Occupy movement organizing in effort to shut down several west coast ports, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle on Dec. 12
GRAIN VALLEY, Missouri
December 12, 2011
(Land Line Magazine)
– Truck drivers stopping Monday into a number of ports on the West Coast may have difficulty at some terminal gates because of a grassroots movement to protest major financial institutions.
According to westcoastportshutdown.org and occupyoakland.org, which are both affiliated with the Occupy movement, protestors are organizing in an effort to shut down “Wall Street on the waterfront” at ports in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle and beyond.
Kari Koch, a member of the Occupy Movement of Portland and a spokesperson with the West Coast Port Blockade Team, said the movement hopes to shut down port activity at certain terminals Monday.
“The plan is to shut down on Dec. 12 – to economically disrupt what we’re calling Wall Street on the Waterfront,” Koch told Land Line. “We are coordinating with workers at ports – union and non-union – to be a part of this day of action. We’re looking for their support and we encourage them to do what they need to do in order to be safe and healthy, and not cross the picket line if that’s something they’re not interested in crossing.”
The groups plan to block gate entrances at terminals used by major retailers in an effort to temporarily stop business for the “1 percent of people who primarily benefit from trade at these ports,” Koch said.
“We are looking to get 100 people at every gate to shut it down. That’s the minimum number we need to shut a gate down,” Koch said.
Arley Baker, senior director of the Port of Los Angeles Communication Group, told Land Line Magazine the port is aware of the shutdown plan. The protests have not disrupted business at the port, Baker said.
“It’s been on our radar for several weeks now, and it continues to be a fluid situation that includes potential demonstrations here and at the other U.S. West Coast ports,” Baker said. “In conjunction with regional law enforcement agencies, we continue to monitor developments closely.”
Reached Friday, Baker said nothing had changed in preparations for Monday’s shutdown.
At the Port of Oakland, where a five-hour protest blocked trucks and halted evening operations at the port in early November, port officials and security say they are watching the Occupy movement.
Isaac Kos-Read, a spokesman with the Port of Oakland, said port officials there are “in communication with our labor, business and government partners – including law enforcement – to prevent any further disruption of maritime operations.”
A spokesman at the Port of Long Beach said city and port staff is aware of the Occupy movements’ plans.
Port security is preparing to take the necessary steps to protect public safety, said Art Wong, Port of Long Beach spokesman.
Though Monday’s planned shutdown has drawn a lot of media coverage, it's possible that protests won’t stop the ports from conducting business at all terminals.
News reports earlier in the fall indicated that the Occupy movement would shut down ports on Nov. 17.
“Nothing came of it,” Wong said.