Published on International Longshore and Warehouse Union ilwu.org, November 12, 2009.
LONG BEACH: When longshore workers of Samoan descent wanted to help their native land after the Sept. 29 tsunami, they sought help from their fellow ILWU members. Longshore workers stepped up to volunteer their labor, Local 13 leadership offered their support, International President Bob McEllrath worked with PMA President Jim McKenna – and within days, the Daily Breeze reported on the successful collaboration:
Fifteen cargo containers full of donated relief supplies are on their way to Samoa by ship. … Longshoremen spent much of Wednesday loading the containers of donated goods onto the Cap Tapaga, which will arrive in Samoa in a couple of weeks. The ship was provided by shipping firm ITS and the labor was donated by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union …
… George Malauulu, an ILWU Local 13 longshoreman whose parents live in Samoa, was among several who coordinated the effort. He said, “The union, the shippers, the community-based groups, volunteers from around the community and the country – before you knew it, our shared passion turned a little pebble into a big boulder.”
The Samoa Disaster Relief Coalition for American Samoa and Samoa collected the supplies from around the country, and they continue to accept donations through their web site, at HelpSamoa.com. (full text).