estate brokers “obtained by the Chronicle.” The letter discloses:
“’We diligently worked with the lender, but were not able to come to a mutually satisfactory restructure of the existing debt.”
Revelations Concerning Hines
This is not the only revelation concerning Hines and their speculative high-rise projects that devastate neighborhoods in San Francisco:
The Chronicle article further reveals, “...the Houston real estate investment company has defaulted on two other Bay Area properties in recent months. Those include the three buildings at the 1.2 million-square-foot Watergate Towers complex in Emeryville that it held in a joint venture with CalPERS, as well as the nearly 500,000 square foot Marin Commons office property in San Rafael.”
The article makes clear that the collapse and abandonment by Hines of major high rise projects is part of a rapidly growing crisis facing Hines and other developers pursuing the same speculative path:
“Earlier this month The Chronicle reported an undisclosed private equity fund bought the $40.8 million note on 250 Montgomery Street (at) about half of its face value after owner Lincoln Property Co. fell into default on the loan.
“Less than two weeks later, it emerged that the Four Seasons Hotel on Market Street defaulted on a $90 million loan. A handful of other ... office buildings, hotels and multi- family properties have gone into default in recent months.
More Distressed Deals Are Expected
“More distressed deals are expected. Nearly three-quarters of Class A office buildings downtown sold between 2005 and 2007, a bonanza that drove up prices to all-time highs and squeezed the ratio of rental income to cost to record lows. But the economic collapse
sharply reduced rent and occupancy levels, making it increasingly difficult for landlords to meet their debt obligations.”
Inventing a Straw Man
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault invents a straw man that, like 113 Steuart Street, he attempts to demolish:
“The opponents of the demolition of 113 Steuart Street and so of the construction of 110 Embarcadero talk of providing us employment by putting a labor history museum in the existing building. We have seen nothing that permits us to consider this a serious possibility. ...The museum proposal asks us to forego work that could start in a few months in exchange for words dying on the air. The result would be that a few more of us would lose homes, health care, the ability to support our families.”
In furthering this delusion, dressed up as a sordid pragmatism, Brother Theriault’s attempt to sell the Hines boondoggle as a source of jobs embodies what C. Wright Mills called “crack- pot realism.”
The PIPE DREAM is the delusion that the Hines project - 66% over the height limit - will ever be approved or come into existence. It will be fought in every arena - including the courts, if it comes to that.
A commercial project involving a building of six storys - with, for example, a restaurant on the first floor called The General Strike, and commemoration of the Hall on the second floor and four additional stories of office space – or any variation on the theme – is FEASIBLE AND REALISTIC.
This is the project that can actually be built and provide jobs at this site.
The location is a plum. Any number of commercial investors had approached the property owners with proposals.
They will be interested, now as then, in a viable project of six stories that preserves the first two floors and builds four additional floors with materials and design that complement the
Waterfront District and the buildings on Steuart Street.
113 Steuart Street Will Be Landmarked
This building will be land-marked as historic – one of the most important such sites of organized labor in the United States.
There remains the real prospect that foundation funds for a more ambitious labor center in the six stories will be mobilized - with important ensuing tax credits - but whether this unfolds or not, the commercial development of 113 Steuart Street that preserves the Hall and respects the planning criteria for the Waterfront is a viable project that will actually produce jobs. It can unite everyone.
Labor has a real stake in public planning that defends neighborhoods and the lived history of residents - whether in Alameda or San Francisco. That includes rebuilding infrastructure and fighting for the type of development that is intended to create a city in which the workers who build it can afford to live.
We should all be united in that struggle.
The ILWU membership, contrary to the specious claims of Secretary-Treasurer Theriault, has a clear-sighted understanding of the interests of organized labor in preserving 113 Steuart Street and in a united fight by labor for union jobs in projects that restore our cities.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault demeans the ILWU membership as he arrogates to himself the right to speak for the ILWU – in service to interests that were antithetical to the rank and file struggles of 1934, even as they are to organized labor today.
What are the facts concerning Secretary- Treasurer Theriault’s claims about the role of the Building Trades Council at the time of the Great Maritime and General Strike of 1934?
The Role of the Building Trades Council in 1934
What was the actual role of Secretary- Treasurer Theriault’s 1934 counterparts?
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault wrote, “We honor the memory of Harry Bridges and the strike of 1934, in which this Council also participated.”
What then is the historical record regarding the role of the Building Trades Council with respect to the General Strike of 1934 and Harry Bridges specifically?
Calling for the Deportation of Harry Bridges
On Sunday, July 8, 1934, the San Francisco Examiner carried the headline “Labor Paper Asks U.S. to Deport Alien Agitators in Marine Strike.” The article states, “A demand for action by Secretary of Labor Perkins toward deportation of alien agitators involved in the San Francisco maritime strike is contained in yesterday’s issue of Organized Labor, the official paper of the State and Local Building Trades Councils.
“The article is featured on page 1 under a four-column head which says, ‘When William B. Wilson was Secretary of Labor, He Deported Communists.’
“It then reads: ‘Read any of the daily papers dealing with the longshoremen’s strike on the San Francisco waterfront, also other ports on the Pacific Coast and you’ll agree that all of the papers are unanimous in their summing up that the delay in the settlement of the strike is the existence of Communistic influence, the leader of which is not a citizen of the United States.’”
