Some International Longshore and Warehouse Union Locals are choosing to observe the Juneteenth federal holiday on June 20, the labor organization announced this week.
As part of their contract, the 30 ILWU locals are allowed to take one stop-work meeting every month as long as employers get advanced notice. This month, dockworkers at the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma plan to use the stop-work meeting during the day shift to commemorate the end of slavery in 1865.
Work will resume with the evening shift, the ILWU said.
“I am incredibly proud of my union’s history of being diverse and inclusive, and for elevating people of color to leadership positions where we can make sure every voice is heard,” said ILWU International President Willie Adams, who became the first African American to be elected to the union’s top role in 2018 and re-elected in 2021.
“It’s important for us as working Americans to stand with our communities, and to fix injustices when we see them,” Adams said. “Slavery caused immeasurable pain for generations of African Americans, and the impacts are still with us every single day. It touches my heart that ILWU workers of all races are standing side-by-side to commemorate Juneteenth and to consider how we can build a better country together.”