New Port Commission President – San Francisco
Commissioner Willie Adams was appointed to the Port Commission by Mayor Edwin M. Lee and confirmed by the Board of Supervisors in July 2012. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Adams served on the San Francisco Film Commission beginning 2009. He served as Vice President of the Port Commission in 2014 and 2015. He is the current President of the Port Commission.
Mr. Adams is the International Secretary-Treasurer of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) in San Francisco where he has resided since 2003. He has a long and proud history with the ILWU. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Adams moved to Tacoma, Washington in 1978 where he worked on the docks as a longshoreman for 24 years. In 1998 he was elected by co-workers to serve on their local union Executive Board, and then chosen in 2000 to serve on the union’s International Executive Board. Mr. Adams was also elected to serve as one of three Trustees who oversee the ILWU’s finances.
In addition to his fiscal and legislative responsibilities, Mr. Adams has been a passionate cultural advocate. He produced the “Celebrations of Black History and Labor” programs in Tacoma in 1991, 1992 and 1993, and again in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. The events featured leading cultural and political figures including Danny Glover, Paul Robeson, Jr., Yolanda King (Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter), hip-hop icon Chuck D, and Betty Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X). The programs received national attention and critical acclaim.
Mr. Adams is also executive producer of several documentary films, including one exploring the life of African American writer Langston Hughes, “Hughes’ Dream Harlem,” and “The Black Composers,” which tells the story of African American film score composers. Mr. Adams is currently involved with a full-length dramatic film exploring the life of labor leader Harry Bridges.
In 2003, ILWU members elected Mr. Adams to serve as their International Secretary-Treasurer at the union headquarters in San Francisco, where he has responsibility for the organization’s finances, oversees the union’s political action work, and represents the union at international functions. Mr. Adams has represented the ILWU during visits with workers in South Africa, Australia, Spain, Cuba, Vietnam and China. In addition to his union duties, he serves on the Board of TransAfrica, where he works closely with Board Chairman Danny Glover and Board member Harry Belafonte.
Commissioner Adams’ term expires in May 2018.