Skip to main content

The crackdown on supply-chain bullies who pit worker against worker

news 29 Apr 2021

A new tie-up to strengthen union influence along the US West Coast forms a major plank in the fight against global companies who exploit the chain of supply.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have committed to working with each other for at least the next two years. It will see them focus on improving the lives of working women and men across the maritime supply chain in the region. 

This partnership comes at a critical moment in the global struggle against the rise of sweatshop logistics,” said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the ITF. “By uniting workers across supply chains we can take collective action and support each other, rather than allowing global employers to pit worker against worker.” 

The global union and its affiliate union will share resources and information, gather data and track employment standards. They will work together to build industry profiles, train members, and develop strategies to tackle employer abuses throughout maritime cargo chains along the West Coast of the USA.

“There are still too many areas where women or ethnic minorities are exploited to keep labour costs down,” said Willie Adams International President of the ILWU. “

“By putting pressure on one area of the supply chain, employers have too often manipulated people working in other areas. Partnerships like this give us a chance to make it a fair fight.” — Willie Adams International President of the ILWU.

ITF’s supply chain strategy involves a huge effort in campaigning and lobbying to increase our influence with global logistics companies, their clients, investors and regulators. Workers on the ground and local unions have a vital role to play. The partnership will draw on resources from ITF’s maritime, research and campaign teams, but the overall programme will be led by the ILWU and ITF Maritime Coordinator, Jacqueline Smith.