More labor opposes Occupy’s port blockade

Another major local labor organization is decidedly not on board with Occupy Oakland’s effort to shut down the Port of Oakland this Monday as part of a coordinated action against all West Coast ports.

The Alameda County Building and Constructions Trades Council said today it can neither endorse nor support the move.

“Many affiliates of this Council joined actions calling for an end to greed on Wall Street, an end to home foreclosures by banks, supported students fighting for affordable education and teachers fighting for jobs and to keep schools from closing,” the council’s news release said. “Our unions have raised our voices and taken to the street to denounce the growing disparity between the 1 percent wealthy elite and the 99 percent of workers and the poor. We have called for good jobs and programs to put the unemployed to work so workers can be restored to a place of dignity and respect.”

“However, the call to shut down operations at the port of Oakland, where many of our unemployed workers and newly indentured apprentices have recently been able to get back to work, makes no sense,” the news release said. “Unions affiliated with this council represent hundreds of workers who are working and have worked at the port of Oakland. Not one of these unions has endorsed the call to shut down the port. Any effort that adversely affects the jobs and livelihood of the port’s workers – without considering the voice and sentiment of the workers and their unions – is wrong.”

The Chronicle’s Andrew Ross reported yesterday that the longshoremen’s union isn’t cool with this, either.

UPDATE @ 12:04 P.M.: Though certainly not a labor group, the Bay Area Council – a public-policy group representing the region’s largest employers, and generally signfiicantly more progressive on many issues than most chambers of commerce – also has just issued a statement opposing the port blockade:

“The Grinch couldn’t have devised a more misguided and misdirected scheme for stealing the livelihood of thousands of blue-collar workers than the plan by the Occupy protesters to shut down the Port of Oakland. We respect the deep sense of anger and frustration that the Occupy protesters feel about our current economic problems, but punishing the hard-working men and women who rely on the port for their livelihood is not the answer. The port is one of Northern California’s largest economic engines and one its largest employers, and shutting it down not only weakens its ability to compete with other port facilities but denies the city and county important tax revenues that pay for a wide range of vital public services.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Do you have to be stupid to participate in the occupy follies, or is it just a big plus?

  • John W

    If this were a few decades earlier, the Longshoreman would respond to the “shut down the port” Occupy folks with something more robust than a “please don’t” statement to the media.

  • Elwood

    @ #2

    They still might.