East Bay News

Truckers upset over Occupy march

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Truckers at the Port of Oakland Occupy Port of Oakland Protesters at the Port of Oakland Occupy sign on semi truck Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Port of Oakland protest

At the Port of Oakland, operations are slowly getting back to normal, after protesters forced a partial shutdown on Monday. But some of the very workers that demonstrators said they wanted to help wish the whole thing had never happened.

One of the organizers said, "I think the protest went pretty well yesterday. We would say a huge success actually."

Those words from a member of the organizing committee come one day after the march that shut down much of the Port of Oakland. Now on the very spot where the march ended, truck drivers sit in line, not making money, as shipping terminals slowly get back up to speed. Occupiers say it was worth it.

"We are maybe hurting their bottom line for one day, but this is a much larger movement that we're talking about," said Christine Cordero with the Occupy Oakland Committee.

"Well, gee, that would be like hitting me upside the head to help me. I mean this is not the way to do it," said Bill Aboudi, a small trucking company owner.

Aboudi said his bottom line will be hurting for more than two weeks because of the protest, not just from sitting in line, but from late fees when shipments don't make it on time.

"The occupiers didn't understand when we told them you're hurting us," said Aboudi.

High up in the air, longshoremen are back at work, moving containers on and off ships and their union told ABC7 many of them lost money too.

"A small number of workers were able to get paid yesterday for at least part of the day, but most were not," said Craig Merrilees, the ILWU spokesman. "They were turned away and told to go back home by the employers and told that they would not be paid."

A Port of Oakland spokesman said operations did partially continue during the blockade and defended the decision to keep police on the sidelines.

"There are times when minimizing disruptions may mean not confronting and escalating the situation, and we had to make those decisions on a moment by moment basis," said Isaac Kos-Read, a Port of Oakland spokesman.

"That sends the message that they have learned from the past that they cannot stop this movement," said Cordero.

And as for the truck drivers who lost money, Occupy Oakland is extending an olive branch.

"A bunch of folks are starting a fund to try to help drivers who lost money yesterday," said Cordero.

And while some drivers say they do appreciate the sentiment, Aboudi said, "From what I heard from truckers, if they try to come to the port again, it's going to be a serious issue."

As for how the city and the port will respond to any future protests, they say they'll have to cross that bridge when they come to it. But in the mean time, the port's PR director will have a lot of work to do, convincing businesses not to do their shipping elsewhere.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
occupy oakland, protest, port of oakland, east bay news, jonathan bloom
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