Port of Oakland Operations Affected by Strike

Workers at the Port of Oakland are staging a one-day work stoppage over a labor contract they say has been stalled.

The 24-hour walkout began Monday night with hundreds of electricians, clerical staff, security and custodians at Oakland International Airport. The seaport walkout began Tuesday morning.

The Port issued a statement on Tuesday morning saying that operations at the airport were normal and that travel during the busiest week of the year was not being affected.  At the maritime port, however, the statement described "disruptions and impacts on truckers and longshore workers trying to get to their jobs."  The port workers' union says that members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union are honoring their picket line, effectively shutting down the port.

Gary Jimenez, union vice president of SEIU Local 1021, says management is refusing to negotiate.
"These workers are there every day, day in and day out," Jimenez says, "both at the airport and the maritime port.  They make it run smoothly they make it run safely. What about investing in them?"

Port spokesman Isaac Kos-Read says the strike could be problematic for businesses that use the port. "Especially with agricultural goods," he says, "there's a big emphasis on just-in-time, since you want to make sure the products are fresh when they arrive at markets overseas. So we definitely do have concerns."

Kos-Read says port management is planning to meet again with union negotiators.

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