San Francisco Labor Council Resolution Commends Jack Heyman for 40 Years of Class Struggle in the Trade Union Movement

Published: 23/11/10



San Francisco Labor Council

This resolution was adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council on 22nd November 2010, having been forwarded from ILWU Local 10.

WHEREAS: Brother Jack Heyman has spent a lifetime fighting for the working class through militant union solidarity actions, and

WHEREAS: This fight has known no state or national boundaries, and has been recognized internationally, most notably when as a member of the Inlandboatmen’s Union/ILWU, he was one of the organizers of the 11-day longshore union boycott of the Nedlloyd Kimberley here in San Francisco in 1984, which Nelson Mandela acknowledged reignited the anti-apartheid movement in the U. S. and helped bring down that racist government, and

WHEREAS: From his early days as a militant in the National Maritime Union, fighting for union democracy, against the U. S. imperialist war in Vietnam and safe working conditions aboard ship, and

WHEREAS: Brother Heyman demonstrated commitment to working class principles by his actions, receiving Coast Guard recognition in 1980 for saving the life of a fellow maritime worker during an explosion and fire on a barge in New York Harbor which stated in part: “Your actions in the face of danger exemplify the highest traditions of the United States maritime profession and are heartily commended.“

WHEREAS: His dedication to the working class continued during his membership in the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific/ILWU (IBU) where he helped lead a short-lived but militant 1984 tankermens’ strike on the 50th anniversary of the 1934 Big Strike and drew recognition from Harry Bridges. He later was in the leadership of the IBU’s 9 month 1987 coastwise strike against Crowley Maritime, the high point of which was a shutdown of all Bay Area ports by the ILWU longshoremen and clerks and marching on the port of Redwood City to halt the scab unloading of barges, and

WHEREAS: As a rank and file member of the ILWU Local 10 and as executive board member, business agent, International Transport Worker (ITF) inspector, he helped organize, and often spearhead, coastwise and Bay Area actions, such as:

  • The solidarity actions for the Liverpool dockers’ struggle
  • The coastwise port shutdown in November 1999 during the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle
  • The coastwise shutdown and San Francisco march in defense of black political prisoner Mumia Abu- Jamal in that same year
  • The epic fight of the Charleston Five, South Carolina longshoremen
  • The fight against the employer and the federal government during the 2002 ILWU longshore lockout
  • The defense against the assault on longshore workers and anti war demonstrators by the Oakland Police Department and other repressive agencies at the port of Oakland in April of 2003 at the start of the Iraq War
  • The fight against government repression of maritime workers through the Transport Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) and the 2007 police attack on two black longshoremen in the port of Sacramento under the guise of “port security“
  • The 2008 May Day Shutdown of all West Coast ports to demand the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan
  • The 2010 picket of the Zim Lines vessel to protest the Israeli military attack on the high seas of the Mavi Marmara bringing aid to Gaza
  • Last month’s work stoppage and rally calling for justice for Oscar Grant, the young black man killed by BART police in Oakland, and

WHEREAS: These actions plus the day to day fight to maintain safe working conditions and good benefits for the membership of the ILWU exemplify the solid traditions of working class militancy and the ILWU motto of “an injury to one is an injury to all“, now, therefore, let it be

RESOLVED: That San Francisco Labor Council joins ILWU Local 10 in commending Brother Jack Heyman for his years of commitment to the ILWU specifically and the international workers’ movement in general.

Marcus Holder adds

The resolution passed unanimously with 1 abstention. 4 people spoke in support, and more would have spoken with more time. They spoke of direct experience working with Jack on the ZIM line picket, 2008 Mayday westcoast ports shutdown to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and strikes and actions when he was in the Inland Boatmans' Union (IBU). One speaker said it is good to pass this resolution but the most important thing is to live like Jack and take concrete actions against oppression and injustice.

Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10 Executive Board
Ken Riley, President ILA 1422 Charleston South Carolina
International Dockworkers Council
Terry Teague, Sec., Liverpool Dockworkers / Initiative Factory
Björn A. Borg, Pres. Swedish Dockworkers Union
Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific (IBU)
Bob Crow, Gen Sec RMT
Marco Pietrasanta, FILT-CGIL
Steve Stallone, former editor of The Dispatcher (ILWU)
Mumia Abu Jamal, writing from Death Row
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet
Troy Davis, Innocent on Georgia’s Death Row
Martina Correia, Human Rights Advocate
Mike Carden, Food for Thought, Sacked Liverpool Dockworker
Mário Teixeira, Pres. National Dockworker Federation Brazil
Ron Kaminkow, Gen Sec, Railroad Workers United
Tanaka Yasuhiro (Pres, Doro-Chiba National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba, Japan) and Yamamoto Hiroyuki (International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba)
Donna Dewitt, President of the South Carolina State AFL-CIO
Dave Hutsell, U.S. Merchant Marine officer
Kevin Robinson, Sacked Liverpool Dockworker
Greg Dropkin, activist
LaVerne Bell, San Francisco woman longshore worker
Devin Hoff, activist, jazz musician
Leonard Desmukes, Walking Boss
Cephus Johnson, uncle of Oscar Grant
Harold K Brown, former President, ATU Local 1555
Frances Goldin, Mumia Abu-Jamal’s literary agent
Rachel Jackson, Oakland community activist
Bob Mandel, Executive Board, Oakland teachers’ union
Jahahara Alkebulan-Ma’at, Oakland community activist
AL Rojas, Sacramento Labor Council for Latin American Advancement - AFL-CIO
David Solnit, a Direct Action organizer for the Seattle 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations
Fred Hirsch, veteran trade union activist and defender of Paul Robeson
Douglas Minkler, California poster artist
Jack Hirschman, former poet-laureate of San Francisco
Sándor John, member, Class Struggle Education Workers, City University of New York
Chris Kinder, coordinator Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Larry Lawrence, Chairman, The John Brown Society
Bryan Palmer, author
Eddie Gutierrez, ILWU Local 34, San Francisco
Jerry Lawrence, ILWU Local 8, Portland
Debby Stringfellow, ILWU Local 8, Portland

