NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (June 1, 2020) Centuries-old patterns of discrimination throughout America and violations of Civil Rights and Human Rights, coupled with increasing examples of law enforcement brutality against minorities, like the murder of George Floyd last week in Minnesota at the hands of Minneapolis police, have led to protest marches and demonstrations in many cities across America this past weekend. Outrage over this killing has also led to violence and looting and clashes with police in many areas.
Harold J. Daggett, President, International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO, along with Dennis A. Daggett, International Executive Vice President, immediately condemned the killing of Mr. George Floyd and called on the Minnesota governor to hold all four Minneapolis police officers responsible for his death. The two ILA leaders noted that the demonstrations and outrage are the by-products of policies and practices that are discriminatory and especially target minorities. No organization respects law enforcement more than the ILA. It’s not uncommon for longshore families to have one member working on the docks and another working a a cop. Sadly, the image of police everywhere is damaged by a few bad cops. Most police officers are good and decent people who protect and serve the communities they work in.
Harold and Dennis Daggett are concerned that, as our political leaders on the State and Federal levels continue to fumble their responses to the public’s outrage over this senseless killing and the failures it represents, the violent reaction to Mr. Floyd’s killing could be even worse if American workers continue to lose jobs to automation and are sentenced to “economic incarceration.”
A white police officer’s knee on the neck of a handcuffed and choking African-American man symbolizes an ugly chapter in America’s history.
“The Emancipation Proclamation was intended to break the chains of slavery more than 150 years ago,” said the two ILA leaders. “The ILA will fight any and all attempts to turn the clock back by trying to enslave any American again, whether the weapon used is a police baton or a man’s job.”
“We don’t paint all police officers with the same brush, and we know most are honorable and want to just do their jobs, honorably and faithfully, just as our longshore ILA workers do,” said the ILA leaders.
Automation and its intention of eliminating jobs, can be just as vicious as any assault and Harold and Dennis Daggett warn that the resulting economic fallout could lead to street violence and mayhem even worse than what has occurred over the past few days.
“Our experience has taught us that most greedy corporations tout automation for the sole purpose of eliminating workers and fattening their pocketbooks,” said the ILA.
As the economic scales continue to widen, they warn, the tension and desperation to provide for their families will rise proportionately.
“In our industry, employers continue to treat us and the workers we represent as equals and with respect,” said the ILA leaders. “Our country must find peace and recovery, from both discrimination and the COVID-19 crisis. As we collectively recover, all Americans must be treated as equals and with respect. Dedicated workers who help build companies should never left behind or put out of work.
“Economic injustices will result in even greater unrest and protests on the streets,” the ILA leaders concluded.