The Occupy movement, which has staged sit-ins at cities across the US, says it is now planning to stage a Dec. 12 shutdown of all West Coast seaports.
“We’re shutting down these ports because of the union busting and attacks on the working class by the one percent: the firing of port truckers organizing at SSA terminals in LA; the attempt to rupture (International Longshore and Warehouse) union jurisdiction in Longview, Washington,” the protesters said in a statement released Nov. 28.
The ILWU, however, says no decision has been made regarding whether to support such an action.
ILWU President Robert McEllrath said although the union shares the Occupiers’ concerns and agrees with its overall message, no vote has been taken by the unions’ membership on whether to support the proposed shutdown, which would begin at 5 a.m. at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and other West Coast port cities.
The Occupy movement has accused the union of backing off its previously-expressed support.
“President McEllrath on Oct. 5 publicized his ‘solidarity with Occupy Wall Street’ statement. But now the ILWU International officers are contradicting themselves,” reads a statement that was sent to port workers by the Occupy movement. “ILWU is bottom up, not top down. Occupy’s enemies … are ILWU’s enemies, too.”
On Nov. 2, the Occupy movement was successful in shutting down nighttime operations at the Port of Oakland for a few hours when a crowd estimated at over 4,000 walked from the city’s business district to the port.