Friday, November 21, 2014

Longshoreman’s Death Halts Work
at Bay Area Ports

By Mark Edward Nero

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union conducted a 24-hour work stoppage at all seaports in Northern California’s Bay Area on Nov. 20 as a result of the death of a worker at the Port of Benicia.

Longshoreman Thomas Hoover, 57, died the night of Nov. 19 while working at a port terminal. The cause of death is still under investigation, but according to the Solano County coroner’s office, Hoover was found unresponsive and may have suffered from an asthma attack that led to cardiac arrest.

As a result of the incident, the ILWU conducted a 24-hour “safety stand down” at other area ports, including the Port of Oakland, the day after Hoover’s death, according to union spokesman Craig Merrilees.

In the past, ILWU locals in the Bay Area have typically conducted daylong work stoppages in the event of deaths of members while on the job.

The stand down meant that the loading and unloading of cargo vessels was suspended for a day and that no drayage truck traffic moved in or out of the Port of Oakland. In addition to Oakland, work stoppages were also conducted the ports of Benicia, Redwood City and San Francisco.

Military and passenger ships weren’t affected however, Merrilees said.

Full operations resumed at the Port of Oakland and elsewhere beginning at 7 am on Fri., Nov. 21.