BARCELONA, SPAIN – (February 22, 2019) International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold J. Daggett brought a small delegation from his union to Barcelona, Spain this week to participate in an International Dockers’ Council (IDC) Conference where they were joined by Dockworker Leaders from Sweden, France and Spain, all who reaffirmed solidarity with each other and examined how they can protect and expand Dockworkers jobs into the future.
With several ports around the world expanding automation and further threatening dockers’ jobs, participants at the IDC conference Barcelona looked to the ILA and its President Daggett for answers. They all applauded the ILA’s success in negotiating and new six-year Master Contract late last year that includes powerful protections for ILA longshore members, including a contractual pledge by employers not to construct any automated or semi-automated facilities at ILA ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.
The ILA leader credited the success his union had fighting off automation to unity by his entire membership throughout negotiations; convincing employers that ILA longshore workers could out-produce any automated equipment; and knowing the ILA had the backing and support of the world-wide International Dockers’ Council. President Daggett also credited the ILA’s Executive Vice President Dennis Daggett, his oldest son, who hammered out the details of the new contract, bringing youthful knowledge and energy to the contract talks.
Jordi Aragunde, General Coordinator of the IDC, welcomed IDC members to his hometown port city of Barcelona, during an all-day session at the Port of Barcelona’s World Trade Center on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Though many member-countries of the IDC were not present at this week’s Barcelona conference, Aragunde noted the strength in the room where leaders from Dockers organizations from the U.S., France, Sweden and Spain. While the threat of automation was a constant theme by most speakers at the IDC conference, the Swedish Dockers Union’s conflict with the Port of Sweden over threats to their jobs and livelihoods was also articulated, especially by Martin Berg of the Swedish Dockers’ Union.
Dennis A. Daggett addressed the IDC Conference and told delegates that the strength and appeal of the IDC was that its membership was strictly composed of Dockers from ports around the world.
“We don’t need anyone else to fight our fights,” said Dennis Daggett. “We have each other.”
Dennis Daggett also exposed the threat of seafarers in some areas of the world who are trying to infringe upon and perform working belonging to Dockers. He also spelled out the threat of government interference with the ultimate goal of stripping away the gains and power of Organized Labor.
The IDC delegation at the Barcelona conference agreed on a policy statement that will be released in the coming days on social media to summarize the actions of the IDC delegates present and then brought to the full IDC membership.