The Building Trades Council publication, Organized Labor, demanded, in effect, that the Secretary of Labor deport Harry Bridges, and cited as worthy precedent for this demand previous U.S. government actions against “acknowledged members of the Communist Party for their prominence in plotting against our Government.”
The San Francisco Examiner article of July 8, 1934 reveals that the Building Trades Council paper “reprints an article it published in February 1918 under a Washington date line telling of Secretary Wilson’s decision that the Communist Party was a ‘revolutionary party’ within the meaning of statutes providing for
deportation of aliens who affiliate with such organizations.”
The Building Trades Council and its newspaper organized a sustained campaign to deport Harry Bridges and to attack and arrest the rank and file leadership of the Maritime and General Strike.
“Deport the Undesirables!”
The San Francisco Examiner article on July 8, 1934, stressed repeatedly how the Building Trades Council paper demanded the deportation of “undesirables.”
“In conclusion, Organized Labor states, “Surely if the then Secretary of Labor had the power to order deportation of undesirables, does not the same power rest today in the hands of Secretary of Labor Perkins?”
Beating this drum demanding the immediate deportation of Harry Bridges, Organized Labor intones:
“Why does she not act at once in this particular emergency and help clarify the situation which has become a danger and a menace to our American citizenship?”
The direct consequences of the urgent demand of the Building Trades Council to deport Harry Bridges and to attack rank and file leaders of the 1934 General Strike emerged dramatically, in the front page report of the San Francisco Chronicle on July 18, 1934.
The summons by the Building Trades Council calling for repressive action against the leaders of the rank and file, not only among long shore workers but among all sections of labor, was adopted by the conservative leadership of the American Federation of Labor:
“A Strike Bred in Moscow”
The Chronicle’s lead article bore the headline: “Strike Bred in Moscow, A.F.L. Avers.” The sub-headline read, “Federation Chiefs Say Communists Getting Upper Hand in U.S. Labor.” The second sub-headline read, “American Revolution Asserted to be Soviet Plan.”
The article continues, “Communists, acting as a unit and under directions from Moscow, are churning up the strikes and industrial unrest that now spot the country, according to charges made here today on behalf of the American Federation of Labor and the National Association of Manufacturers.”
The AFL was eager to take up the call:
“Communist activity is undoubtedly responsible for much of the General Strike crisis in San Francisco, a spokesman for the American Federation of Labor said today. ...”
These charges, made jointly by the American Federation of Labor and the National Association of Manufacturers, were preceded by the campaign on the part of the Building Trades Council and its official paper Organized Labor.
The red-baiting hysteria was not confined to Harry Bridges and the rank and file leadership centered at 113 Steuart Street. It was expanded to include all labor struggles in the United States:
The article sub-head reads, “TAKING OVER LABOR” and the text unfolds as follows:
“That radicals of a communistic or similar leaning are fast taking the American labor movement out of the hands of the American Federation of Labor and other conservative leaders also became apparent today. The National Manufacturers Association reported that in every strike situation known to it the Communists had gained the upper hand over old- line American Federation of Labor leaders.
Strike Fever Spread Throughout Country
“Meanwhile the strike fever spread throughout the country, lending ... support to the theory that a central agency, communistic or otherwise, is fomenting the trouble.
“In Minneapolis, 7,000 truck drivers and freight handlers struck, tying up the city; immediately rumors of a general strike, like that in San Francisco, began to spread.
“In Alabama, 22,000 textile operatives quit their jobs in a State-wide strike.
“Portland, Oregon was undergoing a waterfront strike similar to that in San Francisco.
“At Kohler, Wisconsin; Danbury, Connecticut; Houston, Texas and Baltimore, Maryland strikers were stopping the wheels of industry
The articles note with emphasis, “The Federal Government redoubled its efforts regarding these spreading “danger spots.” Requests for decisive action “had been pouring in,” the Chronicle trumpets ominously.
The character of these “decisive actions” emerges in the adjacent columns on the same page under the following headline:
“Unionists Smash Radical Hangouts in Purging Move.” The sub-heading stated: “Police Nab 300 in Dredging Cauldrons of Discontent in Raids; Many Seized Face U.S. Deportation.”
Here is the intended outcome of the fevered calls of the Building Trades Council, demands that took as a starting -point the round-up and deportation of Harry Bridges and his “band” of “communist agitators:”
“Conservative union labor moved swiftly yesterday to purge its ranks of Communists.
“Aroused by the discovery that Communist groups had been parading as union strikers and flaunting banners and placards completely at variance with union tenets, conservatives quickly took the situation into their own hands.
35 Separate Vigilante Squads
“They organized 35 separate vigilante squads, equipped them with fast automobiles and then started on a city-wide cleanup of ‘red’ centers and known Communist headquarters, wrecking several of the meeting places, destroying equipment and severely beating ... asserted Communists.
“At the same time, the Police Department began an independent drive to rid the city of communist-inspired terrorism. They staged raids on communist headquarters.
“By nightfall more than 300 alleged Communists had been carted off to jail and
several of their meeting places had been wrecked internally.
“If we find out that any of those arrested are undesirable aliens, or are in this country illegally,” said Chief Inspector W. E. Walsh, “steps will be taken to have them deported.”
Once again, the principal target among rank and file leaders, branded “undesirable aliens” to be deported, was Harry Bridges.
