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  081101 Annual CDU statewide meeting (6 pages)  


This years annual CDU statewide meeting was again held at the historic ILWU hall in West Sacramento. It seems appropriate that our gathering to discuss the coming year's goals for CDU be housed by the International Longshore Warehouse Union, a union with their own rich history of progressive activity.

 

"We were organized to do a job for working people. We were organized to fight for unity and understanding. We were organized to try to bring people together so that they can struggle together, without any distinctions of race, creed, color or religious or political faith." Harry Bridges, a founder of the ILWU, and subsequent leader for many years.

Harry Bridges and the longshore workers shut down west coast ports during an 80 day strike in 1934. Striking against what would now be considered unimaginable working conditions, the strikers held fast against scabs, beatings, a complete domination of the media by corporate interests (at one point the san francisco chronicle reported a 'red' army was just over the hills ready to swope down upon the bay area), a call to return to work by their then east coast based (and very conservative) union (ILA) leaders, even through 'bloody thursday' when strikers were injured and killed by police and hired goons.
The killings led to a display of union solidarity never seen before or since, the bay area was silent during a general strike as the members of over 60 unions ceased working.
The shipping owners were forced to negotiate, the longshore workers won many of their demands, and corporate/govt interests began a 20 year campaign (unsuccessful) to deport Harry Bridges, not for any wrong doing, but for his organizing abilities.
In 1937 the pacific section of the ILA (whose national leaders were then working against social security, unemployment insurance, and other worker friendly legislation) led by Harry Bridges overwhelmingly voted to break away from the ILA and form their own union, the ILWU, which affiliated with the CIO.
The ILWU has since been at the forefront in their demands for member benefits.

The objectives of the ILWU are:
First, to unite in one organization, regardless of religion, race, creed, color, sex, political affiliation or nationality, all workers within the jurisdiction of this International;
Second, to maintain and improve the wages, hours and working conditions for all of its members without discrimination;
Third, to educate the membership of this organization in the history of the American labor movement and in present day labor problems and tactics;
Fourth, to secure legislation in the interests of labor and to oppose anti-labor legislation.

(from the constitution of the ILWU)

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