Clarence Thomas
ILWU Local 10 Executive Board

With the retirement of Brother Jack Heyman, activist, organizer, and writer, the rank and file and specifically, the “fighting wing“ of the ILWU, will be losing one of its most committed fighters.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Jack on many important, crucial and historic struggles including but not limited to: organizing and mobilizing a rank and file fight back during the 2002 contract negotiations and lockout; working on several anti-war campaigns including conferences and rallies culminating with the May 1st 2008 No Peace No Work West Coast Port Shut-down; mobilizing to gain labor support to condemn the Israel attack against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which resulted in dockworkers honoring a successful labor and community picket of an Israel cargo ship; and initiating and organizing a port workers shut-down of all Bay Area ports in support of Justice for Oscar Grant and Jail for Killer Cops.

I am certain that Jack’s retirement will not end his contributions to the ILWU and the struggle for the emancipation of the working class.

Jack, all the best to you in retirement.

In Solidarity,

Clarence Thomas
ILWU Local 10 Executive Board

Ken Riley, President ILA 1422 Charleston South Carolina

Ken Riley, president of the Charleston longshore union, presents a plaque inscribed: “Hanging Up The Hook.....Jack was the first to respond to the struggles of the Charleston Five...”

To Jack, the Warrior from the West:

You have been an inspiration and a valuable resource to the Charleston Five Campaign. From the very beginning and throughout the campaign, you have been there for us. Even now while we attempt to preserve the struggle and the lessons learned, you are there. Your passion and drive to right the wrongs in our society are unmatched. Trust me, your efforts are not in vain and will be remembered long after we are gone. You are a hero and legend, and an example to all of us in the movement. Keep on doing what you do best, fighting for the working class.

Your brother in solidarity,


International Dockworkers Council

Longshoreman Jack Heyman, ILWU Local 10 San Francisco

Dear brother Jack,

Having recently learned of your decision to embark upon a well-earned retirement from the Oakland waterfront, please let us on behalf of the IDC convey our deep gratitude for all your fine work. We recognise not only your unswerving dedication to the ILWU, to the international dockworkers’ movement and the working class as a whole, but also your commitment to international solidarity and justice.

We first got to know you during the now historical Liverpool Dockers’ Struggle when you came from the West Coast to represent your union bringing a message of support to the 500 sacked Dockers who were engaged in a bitter struggle against their employer, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

Your involvement in this fight was an inspiration to Port-workers around the globe and helped forge strong bonds between many trade unions in the port sector. Sadly, the victory for the Liverpool Dockers we had all hoped for was not to be. Out of this great struggle however grew an awareness of the need for dockworkers solidarity and the need to build a strong organisation to coordinate this solidarity. It took a lot of hard work, but the result was the International Dockworkers Council and, here again Jack, you were right there in the forefront of this achievement.

We are very proud to have worked along side of you and salute you for your dedication and tenacity for so many years to trade union ideals and international solidarity while working as a boatman and a longshoreman.

We wish you all the best for the future and know that you are only hanging up your hook – your voice and your pen will be as strong as ever in the fight for workers rights and the fight against injustice.

We are very much looking forward to seeing you as an honoured guest at the next IDC assembly in 2012.

Yours in solidarity,

Antolin Goya IDC General Coordinator
Peter Shaw IDC European Coordinator
Julian Garcia IDC General Coordinator 2000 - 2008
Björn A. Borg IDC European Coordinator 2000 - 2008

Coordination Office • Bureau de coordination • Oficina de coordinación
Calle del Mar, 97 4º • 08003 Barcelona • Spain • Tel: +34 93 225 25 28 • Fax: + 34 93 224 07 53


Dear Brothers Goya, Shaw, Garcia and Borg,

Thanks for your congratulations on my hanging the hook (retirement) and recognition of my contributions to the international dockworkers movement. We met 15 years ago at the conferences called by the Liverpool dockers during their brilliant but unfortunately defeated struggle. Our comradeship and commitment to international solidarity continue to be etched in victorious workers’ struggles in Strasbourg (against port privatization), in Charleston (against union busting) and most recently, in this year’s dock protests against the Zionist massacre aboard the aid flotilla to Gaza.