The Police and Vigilante Pogrom
The Chronicle account of the organized police and vigilante pogrom, including brutal assaults by fink “unionists,” is particularly graphic:
“Windows were smashed, typewriters and other office paraphernalia were thrown from windows and purported Communists were severely beaten by unionists. These purging raids targeted the gathering points and organizing centers of the rank and file:
“The headquarters of the Marine Workers’ Industrial Union. ... Here police swooped down in their first raid of the day and arrested nearly 100 men.
“A strikers’ soup-line in front of 84 The Embarcadero: Here police looked over the line of men waiting for food and several known communists were recognized and arrested.”
Brutal Assaults Coordinated With Police
Other brutal assaults were coordinated with the police who arrived on the scene as soon as the goon squads had wreaked sufficient havoc:
“The plant of the Western Worker at 37 Grove Street. Here 25 vigilantes pulled up in five automobiles, threw rocks through the windows and stormed inside, completely demolishing everything in sight.
“Police arrived to find the raiders gone and the plaza crowded with grinning ‘spectators.’
“A supposed communist branch at 1223 Fillmore Street. Here the civilian raiders followed their customary plan of window breaking and dragged out three men, whom they soundly trounced. Police arrived just in time to take the injured to Central Emergency Hospital.
“The Workers’ School of International Labor Defense, 121 Haight Street, was the next raid undertaken by the vigilantes. Here a large group, arriving in automobiles, broke all of the windows in the two-story building, broke through to the second floor and threw typewriters, furniture and ... literature into the alley below.
Beatings, Leaping from Second Floor Windows
“Several communists were in the building when the raiders entered and saved themselves a beating by leaping from the second floor windows as the raiders rushed upstairs.
“The Mission Workers Neighborhood House, 741 Valencia Street. Here the same group of unidentified civilians arriving by automobiles stormed the large building, this time gaining entrance by means of the rear doors. Once inside, the raiders smashed down the doors to private offices and in an efficient manner destroyed all of the records and files found therein.
“The interior of the building was damaged beyond repair and even a platform that speakers apparently had used, was splintered like kindling wood.
“The Ex-Service Men’s League, 765 Howard Street, a supposed outdoor meeting place for communists. Here a posse of police under the direction of Captain Thomas Hoertkorn broke up a meeting of about 175 men and while a crowd of spectators cheered them on, herded the men to the Southern Police Station where they were charged with vagrancy.
Dozens injured, Several Thousand “Scattered”
“Dozens of men were injured, four arrested and several thousand others were scattered when 40 police officers broke up a riot that was the outgrowth of a Communist meeting at Eddy and Fillmore Streets.
“Police raided a hall at 637 Linden Avenue, asserted Communist headquarters, seized four guns, seditious literature and arrested one man.
“The riot at Eddy and Fillmore Streets was the major disturbance of the day. Thousands of men, some in an angry mood, blocked traffic along the street as they lined up on both sides, listening to the high-pitched exhortations of a Communist (sic) orator.
“Suddenly the police appeared and the fight was on. Many of the rioters, felled by police clubs were picked up and carried away in private cars.
Those “resisting arrest” were “subdued with police billies and taken to the Central Emergency Hospital before being jailed.”
Three Hundred More in the City Prison
“In the Linden Avenue hall, police arrested Donald McKee. ... By nightfall the crime prevention bureau and anti-radical squad, under Captain J. J. O’Meara, had bottled up more than 300 alleged inciters in the City Prison.
“Immigration authorities will run an eye down the line this morning when the accused appear in Police court – with a view to deportation. Nearly all were charged with vagrancy.
Vigilantes Supplied Machine Guns and Bayonets
“Although the raids were made under cover of militia machine guns and bayonets, the National Guardsmen had no part in them.
“It was ostensibly through coincidence that the radicals’ Jackson Street headquarters was blocked off by sandbag barricades and squads of riflemen on foot.
“Around the corner and into the picture comes a police patrol swarming with officers – some in uniform, some not.”
“They are led by Lieutenants James Malloy and Henry Ludolph. Into the narrow alleyway they pour and into the shabby basement room that comprises the headquarters. The place is surrounded.
“‘Halt!’ shouts one of the soldier guards as a plainclothes inspector rushes around a corner, a sawed-off shotgun in his hand. The inspector fails to hear him. Two more cries to halt, each in
a high, more agitated pitch. The inspector is still impervious. The doughboy levels his rifle.
“‘For the love of ---- yells a militia captain. Don’t shoot THAT man, he’s a police officer!’
Black Men, White Men and All Colors in Between
“Inside headquarters are huddled black men, white men and all colors in between. They are shoved none too gently into the back room and lined up. Coppers recognize some of them of yore. They get a thwack on the rump in remembrance of the parades to the City Hall when the blue coats had to take their taunts without retaliation.
“In the front room tables are knocked over. A typewriter is lifted head -high and slammed against a wall. ‘Evidence’ is being gathered -up by the armful – a red flag, an embroidered banner, loads of radical literature.
“Don’t Go Out Alone”
“Hanging about are placards: “Don’t Go Out
Alone.” Patrols are coming up and men are being shunted into them.
“Late afternoon brings the biggest police raid of the day – the cleaning out of the radical stronghold on Howard Street between Third and Fourth. Police Captain Thomas Hoertkorn has gone in with men and clubs. Fully 200 men are corralled in there and are waiting for the wagons. Crash! Bang! Everything in the place is being demolished.
“San Francisco has got at the seat of its trouble!
