On the Waterfront: Port unions plan anti-war walkout

Kris Hanson, Press-Telegram, March 10, 2008

Longshoremen in California, Washington and Oregon plan to walk off the job for eight hours May 1 to protest the war in Iraq, and are seeking support for a wider international boycott.

In a letter to labor organizations in the United States and abroad, the union, which represents more than 40,000 dockworkers, boatmen and warehouse workers, said the walkout will send a message to Washington.

"We're writing to inform you of this action ... to honor labor history and express support for the troops by bringing them home safely," Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said in letters to the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, two umbrella labor organizations representing most U.S. union workers.

Similar notes were dispatched to international labor unions.

McEllrath said employers have been notified, and the walk-off will occur during the day shift at all major seaports along the U.S. West Coast. Ports in Hawaii and Canada will not be affected.

In Long Beach and Los Angeles, about 20,000 dockworkers belong to the ILWU.

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