By the way it was a real pleasure to see all of you at the General Assembly in Charleston this year and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of that critical struggle. It was IDC’s solidarity in 2000 with the Charleston longshoremen, especially Coordinadora’s militant action, that led to the ILWU joining your organization and ultimately to the Charleston longshore union’s victory.

I look forward to younger dockworkers picking up the torch initially lit by our bold Liverpool brothers and sisters and inexorably waging struggles against the capitalists and their governments’ schemes to privatize the world’s waterfront and exploit and oppress the masses of working people. That task is in the hands of the newer dockworkers. I do however enthusiastically accept your invitation to the next IDC assembly in 2012 with the hope that we will be celebrating more victories!

La luta continua, Jack

Terry Teague, Sec., Liverpool Dockworkers / Initiative Factory

The Liverpool Dockworkers / Initiative Factory

29 Hope Street
Merseyside L1 9BQ.
Tel: 0151 709 2148.
Fax: 0151 709 5596.

web site:

6th December 2010

Jack Heyman,
ILWU Local 10,
400 North Point Street,
San Francisco,
CA 94133.

Hi Jack,

Re: Thanks

I have been informed that you have decided to hang-up your hook and retire from the docks. Whilst everyone understands that no one can go on for ever and that the retirement of such a committed comrade like yourself will hopefully lead to an opening and opportunity for a young activist to take your place, it is with a certain amount of sadness and a lot of pride that I write to mark the occasion.

As the white capped lone longshoreman who had travelled from the West Coast of America to address the first of our mass rallies and brought the message of international solidarity from the ILWU you were inspirational. You gave hope and belief to 500 sacked Liverpool Dockworkers their families, friends and supporters.

The camaraderie that built up between us was a friendship for life as time and time again during the 28 month dispute you campaigned across the international maritime, labour and trade union movement for a victory for the Liverpool Dockworkers.

Your work in the cause of workers solidarity and international socialism has been unceasing and the inspiration you gave to our dispute has been replicated many times over to better the lives of longshoremen, trade unionists, justice campaigners and anyone discriminated against or isolated by the structures of capitalism.

On behalf of the movement set-up by the Sacked Liverpool Dockworkers I would like to send our heartfelt appreciation and best wishes, to you, Carol and your family.

Enjoy the new commitments that industrial retirement will bring. You may be retiring from the docks but we know that your role in the class struggle will continue stronger than ever.

In Solidarity,

Terry Teague (Secretary)

Björn A. Borg
President Swedish Dockworkers Union

Hi Jack!

I heard that you are retiring from the docks. Well earned I say and I know for a fact that you are only retiring from the physical work as a longshoreman. I am sure that you will keep on working for the working class and the union movement for many years to come.

I remember the first time we met in Liverpool in February 1996 at the first international solidarity meeting organised by the courageous sacked Liverpool dockers. That was, if I am right, during your rather short career as an ITF-inspector and you had been to Liverpool on, at least, one earlier occasion.

While in Liverpool you impressed all of us with your spirit and clear analyses and you really made a great contribution to the fight for reinstatement of the Liverpool dockers, not only during that particular meeting, but throughout their whole conflict.

You and I found each other in spirit quite quickly I think and I must tell you that I am very proud of that. Since than we have met on a number of occasions and I particulary remember when you came to Sweden in 1999 when the Swedish Dockworkers Union organised an international meeting in Gothenburg. That was when we finally decided to form the International Dockworkers Council (IDC); an organisation that has meant a lot for dockworkers/longshoremen/wharfies around the world. IDC was in reality a continuation of the world wide network being set up by the sacked Liverpool dockers.

You have always stood up for your ideology, your thoughts and beliefs – more so than most of us, sometimes controversial but always honest. A true trade unionist and a true internationalist and for that I admire and salute you.

You have always been a good comrade and I really hope that we will be able to keep in touch also in the future.

All the best Jack!

Yours in solidarity

Björn A. Borg
President Swedish Dockworkers Union

Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, San Francisco Region
Honouring Brother Jack Heyman’s Retirement
From Local 10 of the ILWU

Whereas: Brother Jack Heyman was a proud and proactive militant member of the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific (IBU) from 1980 to 1993; and

Whereas: His dedication to union democracy and working class principles helped transform the IBU into the successful organization that it is today; and

Whereas: Brother Heyman’s transference to Local 10 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) provided an opportunity for the use of his extraordinary skills on the national and international level; and

Whereas: The Union and civil rights issues he has championed, with dedication par excellence, makes us all very proud of his activities; now, therefore, be it

Resolved: That the membership of the Inlandboatmen’s Union expresses its appreciation and thanks to Jack for his accomplishments that have touched us so deeply, and, be it further

Resolved: That Jack’s retirement from the ILWU will provide additional opportunities for his continued dedication to the advancement of basic human rights for everyone irrespective of nationality, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion or political affiliation.

Adopted by the San Francisco Region of the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific
December 21, 2010

Marina V. Secchitano, Regional Director

download original

Bob Crow

Dear Jack

I would like to mark the occasion of your retirement by placing on record my appreciation for the work you have carried out for the Trade Union movement at the domestic and international level.

