Longshoremen Close ALL West Coast Ports in Antiwar Protest …Update: Cynthia McKinney Congratulates Unions

Dock workers shut down all West Coast Ports today in protest against the War in Iraq.
All 29 West Coast Ports are shut down.

Protesters also gathered at the port in Oakland to try to persuade truckers to join them in their anti-empire protesting. (NBC11)
The longshoreman on the West Coast stayed home from work to protest the Iraq War today.
The NBC11 reported:

Terminal operators say West Coast cargo traffic has come to a halt as port workers stage daylong anti-war protests.

Pacific Maritime Association spokesman Steve Getzug said thousands of dockworkers did not show up to work Thursday morning, leaving ships and thousands of truck drivers idle at ports from Oakland to Long Beach and to Seattle.

Workers are expected to return to work for the start of the Thursday evening shift.

Protesters were walking picket lines Thursday morning at the Port of Oakland in an effort to convince truckers to take part in the shutdown…

Small groups of protesters are stopping trucks as they approach port facilities.

They’re trying to get truck drivers to participate in a work stoppage protesting U.S. military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The truckers are not being blocked from the facilities, but are being allowed to proceed if they wish.

Thursday’s picketing occurred after an arbitrator told the union that represents dockworkers at West Coast ports that workers must show up for their jobs Thursday.

10,000 workers went on a one-day strike to protest the war in Iraq.

A cargo ship sits docked at the Port of Tacoma as normally bustling cargo handling lanes sit empty at left, Thursday, May 1, 2008 in Tacoma, Wash. The ports of Seattle and Tacoma were idle Thursday after longshore workers took the day off for May Day and to protest the war in Iraq. (AP/Ted S. Warren)

The Longshoremen passed a resolution opposing the War in Iraq. The resolution did not mention if they were for or against the War in Afghanistan.

Today’s action, which essentially shut down all major ports along the coast, culminates a series of events that began when ILWU members passed a resolution opposing the U.S. war in Iraq.

Hopefully, some day these dock workers will find a war or a military they can support.

UPDATE:
Cynthia McKinney congratulated the unions for their planned protest today. The union leaders retracted their request to strike and said that any decision not to work on May 1st would be made by individual workers. Yet the facts show a coordinated effort by the Union to shut down West Coast ports. The ILWU has publicized, through its website and newsletter, plans for a coordinated protest.
Here’s Cynthia’s letter:

Your powerful Longshore Caucus resolution, “For Workers’ Action to Stop the War,” and your decision to stop work on the West Coast docks May 1, 2008 inspires all of us who have taken up the struggle to end the disastrous war and occupation of Iraq, foisted on us by the Republican administration, and continually funded without substantial objection by both the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress. Sadly, the Bush-Pelosi war policy is a formula for endless global conflict, deterioration of the rule of law among nations, and growing impoverishment, indebtedness and evisceration of workers’ rights and civil liberties here at home.

While many unions pass resolution after resolution while doing little to actually stop the bloodshed, for generations the ILWU has shown that we can resist the war-mongering corporate politicians, and their profiteering attempts to divide the labor movement and weaken our capacity to organize and resist their destructive actions.

Once again, your union is setting a shining example for working people everywhere — as you did in 1978, when you refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile; in 1984, when you refused to move South African cargo to protest the racist apartheid government; in 1996, when you honored the picket line for striking dockworkers in Liverpool, England; in 1999, when you shut down the Pacific Coast to protest the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle; in 2001, when you prepared a Coast-wide work stoppage in defense of five gallant longshoremen in Charleston, South Carolina, who were charged with felonies for walking a picket line, not to mention the numerous times that you have stopped trade on the West Coast water front in support of Black political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Michelle Malkin is following the May Day rage.

UPDATE: Protest Shooter has photos of the Longshoremen/Illegal Immigration/May Day protest.

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