SHOW DOWN AT THE PORT OF OAKLAND

Last night for the first time, since my friend who has worked on the port for at least 25 years, the company(s) cut ALL night time shifts from the schedule…indefinitely! This is truly unprecedented, and it’s adding to growing chaos and everyone’s nervousness. Up and down the coast, workers have been increasing in slowing down the unloading of cargo. This has recently transpired in companies cutting shifts as a form of punishment, and now there are even talks of Federal intervention. Several articles and opeds in the SF Chron and other publications, have come out over the past several days talking about all of this.

All the while the ships at sea are backing up, waiting to be unloaded. Meanwhile the situation of workers slowing down in protest, has caused companies to retaliate by cutting hours, thus further delaying the unloading of cargo, cutting even more into their profits- ultimately punishing themselves! Of those most adversely impacted are the truckers who have had double and triple delay times, which were already intolerable to begin with.

ContainerYard-1992x753

The main issue seems to be that there is still no contract, and there is no end in sight as to if or when their will be any progress made. Making matters worse is that workers have absolutely no idea or details whatsoever, about anything such as what the issues are or what is being negotiated, creating growing distrust of management.

This complicated show down is causing tension, uncertainty and anxiety for all involved. Of course everyone’s concerns are for different reasons, depending on their interests. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems no one is in charge and that this chaos is due to no clear strategy by union management, employers or government officials to come up with real and lasting solutions.

As community activists, we should consider reaching out to workers and support the rank and files efforts to slow down and take a stand; as it seems possible the time is coming for a legendary ILWU fightback.
ilwu
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