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SCDC officers and delegates regularly visit lawmakers to talk over legislative issues important to working people. The ILWU has always been a champion for equality and freedom. It was the first industrial union to fully integrate its workforce, as Harry Bridges correctly pointed out that workers are made weaker when they are divided over race or other differences.
TURNING UP THE HEAT: SCDC Sec.-Treasurer Luisa Gratz (2nd from right) examines language for a proposed indoor heat standard authored by then-Assemblywoman Laura Richardson. Also pictured with Gratz are California Democratic Party Labor Caucus chairman Raymond Cordova (far left) and Richardson (far right).
In May 2008, the ILWU spoke out against the war in Iraq, becoming the first AFL-CIO union to take a formal position opposing that war. The union's coastwide education of its members on the war had the effect of shutting down the west coast to incoming cargo for a day and the position echoes the union's earlier leadership in opposing the war in Vietnam and, in the lead up to World War II, ILWU workers refusal to load cargo destined for the fascist regimes in Germany and Japan.
The ILWU is currently involved in the health care debate at the state and federal level, being a long-time advocate of universal coverage for every American through a single payer system. These and other positions flow from the grass-roots of the union in the form of locally-driven initiatives, District Council priorities and policy resolutions adopted by the ILWU at its conventions and caucuses.
TALK TO POWER: (Left) SCDCers interview then-councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal, who later earned the District Council's endorsement and election to the state Assembly. (Right) SCDC delegates meet in Sacramento with then-Assemblywoman Laura Richardson, who carried ILWU-sponsored legislation during her seven-months in the state legislature.
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