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Charleston 5 Chicago Rally and Fundraiser 8/17

Big Labor Rally Friday, Aug. 17 at Teamsters 705 Hall for Charleston 5, with Ken Riley, Charleston ILA Pres. as Main Speaker
Charleston 5 Chicago Rally and Fundraiser
Friday, Aug. 17, 7pm
at Teamster Hall
(Ashland and Van Buren)
Phone: 773-794-5199

The guest speaker will be Ken Riley, ILA 1422 President from South Carolina. This rally is being endorsed by key labor bodies in Chicago, Endorsers include the AFL-CIO, Chicago Jobs with Justice, IBT 705, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, SEIU Illinois State Council, AFSCME Council 31, LCLAA, AFT Local 1708 President Delores Whithers, and numerous others.

Five dockworkers in Charleston, South Carolina are facing five years in prison because they walked a picket line in defense of their jobs. In fact, they are already being punished—they have been under house arrest for 18 months.

The struggle dates from January 20, 2000, when more than 600 riot police on horseback, in helicopters and in armored vehicles members attacked a picket line involving members of International Longshoremen’s Association Locals 1422, 1422A and 1771. Although the shipping company concerned has long since signed a union contract, the South Carolina Attorney General, Charlie Condon, has continued to prosecute the Five as part of his political agenda. Moreover, 27 other workers are the targets of a $1.5 million civil lawsuit brought by a nonunion stevedoring company, WSI, which hired the nonunion labor.

Racial justice is central to this fight as well. ILA Local 1422, with an overwhelmingly African-American membership, is a leading force in the civil rights movement in South Carolina. Indeed, the police attack on that union’s picket line came just a few days after Local 1422 participated in a demonstration against the flying of the Confederate flag over the Capitol in Columbia.

On June 9, more than 7,000 union members and supporters, rallied at that same spot—this time to send a message that organized labor will not stand by during this attack on workers’ rights. An International Day of Action is planned for the first day of trial, expected in September. But funds are urgently needed—legal costs alone are expected to run as high as $2 million. To meet this need, defense committees have been formed in several cities—including Chicago.

[Photo caption] Ken Riley, ILA Local 1422 President, key speaker at Friday's rally
[Photo credit] John Speier



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