Friday, July 12, 2013

Oakland Longshore Workers Picket Terminals

A few dozen longshore workers picketed the APL and SSA Marine terminals at the Port of Oakland the morning of July 9 to protest a potential shift in terminal management that dockworkers say could lead to a reduction in union jobs.

The protest by members of International Longshore & Warehouse Union locals 10 and 91 was conducted between about 7:30 and 9:30 am before an arbitrator ruled the demonstration was unlawful and ordered it to cease.

But while the picket was in progress, it led to trucks being blocked from delivering shipments, and some ships from being unloaded at berths 57-59, located along Middle Harbor Road.

The protest is related to a lease agreement approved July 5 by Oakland’s Board of Harbor Commissioners. Under the agreement, stevedoring company SSA Marine can take over APL’s Global Gateway Central Terminal (GGCT) at berths 60-63.

APL, the largest container carrier in Oakland, is moving its operations in Oakland from GGCT to the adjacent Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) at berths 57-59. The OICT, which is already operated by SSA Marine, is the busiest terminal in the port; about 15 carriers use the facility.

The ILWU contends that the lease agreement will lead to fewer jobs for its members. But despite that contention, ILWU Local 10 President Mike Villeggiante said there are no current plans to resume protesting at a later date.