Delegates who attended the Coast Longshore Division Caucus in San Francisco last month, provided a warm embrace to Honduran dock union leader Victor Crespo and two co-workers who addressed the Caucus on March 4.
Delegates pledged their solidarity and unanimously voted to convene the two-week Caucus in honor of Crespo’s father, who was killed by anti-union death squads in Honduras on January 27.
Before delegates left town, there was one last piece of unfinished business – a group visit to the Honduran Consulate in San Francisco on Friday, March 7th.
Around noon, a large group of delegates, pensioners and supporters gathered for a short but spirited march along San Francisco’s historic Market Street, where dockworkers and supporters had marched silently eighty years ago to honor the martyrs who were killed during the West Coast Maritime Strike on March 5, 1934 – Bloody Thursday.
When the crowd arrived at the office building housing the Honduran Consulate, marchers quickly filled the hallways, staircases and elevators that led to the Honduran Consulate on the 5th floor.
ILWU International President Bob McEllrath, Vice President Ray Familathe and Southern California Pensioners Group President Greg Mitre entered the Consulate offices and requested a meeting with the Honduran official in charge.
While members chanted outside in the hallways, McEllrath, Familathe and Mitre met with the Honduran official to explain the problems that followed ICTSI’s newly privatized terminal operation at Puerto Cortés in Honduras where union members have faced violent attacks from police, military troops and antiunion death squads. Details about Victor Crespo’s case were provided, including the recent attacks by death squads who murdered Crespo’s father and injured his mother.
“We made it clear to the consulate that these kind of attacks on workers and unions were outrageous and unacceptable, no matter where in the world they happen,” said McEllrath. After receiving assurance that the ILWU’s concerns would be immediately conveyed to top Honduran government officials, the group left the Consulate, vowing to return if necessary.
“I think we made our point,” McEllrath told the crowd of supporters who assembled outside the consulate building after the event.
“And we’ll keep pushing until there’s justice for our brothers and sisters in Honduras.