I join with the officers of the International Longshoremen’s Association in bringing fraternal greetings to our members and their families as America celebrates Labor Day 2016.
The ILA is proud of its successful history championing the rights of its membership who perform critically important labor for the good of America’s commerce. For nearly 125 years, the ILA stands as a progressive labor organization with a diverse membership and a mission to represent the best interests of all its members. As the union that proudly states “ILA also means ‘I Love America!’ we share our nation’s values and promote equality and justice for all.
The ILA must stand firm against those forces that seek to strip away the advances we have made for the good of our membership over these past 125 years.
We remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King who noted the common thread between Labor and Civil Rights when he spoke at the AFL-CIO 1961 convention in Miami: Our needs are identical with labor’s needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community. That is why Negroes support labor’s demands and fight laws which curb labor. That is why the labor-hater and labor- baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and antilabor propaganda from the other mouth.
The duality of interests of labor and Negroes makes any crisis which lacerates you, a crisis from which we bleed. And as we stand on the threshold of the second half of the twentieth century, a crisis confronts us both. Those who in the second half of the nineteenth century could not tolerate organized labor have had a rebirth of power and seek to regain the despotism of that era while retaining the wealth and privileges of the twentieth century.