View Full Version : Dockworker walkout anti-war protest shuts down Ports on West Coast

05-01-2008, 04:31 PM
I doubt you will see this on national corporate news

Dockworker Walkout Shuts Down Port Of Oakland
1 May 08

OAKLAND, Calif. --
West Coast cargo traffic came to a halt Thursday as port workers staged daylong anti-war protests to commemorate May Day, terminal operators said Thursday.

Thousands of dockworkers did not show up for the morning shift, leaving ships and truck drivers idle at ports from Long Beach to Seattle, Pacific Maritime Association spokesman Steve Getzug said.

Workers were expected to return for the start of the evening shift, he said.

"There's no work happening so that means there's no cargo being unloaded and certainly being loaded either," Getzug said.

Getzug could not immediately say how much the walkout would cost employers or how many dockworkers failed to show up to work.

The West Coast ports are the nation's principal gateway for cargo container traffic from the Far East. In a typical day shift, about 10,000 cargo containers are loaded and unloaded from ships coastwide, Getzug said.

Longshore workers handle everything from operating cranes at port marine terminals to clerical work like coordinating truck cargo deliveries.

A total of about 25,000 of them work at 29 ports in California, Oregon and Washington. About 6,000 were working the day shift last Thursday, handling cargo from 30 ships coastwide, Getzug said.

Trucker James Laudermill, 48, spent the morning washing his truck and fueling up on diesel at a truck wash in the Los Angeles suburb of Wilmington after he was turned away at the nearby Port of Long Beach.

"I was trying to pick up a load this morning, and I was at the speaker and suddenly security came out and run us all out," he said, adding he would lose about $400 because of the walkout. "We've got work, but everything is on hold until tonight. That's a whole day of no work."

J. Craig Shearman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation, said shippers and exporters expected no significant, long-term disruptions from the walkout.

"This is something that happens every year," Shearman said. "Shippers and exporters know about it and plan around it, and we don't expect to see any significant disruptions from it."

Shearman said many longshore workers on the West Coast took the day off last year to participate in immigration rallies.

In a statement Thursday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union defended its members' right to take off work to protest the U.S. war in Iraq.

"Big foreign corporations that control global shipping aren't loyal or accountable to any country," said Bob McEllrath, the ILWU's international president. "But longshore workers are different. We're loyal to America, and we won't stand by while our country, our troops, and our economy are destroyed by a war."

Port of Oakland officials said the absence of dockworkers had halted the movement of cargo on and off ships.

"There's insufficient labor at the marine terminals for the regular cargo operations to be conducted, so there won't be any loading or offloading of cargo today," said Port of Oakland spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur.

Outside, protesters walked picket lines to convince truckers to take part in the work action. The truckers were not being blocked from entering the facilities.

Union members voted during a caucus in February to take May 1 off to protest the war. Employers raised objections with an arbitrator, who ruled last week that such a unilateral work stoppage would violate terms of the longshore workers' contract.

Despite that decision, word continued to spread on the Internet in recent days of a May 1 walkout by longshore workers.

Employers went back to the arbitrator on Wednesday, armed with accounts of dockworkers at ports in Oakland, Seattle and elsewhere telling supervisors they would not be showing up to work.

Arbitrator John Kagel ruled again in favor of the employers and ordered the union to tell members to show up for work.

Getzug declined to speculate how the walkout might affect ongoing labor contract talks, which began in March. The current six-year contract expires on July 1.

The union has maintained its members' decision to walk off the job was not related to the labor talks.

In 2002, longshore workers across the West Coast were locked out for 10 days over a contract dispute. The shutdown cost the nation's economy an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion a day.http://www.ktvu.com/news/16106268/detail.html?rss=fran&psp=news

At least someone is making some kind of stand & statement against madness.

05-01-2008, 04:46 PM
Wow, I'm just outside the Bay Area and I haven't heard this even on the local news.

We need more general strikes--right now they're treating this less like a statement and more like a commemorative tradition. If you want to see results, you have to escalate to substantial proportions.

05-01-2008, 06:20 PM
War protests ...hooah!!!!.....

What are they good for ....hooah!!!!.....

Absolutey nothin !!!


and they accomplish nothing either....except to motivate our enemies to attacks us again

05-01-2008, 07:26 PM
Only $2 billion dollars, for what amounts to nothing more than free press on the web boards. Hmmm, I wonder if it was worth it, to all the guys like in the article who lost $400. In another article it said 100 trucks transporting fruit to markets were stuck there. So they put everybody in the region a day behind in everything.

Sounds like they just wasted $2 billion dollars and gained thousands of angry store owners, just to make a statement.

05-03-2008, 12:51 PM
Hard to get equitable coverage with all the corporate owned news outlets.

Of course more & more people are turning to the internet for news, because they have experienced just how limited & twisted the corporate broadcast news is.