Labor Union

International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)

Website:

www.ilwu.org/

Location:

San Francisco,, CA

Tax ID:

94-0577594

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $8,546,665
Expenses: $9,006,209
Assets: $8,403,773

Type:

Labor Union

President:

William Adams

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is a left-of-center labor union that represents dockworkers concentrated on the west coast of the United States, Canada, and Hawaii. The union was formed in 1930s and was at the center of the West Coast Waterfront Strike of 1934, a “devastating” work stoppage that turned violent. The union has nearly 30,000 members and manages a single labor contract with the Pacific Maritime Association that covers 29 seaports on the West Coast. The union has been noted for its working-class employee members earning particularly high wages, with its 15,000 dockworkers earning more than $170,000 on average in 2019 with free health benefits. [1] [2]

The union was once an affiliate of the large left-of-center labor federation the AFL-CIO but disaffiliated with the AFL-CIO in 2013 after accusing the federation of too often being willing to compromise on its public policy stances, among other issues. [3]

Background

Formation

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union traces its roots back to the American Federation of Labor’s International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), a now-separate union representing largely East Coast dockworkers, which loosely affiliated with dockworkers (also known as longshoremen) at Pacific ports in 1902. By the 1930s, West Coast dockworkers began to clash with the ILA leadership which led to a large strike in 1934 that formally birthed the ILWU, which initially was called the Pacific Coast District of the ILA. [4]

1934 Strike

The ILWU was central to what became known as “the Great Waterfront Strike of 1934,” in which dock workers led a months-long strike that ultimately became violent. When police fired upon the strikers, two died in an event still recognized by the union annually as “bloody Thursday.” Labor leaders in San Francisco called a four-day “general strike” in support of the waterfront strike and the strike was eventually resolved after the federal government intervened. [5] [6]

Later History

In 1937, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union voted to affiliate with the Congress of Industrial Organizations instead of the American Federation of Labor, setting off decades of conflicts between the AFL and the ILWU. The union held another notable months-long strike in the 1970s and orchestrated blockades along with the Teamsters union of cargo diverted from ports that were undergoing a strike and trucked into the United States. [7]

Structure and Activity

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is comprised of more than 30 local unions and is governed by a board of 22 individuals. The ILWU local unions are located in cities on or near ports in Oregon, Washington, and California as well as in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Canadian province of British Columbia. [8] [9]

The union does endorse candidates for public office and almost exclusively lends its endorsement to Democratic candidates. In 2020 the ILWU endorsed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President as well as Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) and members of congress including Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Karen Bass (D-CA). [10]

Political Activity

The International Longshore and Warehouse union also operates a political action committee that contributes almost exclusively to Democratic candidates. In 2020 the ILWU PAC made $53,000 in independent expenditures in support of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and the PAC contributed over $170,000 to Democratic candidates with no contributions being directed to Republicans. In 2018, the PAC donated $128,000 to democrats and $2,500 to a single Republican member of congress. Recipients of the PAC’s contributions include many Democratic members of Congress from the West Coast and Hawaii, within the union’s geographical footprint, as well as key races for Democrats elsewhere in the United States. Candidates supported by the PAC include Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), as well as unsuccessful 2020 Democratic U.S. senate candidates in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, and Montana. Other members of congress supported by the PAC include Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and Bill Shuster (R-PA). [11] [12] [13]

Disaffiliation from the AFL-CIO

In 2013, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union voted to disaffiliate with large left-of-center labor federation the AFL-CIO, ending a 25-year affiliation with the federation. The ILWU accused members of other AFL-CIO unions for crossing picket lines while dockworkers at grain terminals in Oregon were on strike. The ILWU also accused the AFL-CIO of being too politically moderate and not sufficiently to the left on certain issues due to what the ILWU called “compromising” on policy positions regarding healthcare, immigration, labor laws, and international labor relations. [14]

Port of Portland Lawsuit

In 2019, a federal jury found that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and ILWU Local 8 engaged in “unlawful” labor practices between 2013 and 2017 that caused ICTSI Oregon Inc., the port of Portland’s former container ship terminal operator, to cease container ship operations with the port. The jury ordered the ILWU to pay $93 million in damages, later reduced by a federal judge to $19 million. Container ship service stalled at the port due to a three-year long labor dispute that cased carriers to complain about it taking too long to load and unload ships. According to court documents “ILWU engaged in work stoppages, slowdowns, ‘safety gimmicks’ and other coercive actions,” against ICTSI as well as “illegal secondary boycotts.” [15] [16] [17]

