After 10 months of longshore contract negotiations and reaching a 5-year tentative agreement (TA) the ILWU membership is still being kept in the dark. Some members have resorted to reading the shipowners’ Journal of Commerce (which now claims to have a copy of the TA) to get information. Other members have even gone to the PMA bosses’ website. Members can go to the Caucus March 30 at the Holiday Inn; 1500 Van Ness at Pine St. in SF. Find out what’s happening. That’s your right!

The first of ILWU’s 10 Guiding Principles states:
“A Union is built on its members. The strength, understanding and unity of the membership can determine the union’s course and its advancements. The members who work, who make up the union and pay its dues can best determine their own destiny. If the facts are honestly presented to the members in the ranks, they will best judge what should be done and how it should be done. In brief it is the membership of the union which is the best judge of its own welfare; not the officers, not the employers, not the politicians and the fair weather friends of labor.”

Questions that need answers:

1. Why has the Coast Committee agreed to bring back the arbitrators without a ratified agreement? Those who built this militant union said our strength has always been standing together in unity when there is a beef on the job. The new TA providing for a 3-member arbitration panel isn’t the answer.

2. In PMA’s final offer they demanded the removal of the IBT/Teamster Memorandum of Understanding (pg. 227) signed by Harry Bridges in 1961. Was it removed? Will outside truckers be able to drive under the hook to load or unload a container? Port truckers should be organized into ILWU.

3. What about fighting automation? In the past Local 10 has called for 4 shifts @ 6 hours work with 8 hours pay. That adds another shift and maintains wages. This new TA claims to trade wage increases for the loss of jobs. That’s a bad trade off for workers. It widens the gap in wages between skilled and basic jobs while not protecting those jobs on the bottom. What exactly is the yard manning and crane manning on the ship, tractors and on the dock? If we get one more dockman, that’s still not equal to LA manning.

Anthony Leviege #9576 Stacey Rodgers # 101236

March 19, 2015