International Longshore and Warehouse Union by 7ikBt8Md

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									International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Thirty-third International Convention
Vancouver, British Columbia
May 15 - 19, 2006




            INTERNATIONAL LONGSHORE AND WAREHOUSE UNION




                          THIRTY-THIRD CONVENTION




                        REMARKS BY PADDY CRUMLIN



                             Thursday, May 18, 2006

                              Hyatt Regency Hotel
                       Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada




Reported by:
RICHARD S. ADAMS




                       ADAMS CONVENTION REPORTING
                           9695 West Farm Road 76
                            Willard, Missouri 65781
                                (417) 742-3817
Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

       SECRETARY-TREASURER ADAMS: Our next speaker has used his intellectual
and political gift and his capacity for hard work. Paddy Crumlin is one of the most brilliant
and dynamic leaders in the international workers' movement today, as you will soon see
for yourself. Paddy epitomizes what is truly a world-class global labor leader.

      Paddy is a sailor by profession, shipping out with the Australian Merchant Marine
in 1978. His leadership skills were soon recognized. He rose through the ranks of his
union. He has also tirelessly traveled the world as the First Vice President of the ITF
Dockers Section, doing the hard work of organizing global solidarity.

      The MUA he leads now has learned a thing or two about solidarity the hard way.
In 1998 the right-wing Australian government conspired with a large anti-union
stevedoring company, Patrick's, to bust the MUA by locking out the longshore union
workers. Do we see a pattern here?

       When the first scab loaded ship, the Columbus Canada, called on the Port of L.A.,
the ILWU refused to work it. That was the top story in all of Australia's TV news that
night. The ship's load of refrigerated beef and lamb rotted in the L.A. Harbor. It was the
last Australian scab ship the U.S. saw. Actions by other ITF affiliate unions around the
world targeted the scab Patrick ships. The MUA beat back the attack and still fights for its
members and dockers everywhere.

       But the Patrick's dispute was just the first salvo from Prime Minister John Howard.
Since winning reelection and control of Parliament, he has passed a series of anti-labor
laws that make George Bush look like a benevolent dictator. Right now, the very survival
of the Australian labor movement hangs in the balance. Paddy will tell us more about
that, and maybe we will learn some ways to help.

       Let me say something personal about Paddy. Paddy Crumlin has been one of my
mentors. When I decided to run for office I talked to Paddy. I met Paddy in Long Beach
at a longshore international dockers conference. I realized he was a dynamic and global
labor leader. He had such a big view of the world, but yet he was just a down-to-earth
guy. He has the eloquence of a Winston Churchill.

       Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you one of the finest labor
leaders in the world and my good friend, Paddy Crumlin from the Maritime Union of
Australia.

       [Applause]

       BROTHER PADDY CRUMLIN: Well, that is a pretty big rap. I'm just about ready
to tackle a big long drink of the Big Bob water. This will charge me right up.


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Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

       [Laughter]
       BROTHER CRUMLIN: I am ready to fire.

        [Laughter]
        BROTHER CRUMLIN: Thanks very much, Willie, of course, for that wonderful
introduction. Thanks, Jim, Wesley and Bob. Good morning, sisters and brothers. And
that is right from the heart. We are sisters and brothers. And, of course, our pensioners.

      I have to say at the outset that Bill Bodenham, who was over here with his wife
Daphne, and they formed an alliance between the Australian veterans of the Maritime
Union and the ILWU pensioners, passed away. I'm sure that there will be a message. I
have a received a number of messages of consolation for Daphne.

       Also, Harry Black, who is very well known to many of the pensioners, had a stroke
yesterday. I'm sure that we will also get a message about that.

      I was reading last night in preparation for today about the first annual ILWU
convention in Aberdeen, Washington, April of 1938. I learned a lot about the ILWU
convention and how it was run in those days. I certainly understood part of the politics.
There was a lot said about the Ku Klux Klan. There were a lot of clams eaten, oysters
eaten. I learned that.

