In early July 2005 the US Department of Justice filed
a RICO suit against the ILA. This suit was a long time coming: members
have suffered under corruption and organized crime influence in the union
for more than sixty years (timeline
of corruption in the ILA). The RICO suit will likely weaken the hold
of racketeers over the union. It may also open the door to crucial democratic
reforms, for example direct election of union officers.
AUD's experience - supporting workers in the ILA,
Teamsters, Laborers and many other unions - tells us that Government action
against racketeers is not enough. The key to freeing the union from corruption
and winning union democracy is an organized and active membership. (What
is union democracy?)
We want to help ILA members organize. This page pulls
together much of the information and resources AUD offers ILA members:
information about your democratic rights and how to enforce them, background
on the struggle against corruption in the ILA, the possible consequences
of the RICO suit and more.
Contact us: tell
us what is going on in your local, share your questions and ideas, tell
us what kind of help you would like to see.
legal rights and how to enforce them AUD provides information about
the legal rights of union members, as well as advice on how to organize
to make your rights a reality. Check out the material on this website
and call or email us for more information or advice. What if our
union is put under a federal RICO monitorship? Written for ILA members
before the Government suit, explains basics of a RICO suit and what it
may mean for ILA members. Benchmarks of a democratic union What would
a democratic union look like? What kinds of changes might make the ILA
more democratic? Union Members Bill of Rights. The basic
democratic rights of union members: fair elections, free speech, freedom
from corruption. Books and pamphlets about legal rights. Get a copy of your contract and side agreements.
Get your union constitution and bylaws. Use our sample letter. Questions and answers about legal rights
and organizing for democracy: union charges, elections, organizing a caucus,
contract votes, grievances and more. The
RICO Trusteeships after Twenty Years: A Progress Report. In depth
study of RICO experience in Teamsters, Laborers, and Hotel and Restaurant
Employees Union by James B. Jacobs, Eileen M. Cunningham, and Kimberly
Friday (on Laborers for Justice website).
stories from Union Democracy Review AUD's publication, Union
Democracy Review (UDR), covers struggles for democracy in all unions.
We have covered the struggles of ILA members for many years. We want to
tell your story, please contact us.
Earlier articles from UDR:
The following articles are not yet available online, contact AUD to get
a print copy.
ILA Longshore workers sue to
defend democracy Feb/March 2001 Summary: Four members of the ILA filed suit in Federal district
court in Delaware on January 3 calling for reinstatement of the elected
secretary of ILA Local 1694 who had been suspended from office for six
months and fined $500 by the International. ... With a memory of that
history in mind, ILA members who take the road of reform display an exceptional
fortitude. The law is with them... if it is vigorously enforced. They
surely deserve that minimal measure of support.
The RICO suit vs. the ILA (in six ILA locals)
June 1990 Summary: To what extent can the RICO suit against the ILA "succeed"
in its objectives? It is not possible to give a confident reply. For at
least thirty years, this union has been, literally, a graveyard of democracy.
The war will not be won in any single decisive battle; time and persistence
are required. But in any event, the effort, as in this RICO suit, is necessary...
AFL-CIO soon to face new waterfront scandals May
1978 Summary: For over two years, the Atlantic and Gulf Shipping
industry has been under intensive Federal investigation by the Department
of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, Customs Service and FBI. On March
2, Anthony Marro reported in the New York Times that some 70 agents are
currently working on the case in New York alone. ... The question which
will not be downed is whether the leadership of the American trade union
movement is capable of offering its membership a measure of protection,
or even moral support, of their right to democratic unions free of corruption.
educational workshops AUD offers educational workshops for union
members and officers. Our hands-on workshops are tailored to your situation
and provide information and tools for enforcing your rights and building
a movement for democracy in your union. See our education page for more
information or contact AUD.
How to set up a workshop: AUD
staff can travel to your port to teach workshops on legal rights and organizing.
(See this report on a workshop
we did in Charleston, SC.) We can also work with you to design training
that you can do with your coworkers. Here's how
to get the ball rolling.
tools for ILA activists
AUD Stickers: "Clean
up our union with democracy." Stick them on a hardhat, vest,
lunchbox, locker, vehicle, bulletin board or anywhere else you can spread
the word about union democracy. Union made and inexpensive: $3
for a sheet of 12, $2 for each additional sheet.
Bundles of Union Democracy Review. Hand
them out to coworkers on the job (at breaktime), at union meetings,
wherever you can reach your coworkers. Just $5 for a bundle of 20
copies. Order here.
Guide to Running for Delegate to the ILA convention.AUD prepared this guide before the last ILA
convention. With the government monitorship, rules and procedures may
change but this guide may still apply and will help you think through
what is involved in running for delegate. Not available online, contact
Get your union's LM-2 form.
LM forms are a good source for information about your union, the names
of officers, the date of the next union election, the number of members,
officer and staff salaries and more. Our
LM-2 page helps you get the info from the Dept of Labor website.
Other publications and organizations. Explore
our list of labor sites. A good
place to start is Labor
of Labor Notes magazine, A Troublemaker's Handbook and other books)
they also cover the reform movement in the ILA and work with ILA members.
(Please share your suggestions for tools or
ILWU Local 19.
The unofficial website for Local 19 of the International Longshore and Warehouse
Union in Seattle, Washington. www.ilwu19.com/welcome.html
Longshore Workers' Coalition LWC. "movement
of ILA members and retirees organizing to build a stronger and more democratic
longshore union." http://lwcjustice.com/
The Harbor Herald.
" The Harbor Herald is a newsletter that was started over two years ago
to bring the membership information about local 333 [tug boat operators] and
the questionable activities of your union officials." www.harborherald.org
the following credit line on the materials you use: "From the
website of the Association for Union Democracy. www.uniondemocracy.org. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. 104 Montgomery Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11225; USA;