Central Valley seaport included in longshore strike
May 1, 2008
• Union strikes Stockton and other West Coast ports
• An anti-war protest or something else?
Some 25,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union today struck 29 West Coast ports from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest, including the Port of Stockton in the Central Valley.
The strikes are bringing cargo operations to a virtual standstill, according to the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies and the management of the ports.
A PMA spokesman says it’s supposed to be a one-shift, one-day walkout.
While workers are off the job at the Port of Stockton, the Port of Sacramento has not been affected. There are no ships berthed there today, says Mike Luken, port manager.
The strikes are to protest the continuing war in Iraq, the union says.
“Longshore workers are standing-down on the job and standing up for America,” says ILWU International President Bob McEllrath. “We’re supporting the troops and telling politicians in Washington that it’s time to end the war in Iraq.
The management association thinks there’s a different reason for the work stoppage.
PMA spokesman Steve Getzug says it raises the question of whether the walkouts are an attempt to leverage contract negotiations.