[Sfbay-video] 12/9 Rally&March-Stop Union Busting On The SF Waterfront
lvpsf at igc.org
Wed Dec 6 16:20:54 PST 2006
Stop Union Busting On The SF Waterfront
Saturday, December 9, there will be an ILWU stop work meeting and port
in support of the IBU-MMP struggle at Hornblower. ILWU local 10 voted at
last membership meeting to up the ante in this fight, recognizing that a non
maritime operation replacing ILWU and MMP workers is a direct threat to
jurisdiction. Everyone in the IBU and MMP who is not working has to support
union and defend their jobs by attending this important action. If you are
if possible, take the day off!!
To all those who have supported us on the picket who aren't IBU or MMP, this
is the day to come on down and join us again at pier 33 on the Embarcadero.
There will be a march with union contingents (try to get your union banner
and a contingent for the march) from the ferry building at 9:15 to pier 33
for a rally that
should last at least until noon. If you can't make the march,
show up for the 10:00 am rally. Solidarity must be more than a just a word
San Francisco Chronicle
The challenge to labor
- Jack Heyman
Monday, December 4, 2006
San Francisco has been a solidly union town since the historic 1934
maritime strike of sailors and longshoremen which turned into a
citywide General Strike after two strikers were killed by police. The
strikers' slogan then was, "An injury to one is an injury to all." Now,
every July 5, "Bloody Thursday," West Coast ports close from the
Canadian to the Mexican border to commemorate the six union members
killed during the militant strike that forged the organized labor
But is San Francisco still a union town?
For the first time since that 1934 strike, a nonunion maritime company
has begun operating on the Embarcadero. Hornblower Cruises and Events,
owned by Terry McRae, was awarded a 10-year contract by the National
Park Service (NPS) last year to provide ferry service to Alcatraz
Island. Some 50 workers, represented by the Inlandboatmen's Union (IBU)
and the Masters, Mates and Pilots Union (MMP), with decent working
conditions, wages and family health insurance, lost their jobs. They've
been picketing, along with their supporters, at Pier 33 on the
Embarcadero for the past two months, as McRae refuses to negotiate.
In response, the San Francisco longshore union voted to shut down all
Bay Area ports and hold a stop-work meeting and mass picket in
solidarity with its sister IBU local, which is affiliated to the
International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). In 2003, the Los
Angeles longshore union took similar action, shutting down the largest
port in the United States and marching in solidarity with striking
grocery-store workers. In 2000, when the jobs of Charleston, S.C.,
longshore workers had been taken over by a nonunion stevedore operator,
they, much as the Alcatraz ferry workers, protested by picketing. They
were attacked by riot police with many injured and five arrested. The
ILWU went to their defense. Known as the Charleston 5 campaign, it
became a cause celebre of the American labor movement and is one of the
few shining examples of labor's power in recent years.
Much has changed since the days when a freighter's cargo was
"hand-jived" by gangs of longshoremen or when ferries would carry
passengers from Oakland to San Francisco. Containerization and bridges
have changed the face of the waterfront.
One of the most significant measures of change, perhaps, is the
integration of women into the workforce. Nowadays, the "first lady" in
the Port of Oakland is a black mother who operates a container crane.
And the regional director of the IBU is Marina Secchitano, who in the
fight to defend her union and her members' jobs, refuses to back down
in the face of corporate intimidation. Twice arrested by police,
Secchitano is determined to achieve justice for her union members, who
have been diligently working the Alcatraz Ferry since it began
operations in 1973 and now find themselves replaced, like the
While Hornblower maintains a callous disregard for the lives of the
workers who made the Alcatraz run into the success that it has become,
the company portrays itself as environmentally conscious. U.S. District
Court Judge Claudia Wilkins has ruled that the Service Contract Act,
which requires a successor of a federal contract to pay the same level
of wages and benefits as the previous employer, applies to Hornblower.
But who today believes that justice can be achieved through government
agencies and courts? Certainly not when judges rule that corporations
can rip up with impunity labor contracts that provide for workers'
pensions, health benefits and wages, as happened to workers at
Bethlehem Steel and United Airlines. Some judges have barred workers
from striking in response.
