West Coast strike stops ports
By Marilyn Bechtel, People's Weekly World, 25 January 1997
SAN FRANCISCO - West coast ports from Seattle to Los Angeles/Long Beach were shutdown tight on Monday as thousands of dock workers joined in a dramatic international demonstration of solidarity with dockers in Liverpool, England, who are fighting against privatization and union-busting.
Up to a thousand West Coast dockworkers participated, giving up time-and-a-half holiday pay to do so.
Industry spokespersons said about 50 ships are unloaded each day, and some ships were delayed 12 hours or more because of the work stoppage, costing owners $3,000 to $4,000 an hour in extra costs.
In a message to its member locals last week, the ILWU said the Liverpool dockers, who have been on strike since September 1995 against privatization of their port and casualization of the workforce, "are bearing thee brunt of capital's global push to privatize ports and casualize labor, to bring back the bad old days of low wages, unsafe working conditions and no protections."
The message continued, "The attacks on unions are organized globally, so we must be, too. If, in a gesture of international solidarity, some ships don't get moved today ... let it be a warning: we will not be messed with. An injury to one is an injury to all."
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