“An injury to one is an injury to all!” The International Longshore and Warehouse Union shut down twenty nine West Coast seaboard ports for eight hours on Friday, June 19, 2020, in honor of Juneteenth; the date in 1865 when slaves in Texas were belatedly proclaimed free. It was the largest work stoppage the nations most powerful unions has undertaken in a decade.
Protestors gathered at the Port of Oakland and marched to City Hall, followed by a mile long car caravan. Speakers, including Angela Davis, emphasized the power of organized labor. Gabriel Prawl, past president ILWU Local 52 described it as “a historic action…the first time organized labor has taken an action to stop work on Juneteenth.”
“There’s a difference between a movement and a moment. A moment means we do something for a day and it’s over. A movement requires sacrifice, and that’s what we’re doing as longshoremen. We’re sacrificing our day’s wages to make this happen!”
The Fathers Among Us…
Ernest Hamilton Tascoe, Jr. -at age 40 -was a handsome, responsible HVAC engineer and mechanic, recruited from the state of Louisiana by the San Francisco Naval Shipyard in 1952 and assigned to the prestigious United States Naval Radiological Defense Laboratories (NRDL) main headquarters in Building 815. Tascoe remained there for the duration of his career until the closure of NRDL operations in 1968.
Tascoe was a trusted NRDL engineer and mechanic charged with maintenance of appliances necessary to preserve the safety and integrity of the environment for researchers and lab animals. He completed 20 years of civilian service with the Navy and ultimately died of mesothelioma caused by occupational exposure to asbestos and toxic air contaminants. As evidence of the remarkable degree of trust invested in him is the fact that Tascoe kept in his possession floor plans for Building 815 -the most guarded building on the Naval Base!
Hunters Point Rad Labs references interviews with NRDL era shipyard workers who report activities conducted in Building 815 were Top Secret and include the report of a driver who sat outside Building 815 for hours waiting for a high level passenger to emerge from a meeting.
Tascoe’s daughter, Ramona Tascoe, MD, recalls childhood memories of journeys by car with her father, mother and siblings through the segregated south to Louisiana and his death from a recurrent lung cancer caused by exposure to air contaminants known to be present in HVAC, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
“The paper’s future is unwritten…”
“People need to be paid!” Those are the words of Willie Ratcliff who immigrated from Liberty Texas in the 1950’s and worked as an NRDL era shipyard laborer for 99 cents an hour before establishing Liberty Builders.
In 1991, Willie and Mary Ratcliff founded the SF Bayview newspaper. Faced with advanced age and declining revenues due to the outmigration of the cities African American population, the Ratcliffs publish the online edition and a monthly print newspaper as a “labor of love”.
On September 24, 2018 The San Francisco Bay View Newspaper was recognized as a Legacy Business by the San Francisco Historical Preservation and Small Business Commission — a status conferred upon enterprises with more than 30 years of community service.
The human breast is one of the most sensitive tissues to radiation. Mary Ratcliff is awaiting the results of a UCSF Mission Bay work up of a breast mass that is most likely a breast cancer caused by exposure to radiation documented to be present at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard… and in her urine tox screen.
Mary and Willie desperately need your help to keep going! If you can assist with editing, production, publication and financing of the SF Bayview please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.