As you know, politicians have been publicly and inaccurately blaming congestion at the ports on those of us who work on the docks. They are opportunistically using industry-caused congestion as an excuse to introduce legislation that attacks workers’ collective bargaining rights, threatens our safety, wastes taxpayer dollars — and fails to address the actual root causes of congestion.
On November 4, two U.S. Representatives proposed misguided and dangerous amendments that would have forced unsafe speeds on the docks and hijacked the transportation bill to reexamine past labor talks.
Fortunately, with hard work from our Longshore representatives in D.C., our Legislative Action Committee, and a unified voice from longshore workers and our friends and allies, both amendments were defeated. The amendment proposed by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) was withdrawn for lack of votes, and the amendment proposed by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) was defeated in a House floor vote.
While we prevailed in this round of attacks on our workplace safety and collective bargaining rights, politicians have already fired another round. Just hours after the Newhouse and Reichert amendments were defeated, two anti-union Congressmen from Washington and Oregon held a news conference and introduced another misguided bill called the “Economics Act.” At first glance, this bill seems to be a rehash of already rejected ideas. More details on the act will be forthcoming.
The ILWU will be educating members of Congress on the dangers of this bill and any others that arise. We need your support to defeat them. Listen to your local officers’ updates, and if you use social media, stay tuned to the ILWU Coast Longshore Division’s page on Facebook. If we issue an action alert, it’s important to respond immediately by contacting your elected officials in Congress and respectfully urging them to vote according to the action alert.
It will take continued hard work and vigilance to ensure that opportunistic politicians do not erode our rights. We have been fighting this fight since 1934, and we must continue to beat back these attacks. Thank you for your support to defeat the amendments, and stay tuned to make your voice heard again.