Int’l. Longshore and Warehouse Union to see contests for its top three posts

PORTLAND, Ore.—The International Longshore and Warehouse Union will see contests for its top three posts this fall. Twelve-year President Robert McElrath will reach age 65 and must retire. Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams and Mainland Vice President Ray Familathe are vying to succeed him. Multiple candidates are running for their jobs, too.


The union also has a long tradition of militancy and delegates to its recent convention in Portland, Ore., continued it with a resolution asking the five other unions – besides ILWU – that endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., for president in 2016 “to rebuild a like-=minded left-wing political orientation within the American labor movement.”


That invitation went out to the United Electrical Workers, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Postal Workers, the Communications Workers and National Nurses United. UE, like the Longshore Workers, is independent of both U.S. labor federations. The other three Sanders backers are AFL-CIO member unions.


ILWU said it wants to “build fraternal bonds in the spirit of strengthening our relation-ships with progressive unions who have proven they are committed to progressive political action and to building a new kind of working-class politics in America from the bottom up.”


Familathe, of Local 13 in Los Angeles-Long Beach, emphasized his experience in bargaining, organizing and working internationally in his candidate’s statement in the ILWU Dispatcher. “Sitting across the bargaining table, leading arbitrations, lobbying Congress as well as working with the ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) have not only made me award of the fight ahead of us, but have qualified me to be your next international president.”


Adams, of Local 23 in San Francisco, says the job of president “requires both gentle persuasion and tough persuasion,” as well as knowing when to stay militant, while “sometimes being more pragmatic than we’d prefer, born of political necessity to focus on results.”


“We must return to our militant roots, but with new strategies to our power. We can’t live in isolation if we want to succeed,” Adams said. Election ballots were mailed to ILWU members on July 29.

Source: PAI