A second major labor group announced its opposition Friday to plans by the Occupy movement to shut down the port on Monday.
Alameda County Building and Constructions Trades Council, which represents unions whose workers are employed by companies serving the Port of Oakland, joined the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in rejecting calls by protesters to have organized labor’s support in blocking work at the ports on Dec. 12.
The council’s move widens the division between labor groups and an Occupy movement that claims to speak for the principles and goals of union workers. The announced effort to shut down ports up and down the U.S. West Coast would be the most ambitious effort yet by a protest that began in New York as Occupy Wall Street.
“Unions affiliated with this council represent hundreds of workers who are working and have worked at the Port of Oakland. Not one of these unions has endorsed the call to shut down the port,” the San Francisco Bay-area trades council stated Friday.
The Occupy movements at West Coast ports from Seattle to San Diego have called for demonstrations and a shutdown of all West Coast ports on Monday. As with the Occupy Wall Street movement, the West Coast movements are attempting to draw attention to disparity of wealth in the country, and related issues.
The Alameda County council noted its affiliate unions have already called for an end to the greed on Wall Street and an end to home foreclosures by banks. Council affiliates also supported students calling for affordable education, and they have supported teachers fighting to save their jobs and keep schools from closing.
“However, the call to shut down operations at the Port of Oakland, where many of our unemployed workers and newly-indentured apprentices have recently been able to get back to work, makes no sense,” the council said.
The ILWU has urged its members not to support the port shutdown. Union officers said the ILWU was not consulted by the Occupy movement, and they said the movement is attempting to circumvent the ILWU’s democratic process of voting for job actions.
The building trades council had a similar message for the Occupy movement. “Any effort that adversely affects the jobs and livelihood of the port’s workers – without considering the voice and sentiment of the workers and their unions – is wrong,” the council said.