Your dedication and commitment to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is recognised by a large number of friends and colleagues throughout the movement. I personally recall your assistance during the Liverpool Dockers’ dispute in the mid 1990’s and subsequent visits to the UK for the Stop the War march and my own Union’s Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh.

It is not often that I am afforded the opportunity to pay respects to a comrade of your calibre and integrity, and on this occasion I am pleased to learn that whilst you may be retiring you still remain committed to the class struggle.

My very best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Bob Crow

R. Crow, General Secretary

Marco Pietrasanta, FILT-CGIL


Aderente ITF-ETF affiliata ces Via S. Giovanni D’Acri 6 - 16152 Genova
Telefono 010/6028325 fax 010/6028326 E MAIL:

Genova, 6th December 2010

Dear Comrade Jack,

I received news about your well deserved retirement from work which you had already told me during my visit to San Francisco last year.

I say retirement from work because, as is clear from your words, your dedication to the protection of workers’ rights will continue. This does not surprise me, since I have always seen you as a comrade dedicated with passion to the class struggle, attentive to the happenings concerning not only the dock workers, but our class overall. A dedication to the immediate protection of workers as a member of ILWU and leader in the big battles against apartheid, against the Vietnam war, in the struggles for the protection of dock workers in Liverpool, as well as against the imperialist war in Iraq and Afghanistan, to mention just a few.

In a historical moment of enormous changes as the present ones, the internationalist effort becomes more and more important. For this reason, our cooperation and our relationship will continue, as they have in the past years, and I hope it will even intensify, always under the present motto of ILWU “an injury to one is an injury to all“.

In solidarity.

Marco Pietrasanta

Steve Stallone, former editor of the ILWU’s newspaper The Dispatcher, writing in Counterpunch

see Jack Heyman Hangs the Hook ... Around the Capitalists’ Neck

Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia’s Message to Jack’s Retirement Party 2/25/11

Long Live John Africa! On a Move! Greetings to all assembled in honor of Jack Heyman, the longtime ILWU organizer and organizer for a half dozen other causes besides. Jack represents the best of the labor tradition, one not bounded by national borders or the other lines we create to keep us corralled into spaces approved by the state. I think the last time I saw him on the tube he was in London before about a million people protesting maybe the stupidest war in generations -- Iraq. Jack knows, as do we all, that our borders are a lot like prison walls that keep us divided and isolated. So he spent a lot of time and a lot of energy with his sledgehammer knocking holes in the walls. Oh, by the way, I KNOW, I KNOW that Wisconsin has him chomping at the bit. Anyway, congratulations on his retirement and on a move. This is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet

Dear Jack,

I remember our working together in the Sixties at the New York City Welfare Department, what seems like several lifetimes ago. Sharing stories of our struggles to get food, clothing and shelter to our clients, and in the evenings tooling around Manhattan on your motorcycle. I had no idea you would continue standing up for the rights of embattled and working class people for the next forty-odd years!

In fact, your life amazes me. You’ve never stopped speaking out, acting up, being aware, of all the political situations in the world where people struggle and suffer. And where you could lend your hand and heart, you have done so. This is what it takes. I am SO proud of you.

In addition to all the courageous political work you have done, you have also maintained a loving household, a family. And each year you and your family have invited me and so many others to share the annual Tamales Bay Oyster Bake! This invitation, which I have never been able to accept (always being somewhere else, it seems) has made me smile year after year. It exemplifies something about you that is precious and rare: the awareness that life in its goodness, its sweetness, goes on, no matter the struggles or oppression. And that to have good friends and buddies, children and mates to celebrate with is the essence of succeeding, whatever the task has been.

You have been and are a wonderful teacher and inspiration. It is joyful to think of you free to explore all the other parts of you that have perhaps waited for this time.

In solidarity and with much affection,

Alice (Walker)

Troy Anthony Davis GDCP
#657378 G-2-39
PO Box 3877
Jackson, Georgia 30233

Dear Mr. Heyman and ILWU,

My name is Troy A. Davis and I am fighting a Innocence case on Georgia’s death row. I have never met any of you personally. I have received mail and cards from members of ILWU, telling me they are fighting for my cause and to save my life.

It has been mind blowing to know that so many people believe in human kindness and dignity. It is truly amazing that you have invited my sister, Martina to speak on my behalf at your union hall and your conventions. To know that my life is valued by people who have never met me, has given me the strength to keep fighting. I have faced execution three times and could very well face another execution date if people like you don’t keep speaking out against the injustice that has befallen me.

I thank God for my family and for the dedication of organizations like the ILWU. I know we are all interconnected and if one of us is suffering an injustice than all of us suffer.

ILWU has shown me that you are fighters and you stand firm for real justice. Thank you does not seem like enough, but it is my honor to know that we are not alone in this fight and that from coast to coast, ILWU is willing to take the stand and fight.

