ILWU local 13 is holding a special memorial service for brother Bert Tufele, singer, guitar player, husband and father of five, grandfather killed on the Long Beach wharve.
A public memorial is planned for Monday, US time, for a 55-year-old dockworker fatally injured on November 4 in a collision between two yard tractors in the Port of Long Beach.
Family, friends and co-workers at Local 13 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, where Tufele was a member, have planned the Memorial services for the Samoan born brother who has worked on the West Coast wharves since 2004.
Family and friends described him as a great guy, a singer and loved playing guitar and being with family.
Tufele is survived by Vailili; sons Maze, Angelo and Blake; daughters Jazmin and Jade; and grandsons Jared, Trent and Jordan.
His death comes as dockworkers call for increasing safety in local ports, where three longshoremen have been killed on the job since 2008.
MUA national secretary, president of the International Transport Workers Federation and chair of the ITF dockers section has written to ILWU President Bob McEllrath on hearing of the latest tragedy.
LETTER TO THE ILWU
MUA National Secretary, ITF President and Chair of the ITF dockers' section Paddy Crumlin wrote the following letter of condolence to the Bob McEllrath, ILWU International President, on learning of the latest loss.
RE: TRAGIC DEATH OF ILWU BROTHER TUFELE
I was greatly saddened to hear of brother Bert Tufele, killed tragically on the Long Beach wharves on Thursday. On behalf of the world's dockworkers and your MUA brothers and sisters I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Tufele family. Our solidarity and thoughts in this hour also reach out to the broader ILWU family and especially Bert's workmates at Local 13 Long Beach, California.
I understand brother Tufele is the fourth man killed in the past three years at the port. He is also the fifth of the world's longshore workers to have died this year, with three killed in Australia alone.
This is just another tragic example of the extreme risk of working on the docks, the relentless push for productivity above all else and the need to educate and most importantly properly regulate the health & safety practices of dockworkers to prevent more people being maimed or killed on the worlds' wharves.
Bob you and I have worked hard on the ITF dockers section to push for strong international regulations for dockworkers. This latest tragedy I know only signals our determination and commitment to our international dockers safety campaign.
As the investigations into the tragedy get underway our ILWU brothers should know you have huge international solidarity at this time.
Your pain is also our pain; an injury to one is an injury to all.