The South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District are directly linked to the International Longshoremen’s Association. ILA was established in the late 1800s by delegates from eleven (11) ports. We organized in Detroit where they adopted the by-laws of the longshoremen’s Chicago local and the name National Longshoremen’s Association of The United States.
By 1895, the name was changed to International Longshoremen’s Association to reflect the growing numbers of Canadian members. Shortly thereafter, the ILA affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
The South Atlantic Gulf Coast District is born
During these progressive times of the United States of America, the ILA needed to expand and communicate it’s mission in every port of the South and Gulf. So the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District was chartered by the International Longshoreman Association.
World War I
The beginning of World War I began on July 28, 1914, and the SAGCD was there to help load equipment and goods to our soldiers fight for our freedom overseas.
1929 - 1933
The Great Depression
The Great Depression was beginning and not many area Locals survived, except on paper. In Texas, only Galveston, Houston, Texas City, and Corpus Christi continued unbroken operations and kept the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District alive.
In 1965, SAGCD-ILA negotiated what was at the time, the longest-lasting ILA contract in history. It was also the first truly forward-looking contract the union signed. As automation and containerization increased, the contract focused on preserving jobs. Initiatives such as the Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) program, the Job Security Program (JSP) were put in place.
106 Day Strike
The strike began on Oct. 1 and kept most major Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, including New York, closed down for almost two months.
Longshoremen went back to work under the initial restraining order last but the docks have been comparatively inactive. The walkout began when the I.L.A. contract expired the agreement here sets the basic wage pattern for other ports—declined to keep the contract in force without substantial changes in the way the guaranteed‐annual‐income provisions were viewed.
National Healthcare for all members
During the leadership of the ILA District, President Benny Holland had a vision. His vision was to make sure that every member of the ILA had the best healthcare that this country could provide. Mr, Holland and Mr. Fitsgerald developed a Nation Healthcare program that is used today, we call it MILA. The MILA program
Rift within the Union
The ILA also is facing dissension from within. ″For the first time ever in the ILA’s history, some of the ports, like the West Gulf group, the Louisiana group, and the Norfolk group put their heads together and said they were not going to follow the lead of New York – that they couldn’t afford to,″ said Robert Kennedy, a federal mediator involved in previous talks.
Strong competition from non-union port facilities, automation and containerization, deregulation of trucks and trains and a general economic downturn have given waterfront management groups ammunition to fight for contract concessions.
Giving Back to the World
Many African nations were facing famine, so Buddy Raspberry, president of the ILA’s South Atlantic-Gulf and Coast District, organized the Longshoremen’s volunteer effort donating their time to help Save the Children in Africa. The first shipment sailed for Africa from Texas and Louisiana ports with members of ILA Locals 26, 1692, 27, and 1853 with donated food supplies that were bagged and loaded onto a waiting freighter by volunteer ILA members.
The National Healthcare Plan
Benny Holland Jr. developed the idea of a national health plan for all ILA members, retirees, and their dependents. His leadership along with Clyde Fitsgerald, the National Healthcare Plan was introduced, we call it MILA. This plan has changed the way our current members and retirees are being cared for with top-notch medical coverage.