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News ::
Union member’s to rally in support of the Charleston 5!
23 May 2001
South Carolina Longshore Union Leader to Tour Boston
[Boston, MA] Boston union members will rally next week to show support and raise defense funds for the Charleston 5 -- five dockworkers from Charleston who are being framed on phony “rioting” charges by the state of South Carolina.

The charges stem from a picket line set up by the Longshoremen’s union against the use of nonunion labor to unload a ship in January 2000. Six hundred police attacked the union workers. Afterwards, a grand jury indicted 5 members on felony charges of inciting and participating in a riot. The charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

“This campaign brings to the fore basic constitutional issues regarding freedom of speech and association, not to mention the statutory right of all workers to organize,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

Longshoremen’s Local 1422 President Ken Riley believes the union has been targeted for its leading role in the fight against the use of the Confederate flag as a state symbol as well as its progressive stands on other political and community issues.

Ken Riley will visit Massachusetts on Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday May 30. Confirmed events are planned in Boston, Cambridge, and New Bedford. The largest event will be a fundraising rally on May 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hotel Workers Local 26 union hall, 58 Berkeley Street, in Boston. Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner will introduce Riley.

To arrange an interview with Ken Riley, call Rand Wilson at (617) 442-4100 ext. 201.

The Boston rally is free and open to the public. Voluntary contributions will benefit “Dock Workers Defense Fund.” The event is sponsored by Jobs with Justice and endorsed by: Boston Central Labor Council, Longshoremen’s Union New England-area Vice-Pres. William McNamara and Vice-Pres. Bernard O’Donnell, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Hotel Workers Union Local 26, Communications Workers of America District 1, United Electrical Workers District 2, Service Employees International Union Local 285, Teamsters Local 25, Labor Notes, and the Black Radical Congress.

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Plese support this!
24 May 2001
I feel that it's really crucial for folks involved in the global justice movement to support this case. These dockers were (and still are) taking on an effort by mulitnational shipping companies to drive down wages. This is about corporate globalization. And of course, it's also about racism--Local 1422 is largely African American and has been very active in anti-racist work.

It's particularly relevant in light of police attacks on global justice activists as well. Solidarity means that we are all bound up together, and we must not fall into a trap of defending those arrested at "our" protests but not elsewhere.

For the record, the Boston Activist Defense Association (BADAss), which has worked on raising funds and awareness around those arrested in Philly and in Quebec, is helping (in the relatively small way it can with no staff and little money) to publicize Tuesday's event and support the Charleston 5.