        I did learn, however, that some things that were very long and lasting were decided
in 1938. There was a bloke named Scotty Blackstock from the Oakland branch who went
around cutting off everybody's tie with a great pair of shears. He got Harry Bridge's twice,
they reckon. He was going to make a big quilt and hang it somewhere in one of the halls.
 So, some things last forever. And certainly Scotty Blackstock from Oakland at the first
convention changed the dress code once and for all because I haven't seen anybody in a
tie since.

       [Laughter]

      BROTHER CRUMLIN: It is good to be back amongst my true brothers and sisters.
Every ILWU convention just seems to build on the spirit and heart of your wonderful
union. It also inspires the spirit and heart of anybody who has the great opportunity to be
here.

       How was Richard Trumka yesterday?

       [Applause]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: He is just absolutely wonderful.


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Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

      As one of my members said when they heard him, he makes you feel like walking
through those doors down there without opening them.
      [Laughter]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: He is wonderful bloke. He is everywhere you go. He was
at our Mining and Maritime Conference, where we organized in the Pacific Rim and the
Indian Ocean a connection of unionists, teamsters, truckers, railway, miners, retail,
manufacturing to ensure that the types of pressure that we saw here in the ILWU and
down in Patrick's didn't happen again or over in Europe. Because we are all
interconnected. We heard that. If we don't organize and we are not able to have a vision
and get together and find the resources and find the time and find the energy and take
our members along with us, then the employers will do all of their work for us. And it's
bad and dirty work and we are better off doing it for ourselves.

      Richard spoke there, and I have heard Richard speak at many, many areas.
Almost everywhere you go, Richard is having these inspirational speeches and stirring
people on to better endeavor. As we say in Australia, Richard would be into everything, I
reckon, except a shit sandwich. He is wonderful.

        I have had enough of Bush. I thought to myself, yes, I have had enough. I have
had enough of Bush and I have had enough of Howard, our Prime Minister, John
Howard, Bush's pet poodle that he carries around the joint. I have had a gut full of the lot
of them, Richie. As we say in Australia, if we've had a gut full of them, then we've got to
get rid of them.

       It was a wonderful, inspirational speech. I think that it really demonstrates the real
and sustainable network of our union organization. If we don't think like that in the global
conditions -- we see these ships coming in and out every day. We are able to see the
side of them. We know who the PMA is. They are a ragtail group of organizations of
international ship owners and stevedores. They are not U.S. corporations. They are not
Australian corporations. They are not European corporations. They are global
corporations. They are identifying our weaknesses and systematically using them to their
advantage.

       We have to do that and we have to continue to build that strength. We've got
some wonderful things going for us, our two unions. One of them is the credit union. I
would mention that at the beginning. We are able to bring together a vision as well, not
just an industrial vision, not just a political vision, but a financial vision. Why should we be
going to banks and paying a dollar or two dollars every time we make a withdrawal? Why
should we put ourselves in those people's hands? Why we should let them control our
pension funds? Why shouldn't we control our money and control our credit unions and
control our finances?


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Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

       [Applause]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: If capitalism is going to work, then let it work for us, for the
people. It's our money that they are exploiting. Let's exploit it in our own interest. The
Local 13 credit union in L.A., I have been down there a couple times when we have been
over here. We are hopeful to continue to build those wonderful connections.

       As we said with Blue Diamond yesterday, we must have resolution and
determination to take activity. From that point of view, from the workers at Del Monte, I
will say here today that the MUA will donate 5,000 American dollars towards the film.
Because we must have that story go out --

       [Applause]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: -- the story of working men and women and their families
and their communities and their working life. If we can't get their stories out, if we can't be
heard in the wider community, then, of course, they are going to continue to roll over us.
Because, of course, we are all individuals and we share the same aspirations. It's a
wonderful thing about our movement. We are individuals, but we share the same
aspirations for a better life, a healthy life, a safe life. We share the aspirations for a loving
family environment and a home we can call our own. We share the same need for a safe
and secure job regardless of where we are, and a safe and decent workplace, decent
working conditions and pay, and, most importantly, the basic human right to negotiate the
terms of the long days, months and years of our working life. This is an aspiration lasting
generations of courageous struggle by our unions, unions like ours, but particularly the
ILWU and MUA. It has made us what we are and what we have achieved. If we don't
understand our history, we are unable to deal with our future.