Thank you,

Troy Anthony Davis
Innocent on Georgia’s Death Row

Martina Correia
Human Rights Advocate
Sister of Troy Anthony Davis (Georgia Death Row Inmate)

December 13, 2010

Dear Mr. Jack Heyman,

I wanted to send a letter of thanks for all the work your union ILWU have done to bring attention to injustice, in particular racial injustice in the United States. ILWU is a union that all should follow when it comes to human rights for all. You really showcase what it means to care about the entire community and to stand on principle, march, speak out, hold protest and create resolutions to protect human and civil rights for all.

Over the past 4 years you have brought so much attention to the plight of my brother Troy Anthony Davis Innocent on Georgia’s Death Row. You have created a network of local, state, national and international union attention to the case of Innocence. You have shown that you’re not afraid to channel your creative energy and dedication in an effort to save the lives of others.

I want to thank ILWU and in particular Jack Heyman, who has been a true inspiration and catalyst in fighting for human rights. Without your grassroots work, injustice would continue to fester in our country and around the world, but with groups like the ILWU we will win.

Thank you and continue the FIGHT FOR JUSTICE!


Martina Correia
169 Parkview Road Savannah, Georgia 31419

Mike Carden

Thoughts on the Retirement of Brother Jack Heyman

The international trade union movement has a wonderful and unique aptitude for bringing together some of the most magical men and women in the limitless struggles of humanity. Sisters and brothers who always transcend the narrow wage-bargaining and economism that labour-union bureaucrats succumb to for either idleness or reactionary dis-interest. It is to those who see the connection of all human struggles that we learn so much from – it is they who provide the internationalism of all solidarity – of direct action – it is these brothers and sisters who make the real meaningful history of our movement and provide its true direction.. And, when we meet these people, we recognise something special – something to respect and to model our own activism on. Jack Heyman, is such a comrade.

Dock workers, Longshoremen, Stevedores, dockers etc. have always shared in the reality of that internationalism. At the start of the Liverpool Dockworkers dispute in September 1995, under the leadership of Jimmy Nolan, the need for international support was clear. Liverpool dockworkers had a rich history of global direct action from the blockade and refusal to handle South African ships/cargoes to the boycott of Namibian Uranium Hexaflouride…..Our Irish comrades were amongst the first to join our struggle – then Jack Heyman, from ILWU Local 10 got involved….in a matter of weeks our struggle was on the international agenda of rank and file activists.

Jack Heyman was to use his undoubted intellect, energy and political instinct to provide the catalyst that witnessed the exceptional union of not only port workers but all workers in support of the Liverpool Dockers Struggle that lasted for over two years. But this was just one example of the generosity of spirit that comrades such as Jack display – for they are forever involved in every struggle from defending communities from police brutality to campaigning for those falsely imprisoned on death-row to lifelong struggles against racism and exploitation.

But then, like so many now and in the past, this opposition has a price to pay as the ‘iron heel’ seeks to crush and condemn all opposition; especially those that organise and lead it. But is also pays to be fearless in the face of ‘power’ – Comrades like Jack understand the philosophy that heaps so much misfortune on those often unable to fight against their oppressors – this is one lesson on solidarity not lost on the global activist.

So Jack Heyman retires from his work as a longshoreman in Oakland – Jack’s struggle against inequality and exploitation will inevitably continue like giant waves against rocks, unceasingly without end……

So now I hear that Jack Heyman can’t even retire without his pension rights being challenged….no irony there!!!

So now I salute my dear friend and comrade Jack Heyman, internationalist – trade union activist; as another chapter in the struggle opens…

Tiocfaidh ar la

Yours in Solidarity,

Mike Carden
Project Leader and dock worker for 25 years

Belle Vale Primary School
Besford Road
L25 2QF
Tel: 0151 233 1169

Mário Teixeira

Hi, Jack

Hope you’re well.

Thanks for notifying me about your retirement.

I know it is a right you have earned and must use.

On the other hand, I’m sure and I do hope - as does undoubtedly every dockworker in the World - that you remain active in the class struggle.

The best to you all,



President of FENCCOVIB (National Dockworker Federation)

Ron Kaminkow

Brother Jack:

Congratulations on receiving the resolution for a fine and distinguished service on behalf of the working class of the world.

Best wishes in your retirement!

In solidarity & struggle,

Ron Kaminkow
Railroad Workers United General Secretary 608-358-5771

National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba


DC Kaikan Bldg. , 2-8 Kaname-cho Chuo-ku
Chiba-City, Chiba-Pref. , 260-0017, Japan
Phone: 43-222-7207 Fax:43-224-7197

Dear Brother Jack Heyman,

We express, first of all, our deep admiration to your life and struggle for almost half a century as a boatman, a longshoreman and a devoted organizer of ILWU. Your achievement is really great.

We first met you in July 2004. When we conveyed to you our determination to create a new current of labor movement breaking down the wall of system-friendly labor movement, you instantly and resolutely responded to us,“Let’s break down together the wall confronting us with a hammer!”, as we clearly remember till now.

Almost seven years since then, you have enormously contributed to the promotion of friendship and strengthening of solidarity between Doro-Chiba and ILWU Local 10 and 34. We are extremely grateful for your efforts.