“At a special meeting held today of Rincon Hill Post No. 407, Department of California, American Legion, it was voted to advise you that members of this post individually and as citizens and legionnaires and collectively as the American Legion heartily endorse the stand that you have taken for the preservation of law and order in San Francisco.
“We want you to know that whatever further steps you may find necessary to take ... will have our complete cooperation and support. We
pledge ourselves to perform any duties that you may request of us.”
Building Trades’ Rank and File Declare for the General Strike
While the Building Trades Council leadership aligned itself with the police, the vigilantes of their own promotion, the AFL “conservative” leadership and the National Association of Manufacturers (!), Building Trades locals, and their rank and file, were in the front lines of the struggle.
The San Francisco Examiner carried on page two a story (July 8, 1934) with the headline: “These Unions to Back I.L.A. in General Walkout.”
Half of the union locals who declared their support from the outset for the General Strike – and backed the call from the ILA and Harry Bridges - were from Building Trades rank and file.
These workers and locals defied the Building Trades Council and declared for the General Strike ten days before the commencement of the three days known as the General Strike.
“Here are the unions represented at yesterday’s meeting of the I.L.A. who declared they were ready to support a General Strike when and if it is called:
Sign, Seal and Pictorial Workers, Local 510 Painters Local, 1158
Shipyard Workers, Local 1305
Machinists, Local 248, Oakland
Garment Workers, Local 8
Bronze and Metal Workers
Shipyard Workers, Local 2, Oakland
Window Cleaners, Local 10
Painters, Local 460
Cleaners and Dyers, Local 176
Pile Drivers, Dock and Wharf, Local 34 Machinists, Local 68
Motion Picture Projectionists
Waiters, Local 30
Waitresses, Local 48 Certified Welders, Local 10”
The Role of the San Francisco Labor Council
On July 7, 1934, Organized Labor carried an article with the headline “Labor Council Denounces Communism”
It read as follows:
“Charging that communistic propagandists and radical agitators have taken advantage of the Longshoremen’s strike to undermine organized labor, the San Francisco Labor Council and the San Francisco Longshoremen’s Association (sic) both went on record during last week as denouncing the asserted radical activities.
Organized Labor embraces The Blue Book Company Union
It is critical to note here that Organized Labor, the voice and publication of the Building Trades Council, has embraced the vicious attacks upon the rank and file and its leadership by the Blue Book Company Union!
The San Francisco Longshoremen’s Association cited here approvingly by Organized Labor is none other than the ship- owners company union, the bosses’ vehicle for enslaving long shore workers – the men on the docks – delivering them to the shape-up and coordinating their brutalization.
“The vote at the Labor Council was 129 to 22. The sentiment of the delegates was unanimously against radical activities and such votes as were cast against the resolution represented the sentiment of the leaders of the public mass meeting the previous Tuesday that the views of all strikers should be given to the public.
Organized Labor shows its true colors
Organized Labor continues in the same vein: “The Longshoremen’s Association adopted resolutions requiring all members to disavow connections with communistic organizations under penalty of expulsion.
“Michael Casey, John P. McLaughlin and John O’Connell supported the resolutions
adopted by the Labor Council, which were as follows:
Labor Council: “Communist Propagandists Take Advantage of Waterfront Strikes”
“Whereas, Communist propagandists have taken advantage of the waterfront strike to issue numerous scurrilous attacks upon the Unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and upon the duly elected officers of said unions; and,
“Whereas, The anonymous slander of the A.F. of L. Unions and the officials thereof has had a tendency to weaken the morale of the strikers and to confuse the minds of trade unions not familiar with the tactics of communistic character assassins; and,
“Whereas, At the mass meeting of waterfront strikers held in the Civic Auditorium Tuesday, June 19, the chairman introduced the spokesman for a notorious Communist organization, thereby creating the altogether erroneous impression that the Unions involved have made common cause with the Communists; therefore, be it
“Resolved: Disavow All Connections with Communistic Elements on Waterfront”
“Resolved, By the San Francisco Labor Council, in regular meeting assembled on Friday, June 24, 1934, that we repudiate all Communist organizations, especially the so- called Marine Workers Industrial Union, and denounce their efforts to inject themselves into an industrial conflict for the sole purpose of making converts to Communism; further
“Resolved, That the San Francisco Labor Council strongly advises the International Longshoremen’s Association, its members and representatives, to disavow all connections with the communistic elements on the waterfront; and further
“Resolved, That copies of this resolution be forwarded to the President of the American Federation of Labor, to the Presidents of the International Unions involved, and to the press.
“Adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council, June 22, 1934.
Mike Quin sums up the position and the politics of the San Francisco Labor Council
The Big Strike by Mike Quin described presciently the politics that defined the position of the San Francisco Labor Council on the General Strike and the events of 1934:
“But the top salaried officials of the Labor Council who headed the conservative faction were in constant touch with Mayor Rossi, the mediation board, the Industrial Association, the Newspaper Employers’ Union.
“They held continual secret conferences with these interests and acted within the strike committee as virtual agents of the employers.”(emphasis added)
Mike Quin set forth authoritatively and indisputably the class role of controlling business unionists in this crucial historical juncture:
“By this time, the idea of a general strike in San Francisco had entered the minds and conversations of union men to such an extent that conservative officials of the Labor Council were seriously alarmed.