Leadership

Willie Adams is the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), having been elected to lead the union in 2018. He previously was the secretary-treasurer of the union from 2003 to 2018. Adams began his career as a longshore worker at the Port of Tacoma in Washington state in 1978 and became an officer of his local ILWU union in 1998. He previously chaired the Coast Legislative Action Committee for the union, which lobbies members of congress on behalf of the union’s priorities. Adams has also organized local Black history and labor celebrations in the Tacoma area and sits on the executive board of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and on the advisory board of the Cesar Chavez National Holiday campaign. [18] Adams earns more than $187,000 in annual compensation from the union. [19]

References

  1. “Small But Powerful Union at the Center of Port Dispute.” Los Angeles Times. February 18, 2015. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ports-labor-20150218-story.html ^
  2. Read, Richard. “How a feud over two jobs tipped the West Coast longshore union toward bankruptcy.” Los Angeles Times. November 29, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-11-29/longshore-union-ilwu-bankruptcy ^
  3. “Longshore Union Pulls Out of National AFL-CIO” Seattle Times. August 31, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2022. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/longshore-union-pulls-out-of-national-afl-cio/ ^
  4. “The ILWU Story.” International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.ilwu.org/history/the-ilwu-story/ ^
  5. “The ILWU Story.” International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.ilwu.org/history/the-ilwu-story/ ^
  6. “West Coast Waterfront Strike of 1934.” Oregon Encyclopedia. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/west_coast_waterfront_strike_of_1934/#.YpjOJpPMLL8 ^
  7. “The ILWU Story.” International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.ilwu.org/history/the-ilwu-story/ ^
  8. “ILWU Local Unions.” International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.ilwu.org/contact/ilwu-local-unions-2/ ^
  9. “International Executive Board.” International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.ilwu.org/about/international-executive-board/ ^
  10. “The Dispatcher.” International Longshore and Warehouse Union. October 2020. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.ilwu.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/DispatcherOCT2020lores.pdf ^
  11. “International Longshore and Warehouse Union PAC: 2018 Candidate Recipients. Open Secrets. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/international-longshore-warehouse-union/C00176214/candidate-recipients/2018 ^
  12. “International Longshore and Warehouse Union PAC: 2020 Candidate Recipients. Open Secrets. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/international-longshore-warehouse-union/C00176214/candidate-recipients/2020 ^
  13. “International Longshore and Warehouse Union PAC: 2020 Summary. Open Secrets. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/international-longshore-warehouse-union/C00176214/summary/2020 ^
  14. [1] “Longshore Union Pulls Out of National AFL-CIO” Seattle Times. August 31, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2022. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/longshore-union-pulls-out-of-national-afl-cio/ ^
  15. Wilson, Conrad. “Jury Awards Former Portland Container Ship Operator $93 Million.” Oregon Public Broadcasting. November 5, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.opb.org/news/article/portland-port-container-ship-terminal-operator-local-union-lawsuit-damages/ ^
  16. Powell, Meerah. “Federal Judge Reduces Lawsuit Payout to Former Portland Terminal 6 Operator.” Oregon Public Broadcasting. November 5, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.opb.org/news/article/lawsuit-payout-portland-terminal-6/ ^
  17. Read, Richard. “How a feud over two jobs tipped the West Coast longshore union toward bankruptcy.” Los Angeles Times. November 29, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-11-29/longshore-union-ilwu-bankruptcy ^
  18. “International Executive Board.” International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Accessed June 6, 2022.  https://www.ilwu.org/about/officers/william-adams/#:~:text=William%20E.,graduated%20from%20Paseo%20High%20School. ^
  19. “International Longshore and Warehouse Union.” Union Facts. Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.unionfacts.com/union/Longshore_%26_Warehouse#leaders-tab ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1942

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $8,546,665 $9,006,209 $8,403,773 $2,495,151 N $0 $8,525,650 $7,400 $1,470,747
    2018 Dec Form 990 $8,165,984 $8,154,583 $8,098,901 $1,864,931 N $0 $8,065,099 $3,551 $1,001,783 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $7,802,624 $9,147,073 $8,164,004 $2,074,711 N $0 $7,762,937 $803 $848,205 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $7,622,263 $6,519,601 $8,008,920 $705,954 N $0 $7,570,018 $822 $782,212 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $7,561,603 $6,686,687 $6,893,614 $690,886 N $0 $7,513,171 $873 $741,231 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $7,380,493 $5,980,052 $5,990,675 $665,749 N $0 $7,314,879 $948 $489,907 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $7,406,155 $6,466,430 $4,556,870 $628,135 N $0 $7,330,110 $948 $489,542 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $7,154,012 $7,130,553 $4,063,719 $1,072,876 N $0 $7,087,694 $1,760 $451,678 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $6,950,215 $6,598,678 $3,501,489 $534,105 N $0 $6,879,723 $4,700 $511,559 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)


    San Francisco,, CA