        That is why the ITF has been such a tremendous and successful force in breaking
down the historical industrial attacks on transport workers. It's just not on the docks. In
seafaring, that was beyond regulation. Railway workers in this country were the first
workers in the world who had a piece of legislation put on them where they had the right
to strike withdrawn from them for all time because of the influence of the Wobblies and
the militancy in the early 20th Century. Aviation workers, truckers were identified because
we are so important, more important than ever.

       If they were trying to break our necks and our backs in the Twenties and the
Thirties and the Forties and the Fifties, how much more so today. With global trade and
the wealth and power and influence that comes underneath our cranes and underneath
our straddles and on to our trucks and on to our trains every day of our working life. As
we saw the other day, not 50, 60, 70,000 longshoremen with hooks and bags, with a tiny
amount of the cargo being moved, but a fraction of the workforce, with 1,000 times or
10,000 or 30,000 times more cargo now moving through San Francisco or Los Angeles or
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Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

Sydney or Melbourne or any other port in the world. We are more important and
essential than we have been ever been. And because we are so important, we are
dangerous to them. It's a great and mighty struggle that we have taken on, and we know
it to be without end.

        When we see the injustice, greed and terrible excess politically and industrially in
our world, it is a struggle that brings great satisfaction, a struggle that brings great
self-esteem and a struggle that brings great peace of mind. How can we sleep when the
world is burning from fires lit by powerful and corrupted political and corporate elites that
surround us -- armed with the weapons of untrammeled wealth, armed with the weapons
of gross selfishness and greed and ignorance. They use their workforces and their
militias to do what we saw with Brother Jorge down in Chili with his brains leaking out on
to the ground, when they choose to, armed with their own needs and their determination
to serve their own self-serving gratification. As Einstein said, there are only two things in
the world that are infinite -- the universe and humanity's capacity for stupidity. And he
wasn't too sure about the first one.

       The length of the stupidity of these people, ironically elected to represent our
interests, the interests of the public -- that is the irony of it in countries like U.S. and
Australia and our wonderful constitution and the way our nations were born. These
people were put in place to represent our interests. And the lengths of their stupidity are
as dangerous as they are breathtaking.

       How do they achieve such high status? I was watching them this morning
appointing the new general to the CIA who has been party to the ten or eleven million
people being surveilled on their telephones over the last two or three years. How do
these people achieve such high station on such little decency and moral intelligence?
They are bankrupt of it. Take for example, your mate, Miniace. What a genius. Locked
you out, nearly destroyed the economy, prompted and promoted the strength of the labor
movement through your wonderful struggle here on the docks, signed the contract, then
got the sack.

       [Laughter and applause]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: What a genius. You wouldn't employ him to take the
garbage out and have any hope it was going to get to the curb much let him to run a dock
on the West Coast of America.

        Or Bush and Howard and the coalition of the willing. The willing what? The only
thing they were willing to do was preserve the institutionalized greed and corruption of
global world incorporated, who paid for their neon-lit, sugar-coated, multi-colored lies and
distortions of their election campaign -- and also, no doubt, paid for some of those
hanging dags on the voting cards in Jeb Bush's state of Florida.
Page 6 of 11
Remarks By Paddy Crumlin


       It's an ugly and dangerous stupidity to start a war on the premise that Iraq was run
by Al-Quade and was about to launch an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction upon
our heads and homes. The weapons of mass destruction turned out to be the equivalent
of a mouthful of abuse from a well-known and notorious gangster called Saddam, a bloke
whose backup plan was to dig a hole and hide in it.

       [Laughter]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: In the end, he didn't even have the guts to either shoot at
the people who captured him or do the right thing and blow his own brains outs. The only
thing he had was weapons of mass stupefaction, including his own.

       [Applause]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: What has happened since is a disgrace and a disaster not
seen in our world for many years and something that we will pay for for generations.

       There are certainly terrorists in Iraq today. The coalition of the willing has ensured
that. Their terror is one mad religious sect against another, with Al-Quade recruitment
agents now standing on every corner. The victims are the innocent men and women and
children caught in the crossfire, along, of course, with the young courageous men and
women sent there by our governments to fight and die and be maimed to legitimize their
lies.

