This could be fun. Longshoremen slapping around the Occutards.
Occupy Oakland’s plan to shut down the city’s bustling port on Monday for the second time in as many months is facing a complicating wrinkle nowhere in sight last time – opposition from several unions and some within the Occupy movement itself.
The attempted shutdown will be part of a coordinated blockade of 11 West Coast ports from San Diego to Anchorage, Alaska, an effort conceived by Occupy Oakland to build on the success of the Nov. 2 general strike it led that closed the city’s port for more than six hours.
But unlike last time, when the area’s major unions gave tacit or outright approval, many of them see Monday’s action as disruptive and unnecessary.
And some occupation activists are labeling it as too confrontational, with the protest’s potential for violence detracting from Occupy’s stated intention of narrowing the chasm between rich and poor.
“Support is one thing,” Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union, wrote to his members last week. “Outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another and one that is destructive to our democratic process.”
The Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council’s secretary-treasurer, Andreas Cluver, said many of his union’s workers were recently hired at port building projects after long stretches on unemployment. Given that, a port shutdown aimed at punishing the 1 percent “makes no sense,” he said.
He said no union at the port supports the shutdown.
“We’re extremely supportive of the message of Occupy Oakland, and we did come out to support the Nov. 2 general strike, but we’re not behind this one,” Cluver said. “When working people aren’t involved in the decision on whether to shut down their jobs at the port, that’s problematic. And we weren’t consulted. Losing a day of wages is hard.”
He added: “The port is a public entity. It’s really not the 1 percent. Go shut down a country club – that’s the 1 percent.”
Better yet, just go away and let people live their lives.