“The Labor Council, comprising delegates from all the unions in the city, was to labor, in a certain sense, what the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Association were to employers.
“The organized employers of the city had already taken command of the whole strike situation, but so far the Labor Council had not budged.
Top Labor Council Officials Congenial to the Interests of the Employers
“The reason for this was that the top officials of the Council consisted of men like Joseph P. Ryan and Mike Casey, who were more congenial to the interests of the employers in their oft-repeated charge that the rank and file committeemen of the waterfront unions were
‘irresponsible,’ and that Joseph P. Ryan was their ‘bona fide representative.’
“The resolution conformed exactly with the statements previously issued by J. W. Maillard, Jr., Thomas G. Plant, and others. It was passed by a vote of 129 to 22 in the Council, which, at the time, was under the complete dominance of the conservative faction.
The Uses of Red Baiting and the Mantra of “Outside Agitators”
“Before any mention of a general strike could be brought up, the anti-communist resolution was introduced, which despite the minority of opposition present, precipitated a tumultuous discussion that lasted most of the evening and forced the general strike into obscurity.
Harry Bridges Leads the Resistance
“Delegates from striking unions, including Harry Bridges, vigorously opposed the resolution and newspapers quickly made use of the fact in their propaganda. The truth was that they opposed it solely on the grounds that it was detrimental to the cause of the strikers.
“But in view of the ambiguous wording of the proposition, anyone who cared to do so could interpret their opposition as an espousal of communism.
“Their position was such that if they argued for the resolution, they were playing into the hands of the Industrial Association, and if they argued against it, they would be, apparently, professing “communism.”
Between the Red Herring and the Deep Blue Sea
“They were caught between the red herring and the deep blue sea.”
“Furthermore, the maritime unions were committed to the principle that all members would have absolute freedom of religious or political belief and that no man would be discriminated against on such grounds. To them it was the old gag all over again: Have you stopped beating your wife? Answer, yes or no.’”
Mike Quin documents the decisive relationships in the General Strike and in the class struggles of 1934:
Close Ties Between Police, City Government, Labor Council and the Industrial Association
“The close relationship of the police, the city government and the conservative officials in the Labor Council with the plans of the Industrial Association is revealed by Mr. Paul Eliel, who states in the Industrial Association’s official record:
“ ‘While the public was not kept advised through the press or by the Association as to the latter’s plans for the movement of freight, the Association kept the leaders of the organized labor world in San Francisco thoroughly in touch with its plans and conferred with them almost daily relative to its program.
“ ‘As soon as it had been definitively decided that a movement must be undertaken to restore normal freight movements to and from the waterfront and across the streets of San Francisco, the Association called in Messrs. Casey and McLaughlin, representing the Teamsters Union, and told them of its decision.
“ ‘Almost daily, thereafter, either in personal conversations in the offices of the Association, or by telephone, these men were advised of the successive steps which the Association had undertaken: when warehouses were leased they were informed to this effect. When trucks were purchased they were advised of this.
“ ‘When non-union men were engaged to drive the trucks and act as warehousemen, they were informed of this also.
“ ‘In fact, these officers of the Teamsters’ Union were more thoroughly in touch with what the Industrial Association proposed to do than was anyone except the high officials of the city and the officers and staff of the Association itself.’
Breaking the General Strike
“President Roosevelt, in response to private communications from Governor Merriam and Mayor Rossi, appointed a National
Longshoremen’s Board to take the situation in hand. Appointees of this Board were: Archbishop Edward J. Hanna, of the Catholic Diocese in San Francisco; O.K. Cushing and Edward F. McGrady, Assistant Secretary of Labor.
“McGrady, as a first move, informed the strikers that the employers were dissatisfied with the present membership of the International Longshoremen’s Association and with its leadership.
“He declared that a thorough examination and combing over of the membership would have to be accomplished by paid investigators and experts, and that steps must be taken to determine whom the strikers wanted to represent them.”
Employers Move In For the Kill
“His exact words were:
“ ‘From the employers has come the charge that the ranks of the ILA here and in other Pacific ports have been stacked with men who are not really longshoremen and have never worked at this craft. Equally from the ranks of the men has come the charge that “ringers” have been thrust into waterfront employment with instructions to vote for any measures favored by the shipping men.
“ ‘Therefore the first task of the board will be to determine who are the longshoremen and who they want to act as their spokesman. We will undoubtedly employ paid investigators and experts to determine this point and we will supoena records of the employers and of the union, one to be checked against the other to determine who the real longshoremen are.’ ”
Discrediting the Joint Marine Strike Committee – Attacking Bridges
“Newspapers were energetically cooperating in the campaign to discredit the Joint Marine Strike Committee and made wide use of a statement issued by Joseph P. Ryan on June 27 attacking Harry Bridges, chairman of the Committee.
“ ‘The leader of the local strike committee has refused to go along with the majority.
“ ‘A policy was decided on by the Executive Committee of the International Longshoremen’s Association on the Pacific Coast ... but the local strike leader has refused to agree to it. Bridges won’t go along with anything, but sticks to his original demands. It is my opinion that the time has come for modification.
“‘Bridges doesn’t want this strike settled and it is my firm belief that he is acting for the Communists.’ ”
The Duplicitous Role of the Building Trades Council
On August 4, 1934, The Building Trades Council and its publication, Organized Labor, ran a headline celebrating the betrayal of the General Strike:
General Strike End is Praised by William Green of the AFL
“The good judgment of the San Francisco trade unions in calling off the general strike ... was stressed by William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, in a statement on the fatal philosophy underlying the sympathetic strike in labor disputes.
