NORTH BERGEN, NJ. – An exciting new feature will soon launch on the ILA web page (ilaunion.org) and ILA social media pages that will, through videos, pictures and essays, review the rich 100-year plus history of the International Longshoremen’s Association; examine the current 2020 state of affairs as the ILA positions itself as a powerful force and voice for the ILA longshore workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and for dockers around the world. We will report on the ILA’s historic and current involvement in community and social activism as well as its growing role as a leading organization in the maritime industry.
The ILA’s Education Department, led by the union’s National Director of Education Kenneth Oelkers, is producing training and historic videos specifically tailored for newly-hired ILA longshore workers so they know they are not just going to work on the waterfront, but they are continuing to be part of a powerful story that began 128 years ago when a small group of proud and brave “Men Along the Shore” organized and demanded better pay, better working conditions and equality with employers in the shipping industry.
“The ILA has long and proud history, steeped in traditions of generations of sons and daughters following their ancestors to the work on the docks, unloading cargo first with a longshore hook at the turn of the last century to the present day when huge container cranes swing weighty boxes on and off 21,000 TEU mega-ships,” said Brother Oelkers. “Our young ILA women and men need to know how we grew from a fledgling union with small membership on the Great Lakes handling breakbulk ships to our present day when the ILA and its 65,000 members handling containerized ships. They need to learn of sacrifices made by their ILA forefathers to build our union and industry over 128 years; how the ILA became the pre-eminent maritime and trade union force in America and respected around the world. I’m excited that our International President Harold Daggett has dedicated the resources to allow my department to showcase our mighty ILA.”
The ILA Education link will become part of the ILA’s web page: “www.ilaunion.org” as well as be available on the ILA’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
Brother Oelkers, who also serves as Director to the ILA National Port of Discovery, was an educator himself earlier in his professional career, and will bring his educational and teaching skills to developing ILA training videos.