On the Picket Line

San Francisco Bay cargo ship fuelers demand ‘No pay cuts!’

By Joel Britton
January 30, 2023

ALAMEDA, Calif. — “Leo Marine workers responsible for all cargo ship fueling in the San Francisco Bay voted to join IBU-ILWU last year,” read the call for a Jan. 11 rally here in support of the 30 workers fighting for their first contract. The Inlandboatmen’s Union is affiliated to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

“We have met with Leo Marine managers 13 times,” ILWU organizer Evan McLaughlin told the nearly three dozen unionists and other workers who joined Leo Marine fuelers on their lunch-break rally.

The company is offering a 3% wage hike, but cutting overtime, resulting in “a 3% wage cut” overall, said McLaughlin. “No pay cuts!” and other chants rang out as we marched along Leo Marine’s dock in a light rain.

Melvin Mackay, a leader of ILWU Local 10, explained to some new members of his local and others that organizing solidarity with fuelers, nurses and other fighting workers is crucial. And, he noted, the 22,000 West Coast-wide longshore workers’ contract is still in negotiations.