A Palestinian group that has called for boycotts against Israeli vessels at various ports around the world signaled its intention to picket ships at U.S. ports as well.
The Labor/Community Committee in Solidarity with the People of Palestine picketed a Zim Integrated Shipping Services container vessel June 20 at the Port of Oakland, calling the action a response to Israel's attack last month on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in which nine activists were killed.
The activists began demonstrating at the Port of Oakland at 5:30 a.m. although the Zim vessel had not yet arrived at berth, said Jim McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association. The PMA negotiates and manages contractual relations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at West Coast ports.
Sundays are normally slow days at the port, but the longshoremen who showed up to work refused to cross the picket line. The joint ILWU-PMA arbitrator ruled that the action did not constitute a bona fide picket, but he nevertheless allowed the longshoremen to refrain from crossing the line for health and safety reasons, McKenna said
The Zim vessel berthed later that day and the longshoremen worked the vessel on June 21 without incident, McKenna said.
The Palestinian group has also picketed vessels calling at ports in Sweden, South Africa and Malaysia.
-- Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com.