Tag Archives: Port Shutdowns

Occupy Wall Street Port Shutdowns and the ILWU

By Jon Agnone

On the heels of a round of crackdowns against Occupy Wall Street (OWS) encampments across the country, the movement turned their attention to shutting down the “economic engines for the elite” through a coordinated shutdown of West Coast shipping ports on December 12, 2011.  This action occurred following the shutdown of Oakland’s shipping terminal a few weeks prior on November 2 by the Occupy Oakland protestors, with turnout estimated at 30,000 individuals. According to the movement’s website and many of the published news reports on the event, one of the primary motivations of the coastwise shutdowns from San Diego to Vancouver was to stop “Wall street on the waterfront.” The movement saw this event as a two part solidarity action: First, in support of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in its ongoing jurisdictional battle at the Port of Longview in Washington against the grain terminal operator EGT; and second, in support of port truckers—who are non-union despite many unionization drives over the years by the ILWU and the Teamsters—who work on the manifold terminals up and down the West Coast owned by maritime shipping giant SSA (the major tie-in for the OWS movements is that Goldman Sachs has a 51 percent ownership stake in SSA). Continue reading

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