The most striking and encouraging of your struggle was the 2008 May Day Shutdown of all West Coast ports to demand the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a materialization of the resolution of the San Francisco Anti-war Labor Conference in October the previous year, through industrial action at the point of production, or workplace, and ignited solidarity action of Iraqi longshore workers. Your struggle proudly succeeded the historical tradition of ILWU,“Words and actions (must go together)” and has given us workers of the whole world a precious lesson.

As we have repeatedly called to your attention, the Japanese labor movement now faces a critical moment. System-friendly labor bosses of Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) are occupying central positions in the present Kan administration, spearheading its policy of extreme privatization, casualization and outsourcing, and making a desperate effort for a mobilization to war of aggression. To confront this grave situation, we made a first step forward for a creation of a new labor movement to fight back neo-liberal offesives with a slogan,“Don’t put out the fire of national railway struggle” in the big kickoff rally on June 13. Your rapid and strong endorsement for this grand movement has tremendously encouraged us all. We can’t find words to thank you.

We are firmly convinced that solidarity of Japanese, US and Korean workers occupies a pre-eminent position in our common struggle to take back the whole world into the hands of the working class. We ask you for your further close cooperation with us in strengthening solidarity between Doro-Chiba, ILWU Local 10 and 34.

Thank you once again for your great efforts till today, and we wish our friendship and solidarity may develop ever stronger from now on.

For the revival of class struggle labor movement!

Workers of the world, unite!

November 21, 2010

TANAKA Yasuhiro, president of Doro-Chiba

YAMAMOTO Hiroyuki, International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba

Donna Dewitt

Jack, this is a wonderful testament to your legacy. I know you look back in awe when you were always doing what you knew was the right thing.

Donna Dewitt
President of the South Carolina State AFL-CIO

Dave Hutsell, 3rd Mate, U. S. Merchant Marine officer; former seaman, member National Maritime Union (NMU) Militant-Solidarity Caucus

I met Jack at the 17th st. entrance to the NMU hall, right near 9th ave. , NYC with the rest of the Militant-Solidarity Caucus guys. they were campaigning against the Shannon Wall for President machine, an effort which would garner an amazing 10% of the vote for the Caucus, and in the process I would learn more than I had learned in 27 yrs of life about the class struggle.

That day there were about 5 Caucus guys there; Jack and Gene and Bill and Charlie and Chuck, maybe. anyway these five were, to me, the core of the group.

There were also some SL and SWP paper sellers there, and I was like a worm on a fish hook being nibbled on by all, plus being eyed by the union bureaucrat’s goons who were standing by guarding the door and hoping to use their saps on somebody.

I had just hitchhiked into town and was wanting to register and get on a ship to some romantic adventure that I knew was waiting out there for me.

After they told me what to do to register I headed inside and the goons immediately took hold of me. I mean literally, with their arms around my shoulders, telling me to stay away from those commies, and when we got to the office where big Nick Laforgia was(he was about 6’8“ and heavy, could have easily played in The Sopranos), they told him i’d been talking to the commies and he threw a pen and the form down in front of me. I signed and gave him the $37. 50 and got a group 3 card, then he got up with me and timed his walk to the door so he could shove me into the door jamb. there was nothing veiled about the message.

I ended up crashing on the floor at Bill Savery’s apt on Bleeker above the Mills Tavern (this was before Prince St. ) reading Labor’s Giant Step and the Farrell Dobbs Teamster trilogy, along with a lot of other Trot lit and of course “The Beacon“. and sooner or later I got taken to what later became known as the “Savery Building“, a reference that I reckon only a few can appreciate.

Jack impressed me mainly in three ways: his comprhensive understanding and analysis of the political situation, his courage in the face of threats and intimidation, and his oratorical skills. I was and am a coward, and tend to either sputter and spit or just cuss and rant. Jack has always been eloquent, sincere and forceful in his speaking, sometimes in the face of serious threatening and heckling and actual physical attack.

I lost touch with Jack for about 15 yrs, and it was heartening to find that after all that time he was doing the right thing and fighting the good fight.

You’re still an inspiration, Jack, and I know i’ll be able to count on you to keep on showing the way.


Kevin Robinson

Hi Jack,

I heard from Terry that you are thinking of retiring. I hope you and Carol have a great vacation (you deserve it). Can I say Jack a very big THANK YOU not only from myself and my family but the 500 Sacked Liverpool Dockers and their families for ALL what you helped to do for us in our 28 months fight. A good person and a committed Socialist like you NEVER retires, we just take a deep breath and start again, May I wish you Happy Holidays for you and your family.

All The Very Best,



Greg Dropkin

Dear Jack

Working with you has been a great pleasure, and long may it continue. The Nedlloyd Kimberley story was recounted at an Anti-Apartheid conference in the mid 1980’s, and it helped convince me to keep trying here. When we met in Liverpool in 1996, I had no idea you were part of that story, but of course you were part of every story in San Francisco. Well, almost. I might have taken different decisions in 1968 had I known comrades like you were out there. But in the end, the struggle is international and you confront it wherever you end up.

You took it to the limit with Liverpool and the ITF. That debate exposed what we were really up against, and what the alternative was.

If, some day, you find yourself with free time, try Simon Pirani’s book The Russian Revolution in Retreat, 1920 - 24. I think it’s excellent.

