North American dockers receive international support in their ongoing fight for racial justice

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(Image Courtesy: European Transport Workers' Federation)

A week after ILA and ILWU dockers shut down ports on the east and west coasts of the United States in solidarity with George Floyd and countless other victims of police brutality and racial injustice; our international dockers family is standing with our sisters and brothers of the ILWU and ILWU Canada, as they once again put down their tools to add their industrial muscle to the struggle for racial equality and social justice.

The ILWU are being joined in protests of solidarity by dockers in Italy, represented by FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti – and supported by the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). Once more, the demand is for an end to systematic and institutional racism, police brutality and economic inequality.

The rallies are being held on June 19th to coincide with Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, in the United States. The day commemorates an address on June 19, 1869, when Union general Gordon Granger read orders in Texas that declared all previously enslaved people in Texas to be freed. While the Emancipation Proclamation formally freed slaves more than two and a half years earlier, the reality was that enforcement of the proclamation was not universal across the United States.

Italian dockers from FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti, who participated in the rally, said in a joint statement of support that: “We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the United States and Canada and call for an end to the racial injustice that we see in the United States and around the world. Unions have a long history of fighting for justice, and we will continue to stand together against all forms of hate, bigotry and injustice not just in ports but in every city and every region.”

ETF Dockers’ Section chair Terje Samuelsen said: “We are proud to support our brothers and sisters of the ILWU in this fight for social and racial justice, and we stand with Italian dockers in this great show of solidarity. Once again – dockers from all over the world are raising a loud, united voice in defense of human rights and dignity for everyone, and we always will.”

Sea News, June 22