        It's not acceptable to live in a world like that. It's not acceptable to accept the
stupidity and the corruption of Prime Minister Howard who at the same time was part of
the coalition of the willing, selling these lies and selling the lives of our service people
down the drain when the Australian Wheat Board, under their full knowledge and
understanding and instruction, was paying Saddam Hussein tens of millions of U.S.
dollars in bribes to buy Australian wheat, at the same time they were preparing to go to
war and continued to provide those bribes under the Oil for Food program to Saddam
after the war began. It is stupidity and corruption that we can no longer live with.

       Iraq now is a replay of Palestine or Northern Ireland, Serbia or Croatia, slaughter
on slaughter in a wicked downward spiral of public corruption, insane revenge, and
ruthless and unremitting murder and mayhem that will feed on itself and draw more and
more innocents into the corruption and distortion of life there for generations.

        The final stupidity that is visited upon us in that war is that they have ensured that
oil prices have soared. And, of course, who is going to pay that price?

       The savage injustices and gross stupidities have been visited upon Iraq in the
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Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

name of global economic expansion by political policy -- neoconservatives, they call them
-- political policymakers whose cunning matches their stupidity. We know the war was
really about carving up the second largest oil producer in the world. Chaney and Bush's
campaign supporters were in there like rats up a drain pipe. Haliburton, Stevedoring
Services of America, all in there for the carve-up, all in there for the gourmet meal. But
the gourmet meal has become sour and fetid in their hungry mouths and guts and slowly
poisoning the world for all of us.

        These policymakers do not reflect on provisions and qualities of democracy,
freedom, justice, or equality. They do not aspire to promote, admire, or reward honest
work, honest labor, but seek to exploit and control. So their policies closer to our homes
reflect the same values. They wrap their public pronunciations in invocations of good
versus evil, as if they actually do have a sense of morality, distortions built on falsehoods,
built on lies into a citadel, a Mt. Everest of political bullshit.

       [Applause]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: The terrorists who committed the heinous acts in New York
and elsewhere ironically use the same invocation of good and evil to legitimize their horror
and the horror of their work.

       Of course, most importantly for us, what is good and evil is in their idea of domestic
policy in our nations. Well, no one in this room makes the good in Washington or in
Canberra, that is for sure. And if they did speak to the truth, they would call it like they
played it in the picket line on Patrick's or in the lockout here in the ILWU. They do not
admire democracy, equality, freedom, and honesty in labor or in life. They show it
constantly in their conspiracy against working men and women and their families. It is a
conspiracy of action, propaganda, complicit encouragement to employers and CEO's and
managements of world corporations wallowing in disgusting excess of the wealth of their
salaries and through spying on us increasingly.

         Democracy now has been the tradeoff for their lies and the corruption of their
political systems. And our lives are going to continue to be placed under scrutiny. And
it's not going to be because we are terrorists, it's going to be because we are active in the
forces to maintain democracy in our own nations.

       [Applause]

      BROTHER CRUMLIN: It is a conspiracy that seeks to break our unions, a
conspiracy to break our lives at work, a conspiracy to break our spirit, and, most
importantly, a conspiracy to break our many achievements in the labor movement, a
conspiracy unconstrained by national boundaries.


Page 8 of 11
Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

       The neoconservative coalition of the willing in the U.S. and Australia and in many
other countries is a willingness to destroy the very fabric of labor and its principles and
goals. Why? Because we do genuinely stand for democracy and freedom and liberty
and equality. That is why. We do genuinely stand for values that they have left behind.
We are despised and hunted down by these rats and villains because of it. Hunted out of
our workplaces on the docks in Australia by scabs and their thugs in balaclavas with their
dogs, with the full support of the Australian government.

       Hunted out of the ports here on the West Coast, with the gates locked behind us
by that ragtail group of international ship owners, stevedores and the treacherous and
thieving retailers like Wal-Mart.

      Hunted out by a corrupt administration in Washington who wanted to fight two wars
at once, one against their own citizens -- you, hard working, honest, tax-paying, working
men and women of the United States of America.

