Dozens of independent truckers were turned away from the Port of Oakland Thursday as union workers stayed off the job to mark the death of a Benicia longshoreman.
Thomas Hoover, 56, reporredly "experienced distress" while woking on a ship in the Port of Benicia on Wednesday afternoon and was taken to a hospital in Vallejo, where he was pronounced dead. Solano County coroner's officials said Hoover died of natural causes and they will not be conducting an autopsy.
Craig Merrilees, spokesman for the Bay Area chapter of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, says 24-hour stand-downs are standard after a worker dies on the job. It's partly to honor the worker and partly so union members can gather facts about the incident to ensure their safety.
"(The union workers) will be going without a day's pay as will the truckers," Merrilees said. "So there is a sacrifice involved, but it's important that the workplace be as safe as possible because these jobs are extremely dangerous."
Luis Sanchez, an independent trucker, says that "sacrifice" is actually a significant hardship for him and others.