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ILA President Harold J. Daggett Condemns Reports That ILWU Striking Members' Phones Were Bugged By Employers; Expresses Full Support For Striking Clerical Workers in Los Angeles

NORTH BERGEN - The president of the International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO condemned employers at the Port of Los Angeles who reportedly bugged the phones of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The Office Clerical Unit of Local 63 of the ILWU today began a strike at the Port of Los Angeles.

"We are outraged to hear of this possible breach of union members privacy," said Harold J. Daggett, ILA President, on Wednesday evening, November 28th. "We stand in support of the Clerical Workers and members of ILWU Local 63, and we will condemn employers who would sink so low as to bug the phones of their employees."

Clerical workers at the Port of Los Angeles went on strike on Tuesday, November 27th at 12-noon at Pier 400 in the Port of Los Angeles to stop international corporations from outsourcing dozens of good-paying jobs that support working families in the Harbor community.

The 800 workers who belong to ILWU Local 63's Office Clerical Unit (63-OCU) have been trying to negotiate an agreement with big international carriers and terminal operators for more than two years, since their three-year contract expired on June 30, 2010.

It was learned yesterday that striking members of ILWU Local 63 may have had their phone conversations illegally intercepted by wire tapping devices.

Paddy Crumlin, President of the International Transport Workers Federation, sent a message of solidarity to the ITF-affiliated ILWU local in Los Angeles where he identified a company connected with Maersk International Group as the culprits in bugging the phones of ILWU members.

"These are extremely serious charges," said Paddy Crumlin. "The world leadership of the dockers' and seafarers' unions of the ITF resolve to give full support and solidarity to the ILWU members affected. The company concerned is part of the Maersk international group, where there is an established dialogue, so the ITF will be urgently seeking high level meetings with them to find explanations and a functional resolution of the matter."

ILA President Harold J. Daggett spoke with ILWU President Bob McEllrath on Wednesday morning and pledged the full support to the West Coast longshore Sisters and Brothers.

When he learned of the possible bugging of ILWU members' phones, an outraged President Daggett said he would call for protests against Maersk or any company found to violate members' rights. President Daggett plans to investigate whether any ILA member or officer have been subjected to phone tapping by any employers.

"This is shameful behavior," said President Daggett of the alleged phone bugging. "It will not be tolerated by my union and we will examine what means of protest we have available to publicly express our outrage."