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Published: 11 Sep 2023
War on the Wharves VIII - September 2023, Honolulu
The fraternal bonds of solidarity and camaraderie between maritime workers throughout the Pacific has been strengthened and built upon in recent weeks by the coming together of Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Maritime Union New Zealand (MUNZ) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) brothers and sisters for the War on the Wharves VIII charity boxing competition in Honolulu, Hawaii, in September 2023.
War on the Wharves is an international charity boxing competition organised by the MUA and MUNZ since 2014 to bring wharfies together in support of important charitable causes while training together and developing fitness, skills and social bonds between workplaces.
This year, War on the Wharves was hosted in Hawaii by ILWU Local 142 and raised funds for the Kids Hurt Too charity in Hawaii, providing support for children and young people recovering from loss, grief and trauma. This is an especially important charity for the Hawaiian community as the people of Maui recover from devastating bushfires that have wreaked havoc in Summer 2023.
The MUA delegation, led by Sydney Branch Assistant Secretary Nathan Donato, joined with MUNZ comrades in travelling to Hawaii for the War on the Wharves competition, where Mr Donato paid tribute to the long bonds of solidarity between Australian, Kiwi and American longshore workers on the Pacific Coasts of each country. This relationship goes back almost 90 years, to the establishment of the ILWU by Australian-born seafarer, wharfie and labour leader Harry Bridges in 1937. In the decades since, MUA, MUNZ and ILWU members have stood side by side against bosses and conservative politicians on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. An injury to one is an injury to all.
The War on the Wharves got its start in Port Botany, in 2010, when two wharfies from different companies, brought together through the camaraderie and unity of the MUA, decided to raise money for a fellow member whose daughter fell suddenly and gravely ill. Since then, it has grown to become a significant and enduring milestone in our Union’s annual calendar, and it continues to raise tens of thousands of dollars for people and groups in need.
Through the seven events held to date, War on the Wharves has raised close to AU$250,000 for charities which include the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Key To Life mental health charity in New Zealand, Souths Cares Community charity and now a US$15,000 donation to the Kids Hurt Too charity in Hawaii.
The event is made possible each year through the hard work and dedication of rank and file members of the respective unions, including Angelo Dymock, Dustan Dawson, Jamie McMechan and Matty Bonner, with the support of branch officials and staff, along with the MUA's major sponsor for this event, 'Protect', who provide industry severance, redundancy and income protection insurance to thousands of Australian maritime workers.