But let’s not get stuck on that...

a luta continua!

all the best


Laverne Bell

Jack as long as I knew you were around I felt safe on the waterfront. If any sneaky shit was going on I knew you would expose it. I know your time has come to retire and you're due a rest. But I'm scared of what lies ahead. This new generation of longshore men/ women is going to be in some serious trouble. The leadership is weakened by greed, and ignorance. I don't know what it's going to take. I know I could have done more, but my health just didnt permit. I hope I'm able in the future to do more. You're a warrior in every since of the word. On behalf of those who have come and gone,(Ashay) Thank you.

LaVerne Bell #9803
San Francisco woman longshore worker

Devin Hoff

Hey Jack-

Congratulations on the beautiful resolution. I know it's not why you do things, but it makes me glad that you are being acknowledged for some of all the great work you've done.

I hope retirement is a good thing and all for good reasons. And mainly I hope you enjoy your time regardless. I'm sure you won't rest on your laurels, but if anybody I've known has the right to it would be you.

Be well my friend and please keep in touch.

I'm proud to know you.



Devin Hoff
activist/jazz musician

see also: Jack Heyman: La Lucha Continua

Leonard Desmukes

Many years ago the membership and I witnessed a talk that you gave at IBU on a strike against a tug company in the bay. I asked the member next to me who are you...

Following you from IBU to Local 10, I have enjoyed every issue that you'd given careful thought before you spoke at the microphone. Some of the members listened very carefully, from the fight in South Africa to the gate at SSA, where you received an injury (from the police).

You are surely going to be missed by me and other longshore workers in our industry.

Leonard Desmukes
Walking Boss

Cephus Johnson


Thanks. You are an awesome man. Thank you for allowing me to know you and much appreciation to you for the work you have done over your years for the people.

Likewise, much Love and respect for your assistance with seeking justice for Oscar Grant, my nephew.

Love you. Your Brother forever.

aka uncle bobby

Ubuntu is an African word meaning 'Humanity to others', or 'I am what I am because of who we all are'.

Harold K Brown

Congrats Jack, What a great achievement! We know that those of us who work towards improving life on this planet rarely receive recognition.

The one thing that has and will always be with you is the “Respect“ that you have earned throughout the years. It sometimes seems that those of us who believe a mans word is his bond and the strongest contract in existence are now dinosaurs.

However, by example, it is passed on through generations. I am proud to have known and worked with you throughout the years.

If not for you, Clarence, Andre, and the many others of ILWU local 10 the San Francisco Bay Area would have missed many opportunities to stand for social justice and the growth and strength of labor.

My life has been enriched through the work we have done together and I know there will be more to come.

Best wishes, your brother forever

Harold Kenneth Brown!
former President, ATU Local 1555

Frances Goldin

What a wonderful tribute, and what a great life. and - it’s not over yet!

My respect and solidarity-

In struggle-

Frances Goldin
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s literary agent

Rachel Jackson

Congratulations on retiring from the job but not the struggle. It’s heartening to see your work laid out this way, including much I did not know, and it’s been a pleasure and honor to work with you even for relatively a short time organizing the Justice for Oscar Grant rally.

Looking forward to more struggles & more victories in the future.

Rachel Jackson
Oakland community activist

Bob Mandel

Let us fervently hope that someone among the younger longshoremen/ women will pick up the torch with the traditions you have taught and almost single-handedly kept alive.

In comradeship,

Bob Mandel
Executive Board, Oakland teachers’ union

Jahahara Alkebulan-Ma’at

CONGRATS Bro Jack!!!

Greetings Brother Jack:

CONGRATULATIONS!!! So happy that you have put in your time as a worker; and will not be sharing your great wisdom and experience as a elder leader and writer. Though you are retiring, WE know that youlan will remain in connection with our justice, community and labor movements that you’ve helped to build. Please keep in touch. . . and WE shall do the same.

Always, your Brother,

Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan Ma’at and Chioke Bakari
Oakland community activist

AL Rojas

Congratulations!Your journey just begins! Your organizing now must be passed on to our young people.

Un abrazo

AL Rojas
Sacramento Labor Council for Latin American Advancement - AFL-CIO

David Solnit

Thanks for sharing this well deserved commendation Jack-- and for being an uncompromising inspiration!!!

with respect, appreciation and rebellion,

David Solnit
a Direct Action organizer for the Seattle 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations

Fred Hirsch

Congratulations! Outstanding!

You are an exemplar of working class principled militancy.

In solidarity,

veteran trade union activist and defender of Paul Robeson

Douglas Minkler


Congratulations on receiving the well deserved recognition. You are definitely all that the labor council says and then quite a bit more. Some one, maybe yourself will write about the outside of the rule book bare knuckle fighting that went on during those past years.

Looking forward to working with you on future projects.

California poster artist


Currently I am organizing 30+ artists to adress the US Mexico Apartheid Wall for a traveling exhibit. I’ll try and keep you informed of the specifics.

Jack Hirschman

from harry [Bridges], caro jack [Kerouac], you’ve carried on in the class struggle in the strongest and deepest ways and deserve all those words, certainly and with many nazdrovyahs as we raise our glasses and drink to you, comrade.

