Myths and Facts about the Port of Oakland Protests

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT THE PORT OF OAKLAND PROTESTS

 December 12, 2011

Media Contact:
Marilyn Sandifur, Port Spokesperson
Port of Oakland
(510)627-1193
msandifur@portoakland.com

While news reports today have for the most part accurately described protest activity at the Port of Oakland today, some incorrect information and rumors persist.  The Port would like to separate fact from rumor:
 
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.