Eight-Year Organizing Campaign Culminates With Grand Bahama Dock and Allied Workers Union Receiving Charter from International Longshoremen’s Association
NORTH BERGEN, NJ (February 23, 2023) – Organizing persistence spanning nearly a decade, coupled with crafty negotiations at the top Cabinet levels of a Foreign Government, finally spelled success for the International Longshoremen’s Association and Ken Reilly, an ILA International Vice President, as he presented the leadership of the Bahama Dock and Allied Workers Union with an ILA Charter in early February, thus bringing Dockworkers from the Port of Freeport, Bahamas officially into the ILA fold.
The presentation of an ILA Charter by Brother Riley and other ILA officials to the leadership of the Grand Bahama Dock and Allied Workers on February 2, 2023, symbolically sealed an affiliation that was signed in June of 2022 by ILA International Executive Vice President Dennis A. Daggett and Mardo Cash, President of the Freeport Dockworkers Union.
Brother Riley recalled the eight-year effort to achieve this affiliation was more than just a traditional organizing campaign.
“Organizing the Bahama Union was only one of two major hurdles,” said Riley. “Getting the Bahamian Government to approve an affiliation outside of the Bahamas was the other. It’s prohibited by law for a union to affiliate outside of the Bahamas without the permission of the Minister of Labour.”
Brother Riley put his skilled negotiating talents to work to secure the go-ahead from the country’s Minister of Labour.
Bringing the Bahamian Dockers under the ILA banner not only increased the strength and power of the ILA in an important geographical region of the international shipping trade, but it also affords representation by the ILA to those dockworkers who previously were without global connectivity. By joining the ILA, dockworkers represented by Grand Bahama Dock and Allied Workers Union are now also affiliated with the world-wide International Dockworkers Council (IDC).
As reported by Ken Oelkers the ILA’s Education/History Facebook Page earlier this week, several ILA leaders from ports throughout Florida and Alabama attended the charter presentation ceremony. The Grand Bahama Dock and Allied Workers Union will officially become part of the ILA’s Atlantic Coast District.