Que Viva Jack Heyman!!!


Jack Hirschman
former poet-laureate of San Francisco

Sándor John

It was 1972 or early ’73 when I first met Jack Heyman. He was an organizer of a group in the National Maritime Union called the Militant-Solidarity Caucus. As a high-school student active in protests against the Vietnam war, I was drawn to the call for labor strikes against the war and eager to learn what it meant to build a class-struggle opposition in the unions. This was a far cry from most of what one heard in those days, or since. It had everything to do with the idea that the working class should, and could, take over the world.

A lot of water passed under the bridge over the following decades. But despite what some tried to proclaim, the class struggle continued. So did Jack’s efforts to make militant solidarity a reality for workers here and internationally. A lot of people gave up, or made their peace with this intolerable system. He never did.

So thirty-six years later, whatever else his friends or opponents said about him, there was no denying that Jack became a part of labor history by carrying out the crucial organizing efforts for the May Day 2008 longshore strike against new imperialist wars, this time against Iraq and Afghanistan. To do this went against the tired wisdom of all who said it couldn’t be done, and the last-minute efforts of those who wanted to tame this act of working-class power and defiance -- or make it less unacceptable to the servants of capital who operate under the Democratic rather than the Republican brand name.

In my classes on labor history, I teach the 2008 strike not just as a labor history milestone but an example of what can be done today. That crucial first step must be extended and deepened through key sectors of labor as part of the fight to defeat imperialist wars and the capitalist system that breeds them. Jack Heyman’s ability to do what he did and to keep on fighting has a lot to do with the fact that he has remained loyal to the ideals of his youth.

Sándor John
member, Class Struggle Education Workers, City University of New York
author, Bolivia’s Radical Tradition: Permanent Revolution in the Andes

Chris Kinder

The labor movement in the Bay Area, and indeed the working class in the US and the World, has benefitted from the contributions of Jack Heyman to the struggle.

A tireless fighter, and a committed partisan for class struggle principles, Jack has left a positive mark on the struggles against apartheid in South Africa, against the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and against the union busting directed against dockers and other unions around the globe. He has fought as well for the rights of oppressed immigrant workers in the US, in support of the victims of the Israeli boycott of Gaza, for the freedom of innocent political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, and to honor victims of racist police murder such as the Bay Area’s own Oscar Grant.

Often against seemingly impossible odds both within and without the union, Jack has upheld the best principles of the founding struggles of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union — international workers’ solidarity, and an injury to one is an injury to all.

I’m sure I speak for the many dedicated activists here in Oakland California and around the world who have known Jack and appreciated his efforts when I say, Jack, thanks for all your great work, and good fortune in your many years to come.

Chris Kinder
Oakland resident, revolutionary socialist, and coordinator of the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Larry Lawrence, Chairman, The John Brown Society

Statement of tribute

The John Brown Society is pleased to recognize the contributions of Jack Heyman to the cause of justice for the international working class upon the occasion of his retirement from the docks in California. Jack is a valued member of the Board of Advisors of The John Brown Society. He brings a lifetime of involvement in the effort to oppose racial injustice in the United States to our campaign to preserve the history of the 19th century anti-slavery movement. Past and present flow together in the life of Jack Heyman. He cherishes the history of the struggle for justice for the poor, as well as continuing to feel the urgent need to involve himself in the class struggles of the present.

I know he will be active in many battles to come. Congratulations old friend on reaching this milestone in your life. Forward to future victories.

Workers Of The World, Unite!

Larry Lawrence
Chairman, The John Brown Society

Bryan Palmer, author

. . . I wanted to congratulate you on all that you’ve done, the great accomplishments, and the spirited and principled way in which you’ve negotiated the complexities of class struggle in the trade union movement. You’ve been a great example, and done much that you can be proud of and that all of us interested in digging capitalism’s grave can be thankful for.

Bryan Palmer, author of “James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928”, the first volume of a new biography of the pioneer American communist and later the founder and leader of the American Trotskyist movement

Eddie Gutierrez, ILWU Local 34, San Francisco

The only way I would miss this party is if Harry Bridges came back from the sea, and wanted to have a disscussion on the current conditions of the waterfront. Jack, what a legacy you are leaving behind, a legacy I am sure will not be matched for a long time.....amigos por vida

Jerry Lawrence, ILWU Local 8, Portland

Hell-o Jack we in the pacific northwest enjoyed your union ways, you inspired the African American Longshore Coalition [A.A.L.C.] and showed us this union is our union it is what we make it THANK YOU JACK

Debby Stringfellow, ILWU Local 8, Portland

Jack...sorry we can not be there in person.... But we (The African American Longshore Coalition) are with you in Spirit. So now is your time to LIVE and that, you have been doing. A true Activist, Brother and Friend. I remember when I first met you, the meetings and Rallies, we all seem to run in the same circles fighting the same injustices. And I know we will all gather together again....It is what we do. Retirement is not the right wording....I believe a rite To LIFE & FREEDOM better suites, So Jack, enjoy your celebration into a Great Life of Freedom!