Port workers won't be reporting to work as usual tonight.
According to SEIU Local 1021, shuttles will haul beleaguered employees to the Oakland Airport tonight to set the stage for a 9 p.m. picket line planned at Terminal 1 as part of a two-day strike. Union reps claim port executives "refuse to bargain, dragging on negotiations with port workers for the last 16 months."
"They continue to try to get us to back down, but we continue fighting-- we are the men and women who do clerical work, repair, secure and
maintain the Oakland Harbor and Airport," the union said in a statement this morning.
Port officials tell us they are scrambling now to assess how this strike will effect operations at the Port of Oakland and the airport. "We are doing an updated operational assessment today based on information we have and we will have a comment soon," Port spokesman Isaac Kos-Read wrote in an e-mail to SF Weekly.
The strike is the result of what union workers say are unfair labor attacks from port
executives, who have illegally "withheld vital information related to
bargaining and have unilaterally changed the terms of our contract," according to the union.
"Port executives are under media scrutiny for misusing public funds at strip
clubs, golf outings and a business suspected as a front for
prostitution. Despite a $37 million surplus, they want to impose a
15-percent wage and benefit cut on workers" the union said.
The fun will continue tomorrow, with a 5 a.m. strike at the port, followed by a noon rally, and picket lines at 4 p.m.
Check back for updates.
(Update 8:50 a.m.): Port officials issued the following statement:
"We have been prepared for this type of labor action and expect normal operations at Oakland International Airport. We are also focused on maintaining full operations in our maritime area, but are concerned about the potential impact of these actions on the many workers and business partners who are relying on the Port during this busy season of exports and holiday travel."