John M. Bowers, who served as the international president of the International Longshoremen's Association from 1987 to 2007, died Aug. 21 at the age of 88.
Bowers was the seventh president in the ILA's 114-year history. He had previously served as ILA executive vice president for 24 years. He was widely recognized for negotiating exceptional benefits for ILA dock workers and bringing stability to dockside segments of the cargo shipping industry.
Bowers held elected positions as a vice president and executive board member of the AFL-CIO, where he assisted on Labor Federation's International Affairs Committee and Health and Safety Committee. He was also a vice president on the executive boards of the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department and Maritime Trades Department.
Bowers was serving in elective office at the time of his death as president of ILA Local 824, his home local in Manhattan.
The ILA, first organized along the Great Lakes region in 1892, today represents workers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada. The International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots; the United Marine Division Tugboat Workers; and Supreme Court Officers' Association are affiliated with the ILA.