Wednesday, August 28, 2002
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Coby Skye, Long Beach Greens
Just in time for Labor Day, Greens show solidarity with the ILWU
LONG BEACH - At their meeting Wednesday night, the Long Beach Greens unanimously endorsed
a resolution to support the ILWU in their contract negotiations. The resolution chastises the Bush administration for threatening to break up a
potential strike on the basis of "national security concerns," effectively dampening the union's ability to negotiate. The Harbor Greens, a Green Party
group in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles, adopted a similar resolution on August 18th. The Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach is the largest in the
U.S., with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods traveling in and out each year.
"Because the Green Party refuses donations from corporations and special interest groups, we have always and will always stand firm in our support of
workers' rights to organize in order to improve their working conditions," said co-coordinator Coby Skye "while the 2 major parties either openly
impede union organizing or give timid support when such support isn't compromising to their larger donors. For instance, since Governor Davis
recently received a $100,000 contribution from the growers industry, he must be terribly conflicted about whether or not to sign SB 1736 (a bill giving
farm workers a right to arbitration in contract negotiations), but a green candidate like Peter Camejo wouldn't hesitate one second in signing the
bill, as evidenced by the many greens who marched along side the farm workers."
Larry Moore, a teacher and former ILWU worker, said "people sometimes forget it was the labor movement that brought us those little perks like the
weekend. Organized Labor helped end the practice of using child labor and established the 40 hour work week as the standard nationwide."
Labor unions have in the past managed to win protections and benefits that workers now depend on to live, including workplace safety precautions and
health and disability benefits. However, past scandals, government-imposed restrictions and the overwhelming push of globalization have led to a steady
decline in the strength of unions and record lows in the percentage of unionized workers in the U.S. The result is that today's average worker
works longer hours and makes less money in real dollars then in 1975, and more families rely on two incomes in order to eke out a decent living.
This Labor Day, it may be time to consider the provisions put in place in the 1930's that gave workers incentives to organize and helped raise real
wages and benefits for all workers. These benefits and wage increases will mean more spending and in the long run, a healthier and more sustainable
economy for everyone. With the recent accounting scandals still rocking Wall Street, we need to take steps towards a healthier and more sustainable
economy more than ever.