The International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO today announced that it will remain an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations, an unexpected outcome following the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's disaffiliation with the AFL-CIO.
The ILWU, which represents West Coast dockworkers, disaffiliated with the labor group earlier this month after objecting to jurisdictional raiding by other AFL-CIO affiliated unions, as well as other complaints.
For the past year, the ILA, which represents East and Gulf Coast dockworkers, had also been evaluating its place as an affiliate within the labor federation, citing similar criticisms. Moreover, the ILA recently disaffiliated with the AFL-CIO’s Maritime Trades Department. However, Harold Daggett, ILA president, and other executive officers ultimately decided to remain associated with the group, emphasizing the value of its affiliations with state and local AFL-CIO councils and the protection it provides ILA members.
Daggett also said he received assurances from the AFL-CIO that more attention would be paid to the longshore union in the future and that jurisdictional issues would be addressed. To support those promises, Daggett will join four new vice presidents on the federation’s executive council, which was a goal sought by the Maritime Labor Alliance (co-founded by Daggett) in order to protect maritime unions’ interests. At the 2013 Convention of the AFL-CIO this week, the ILA and Maritime Labor Alliance had called for all unions with memberships of more than 10,000 to have a place on the executive council, and as a result, a compromise resolution was adopted to expand the number of executive council members.
Daggett now joins 54 other union leaders as vice president on the executive council. Richard Trumka was re-elected president of the labor federation, and Elizabeth “Liz” Shuler was named secretary-treasurer. Tefere Gebre, the current Central Labor Council leader for Orange County, Calif., was elected executive vice president, replacing Arlene Holt Baker, who retired.
“We are delighted that Harold Daggett now joins the AFL-CIO Executive Council,” said Don Marcus, president of the Maritime Labor Alliance, in a written statement. “While it is distressing to us that President Daggett will not be joining ILWU President Robert McEllrath as part of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, we will continue to act together.”
“This is a positive accomplishment for the maritime industry as we move to have all maritime unions represented on the executive council,” added Mike Jewell, president of Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, which is also a member of the Maritime Labor Alliance. “Harold will represent a strong voice for all maritime and labor interests with the AFL-CIO.”
“Both the Maritime Labor Alliance and the ILA remain solidly behind the ILWU, and will protect and defend their interests as they have pledged to protect ours,” Daggett said. “Presently, our union believes it can best protect its membership by remaining within the AFL-CIO, and I will fight for our rights and all maritime workers’ rights as a member of the Labor Federation’s executive council.”