“They made a grave mistake when they engaged in a sympathetic strike, but they acted wisely when they ordered it officially terminated.
“Workers who are organized into unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor cannot afford to engage in a sympathetic strike...
“It is a dangerous experimentation fraught with grave consequences. The economic losses that workers sustain when they are compelled to return to work, demoralized and disheartened as a result of the loss of a sympathetic strike, cannot be adequately appraised.
“All Experiments of This Kind Have Failed”
“No sympathetic strike of any consequence or possessed of any national significance was ever won.
“To the contrary, the record shows that all experiments of this kind have failed.
“These are stern facts which all workers who do not see in every strike the possibilities of a political revolution must ultimately learn.
“The Government Must be Supreme”
“When a sympathetic strike occurs, the issues primarily responsible for the strike become subordinated and a new conflict arises between those engaged in the strike and governmental authorities. The sympathetic strike is immediately accepted as a challenge to government and because the Government must be supreme, it is compelled to bring all resources into action.
“That means that the workers on strike are no longer fighting against the employers ... but, instead, the fight is between the city, state and Federal governments on one side and the strikers on the other.
“Government Must Win”
“Everyone must know and understand that in such a conflict the Government must win; it cannot surrender.
“It must establish its supremacy, and usually the result of such a conflict is that the Government wins, the strikers lose and the employers become the beneficiaries.
“Fortunately, Strike Wisely Terminated”
“Fortunately, the sympathetic strike in San Francisco was terminated before this point was reached. ...That means that now the organized labor movement in San Francisco and elsewhere ... can demand and require that the differences and disputes responsible for the longshoremen’s strike are all submitted to a fair (sic) tribunal for final decision and final settlement.”
“To be a Trade Unionist is to be a Self-Respecting American Citizen”
...To be a trade unionist is to be a self- respecting American citizen who carries over into industry and group relations the principle of representation as the basis for just dealing.”
The Blue Book Union and the Building Trades Council
It cannot go unnoted that the Blue Book Union, the bosses’ union, the company union that Harry Bridges struggled to defeat in 1933 and 1934, denounced Harry Bridges and ILA Local 38-79 as communists who should be removed by any means necessary.
In 1935, the Blue Book took up residence at the Building Trades Council Temple, completing thereby the circle defined by the actual class role of the Building Trades Council in the General Strike of 1934.
Then and Now
In his Open Letter to the ILWU, Secretary- Treasurer Theriault reprises the methods and the message of the Building Trades Council in 1934.
He equates public planning with “gentrification and jobs with cheer-leading for the developers’ agenda. Meanwhile, non-union projects go up next to union halls without a demonstration or picket line organized by this leadership.
City-funded jobs with non-union labor take place unchallenged by the Building Trades Council’s Secretary-Treasurer.
Workers from great distances are brought to work on projects in the city while union craft workers in the city languish unemployed.
Fewer and fewer Black carpenters on placed on city jobs, despite protests by members of Carpenters Local 22 and by Black worker organizations such as ABU.
Public Planning and the Interests of Labor
Public planning and oversight of the development agenda of giant corporations and speculative developers are basic issues affecting labor, union jobs and projects that serve the public interest.
Pharmaceutical companies also object to “government regulation.” They do not want the side effects of medications to be monitored or their health consequences exposed to the public.
The Real Interests of Working People
Big developers, in tandem, do not want public oversight monitoring and curtailing the impact on the community of ventures that destroy affordable housing and livable neighborhoods.
Hines Interests and their cohorts demand carte blanche and Secretary-Treasurer Theriault leads the charge against any public official, such as Supervisor Chris Daly, who speaks and acts openly in the public interest.
Their current speculative target by Hines Interests and others is based upon the chimera of a new heyday to come.
This delusion comes with a social price. Neil Barofsky informed Congress that the estimated price to date is $23.7 trillion handed over without conditions to the incestuous club of banker moguls responsible for the useless paper – the fictive capital – that fueled precisely the speculative frenzy underwritten by these banksters in the recent and catastrophic past.
South of Market had been their next target for a “financial district.” It is this agenda that has fueled the demagogic campaign to gut the residue of public planning in the name of putative jobs – jobs that in this economy will not materialize and, when occurring, carry with them the loss of purchasing power, health care, affordable housing and a living environment for the mass of working people – the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of San Francisco
The protection of planning criteria pertaining to height limitation, opposition to the destruction of neighborhoods, defense of affordable housing and historic districts of the city – these are the underlying stakes in Hines Interests abortive attempts to raze113 Steuart Street to the ground. It was the intended opening shot.
Workers who build developer projects that ravage San Francisco live hours outside the city. They cannot afford to live in the city they build precisely because the social impact of such development is never addressed.
Multi-million dollar condos and high-rise executive offices have reaped obscene profits.
They have also driven the cost of housing in San Francisco through the stratosphere, resulting in a city whose working class and ethnic neighborhoods have been decimated or are in extremis, while skilled workers have been driven out, and, perforce, live hours away from the cities they have built as emblems of the unbridled greed of exploiting others.
