Make Labor Day Everyday In Oakland

posted by scott parkin

Saturday turned out to be Labor Day in Oakland and I joined a group of friends that joined pickets that led to the ILWU shutting down the Port of Oakland and East Bay Labor groups picketing the Woodfin Suites Hotel.

This morning a group of friends joined the anti-war picket at the Port of Oakland calling for a shutdown of the SSA Terminal. The ILWU (longshore workers union) honored our picket and walked off the job (forfeiting a days wages at time and half) after an arbitrator ruled the picket not legitimate. The walk-out effectively shutting down the Port of Oakland.

I can’t tell you the powerful feeling I got when the longshore workers who had been queued up with their cars outside the terminal began going home. For every vehicle that went by we hooted and hollered as they honked their horns.

Three ships are sat at the SSA docks, and cargo did NOT
move on Saturday. The picket line resumed that evening
and repeated the events of the morning.

THAN as we left the Port Picket, we got a call to join a community picket
at Woodfin Suites
in Emeryville. The hotel has been the scene of an
escalating labor struggle and has laid off unionizing immigrant workers. Saturday’s
community picket was being counter-protested by the College Republicans
from UC Davis and SF State, bused in and staying at the expense of Woodfin Suites (so
they announced over their bullhorn), hurling right-wing and racist slurs
and taunts at the picketers and their families.

We marched and chanted with the workers and other people joining the picket (some stopping their cars when they saw what was going on). It created such a scene that I can’t imagine it being good for Woodfin’s reputation.

It was a great action to join and the pickets happen every Tuesday from 4:30-7 PM, Saturday from 7-11 AM, and Sunday 10AM – 12 PM.