In this atmosphere of one-sided class war, if unions are to survive as
independent organizations that represent the democratic will of
workers, then they will have to exercise their power -- even if that
means defying unjust laws. That's what the civil rights movement did in
the '60s and the labor movement did before that in the '30s.
If nonunion companies, such as Hornblower can operate with federal
blessing, then others will follow and the days of unions on the San
Francisco waterfront are numbered.
Is an injury to one still an injury to all? If so, will unions take the
necessary action? That is the challenge of organized labor today.
On the waterfront
Mass picket and rally to protest nonunion work on a federally
contracted excursion boat.
10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 9
Pier 33, Embarcadero,
Jack Heyman is a San Francisco longshoreman who likes to make waves by
writing about the conditions of waterfront workers.
ILWU to SHUT PORT
in SUPPORT of ALCATRAZ FERRY WORKERS
2006 by Marc Norton
MARC NORTON ONLINE:
First published in BEYOND CHRON, December 4, 2006
International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 will stage a
PORT-WIDE SHUTDOWN next Saturday, December 9, in support of maritime workers
who have been battling the new non-union Alcatraz ferry operation for over
two months now.
Maritime workers have issued a call for a MASS MARCH AND PICKET on the same
day, calling on "all union members and their allies to join us."
The march will start at 9:15 AM at Harry Bridges Plaza across from the
Ferry Building. The march will proceed to Hornblower's "Alcatraz Landing" at
Pier 33, where mass picketing will begin at 10:00 AM.
Workers from the Inlandboatmen's Union and the International Masters' Mates
and Pilots have maintained a spirited picket line for over two months, ever
since the Bush administration's National Park Service turned over the
Alcatraz ferry service to Hornblower -- a blatant attack on the
long-standing union jurisdiction over San Francisco's port.
Well over a month ago, the San Francisco Labor Council passed a resolution
declaring that they "can not allow a viciously anti-union operation to get a
foothold in the heart of our labor citadel," and pledging to "mobilize the
whole of the labor movement for mass picketing at Pier 33 and the San
We will see Saturday if the deeds of the SF Labor Council match those
Hornblower was recently described by the San Francisco Business Times as a
company with the "wind in its sales." A foul wind indeed, blown all the way
from the stench in our nation's capital.
Despite its allies in Washington, Hornblower has encountered a bit of rough
water lately. Hornblower had expected the National Park Service to approve
their request for a 45% increase in the Alcatraz fare, from the current
$18.75 to a whopping $27. Instead, the park service only approved a $3
increase, to $21.75.
None of that fare increase will go to Hornblower. It will all go to the
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the non-profit organization that
works with the park service to provide research, interpretation and
The denial of Hornblower's fare increase came after Nancy Pelosi wrote a
letter to the park service "strongly" opposing Hornblower's request.
Pelosi's letter was sent before the November election, but the decision to
deny Hornblower's fare increase came after the election, and may have been
motivated at least in part by the fact that Pelosi, as the soon-to-be
Speaker of the House, will have some real power over the park service's
Pelosi's letter also expressed her "great displeasure with the loss of a
unionized workforce on the Alcatraz ferry service."
Alcatraz ferry workers, also very displeased, have "opened up a new front"
by bringing "the fight into cyberspace," launching a new website at
www.AlcatrazUnion.com. This website proudly proclaims that it is "run by
rank & file workers." Check it out.
In another day and age, long before the internet, a famous labor leader
summed up the state of the world this way:
"One class now owns the tools while another class uses them. One class is
small and rich and the other large and poor. One wants more profit and the
other more wages. One consists of capitalists and the other of workers.
These two classes are at war. Every day of truce is at the expense of
Those were the words of Eugene Debs, a man who got nearly a million votes
when he ran for President in 1920, even though he was locked down in prison
serving a ten-year sentence for his opposition to US participation in World
I'd like to see Nancy Pelosi put that in her next letter.
See you all Saturday.
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