ILWU certifies election of Adams as president

    The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)  said that William “Willie” Adams had been elected president in the union’s first contested election in 18 years. Adams, who had been the union’s secretary-treasurer since 2003, is the first African-American to head the union. He also is a vice president of San Francisco’s Port Commission.
   Adams succeeds Robert McEllrath, who retired after serving 12 years as president.
   “Our team intends to carry forward the ILWU’s progressive tradition into the 21st century, said Adams, who worked as a longshoreman in Tacoma, Wash., before moving to San Francisco.
   The ILWU has about 50,000 members who work in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Canada, Hawaii and Panama.
   Adams defeated Ray Familathe, the current vice president (mainland).,  
   Succeeding Familathe as vice president (mainland) is Robert “Bobby” Olvera Jr., a former president of Local 13 in Los Angeles.
   Wesley Furtado was re-elected vice president (Hawaii) and Ed Ferris was elected secretary-treasurer. Also elected were incumbent coast committeemen Frank Ponce De Leon and Cam Williams.
   Brown and the other officers were sworn in Monday and will serve three-year terms.
   Ballots were mailed to ILWU members on July 23 and were due back on Sept. 6. Counting of ballots began that morning and continued until shortly before midnight.
    On Sept. 10, a report on the vote count was issued by the International Balloting Committee, and word leaked out Adams had been elected. However, there were nine challenges to the results from members and candidates, which led to a review process. Final certification of the vote by the ILWU International Executive Board came Monday.