Thousands of protesters who have gathered at the Port of Oakland are holding a general assembly meeting Monday night to decide whether to extend the port blockade through the early morning.
One of the reasons for the daylong effort to shut down ports on the West Coast was to stand in solidarity with International Longshore and Warehouse Union members in a labor dispute with grain exporter EGT in Longview, Wash. and with truck drivers in Los Angeles, who are classified as independent contractors and do not receive benefits.
Protesters Monday evening said that Dan Coffman, president of ILWU Local 21 in Longview had called with a message for the demonstrators. A speaker at the meeting repeated his message to the crowd.
“This is the rebirth of the labor movement,” he said. “ILWU in Longview, Washington wants to thank all of the Occupiers on the West Coast for standing in solidarity.”
Protesters are discussing whether to extend the protest through the 3 a.m. shift Tuesday.
One speaker at the meeting said they should consider extending the blockade for two reasons.
“For our comrades who have been repressed in Seattle, San Diego and Houston,” she said. “And because there's going to be a lot of work at two terminals on this port at 3 a.m.”
Port officials said no truck or gate operations are planned, which is typical for evening activity. However, no ILWU members were asked to work for the three vessels that are berthed at the port for the night.
“Today's disruptions have been costly to Port workers and their families in terms of lost wages and shifts, to Oakland and the region in terms of lost tax revenue, and to one of the most progressive Ports in the country in terms of draining already limited resources that should be focused on real solutions to the problems plaguing our economy,” port officials said in a statement.