       [Applause]

       BROTHER CRUMLIN: We're their prospective kill. We know it. Workers died.
We heard them today. We have to enshrine their names or otherwise we forget what
they died for. Workers died on the streets of San Francisco in '34 because of it.

         If you think it's tough here in the U.S., I'm about to make your day. I'll tell you a
little bit about Australia. The right to strike now by legislation has been effectively
removed for all workers, including in contract negotiations. The labor tribunal has been
skinned and gutted and the carcass is now hanging on the wall of the shed. A collective
contract may be terminated at any time it is in force and workers put on individual
contracts at the whim of the employer. If a collective agreement is in place, any new
worker can be offered a separate individual contract on much lower conditions of
employment.

       Does that sound bad? That's the good bit.

       If I or any one of my members on the Negotiation Committee or officials don't
achieve, seek, or ask for in negotiation the right for the union to be involved in dispute
resolution, do you know what happens? $30,000 fine for the union and a $6,000 fine for
myself for asking.

       If we ask for a union picnic day, a $30,000 fine and a $6,000 fine for asking.

      If we ask for a remedy against unfair dismissal, a $30,000 fine for the union, a
$6,000 fine for the individual.


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Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

      If we ask for payroll deductions of union dues by our members to the employer,
30,000, 6,000.

       If we ask for any clause encouraging union membership, 30,000 and 6,000.

      If we ask for trade union involvement in training, safety training, skills development,
30,000, 6,000.

      But wait for this. If we do anything or ask for anything else, the government may
decide at any time by regulation, you guessed it, 30,000, 6,000.

      If you are a recidivist like me and we keep doing it, then, of course, they stop fining
you and send you to jail.

       Union officials are not allowed to access the workplace. It is illegal.

        Anyone with a criminal conviction, including for serious breaches of the labor laws,
like I said before, cannot hold office as an elected union official.

       Under the new proposed security laws, I would not be able to be a union official
because I have breached their laws and I can't go back to the job because I have got a
criminal conviction and I am excluded because of the new port security card. Eventually,
like Harry Bridges, they will even try to throw me out of me own bloody country.

       Why and how can this happen in a country like Australia? Harry Bridges
developed much of his faith and belief in the innate value, worth and hope that the worker
finds in the union from the historical, progressive nature of the labor movement in
Australia. He said that. We know that about Harry. Of course, if Harry was here today --
and he is, in all of you, he is, and around the world Harry is still with us -- he would say
today that it ain't going to stop there, brothers and sisters.

       Why and how can this happen? It happens because working men and women and
their unions actually do stand for freedom. We do stand for democracy. It happens
because we do and can and can achieve justice. We stand and can stand for and can
achieve equality. These political neoconservative corporate elites and their agenda
despise us for the things that we stand for and that they should stand for. The people
elected to protect our interests should stand for these things and they despise us
because we actually do. And they don't or, more correctly, won't. Their political
corruption has reached a point where forces that genuinely stand for truth, courage and
humanity's best interests, like the union movement, are their enemy.

       We are their enemy. We, the flesh and bone of labor, that only seek a share for
our lives, only seek a fair share for our families, only seek a fair share for our
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Remarks By Paddy Crumlin

communities, are the enemies of them, and they are showing us over and over and over
again their strength and their determination to destroy us because of their values.

       So I say on behalf of my union and the working men and women that rely on it,
both inside and out, we are inspired and remain committed to the great friendship
between our two unions and the proud history and struggle of the ILWU.

       [Applause]

        BROTHER CRUMLIN: We have stood together on many battlegrounds over many
generations to deliver dignity and decency for all workers, all workers facing oppression
and exploitation, and we will continue to, wherever there is a campaign or wherever there
is a picket line. Because we are who we are and what we stand for. We stand amongst
these struggles and trials, and we are absolutely determined to find the strength and
courage to fight for better lives, to fight for better workforces, and to fight for a better and
more peaceful world.

       Long live the ILWU! Long live worker solidarity! Long live the union!

       Thank you very much, brothers and sisters.

       [Standing ovation]

              ---o0o---




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