MUA sends message of solidarity as workers and supporters block traffic in CenterCity Philadelphia in protest of Del Monte's efforts to undermine fair workplace standards.
Nearly 400 people, including dockworkers, their families, and Philadelphia Jobs with Justice activists joined together in LovePark this week as a part of a National Day of Action against Del Monte Fresh Produce at the Port of Philadelphia, Peoples World reports.
The company has laid-off dockworkers of International Longshoremen's Association Local 1291 and set up a non union port.
The MUA is backing the struggle of their ILA comrades in Philadelphia with calls to boycott Del Monte products passing the following resolution:
At this meeting held on 30th of November 2010 of the Victorian Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, the following Resolution was taken:
That we extend our solidarity to ILA Local 1291, and demands that Del Monte stop its movement of ships to the Gloucester Terminal facility, and restore this work to Camden, along with over 200 full time union jobs with good pay and benefits; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Victorian Branch of the MUA protests Del Monte's action which will cause severe economic hardship to ILA workers, their families and the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware during the worst economic period since the Great Depression; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Victorian Branch of the MUA supports the Boycott of Del Monte products and will engage in actions in support of ILA Local 1291 until the matter is resolved, including mobilizing our members not to buy Del Monte products; distributing this information through our communications network, and sending a copy of this resolution to Del Monte and Holt Enterprises.
Workers in Portugal and Spain also demonstrated in a show of support. Prominent Philadelphia leaders joined family members of laid off dockworkers at the Love Park rally, sounding a clear call for a boycott of Del Monte goods.
The rally culminated with the three year old daughter of a laid-off longshoreman joining the director of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice onstage to tear the Del Monte logo off of a giant prop pineapple, ripping it to shreds.
Motorists honked and clapped in support as the crowd marched around City Hall several times, completely halting the flow of traffic through the critical intersection during the noontime rush.
Workers in other parts of the country--and the world--have also shown their strong support for the longshoremen's cause.
"It's a port of convenience issue," said Kevin Bracken, MUA. "Del Monte are moving operations from a union terminal where 1,291 union members work to a privately owned non-union facility downriver. Reports are workers at the PoC get half of what the ILA workers get."
The rally drew support from rank-and-file longshore workers from the ports of New York and Baltimore.
It was organised by The Friends and Families coalition which reportedly includes the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, the International Dockworkers Council, the International Transport Workers Federation, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on the West Coast.
"I can say this with certainty: Del Monte is in for one hell of a fight, Peoples World reported.
Interested in finding out more about ILA Local 1291 and the Del Monte boycott? Visit the boycott website