"To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
PLEASE SELECT FROM THE TWO FUNDING OPTIONS BELOW:
Donate to the Herb Mills Legacy Project
HERB MILLS OBITUARY
Herb Mills, long-time leader in Local 10 of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), and PhD in political science from the University of California (Irvine) died of natural causes at Kaiser Hospital San Leandro on August 7, 2018. He was 87.
Mills was born in October, 1930, and grew up in Dearborn, Michigan. He was the descendant of early American settlers.
Mills worked in the Ford River Rouge plant in Michigan where he learned about labor unions and decided to go to college. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Michigan and earned a PhD in political science at the University of California, Irvine.
While at Berkeley, Mills became active in SLATE, the student movement organization there, and served as picket captain for the Student ACLU picket line at the 1960 demonstrations against the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) at San Francisco’s City Hall. He traveled the country in 1960 and 1961 as a spokesman for the protest.
In 1963, Mills dropped out of graduate school to become a San Francisco Bay Area Longshoreman. He soon became active in ILWU, moving from shop steward to chairman of the stewards’ council to business agent and, finally, to secretary-treasurer of Local 10.
During his time as a union officer, he was the key leader in ILWU’s refusal to ship military cargo to post-coup d’etat Chile, winning support from 175 members of the House of Representatives and a final decision by the Carter Administration to cancel the shipment. A similar effort stopped military cargo from going to the El Salvador military junta.
When the military government of South Korea announced plans to execute democracy movement leader Kim Dae Jung, Mills took the lead in getting ILWU to threaten a Pacific Basin refusal by longshoremen to unload South Korean ships. It stopped the execution. Seventeen years later, when Kim was elected South Korea’s president, Mills and ILWU President Bryan McWilliams were invited to his inauguration as honored guests.
He led efforts to tie the assassination of two young Filipino officials of Seattle ILWU Local 37 to the Ferdinand Marcos’ regime. As a result of this work, their heirs filed a wrongful death suit against Marcos’ widow Imelda Marcos and received a $2 million judgment.
Mills took injury-related retirement in 1990. Of his work and union he said, “Thank God for the union.” He wrote numerous articles and papers about longshore work and the ILWU, completed an oral history, and wrote an unpublished novel titled “Presente”. Many of his monographs and articles can be found at: http://www.ilwu10hmills.com. In January, 2018 Local 10 presented him with a lifetime achievement award.
He had a great love of nature, and regularly took his children fishing, hiking and camping.
Quotations from him and personal items are featured in the Transportation exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and in the entrance hall to the San Francisco Exploratorium.
Mills is survived by his three children, Sarah, who lives in Berkeley, CA, Lydia and her husband Jorge, who live in Santiago, Chile, and Jon and his wife Debra, who live in Monterey, CA, and five grandchildren, Jazmín, Violeta, Víctor, Kai and Michael; by Rebecca Mills, mother of Sarah and Lydia, and; by Deanne Burke, mother of Jon.
Contributions to honor his memory and make his writing more widely accessible may be made to the Herb Mills Legacy Project at: http://www.organizetrainingcenter.org/donate.html, or by check to HMLP; 442 Vicksburg Street; San Francisco, CA 94114; or to the World Wildlife Fund at https://www.worldwildlife.org.