Militant Longshoreman No. 20

Militant Longshoreman

No. 20,  March 24, 1987

Crowley Scabs Flee Port Of Redwood City

Last Friday the ILWU temporarily stopped a major attack on ILWU jurisdiction by Crowley. It all came together when Crowley, the largest tug and barge company in the world, brought three struck Hawaii Marine Lines barges into the port of Redwood City. At about 7:00 AM scabs began discharging containers from–one of the barges using Sheedy Drayage Company cranes, hysters and tractors. IBU-ILWU pickets stopped a line of trucks and two additional hysters from entering the port in spite of Redwood City Police harassment. After the word reached San Francisco Walking Bosses, Clerks, Longshoremen and Ship Scalers left every job in the Bay Area and headed for Redwood City. When several hundred ILWU members headed down the road toward the pier the scabs took off running and abandoned the barge. Not one container has left the port! For weeks these struck barges have been towed up and down the coast like the Flying Dutchman, while Crowley’s customers have been crying for their cargo.

Crowley Targets Longshore For Union Busting!

Since Crowley forced the IBU-ILWU into a strike to defend their jobs, we’ve been warning longshoremen that Crowley is laying the basis to break ILWU longshore jurisdiction on the West Coast. We didn’t expect the direct attack to come so soon, although we had a hint about two months ago. At that time a port of Redwood City official told our officers that if Levin’s non-union scrap iron operation at Richmond continued to underbid them, that the port of Redwood City would consider going non-union. Saturday the port got a Superior Court injunction limiting pickets to two at each gate. Crowley is now in Federal Court to get an injunction declaring our refusal to work the struck barges sitting at piers up and down the coast a *secondary boycott”. He figures that the Feds will overturn our picket line language that prevents PMA from making us scab on our own ILWU brothers.

Longshore Jurisdiction and Jobs At Stake!

If Crowley, the port of Redwood City, and Sheedy Drayage Company (now the first scab Stevedoring Company in California), succeed in unloading the barges and trucking off the cargo, the port of Redwood City will soon be booming with barges and ships loaded with autos, steel, containers, lumber etc., none of it worked by ILWU longshoremen. This non-union cancer will spread rapidly to Richmond, Selby, Pittsburg, Antioch and points north and south. Unless we stand fast here, it’s all over but the tears and 53 years of proud unionism will be history. We can end up like ILA longshoremen in New Orleans half of whom hang around the non-union piers hoping to pick up a days work at half the wages they were earning under ILA contracts.

There will be shrill voices raised (especially from Franklin Street), that we can’t win, that the police will bust heads, that the courts will seize our funds, that each longshoreman will have his savings seized, and that our noble leaders will be jailed if we refuse to surrender our jobs meekly. We can win only if we are prepared to fight to establish and defend our gains of the past 53 years as our brothers fought to establish our union in 1934. It’s not just the organized labor movement that is watching this battle and can be brought in to man our picket lines and stop Crowley cold. Millions of workers who yearn for job security and livable wages can be inspired by our successful battle that they too can hope to win union conditions and wages.

Fight or Roll Over Dead
No Middle Ground!

At the risk of sounding repetitious: We have to watch out that we’re not misled by our International officers and their week-kneed hangers-on in our local. Just last St. Patrick’s Day International officers Jimmy Herman, Rudy Rubio, Curtis McClain, Regional Director Leroy King and IBU President Don Liddle decended on the San Francisco IBU to tell them that they had no right to make any decisions on how to run their own strike. Herman shouted from the podium that the International officers and the top officers of the IBU would make all the decisions, and that he would order the IBU picket lines pulled down and would order longshoremen and clerks to discharge pineapples and personal effects of military personnel from those struck Crowley barges. When angry rank-and-filers loudly objected to Herman’s strikebreaking he charged threateningly forward into the crowd of angry boatmen and tankermen – loudly defended by our own Local 10 Secretary Treasurer Tommy Clark. The next day it turned out that all the tears over ‘perishable’ food was just an excuse to emasculate the IBU rank and file. There was no perishable cargo aboard the barges – just canned pineapple.

There is no place to hide – either we do what we have to do to defend our jobs, or roll over dead! Either we stop Crowley at Redwood City, or our union will be gutted by the union busters. That means we have to be.prepared to defy court orders!

Stand Our Ground!
Mass Pickets At Redwood City to Stop Scab Longshore Operations and Defeat Injunctions!

CORRECTION: In the rush of production the date on the last MILITANT LONGSHOREMAN No. 19 was incorrectly typed “February”; it should have read “March 13, 1987”.

I never claimed to be perfect, The Editor.