ILWU To Shut Down Ports For Juneteenth

Above photo: From Twitter.

On June 19, union members who work at the Port of San Diego will stop operations for eight hours in honor of Juneteenth, the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation being first enforced in Texas.

The members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at 29 ports from San Diego to Washington State will halt work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On June 19, 1865, Black slaves in Texas — the most isolated rebel state in the South during the Civil War — were told about their emancipation from slavery two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln, which was immediately changed the legal status of enslaved Blacks in the slave-holding states from slave to free.

The ILWU said the action on Juneteenth follows a June 9, 2020, demonstration in which the ILWU Coast Longshore Division stopped work on the West Coast at 8 a.m. for nine minutes in honor of George Floyd, adding to the chorus of voices protesting police brutality and systematic racism. Eight minutes and 46 seconds is the length of time prosecutors say that Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee before Floyd died.

ILWU International President Willie Adams said June 9 that in the 157 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, the United States “has made progress, but the changes necessary to end systemic racism have come slowly or not at all, as the murder of Mr. Floyd on May 25, 2020, demonstrated.”