In Advance the Struggle’s Notes on ILWU Local 4 Lockout, it argued that an orientation toward Asian longshore is necessary in order to challenge the PNGHA and United Grain capitalist attack on ILWU. We are pleased to announce that Japanese National Railway union, Doro Chiba, has now entered the battlefield, organizing international solidarity for the longshore workers. They are mobilizing against Mitsui- United Grain, Friday March 15th. The Bay Area Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (TWSC) is supporting this international day of action, with a rally in San Francisco, Friday March 15th, 4:30PM at 1 Montgomery and Market.
Doro-Chiba asks ILWU members three questions, “Is our protest action against the Mitsui HQ meaningful for your current struggle? If so, what is your opinion about the optimal moment of our action? What are the most important demands?” These questions should be answered by the rank and file of the ILWU to generate a worker resistance with an internationalist perspective. The ILWU officialdom on the other hand is doing the opposite; they are channeling frustration against Japanese capital, or foreign companies that treat American workers badly. Organizing on an internationalist basis, with Japanese and other Asian labor organizations, is the first step to undercutting their anti-foreigner, xenophobic politics that the ILWU beaucracy is promoting.
All out for March 15! Now that San Francisco is organizing a solidarity rally on March 15th in conjunction with Doro Chiba, we call on labor solidarity activists to do the same in San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and Hawaii. The more the international solidarity develops contributing to the defense and support of ILWU local 4 rank and file, the more we can demonstrate the working class is in motion against the capitalist attacks that seek to destroy the power of unions, hollowing them out to pave the way for unchecked capitalist profit.
Bay Area Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (TWSC)
RALLY TO DEFEND ILWU !
International Day Of Action
Stop Mitsui Union Busting and Concessionary Contracts
Fight the Lockout of ILWU by United Grain in the Port of Vancouver, Washington
Friday March 15, 4:30PM @ 1 Montgomery/Market Sts., SF
On March 15, 2013 there will be international actions and protests against the union busting lockout of ILWU Local 4 members by the Mitsui-owned company United Grain in the Port Of Vancouver, Washington.
Since the concessionary contract at EGT in Longview, Washington, other grain handlers have imposed a similar contract in NW grain ports after longshore workers voted 94% to reject it. The contract eliminated the union hiring hall, imposed a 12 hour day and allowed the replacement of union members if they stopped work for health and safety reasons. The other anti-union grain monopoly Cargill/Temco signed a separate agreement which includes many of these draconian measures which is being heralded by union officials as a “victory” because, they say, Cargill is American-owned. Longshore workers in Portland, the West Coast’s largest grain port, voted that concessionary contract down.
Already there have been fires and dangerous accidents working under these contracts.
Mitsui-owned United Grain locked out the ILWU members and have brought in scabs who have been training for many months to bust the ILWU. This attack on the union hiring hall, a key victory of the 1934 West Coast Maritime strike, is a major defeat for members of the ILWU and all workers whether in unions or not. This also whets the appetite of all maritime bosses who are want to impose EGT-type concessions in 2014 when the West Coast longshore contract expires.
The ILWU International leadership, using racist, flag-waving nationalism, is attacking Japanese capitalist bosses like they did during the lockout of ILWU Local 30 miners who were locked out in Boron, California by British-based Rio Tinto. This is a reactionary diversion. Only international labor solidarity actions can beat these union busters. Many companies are global. Whether British-owned company, Japanese-owned or American-owned, these companies are intent on destroying union labor here and around the world.
The ILWU Local 8 Executive Board in Portland and Japanese Doro-Chiba railway union have taken the initiative to call for action against Mitsui in solidarity with ILWU grain workers. The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (TWSC) is supporting this International Day of Action.
Join us on Friday March 15that 4:30 PM at 50 California in San Francisco at the headquarters of Mitsui in California. Let them know: Union busting is disgusting!
Letter from National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Executive Boards and Memberships of ILWU Local 8 and 4,
Our union, National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba), is a railway workers’ union, organizing railway drivers and engineers of inspection and repair work and yard operation. We work at the railroad workplaces throughout Chiba District of Japan Railway Company.
In 2002, Doro-Chiba by chance met your union, ILWU, who upholds a militant and traditional union policy, “The Ten Guiding Principles”. It was the year of your contract renewal negotiations and you were fighting bravely and tenaciously against the severe attack of employers and the brutal intervention by the government. We were deeply moved by your amazing struggle and thrilled to know that there was a union far across the ocean that held a fighting spirit of rank-and-file just like us. This wonderful encounter set us to start building up working class international solidarity!
Since then, we have been fighting together with you. We visited your country to participate in many of your important struggles, such as MWM in 2004 or the West Coast Port Shutdown in 2008. At every occasion of our annual Nationwide Workers’ Rally in every November in Tokyo, the union flag of any ILWU local is flying in the meeting hall and at the forefront of our demonstration since 2003.
Around the same time, we achieved to establish a close contact with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) that shares the common rank-and-file principle and aspiration with us. The international solidarity of trilateral militant labor unions based on the actual fight of the rank and file has thus started and this year marks 10 years anniversary. Our international solidarity has been built with a common objective to fight against neoliberalism, which prioritizes “corporate profits before safety” or “money before people”. We are convinced that our encounter was not “by chance” but was “inevitable”.
In the fall of 2011, we learned that the ILWU Local 21 was confronting courageously the ferocious attack of EGT to destroy the hiring hall of ILWU, the heart and bastion of union members’ unity. We were moved by the unyielding battle of Local 21 against the EGT, which aimed to bust Local 21 unity. We were shocked to find that there was the big Japanese corporation ITOCHU Corporation behind the EGT!
We conducted a protest action against Itotchu for two times on October 14 and December 12 demanding the following four points:
1. Don’t deprive ILWU Local 21 colleagues of their jobs!
2. Stop union busting, hand off from labor rights!
3. Open again negotiation with ILWU on the recognition of the jurisdiction of ILWU in Longview and make a contract!
4. Stop brutal and illegal union busting in cooperation with the police!
We are proud of carrying out above-mentioned actions that surely contributed to forge firm friendship with members of the Local 21.
Recently we were informed that the United Grain owned by MITSUI & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui) has launched a brutal attack and locked out the Local 4, having recruited beforehand scabs and prepared tugboats. Again, it is one of the Japanese biggest conglomerates, Mitsui that deliberately busts your union.
Prime Minister Abe’s meeting with President Obama last February opened a floodgate for Japanese participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Huge trade companies and other multinational corporations are promoting the TPP in order to suck blood of all the fundamental structures of this society, including labor, agriculture, and healthcare. Three of Japanese biggest trade companies—Itochu, Mitsui, and Marubeni—spearhead a union busting campaign against the ILWU, putting now Locals 4, 8, 19, 21 and 23 in their crosshairs.
Being ILWU’s decade-long friends, we can never tolerate such outrageous assaults by Japanese corporations on you. A protest against the headquarters of Mitsui in Tokyo is a practicable action for the time being. We are going to prepare for it, tentatively on next Friday, March 15.
We believe, however, our international solidarity action should be organized in a way that will best serve your union.
For this reason, please let us know:
Is our protest action against the Mitsui HQ meaningful for your current struggle?
If so, what is your opinion about the optimal moment of our action?
What are the most important demands?
Just like your union, we, Doro-Chiba, are fighting for our own survival as militant union. We have been fighting back a historic outsourcing scheme, waging strikes and other job actions in our workplaces, defending strenuously our jobs and rail safety.
We are looking forward your early response.
President of Doro-Chiba (National Railways Motive Power Union of Chiba)