Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Transport Unions Boss Calls For Unity Of International Freight And Passenger Logistics Workers

ITF Boss Waxes Lyrical to the Teamsters in an Animated Speech
Shipping News Feature

US – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters 28th convention was addressed today by Australian Padraig (Paddy) Crumlin, the President of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) which represents over four and a half million workers in the freight, shipping and logistics sectors. Mr Crumlin made a typically impassioned speech which reflected the current views of many in the Trades union movement.

Mr Crumlin promised to join together with the Teamsters to fight what he termed ‘the war against workers.’ He said it was necessary to align to get workers rights back from the ‘thieves and carpetbaggers robbing us with one hand and patting themselves on the back with the other.’ He went on to speak of the freeing of Iranian driver Mansour Osanloo who he said had been humiliated and imprisoned for seeking fair wages for those he represented. He continued:

“World trade dominates our national and international economies. It is a mighty engine like those powering the magnificent teamster local rigs outside this hall. It is the engine linking labour throughout the world, workers from the mines of many countries, to the manufacturing centres of many more.

“From there to the distribution and retail outlets everywhere it links workers, their communities and their endeavours as never before. From the farms, coal and iron ore mines of Australia, Brazil and South Africa, to the steel mills and factories of China, India and Japan, to the Wal-Marts, Macy’s and supermarkets of the world - transport workers do the heavy lifting.

“We must organize every link of that supply chain so that we can reach out not only to each other in companies like UPS, DHL (see articles 1 and 2 this week) and FedEx but to other workers in other industries to help build their power and so they may in turn help us build ours.”

The speech welcomed Chinese union representatives who Mr Crumlin said faced similar pressures and demands in the protection of workers’ rights in the next largest economy to the US. He said there was a monopoly against labour which had squandered the wealth created by the workers and he blamed the banks acting in a conspiracy with large multi national corporations.

Last year Mr Crumlin personally led demonstrations (video HERE) in Australia against UPS who the unions accused of unfair treatment of workers in Turkey and again last month in his role as National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) against Patrick Stevedores (ABC video HERE) which resulted in the company locking out workers and accusing the MUA of intimidation and holding the country to ransom. After the union capitulated Mr Crumlin said it had done so ‘to save the company from itself.’

Mr Crumlin finished his speech with the presentation of a print depicting industrial action in Australia to James (Jim) Hoffa, President of the Teamsters and son of the late Teamster boss the infamous Jimmy Hoffa who he described as one of US labour’s great leaders - a man of courage, loyalty and conviction.

Photo: Paddy Crumlin