The vast amount of work necessary to restore the city’s livable infrastructure — housing, schools, transportation, libraries, museums, parks and gardens, training centers, theatres, day-care centers, senior care facilities, health- care facilities, modern mass transit – this is the real locus of permanent work at union wages – not the bank-dependent, speculative vagaries of amoral developers.
Restoration work is labor intensive and there is a vast documented need for it.
This is why the preservation of 113 Steuart Street encapsulates the issues for working people today, as it did in 1934.
Hines spends fortunes on lobbyists to contrive false historical studies, pressure political figures and ensnare potential opponents. Lennar gives 500,000 dollars to the San Francisco Labor Council for concrete reasons and palpable results. The political purpose is transparent.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault supports the developers’ plans and attacks any who would subject the Chamber of Commerce agenda to public scrutiny.
He describes a commitment to planning and a call for the rebuilding of the infrastructure of San Francisco with familiar code- words: “zealotry against the private sector.”
In describing the presentation to the San Francisco Labor Council in which the concealed plans of Hines Interests to demolish 113 Steuart Street were documented and exposed, Secretary- Treasurer Theriault quickly labeled the person setting forth these facts as “a Marxist,” a tired and recognizable ploy that replays the siren notes of the Building Trades Council in 1934.
Red-Baiting and Secretary-Treasurer Theriault
The Berkeley Daily Planet was quick to call out the method. Becky O’Malley commented succinctly that this studied red-baiting by Secretary Treasurer Theriault harkens to the era of Joseph McCarthy, rooted as he is in the methods of the Building Trades Council when it targeted Harry Bridges and rank and file workers in precisely these vicious ways – with recorded consequences.
“Evidently, she noted acidly, “McCarthy- like red-baiting is alive and well in the Building Trades, dead though it may be in other venues.”
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault and the Chamber of Commerce are on a campaign now, surfacing virtually daily in the kept Press, that demonizes Supervisor Daly, the sponsor of a Resolution to landmark 113 Steuart Street, because Supervisor Daly has fought for public oversight and planning review of development in San Francisco – while implementing actual projects on the ground that embody both.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault wrote in his “Open Letter to the ILWU:”
“It is in this dispute that the opponents of the demolition of 113 Steuart Street by their own account see their efforts as a first shot. It is in this dispute that your vote will be exploited. You have been drawn into a fight over the nature of development by some whose zealotry against the private sector (emphasis added) had led them to ignore both the history of what they advocate and its effect present and future on other unionists.”
His method reprises the Building Trades Council’s demagogy and the red-baiting of Harry Bridges.
The sneak attack by Hines Interests to demolish 113 Steuart Street is linked to the history of the General Strike in profound ways. The role of union collaborators with the Industrial Association and the Chamber of Commerce in 1934 is replicated by Secretary- Treasurer Theriault today.
The jobs we want and the jobs we need will not be forthcoming from developers rapidly engulfed by bank default, as with Hines Interests, relying upon bank paper in short supply and of diminishing value.
Secretary-Treasurer Theriault wrote that the Building Trades Council “was there” in the General Strike and “defended” Harry Bridges.
History belies him. We need to reclaim that history so it cannot be besmirched and falsified.
For as the shocking evidence assembled herein shows indisputably, those who oppose preserving Harry Bridges’ Hall today led the assault on Harry Bridges and the rank and file in 1934 – calling for his deportation and orchestrating the purging and brutalization of rank and file workers who put their lives on the line and fought heroically in a seminal moment in the history of American labor.
“We are sure,” Brother Theriault, intones “that none of this was discussed with you before you voted.”
The shoe is on the other foot.
Such mis-leadership as that of Secretary- Treasurer Theriault’s Building Trades Council is on the wrong side of the class line – then and now.
ILWU Resolutions Address Precisely that History
The Resolutions passed unanimously by the ILWU International and by ILWU Locals 10 and 34 address precisely this history.
“Considering that Harry Bridges declared that the general strike and the struggle was not about long shore alone but was for all organized labor and all working people...
“Considering that there is vast work to be done in creating decent and affordable housing for all working people, schools that are not collapsing around the heads of students and teachers, restoration and renewal of the infrastructure of San Francisco and of cities across the United States.
“Considering that the jobs we want will come only through the mobilization of working people as in 1934.
“Considering that it was the very mobilization of Maritime and organized labor across San Francisco and the Bay Area that exposed the lies of Hines and led to a huge victory for all working people as in 1934.
“Be it resolved that the ILWU calls for 113 Steuart Street to become a land marked history and education center project and calls for good union jobs for working people on projects that restore our city and serve the needs of our people and not the greed of duplicitous developers.”
This is the political analysis that Secretary- Theriault seeks to demonize with the red-baiting language and methods of the Building Trades Council in 1934 when it targeted Harry Bridges, betrayed the General Strike and slandered its most dedicated fighters as “subversives” and foreign agents.
“Is there any way or will to undo now what you have done?”
It bears repeating that Secretary-Treasurer
Theriault ended his “Open Letter to the ILWU” with these words:
“We do not know if there is any way or will to undo now what you have done.”
He will try.
He will maneuver behind the scenes. He will seek to muscle ILWU officials to retreat from Resolutions voted unanimously by the membership.
The fight to landmark 113 Steuart Street is a fight to preserve a history that teaches us by example. The labor officials and business unionists who colluded with police, vigilantes and the forces of repression in 1934, who demonized the rank and file and their militant leadership as dangerous radicals subverting organized labor, are at it again.
