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Thank You ILWU!

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My hat is off to the courage of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union which has decided to stage an eight hour "stop work" on May Day (May 1) to protest the Iraq occupation. Longshore and Warehouse Union members across the west coast of the United states have called an eight hour "stop work" on the day shift (April 2008 ILWU Dispatcher). This will close 29 ports on the west coast. They are calling for the immediate and safe return of U.S. troops. This is a brave move for the workers and the Union. While the ILWU has a right to have a "stop work" meeting in its contract, such "meetings" are to be announced in advance and approved by the Pacific Maritime Association which represents employers. Apparently approval is routine, but that is not for day shift meetings. The PMA challenged the May 1 stoppage through an arbitrator who told the ILWU to notify its members that the stoppage will not happen. The ILWU has not canceled the stoppage. In fact, according to an ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees:
"The Longshore Caucus resolution calling on all locals to honor May 1 by taking action to end the war and bring the troops home safely from Iraq continues to move forward. Various voluntary rallies and public demonstrations are scheduled for May Day."
Information above is from the SF Gate article by George Raines "Clash ahead over longshore union war protest, 4/26/08 So it looks like the Longshore and Warehouse Union members are going forward with their statement to the politicians and the nation. Whether they will listen remains to be seen. Whether the corporate media will cover the ILWU remains to be seen. Whether the Bush administration will stretch the law to go after the ILWU for interfering with "critical infrastructure" as was approved under Public Law 108-458: Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, also remains to be seen. Thank you workers of ILWU for taking a stand!
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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.

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