“On Sunday May 1, 2016, International Workers Day, ILWU Local 10 for the second consecutive year will be shutting down all Bay Area ports for 8 hours. This year we will commemorate a National Day of Mourning in memory of the Black and Brown lives that have been taken by racist police and vigilante killings across the country”
At the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Support for Labor Banquet two individuals and two organizations were awarded the Black Workers for Justice’s Self-Determination Award. North Carolina based Muslims for Social Justice and Charleston’s Healthcare Workers United were the group recipients. The individual award went to two trade union activist. ILA Local 1422 activist Leonard Riley received an individual award. The second was awarded to Clarence Thomas a labor activist, member of ILWU Local 10 and longtime freedom fighter. Thomas was unable to attend but submitted this statement to share with the participants. Note his call for action on May Day.
“Let me extend my solidarity greetings to the brothers, sisters and comrades attending the Black Workers for Justice’s “33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Support for Black Labor Banquet”. I regret not being able to join you for this momentous occasion due to prior family commitments.
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for being selected as an honoree this year’s event. Those of us that are activist in the struggle are not motivated to do this work for recognition or awards as such. However, it is an honor to be acknowledged by Black Workers for Justice an organization committed to the struggles for social justice, workers power and self determination for the oppressed.
To be absolutely candid with you, I believe awards like this are given to encourage the recipients to “keep on keeping on” redouble our efforts to continue to struggle.
On September 21, 1967 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the rank and file of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 at its monthly union meeting. The ILWU was an active supporter of the Civil Rights movement especially Local 10 which was and remains a predominantly African American Local. Dr. King spoke of how the “Negro Freedom Movement and the Labor Movement can together be the true bulwark of American democracy”.
Dr. King discussed how the Civil Rights movement had adopted the effective use of sit-in tactics that had been successfully deployed by militant auto workers in the plants in 1937.
Earlier in the day he held a press conference at our union hall where he explained his opposition to the war. He said, “I am strongly opposed to the Viet Nam War which I one of the great moral tragedies of our time”. He also noted in addition that those most in favor of the war lived in the deep south “where the senators who are hawks are also strongly opposed to Civil Rights legislation”.
Dr. King was made a lifetime honorary member of ILWU Local 10.
It is that history and radical traditions of Local 10 that propels me and other rank and filers in the struggle for democracy, economic and social justice for the working class and the oppressed.
On Sunday May 1, 2016, International Workers Day, ILWU Local 10 for the second consecutive year will be shutting down all Bay Area ports for 8 hours. This year we will commemorate a National Day of Mourning in memory of the Black and Brown lives that have been taken by racist police and vigilante killings across the country.
Local 10 rank and filers adopted the demands put forward by the Days of Grace Days of Rage organizers in Charleston, South Carolina last Labor Day weekend for its May Day Mobilization. The Demands are as follows:
- An end to racist policing;
- $15 an hour minimum wage and collective bargaining rights for all workers;
- Expanding Voting Rights;
- Medicare expansion (health care for all);
- Quality Education is a human right.
As stated on ILA Local 1422’s 2015 Labor Day tee shirts, “Labor Must Lead”. The ILA, ILWU, United Electrical Workers Local 150, Black Workers for Justice and the Southern Workers Assembly contributed to bringing working class unity to the Days of Grace Days of Rage mobilization.
Organized labor has played a leading role historically in the struggle for economic and social justice for the working class. Black trade unionists have been in the vanguard of the Civil Rights and Black Liberation movements.
One of labors greatest strengths is the withholding of its labor. That is how we achieved the 8 hour work day, collective bargaining, the right to have a workers controlled hiring hall and democracy at work.
I hereby issue the call for all in attendance to join ILWU Local 10 and put forward your own demands in mobilizing for May Day 2016
If the working class is to be heard then Labor must shut it Down!
Thank you again for this award.”
“An Injury To One Is An Injury To All”