The Lived Reality
In reality, the dedicated labor militants of the day represented the rank and file and the
interests of workers against a deeply reactionary officialdom that colluded with the employers and with the forces of State repression.
The lines of demarcation are clear. The fight to landmark 113 Steuart Street is a fight to preserve the history of the General Strike – and that entails revealing the consequences for working people of servicing the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce then – and now.
This lived experience, the revealing history of the 1934 General Strike and of the Great Maritime Strike, will be preserved.
The Committee to Landmark 113 Steuart Street defends that history.
In doing so we keep faith with the legacy of Harry Bridges and of ILA Local 38-79 — indispensable to the struggles of the present in a moment of unprecedented economic crisis.
There are larger issues at stake here. The Hall where that fight was waged is part of a broad historic commitment to a city conceived, planned and built in the interests of its vast laboring majority.
This Struggle Will Not Be Abandoned or Betrayed
Accordingly, we call upon the Building Trades Council to join the ILWU, together with the support enjoyed from unions and the broader community, including, as in 1934, many members of Building Trades locals themselves, in a united campaign to landmark113 Steuart Street – a template for a viable project that reflects and respects the planning criteria of the city of San Francisco and the living legacy embodied in the historic Waterfront and Maritime District.
Additional List of Signer/Endorsers in Progress
Rick Hauptman, PDA, San Francisco; 113 Steuart Labor Center Project; 113 Steuart Landmark Committee
Jack Heyman, ILWU Local 10 Executive Board
Marcus Holder, ILWU Local 10 delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council
Howard Keylor, ILWU Local 10, retired
Peter Nasatir, 113 Steuart Labor Center Project;
113 Steuart Landmark Committee
Dave Osgood, Rincon Center Tenants Association, 113 Steuart Labor Center Project; 113 Steuart Landmark Committee
Jan Overstreet, ILWU Local 10
Leo Robinson, ILWU Local 10, retired
Ralph Schoenman, UAW 1981; 113 Steuart Labor Center Project; 113 Steuart Landmark Committee.
Keith Shanklin, ILWU Local 34
Roland Sheppard, Business Representative,
retired, Painters Union Local 4
Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10
David Walters, San Francisco Union Member
Bradley Wiedmaier, SIEU; UHW Homecare; 113 Steuart Labor Center Project; 113 Steuart Landmark Committee
Howard Wong, AIA, President Retired, IFPTE Local 21; 113 Steuart Labor Center Project: 113 Steuart Landmark Committee.
Steve Zeltzer, Labor Video Project; 113 Steuart Labor Center Project; 113 Steuart Landmark Committee
Add Your Name/Contact:
113 Steuart Labor Center Project/113 Steuart Landmark Committee; phone: 415.694.3605 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Former Uber Driver Reveals The Worst Things About The Job
Lisa Eadicicco, provided by
Published 10:00 am, Sunday, November 30, 2014
UberX driver Ramzi Reguii, 32, takes a fare to his destination in San Francisco this spring.
A black sedan bearing the distinctive "U" logo of the Uber ride-sharing service takes the transit lane on Geary Street in San Francisco.
Buy this photo
Working for a multi-billion dollar company isn't always as glamorous as it may seem.
Claire Callahan Goodman, a San Francisco-based mother who worked part time for Uber to earn some extra cash, just revealed why she decided to quit her job as a driver ina new post on Salon.
Goodman said her background growing up in the city and speaking English as her first language should have made this an easy, stress-free part time job for her.
After all, she already knew her way around the city and could easily communicate with passengers.
But, in her post on Salon, she outlines a few key factors that drove her to leave the company.
• Uber Is Destroying The Value Of Taxi Monopolies In A Bunch Of American Cities
• Uber's Android App May Be Collecting An Alarming Amount Of Your Personal Data
• Uber Attempts to "Weaponize Facts," Shoots Self in Foot Instead
• Uber's software makes it difficult to do the job accurately. According to Goodman's account, the software Uber drivers use to estimate how long it will take to get to a rider is inaccurate. "The first thing I found was that Uber's software sometimes wildly underestimates the number of minutes it takes to reach a rider," Goodman wrote. Goodman says the software malfunctioned "at least" 50 percent of the time, which resulted in a lot of cancellations.
• Uber makes its drivers rent a phone from the company for $10 per week. Goodman said she couldn't start driving until she recieved the iPhone 4 Uber had sent her. She writes that she could have used her iPhone 5, but the company never made it clear that she could have used her own personal phone. She eventually sent Uber's iPhone 4 back so that she could use her own phone, but still had to pay a $30 rental fee.
• Uber hits drivers with charges and fees that take away from their hourly rate. Goodman said that after subtracting charges and fees, plus the 20% Uber takes from each ride, the hourly rate during surge pricing periods comes out to about $10 per hour. "At least for me, driving for Uber is not worth it," she wrote, saying her requirements are closer to $15 an hour.
It's important to keep in mind that this is just one Uber driver's account, and not all drivers may feel this way. It does, however, raise a point that Uber drivers have been complaining about for months. In September, drivers gathered outside of Uber's main offices in Long Island City in Queens, New York to protest some of the company's policies.
In particular, Uber drivers seemed to be angry about the no tipping policy and the fact that drivers are expected to pay for maintenance expenses. The company says these are suggestions — not policies —but one driver told Business Insider during the protest that it's not possible to make a living as a driver on Uber's pay alone.