Solidarity, Defense of Dockworkers and Growth Focus of IDC General Meeting International Dockworkers Council (IDC) 9th General Assembly in New Orleans Declared An Overwhelming Success

Dockworkers Conclude Powerful Two-Day Assembly Pledging Solidarity and Renewed Energy To Grow Dockers Union Movement Globally

IDC – New Orleans, USA (June – 2022). Leaders of Dockworker Unions representing over 130,000 longshore workers in more 50 countries worldwide as members in the powerful International Dockworkers Council (IDC), concluded the 9th IDC General Assembly last week in New Orleans, Louisiana, and called the two-day assembly an overwhelming success. Dockworker delegates left the Assembly with renewed energy and focusing the strength of their collective solidarity to fight for labor rights, job security, respect and recognition of dockworkers as highly skilled professionals and defending jobs in the face of automation, privatization, and legislative attacks by governments in all countries where the IDC has planted its flag.

“We are more united and stronger than ever before,” said Dennis A. Daggett, the IDC’s General Coordinator who was reelected to a new four year term and will lead the global dockworkers organization until 2026. “No employer, no shipping company, no terminal operator or any government will out-muscle or out-maneuver the IDC in our objective to provide power and representation to our membership around the world.”

The IDC General Assembly tackled a thorny issue on affiliation compliance to the IDC Constitution. Following lengthy debates and discussion, the IDC made the tough determination that IDC affiliated unions who refuse to adhere to the Rules of the IDC Constitution – such as refusing to pay membership dues – will be expelled by the governing body of IDC delegates. Even if expelled, the IDC sent a message to the rank-and-file members of those affected dockworker unions that they would “never walk alone” if faced with a threat to their jobs or livelihoods. “If you are under attack and need our help, we will be there with you immediately”, the IDC said. The IDC General Assembly gave its Permanent Commission the authority to readmit unions who are expelled or suspended. In addition, the plenary session of the General Assembly decided to reform its organizational structure in order to achieve greater efficiency and agility in responding to the demands of port workers.

The IDC commits to working tirelessly with Dockers Unions who have been expelled to resolve disputes and bring all Dockworker unions together, under the IDC umbrella and with respect for global solidarity and the Constitution as a basis.

In addition to reelecting Daggett as IDC General Coordinator, the more than 400 delegates attending the 9th General Assembly put together a team of Zone Coordinators to carry out the mission of the IDC.

In the restructured European Zone, Andy Green was elected Coordinator. In the West Coast Zone, Ed Ferris was selected to replace Bobby Olvera Jr. as Coordinator.

The Zone Coordinators returning to their post included: Paul Keating (Oceania and Asian Zone); Andy Green (European Zone); César Luna (Latin American and Caribbean Zone); Kenneth Riley (East Coast Zone); Ed Ferris (West Coast Zone); and Guigrehi Aklégbou Pierre (African Zone).

On the other hand, Uruguayan Fabian González was elected Prevention Coordinator (H&S).

IDC delegates engaged in vigorous debate throughout the two-day Assembly. In the end, they were united in one voice to assert that the IDC stood alone as the true voice and representation of organized dockworkers around the world.

Among the important resolution and policy statements hammered out in the New Orleans Assembly, IDC delegates adopted an important resolution of diversity: “Non-discrimination on the basis of birth, ethnicity, sex, class, age, ability, or any other personal or social circumstance involving discrimination of any kind is a non-negotiable principle. Therefore, IDC declares itself anti-fascist, anti-homophobic, anti-racist and anti-bullying.”

Strong showings of solidarity and support for the US West Coast Dockworkers Union, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) currently engaged in contract negotiations with Pacific Maritime Association, were prominent at the two-day assembly.

In reference to the situation in Latin America, the General Assembly was informed of the attacks suffered by workers in countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Ecuador, where the privatization of port areas, the vertical integration of companies and the non-recognition of the port profession are on the agenda. Reference was also made to the complicated personal situations in Colombia and El Salvador. In addition, the delegates showed their support for the recovery of the union assets of the workers of Veracruz, Mexico.

The Coordination of the Latin America and Caribbean Zone has been reformed to provide a more effective and quick response to the demands of the affiliated members.

For his part, the coordinator of the African Zone emphasized some of the achievements made in Côte d’Ivoire, such as the legal recognition of dockworkers. In any case, the situation of workers on the African continent continues to be worrying due to the precariousness of jobs as a result of excessive permissiveness on the part of governments and in agreement with companies.

On the other hand, in the European Zone, the situation of non-union recognition of the dockers of Trieste and Monfalcone, to whom the IDC provides logistical and institutional support, is a matter of concern. In the United Kingdom, there was a worrying situation in several ports where the dockworkers successfully negotiated their working conditions. This situation is similar to that which has occurred in the Asia-Oceania Zone, in this case in Australia.

In addition, the IDC will be keeping a close eye on the dockworker situation in Portugal. According to Dennis A. Daggett, «Portugal is our new Liverpool and we will continue to give all our efforts to resolve their situation».

Other decisions were taken during the course of the 9th IDC General Assembly, whose motions were approved unanimously by the delegates present at the event

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