On the western seaboard, there are around 29 seaports that are essential for the American economy. Each seaport is needed in order to ensure safety for seagoing vessels entering, operation in and leaving the seaport.
However, since the unfortunate death of George Floyd, just about every single one of these 29 ports has shut down in solidarity with the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement and Juneteenth.
The ILWU’s power
This staged shutdown was conducted by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). ILWU handles millions of dollars in cargo. The stoppage of these ports for any length of time would result in a capitalist nightmare.
By stopping these ports, ILWU has made trillions of dollars disappear. The economy lost these profits due to the stopping of the production of goods and forcing sales to halt. All operations will have to cease simply because these ports shut down.
This start time has been changed to *9:00am* at 3440 East Marginal Way at our hall. https://t.co/WYI6UGQU0h
— ILWU WASHINGTON AREA DISTRICT COUNCIL (@ILWUinWA) June 18, 2020
The ILWU as an anti-racist Union
As one of the most radical antiracist unions in the country since its founding in 1937, ILWU continuously lives up to its reputation. Back when it was first founded, ILWU was the first union of their time to desegregate work gangs in the 1930s. It was also the first to stand up against Japanese-Americans discrimination in the 1940s. They even inducted Martin Luther King Jr. as an honorary member.
The president of ILWU stated “All the way from Washington [state] to San Diego, the ILWU will be standing by in honor of brother George Floyd and in our quest to end systemic racism and police terror,”
“It’s sad that we’re dealing with the same issue stemming from systemic racism that we were dealing with in the 1930s.”
The ILWU has also shut down their ports in solidarity of the unfortunate death of Oscar Grant in 2010.
In light of recent events, the ILWU hopes to coordinate their efforts with the ports on the East Coast, more specifically with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) to perform the first-ever dual-port shutdown in American History. If this effort becomes successful, hopefully, other unions will follow in their example.
What people do not realize is that workers hold just as much power as those in the office. The only real way to give up your power is by not trying. Union workers from all across the country have worked together to show their support in the #BLM movement.