Occupy Protest: Port Separates Fact From Fiction

Port issues press release about protest impact

Oakland Port Protest

Hundreds of protesters marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza to the Port of Oakland as part of a daylong effort to shut down the port.

The Port put out a press release that it said was intented to separate fact from fiction concerning the protests impact on the port.

From the port:

Myth: The Port of Oakland is closed.

The Port is not closed. Operations have continued throughout the day after sporadic interruptions due to the morning protest activities. 

As for the rest of the day and overnight, the Port anticipates very limited terminal activity.

Myth: The Port of Oakland was shut down today. 

The Port remained operational today, even though there were disruptions throughout the morning that affected terminal operations and truck traffic. Trucks were moving cargo into and out of Port facilities as early as 7:00 a.m. and into and out of the majority of facilities by 10:30 a.m.

No ships were loaded or unloaded today. Yard and gate operations at some terminals continued regarding cargo that had already been unloaded. Some terminals could not operate at all because of protesters. 

Myth: Shifts were cancelled.

Terminal operators are responsible for ordering and cancelling shifts. No shifts were cancelled today. Some Longshoremen were unable to report to work for health and safety reasons. Some were released due to the inability to fill a labor order. As a result, some terminals were unable to operate normally. 

Myth:   Some or all terminals were closed today.

All terminals opened today. Some were unable to accept cargo due to protesters.  

Myth: Oakland was the only west coast port impacted.

We understand from news reports that operators at the Port of Portland shut two terminals, affecting four ship operations. As a result, 200 Longshoreman were not able to work there. At the Port of LA and Long Beach, there was apparently minor operational impact and protesters were dispersed this morning. At the Port of Seattle, protest activity is expected later today and tonight.  

Myth: Customs enforcement personnel were not at all terminals.

Some terminals experienced a delay in Customs personnel arrival.  

Myth: An arbitrator was called in and sent Longshoremen home.

Not true. Under the labor agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), an arbitrator may be called to determine if it is safe for workers to report to work. In this case, PMA decided not to call out the arbitrator. It remains possible that the ILWU may still request an arbitration to determine if they should to be paid for the inability to report to work but at no time today was an arbitrator called. 

Protesters began to march shortly after 4 p.m. A separate march depart from the West Oakland BART station at 5 p.m.  The two groups together made up more than a thousand people.

The protest began early this morning when hundreds of protesters marched to the port and blocked several entrances.

Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin said the protest caused "sporadic disruptions" and delays but that all terminals were open early this afternoon and traffic was flowing in and out of the port.

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said the protest was mostly peaceful but that two people were arrested outside the port's America Terminal at 1599 Maritime St. shortly before noon for failing to comply with a police order to stop blocking a driveway.

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