Prospects for an organized shutdown of the Port of Oakland appeared remote Wednesday after International Longshore and Warehouse Union locals in Northern California didn’t direct longshoremen to join a strike in support of the local protests joining the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The ILWU locals annunced their support for the proposed Oakland general strike. The likely scenario is that terminal operators at the Port of Oakland will call for labor on Wednesday, and any dock workers that do not report to the dispatch hall will choose to do so individually.
The Alameda Labor Council passed a resolution in support of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland movements, which have been underway for several weeks. The council, which represents organized labor in San Francisco’s East Bay, has called for a general strike of all unions on Wednesday.
While some longshoremen and retirees are calling on the ILWU to join the general strike, the ILWU locals in the Bay Area on Monday released a statement indicating official ILWU action would require a vote by the membership.
“As a democratic rank and file union, the ILWU cannot take a position on the call for a general strike without the vote of our membership.” The ILWU headquarters in San Francisco said it does not know of any action to schedule a vote.
If the ILWU international or locals officially endorsed a job action, employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, would most likely challenge the action as an illegal secondary boycott.
PMA President Jim McKenna said the employers’ organization will take the appropriate steps to safeguard terminal operations on Wednesday. Shutting down the entire port would require the participation of hundreds of demonstrators, McKenna said.
Any actions at the port reportedly would be taken on the night shift, and nighttime vessel activity at the Port of Oakland is normally slow in midweek.