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Policy Making in the ILWU

ILWU is Based on Democracy

No other union or organization has the same degree of democracy that you will see in the ILWU. The highest authority in the Union is the membership, and all ILWU structures and officials are accountable to the membership. This commitment to democratic, rank and file control of the Union has deep roots in our union and is written into the Constitution and Bylaws of ILWU Local 142.

The source of all decisions and policies is the membership themselves. Every three years the membership elects delegates to the International and Local Conventions. These Conventions then act for the membership as a whole and are the highest policy-making bodies.

The Constitution is the basic law of the ILWU. It sets forth the principles and objectives of the Union as well as an open and democratic structure that ensures control by the membership. Although the principles have not changed, details have been refined and updated at each convention. The Constitution sets the dues, describes the duties of all officers, provides safeguards against the abuse by officers, defines the structure of the union, and defines how policies are made.

The Hierarchy of Policy Making in ILWU Local 142

Local 142 Membership – ILWU Membership elect delegates from each Unit to represent them at the Local and International Convention.

Local Convention – Delegates set Union policy for the three years between meetings of the Convention.

Local Executive Board (LEB) – Elected Local Officers and Board Members act on Union affairs between Conventions.

Local Officers act on Union affairs between meetings of the LEB. Directs the Local staff and Local programs.

Board Of Trustees reviews the Local’s finances and spending. They make reports to the LEB.

Local Executive Committee acts on requests for arbitrations.

Division Executive Board (DEB) acts on affairs of the Union in that Division. The DEB acts as an advisory board to the Full-Time Officers of the Division.

Division Full-Time Officers (FTO) meet regularly to carry out the work of the Division.

Unit Executive Board (UEB) acts on affairs of the Union at the Unit level and coordinates Unit programs.

Unit Membership reviews and acts on recommendations of the Union.

Policy Making in the ILWU