Waterfront employers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union agreed to close down the Port of Oakland during the day shift on Tuesday to avoid any potential disruptions by the Occupy movement and May Day demonstrators in the Bay area.
The ILWU contract allows union locals at West Coast ports to have one “stop-work” meeting each month to discuss union matters. The ILWU in Oakland normally has its stop-work meeting during an evening shift when cargo-handling activities are lightest.
Jim McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, said the union had a stop-work meeting planned for this week. However, due to reports that the Occupy movement and other activist groups planned to hold demonstrations Tuesday in Oakland and in San Francisco, the employers’ group agreed with the ILWU it would be prudent to move the stop-work meeting to the day shift on Tuesday, McKenna said.
Also on Tuesday, the Inland Boatmen’s Union, an ILWU affiliate, struck the Bay Area ferry operators that operate passenger ferries between San Francisco and Marin County. The IBU is in contract negotiations with the ferry operators.
The IBU does not handle cargo, nor does it work at the Port of Oakland. However, with the stop-work meeting approved, any ILWU dock workers that wished to picket with the IBU demonstrators were free to do so.
The Occupy Movement and May Day protesters were busy Tuesday in San Francisco and Oakland holding rallies and engaging in demonstrations. Some demonstrators were arrested. The demonstrators did not target the Port of Oakland, McKenna said.
Nevertheless, given the past performance of the Occupy protestors in targeting the port, employers agreed it would be best if the port did not work during the day shift on Tuesday, he said.
Tuesdays are normally slow days at the Port of Oakland anyway, he said. Cargo-handling was scheduled to resume on the evening shift Tuesday, McKenna said.