Militant Longshoreman No 8
No #8 February 3, 1984
NO GIVE-AWAYS! — NO TAKE-BACKS!
8 HOURS PAY FOR A 6 HOUR SHIFT!
HOWARD KEYLOR 33 – B
CAUCUS & CONVENTION
PREPARE FOR A STRIKE IN 1984!
Local 10 will elect 10 Caucus delegates this Friday, February 10. These delegates (plus the Local President) will represent the Local at a Coast Contract Caucus, probably in March. That Caucus will put together contract demands and strategy for the 1984 negotiations with PMA. After negotiations the Caucus will recommend either acceptance or rejection of the proposed contract. Which levers you pull for this office is about the most important vote a member can cast in affecting his and the union’s future.
WILL PMA DEMAND TAKE-AWAYS?
It’s too early to predict whether PMA will follow the national pattern and demand direct give-backs in contractual guarantees on wages, seniority, job security etc. However, there are four areas in which the editor thinks. that PMA will press hard to undermine our union.
PMA will undoubtedly reintroduce their demand that a longshoreman’s PGP will be based in the future on his earnings for actual jobs worked in a previous base period (like unemployment insurance). This would put a real hardship on ports like San Francisco. Even if all dispatch categories were abolished and all longshoremen were availble 7 days a week, the lack of jobs (and earnings) would still result in reduced PGP payments in San Francisco to all except steady killed men. The most immediate result of such punitive contract lanuage would be PMA pressure to reduce categories (combine Dock and old Borads for example) and increase compulsory availability (signing n the hall every day – no stop line).
Partially disabled and older longshoremen would be the first to suffer since to maintain their maximum earnings (and PGP) these men would be compelled to accept steel and lashing jobs or suffer a drastic cut in heir own individual PGP.
Along with reduced PGP partially disabled men will probably be faced with pressure to accept a cash payment (Buy-out) to give up their books. Just as in U.S. capitalist society as a whole, where 25% of the workers including a high proportion of blacks) are being more and more openly treated as unwanted, excess human beings, PMA wants to get rid of older and disabled welfare recipients (men drawing PGP) in the longshore work force .
TRAVEL TIME/HIRING HALL IN DANGER
There are also signs that PMA wants to eliminate most travel time by demanding an East Buy dispatch hall. We can also expect PMA to bring up their demand for a fully computerized dispatch eliminating any possible choice or selection of job, virtually abolishing union control of dispatch.
FUTURE TAKE-AWAYS ALREADY IN THE CONTRACT!
Many brothers ask the honest question, “If we can keep our contract as It is, without any give-backs, won’t we be ok?”. That’s whistling in the dark brother. PMA already has contract language that allows continuous future give-aways in manning, jobs, conditions, and earnings. For over 20 years language surrendering manning (1961), equalized earnings (1966 – steady skilled men – 9.43), “PGP abuse”, “work as directed” and other sections have been added to the contract to give PMA all the weapons they need to continue taking away jobs and conditions. To add insult to injury Local 10 has been singled out to bear the full brunt of the worst PMA stooges as arbitrators, Barsamian and Sutliff. That’s why we urge Local 10 delegates to go into the Caucus with contract demands to take-back for the union powers that we once had to protect our members. Eliminate steady skilled men, “PGP abuse”, work, now -arbitrate later” contract sections. Restore manning scales on all ship operations.
WANTED – A FIGHT FOR JOBS
“Bay Area Tonnage UP – Jobs and Earnings of Longshoremen Down!”
That could be the headline on a yearly “state of the union” report. And it’s not what some demagogic politicians shouted in the past: “Los Angeles is taking our world”, “All the ships are going to Seattle!” Brother Harry Bridges gave away manning, the stevedoring companies mechanized, the world’s shippers went over to bigger and ever more efficient (less men) container ships. The hour is getting damned late for us. If we don’t get manning and a shorter work shift in 1984 the next contract could see us facing a lay-off.
PRESIDENT JIMMY HERMAN – RUNNING SCARED
Anyone who pays close attention to Brother Herman’s editorials and speeches can see that he’s running scared. Jimmy has done everything possible to avoid a conflict with the employers. Meanwhile he f/’es around making militant sounding speeches threatening to shut down the country. Probably. the most disgusting picture in the editor’s mind Is Jimmy Herman standing in front of the door of Greyhound on December 3 in San Francisco trying to disperse an angry crowd of pickets.
TO STRIKE OR NOT TO STRIKE
Brothers ask us “Why do you say in your election card ‘Prepare for a strike in 1984’ when you know we don’t have any leadership?” These brothers remember how Brother Bridges and the international officers sabotaged the 1971/1972 strike. What these brothers forget is that the 1971 Caucus in its last minutes turned over all powers to run the strike to the Negotiating Committee dominated by Bridges, Herman and the International officers! If you’re really serious about defending your jobs and your union you have to be willing to prepare for a strike. That also means taking control of the strike away from the mis-leaders in the International and the Local. We will have more to say later about elected strike committees and how to win a strike. The defensive victory we won last June at Richmond Levin Terminals Paar 5 shows what can be accomplished when the membership begins to organize.
NO CONTRACT EXTENSIONS – NO MASTER CONTRACT UNTIL ALL MISCELLANEOUS CONTRACTS SIGNED WITH PMA
We’ve gotten damned little in our local miscellaneous contracts with -IMA. Linemen, gearmen, coopers, sweepers, baggagemen haven’t made any -eal gains in years-why? Because the International hastens to sign the Master contract with PMA beforelocal agreements are reached leav- Ing us with no strike power to compel PPIA concessions. The only way to creak out of this no-win strategy is to start local negotiations early, flien PMA stalls tell them: “No contract extensions of local or master, last July 11No contract – no work! No Master contract signed until Local contracts agreement reached!” Only by linking Local and Coast contracts together with the threat of a strike can we get PMA to negotiate seriously on the miscellaneous contracts.
STAN GOW – WHAT NOW!
Last month we made no written endorsement of Brother Stan Gow for Executive Board. After we had published issue No. 7 of this Newsletter Brother Gow distributed his campaign leaflet which completely omitted for the first time since 1974 any itemized program for the union. When Gow was asked whether his program was dropped in order to duck the question of whether he still opposes law-suits against the union Stan (and the organizer of the Militant Caucus, Brother Woolston) replied that Stan still opposes bringing the capitalist government, courts, and agencies into the union.
On that basis we advised members to vote for Brother Gow even though we remain increasingly critical of his actions. Howard Keylor will vote for Stan Gow for Caucus Delegate. We recommend that while brothers also vote for Stan that they urge him when elected to work with Brother Keylor at the Caucus in fighting for local 10 and the Longshore Division membership’s needs.